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Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement tool is coming – and this is what it looks like

Skylum Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement
(Image credit: Skylum)

Instagramers will love it, travel photographers will adore it, diehard Photoshop experts used to doing stuff the hard way will probably hate it. Luminar 4’s new AI Sky Replacement tool promises to make your outdoor shots look wonderful with replacement skies that can add drama, atmosphere and interest to shots which might otherwise be a bit dull (and we all have a few of those, right?)

Luminar 3 is already on our list of the best photo-editing software (opens in new tab) right now, and Luminar 4 isn’t due to arrive until autumn 2019, but Skylum Software is already teasing its new features. The company is really pushing its AI artificial intelligence) and machine learning technologies, and the new AI Sky Replacement tool will join Luminar’s existing Accent AI 2.0 auto enhancement and AI Sky Enhancer (opens in new tab) filters. 

Both of these use AI to identify and enhance specific objects, areas and tones in your pictures, but the AI Sky Enhancer will be the first tool to add in new content rather than simply enhancing what’s there.

Controversial? Well, Photoshoppers have been adding new skies to landscapes and outdoor shots forever, so the only real objection people can have is that this makes this all a bit too easy. But anyone who’s ever wrestled for hours with layers, blend modes, selections and masks will probably be glad to hand this job off to some artificial intelligence.

Skylum Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement

Here's the original image. (Image credit: Skylum)

Skylum Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement

And here's the same shot with a replacement sky. Note how the AI Sky Replacement tool has also adjusted the lighting and tones of the foreground to match the sky. Skylum's samples look great, but we'll have to wait for Luminar 4 to try this out. (Image credit: Skylum)

How smart is the Luminar AI Sky Replacement?

Skylum says the AI Sky Replacement tool is smart enough to blend the new sky with your image realistically, removing halos, artefacts and edge effects automatically. It can even detect the horizon line and orientation of the sky to make the replacement sky look as realistic as possible.

That’s not all. The AI Sky Replacement tool will include ‘scene relight technology’ to match the tone and color of the whole image with the sky you selected. These measures will hopefully avoid those dreadful landscape Photoshop fails we see all too often.

Skylum Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement

We can see the Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement tool being a big hit with Instagramers! (Image credit: Skylum)

Skylum Luminar 3 is an all-in-one photo organizing and non-destructive editing program, a bit like a novice-friendly Lightroom. There is also a Luminar Flex (opens in new tab) version which works as a standalone photo editor and plug-in. Luminar 4 will replace both Luminar 3 and Luminar Flex when it arrives in November.

Luminar 4 is set to be released on 18 November - but you can pre-order today (with or without the existing Luminar 3) at a special pre-release price of $79 from the Skylum store (opens in new tab). Pre-orders will also get a free subscription to SmugMug's portfolio website builder worth $180.

Read more:

• We choose the best photo-editing software (opens in new tab) today
• These are the best laptops for photo editing (opens in new tab)
• On a budget? Here are the best free photo editors (opens in new tab) right now

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.