No more masks? A.I. automatically replaces the sky in upcoming Luminar


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skylum luminar 4 teaser sky replacement ny

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Replacing an uninspiring sky in a photograph typically requires manually masking and brushing, but artificial intelligence could soon replace that sky in a few clicks — and adjust the rest of the image too. In a sneak peek of the upcoming Luminar 4, Skylum teased a new A.I.-based tool for replacing the sky in an image. The company says the feature is the first automatic tool to replace a sky among competing photo editors.

The tool starts by recognizing what part of the image contains the sky, automatically creating a mask for the sky. The photographer can then replace and adjust the sky using the automatic mask, with the tool automatically recognizing the orientation of the image and where the horizon line falls. Skylum says that the tool will also remove halos and artifacts, which are common even when replacing the sky manually.

While the tool is designed to automate much of the process, the feature still leaves a handful of manual options for the photographer to adjust. The depth of field, tone, and color of the sky can be adjusted in the software. 

After adjusting the sky, the software helps the new sky blend with the rest of the image using scene relight technology. The feature helps the rest of the image to appear as if it were taken at the same time as the sky image, Skylum says. For example, the software will warm up the surrounding landscape if the sky is replaced with a sunset.

The sky replacement tool will join existing A.I. based tools inside Luminar, including an automatic sky enhancement tool. The sky enhancement tool recognizes the parts of the image containing the sky to make adjustments in exposure and color, without replacing the original sky.

Skylum hasn’t yet revealed full details for the upcoming Luminar 4 software, but says the updated photo editor will include new machine learning tools and options to speed up the photo editing process. Luminar 4 is slated for a fall release, with pre-orders opening now. The company hasn’t yet shared pricing details, but current users will have an upgrade option at a discount from the full-priced software.

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