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Luminar update adds AI sky enhancement

  |   Articles and reviews, Image Editing, MacPhun, Skylum, Software update   |   No comment

Review: Luminar update adds sky enhancement

Skylum updates Luminar image editing software


If you’ve a copy of Skylum’s Luminar 2018 image editing software, then the latest V1.3.2 update adds and updates a range of features.

Keith has reviewed Luminar 2018 and other versions of the software from its initial release and has included a short look at the AI Sky enhancement option in this new release.

We have a code northlightimages10 – that will usually get you a 10% discount on current MacPhun/Skylum offers.

Keith’s City Light set of Luminar presets for black and white conversions/effects are available for download.

We've reviews of many MacPhun/Skylum apps. See the Macphun or Skylum Category in the dropdown menu at the top of the right column.

Luminar Jupiter

Luminar 2018 update

The release notes for the update show a number of changes (info from Skylum)

What is improved in Luminar 2018

NEW AI Sky Enhancer. The AI Sky Enhancer allows you to get beautiful skies almost instantly with artificial intelligence and a single slider. Luminar analyses and detects the sky in an image to improve the texture, tone, and colors of the sky itself. The filter can recognise sky in most photos as well as distinguish between water and other elements in a photograph. It also detects the objects in the foreground and their edges for perfect masking.
Note: if the controls are greyed out after applying the filter, the artificial intelligence couldn’t recognise the sky in the photo. Skies that are very out of focus or blurred may not be detected automatically. It may also be greyed out if the filter determines that the sky does not need enhancement. If you want to stylise the sky, explore filters such as Golden Hour, Polariser, Vibrancy, and HSL.

Other key features and functions available in Luminar include (for Mac and Windows):

  • NEW Faster opening of RAW-files. You can now open raw files much faster thanks to improvements in our RAW engine.
  • NEW DNG Camera Profiles (DCP). Are you looking for truly professional control over your RAW files? Then give DNG Camera Profiles a try. Luminar recognises the industry standard DCP files that you may already have on your computer (or have bought from third parties).
  • IMPROVED Filter Performance. You can now add or subtract filters more quickly to an image.
  • IMPROVED LUT Mapping. You can now easily scroll through your LUTs in the LUT Mapping filter.
  • IMPROVED Batch Processing. Windows users gain the useful Batch Processing improvements. These include the ability to “Replace or Skip Files” when saving the file with the same name when Batch Processing. Additional options include the ability to create JPEG and TIFF files as well as improved reliability when renaming and numbering files on export.
  • NEW Plugin Support. The following third-party plugins can now be used via the Plugins menu: Imagenomic Noiseware 5, Imagenomic Portraiture 3, Imagenomic Realgrain 2, and DxO FilmPack 5.
  • IMPROVED Image History. It is now possible to use the “Save History” option when saving a file with the “Windows Compatible” option. Additionally, White Balance presets are now displayed in an image’s history with the preset name when using the RAW Develop and Develop filters.
  • IMPROVED Blending Modes. When you choose a blending mode for an Adjustment or Image Layer, the experience is even easier. Just hover your mouse over a blending mode and it updates in real-time. This is an easy way to simply mouse-over the list to find the perfect blending mode.
  • IMPROVED Luminosity Masks. Improved performance when opening up existing documents with Luminosity masks.
  • IMPROVED TIFF Files. Increased stability exporting TIFF files with 8 bits per channel bit depth.
  • IMPROVED Filters B&W Conversion, Bi-Colour Toning, Photo Filter. The controls Luminance and Saturation are available when these filters are added a second time.
  • IMPROVED Grain effect. All filters and Looks which include Grain effect work properly.
  • IMPROVED Speed of sliders.
  • IMPROVED Crop tool in Photos Extension.
  • IMPROVED Crop Tool. Properly see a gridview while changing the angle of the image in Crop tool.
  • CHANGED Sharing to Facebook and Twitter. Due to the recent changes in personal security with Facebook and Twitter, the ability to post directly to a social network from Luminar has been temporarily removed for users on MacOS Mojave

Changing skies

This is one of the key features you may see mentioned – how well does it work?

For a first quick example, I’ve taken a JPEG file from my Canon 5Ds showing the view out to sea at Porthleven in Cornwall (the next land in this direction is South America).

I’m using the Luminar application in this instance. Also adjustments are in the range I’d look to use – the sliders go up further if you prefer…

First the JPEG from the camera. [click to enlarge any image to see more clearly]

original image

Next using the AI Sky filter – note how it only really affects the sky area.

ai sky enhance

Now using just the Accent AI contrast tool – it affects the whole image.

accent ai

Lastly, a combination of both

both filters

A 100% detail from the shot shows no halo effects  – this is good, since if there is one thing that stops me using an image editing tool then it’s unwanted halos… (see also the mine chimney example below)

detail at 100%

A tool for Photoshop

Nice as Luminar is for editing, I use it as a plugin for Photoshop.  This rather flat image (~80MP) gets a useful bump in contrast for the sky. I’ve shown it as a split screen view in this screen shot.

split view

Whilst Luminar has layers, I still use it on a duplicate layer to let me blend it back in to my image when back in Photoshop

I ‘m not that keen on the image, with that rather featureless sky, especially since I know that a quarter of an hour later it looked a lot better. However I often don’t get a choice of time for my commercial work, so I wanted to see what sorts of help Luminar could give me for a rather featureless low contrast sky.

The software handles big files OK – this stitched view at the old Levant mine is over 13k pixels wide

levant mine

Note too that there are no obvious halos around the chimney.

One more example (with the adjustment turned up beyond what I’d use, to show the effect).

no halo

Like all such tools it needs use with care, but it’s gone straight into my Photoshop toolbox.

Just one more thing…

I’ve seen criticism of the software that seems to ignore the fact that the better your original sky looks in composition and exposure, the better that results with this filter might be.

Sorry, but like most of the tools I look at, a rubbish photo will likely remain a rubbish photo, no matter how far you try and turn up the sliders ;-)

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