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Skylum Luminar 4.2 brings AI Augmented Skies and portrait tool enhancements

Skylum Luminar 4.2
(Image credit: Skylum)

Skylum is clearly looking to the skies for its inspiration. We liked the AI Sky Enhancer, we loved the AI Sky Replacement tool and the new AI Augmented Sky tool in the latest Luminar 4.2 update is just out of this world.

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That's not just a turn of phrase. The AI Sky Replacement tool offered a selection of skies to enhance your landscape shots, but the AI Augmented Sky tool adds all manner of objects to your skies including everything from flocks of birds to giant planets.

It's all achieved with Skylum's steadily advancing AI imaging technology, which can automatically identify and mask areas of a scene and blend in whole new objects so seamlessly that you'd imagine it would take hours of work. It doesn't. It's as simple as selecting an object you'd like to add from a drop-down menu, and while there are sliders and adjustments for fine-tuning the results, you might not have to touch any of them.

Skylum Luminar 4.2

In Luminar 4.2, adding an augmented sky is as simple as choosing an object from a drop-down menu. The sky selection, masking and blending is all handled automatically by Skylum's AI technology. (Image credit: Skylum)

There may well be some controversy over whether adding objects in this way is 'cheating', but given that photographers have been doing this for years in programs like Photoshop, the most likely cause of discontent is how easy it has suddenly become.

We already rate Luminar as one of the best photo-editing software applications you can get today, and the latest version 4.2 updates add some important and impressive new tools.

Skylum Luminar 4.2

Skylum has also upgraded the portrait enhancement tools in Luminar 4.2, to include a more effective 'slim face' feature and shine (hotspot) removal. (Image credit: Skylum)

Perfect your portraits in Luminar 4.2

Augmented skies might be the headline news in Luminar 4.2, but it's not the only improvement in this version. The portrait enhancement tools were rather good already, but version 4.2 brings shine removal to tone down skin 'hotspots' and an improved face slimming feature that now adjusts the whole face and not just the lower part.

The portrait enhancement tools are driven by Skylum's AI technology too, as the software's Face Features Detection Neural Network will automatically identify both faces and facial features for individual adjustment. Not only that, it's trained to allow for head tilts, unusual angles, partially hidden faces, bad lighting and even heavy make-up. According to Skylum it can also detect people of any hue of skin or age, as well as identifying all the faces in a group photo.

Skylum Luminar 4.2

Skylum talks about Luminar 4.2's AI Augmented Sky feature as 'digital art', but while some effects (like this one) may be more like fantasy art than photography, it is possible to create striking photo-realistic images too. (Image credit: Skylum)

Other Luminar 4.2 improvements

Luminar 4.2 also brings an improved 'Relight Scene' adjustment for the AI Sky Replacement tool which is better at retaining the colors of the original image, and there are all-round performance improvements for both the Mac and Windows versions of the software.

And if you do want to use external plug-ins to achieve specific effects, Luminar 4.2 is now compatible with Aurora HDR, the DxO Nik Collection and the Topaz Labs plug-ins.

Where to get Luminar 4.2

Luminar 4.2 is a free update for existing Luminar 4 users. On a Mac, click in the top menu bar and choose Luminar 4 > Check for updates. If you purchased via the Mac App Store, simply open the App Store and go to the Updates tab. On Windows, in the top menu bar choose Help > Check for updates.

New users can buy direct from the Skylum website via the link below.

Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio. Previously he has been Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. 

Rod's near-encyclopedic knowledge of cameras both old and new makes him an invaluable resource, whether we need to ask a question about transparencies or the latest X-Trans sensor. He owns all manner of cameras, from Nikon DSLRs through Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm bodies, and on any given day you'll see him using kit from just about every manufacturer.