How to use masking and augmented sky in Luminar Sky Replacement

Nov 23, 2020

Ole Henrik Skjelstad

Ole Henrik Skjelstad is a Norwegian math teacher and landscape photographer. He fell in love with photography in 2013 when he got a camera as a birthday present.

How to use masking and augmented sky in Luminar Sky Replacement

Nov 23, 2020

Ole Henrik Skjelstad

Ole Henrik Skjelstad is a Norwegian math teacher and landscape photographer. He fell in love with photography in 2013 when he got a camera as a birthday present.

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A few days back, I compared Photoshop and Luminar AI Beta’s sky replacement feature. When I turned to Luminar AI, I struggled with a mountain that was too warm for my taste. It turns out, I managed to overlook an important sky replacement tool; the masking brush. In this article, I will show you how to use masking to improve the sky replacement algorithm. Further, I also have a closer look at what Skylum calls Augmented Sky.

Skylum’s goal with Luminar AI is to create a processing software for the casual user who doesn’t want to spend hours editing an image. The developers have designed the software to help photographers make quick and precise adjustments using the power of AI.

It’s time to employ masks and play around in Augmented sky.

Masking

I am not sure if this is age-related or just the world telling me that I need stronger glasses, but below is the icon I missed that opens the masking options.

When you click the masking button, TADA! A new panel unfolds:

This is where you can adjust the brush size (radius), feathering (softness), and opacity. Under ‘Paint Mask’, there are two buttons. The right button is the eraser. That’s the button I used to mask out the warmth that the sky replacement added to the mountain. Luminar automatically generated a red-colored mask when I started painting.

For the sake of example, I also erased some of the skies. This is completely for the sake of example and not because I was clumsy. My mistake was very easy to fix, though. I clicked the left button and painted the sky in again. There are two more masking options: A Gradient Mask and a Radial Gradient Mask.

Here is an example of how things looked when I opted for the Radial Gradient:

After I finished the masking job, the image looked better. But judge for yourself. The image on the left is without masking, and the image to the right is with the mountain masking and a few more tweaks.

Flipping the sky

When I opened the advanced Sky Replacement section, I found that it only takes one checkbox to flip the sky.

And then the image suddenly looked like this with zero effort on my part:

Augmented Sky

The first time I entered the Creative zone in Luminar AI, I wondered what on earth Augmented Sky could be. Well, it turns out it is possible to add one-click effects to the sky. Here are a few; a moon, lightning, space shuttle, or you can upload your own effects. Here are the various options:

I had no choice but to add Lightning 2. I don’t think this particular move benefited this particular image. Sometimes you just have to test out stuff and see what happens.

If you click “Place Object” you can drag the effect wherever you please:

This tool comes with a masking option similar to the one in the Sky panel so that you can mask out undesired effects:

I am not sure that adding a piece of a mountain or lighting to a landscape image always benefits a scene. This is solely for each person to decide. What do you think about this?

Conclusion

Even as a Beta version, Luminar AI comes with a hefty amount of functions and tools. The developers hid some of the tools in Advanced panels. This simplifies things for the average user and gives the advanced user the option to go the extra mile. Like any other software, it takes some playing around to get to know all the options or tools and how they work. The whole set-up was rather intuitive to me. We will have to see if this method of swapping skies and adding objects works for all photographers.

[Disclaimer: Luminar AI is in Beta, so the UI, the features, and the engine are all subject to change]

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Ole Henrik Skjelstad

Ole Henrik Skjelstad

Ole Henrik Skjelstad is a Norwegian math teacher and landscape photographer. He fell in love with photography in 2013 when he got a camera as a birthday present.

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One response to “How to use masking and augmented sky in Luminar Sky Replacement”

  1. Peter Young Avatar
    Peter Young

    I must be missing something (which is very likely). I am using 4 and it seems that other than placing commands and buttons in different places and changing the appearance AI seems to be offering little more if anything that is already installed in 4. Happy to be corrected, means I would learn. But at this stage I see nothing extra.