Using the AI Augmented Sky tool in Luminar 4!

In the current world of photography, your images need to get pretty creative and have the WOW factor to be noticed. Getting the WOW factor is now made a little easier with the addition of AI Augmented Sky tool in Luminar 4. This creative tool allows you to add objects such as fireworks, rainbows, moon, mountains, plus more into the sky. There are 34 that come pre-installed with the option to create and upload your own. We realise that this will be a feature that many will be reluctant to use as it falls outside the realms of “reality” but give it a go as it is a lot of fun (not everything in photography needs to be that serious, does it?). If you would like to read our review of the AI Augmented Sky tool in Luminar 4 then click here.

As is the case with the AI Sky Replacement tool, Luminar will auto-detect the sky and create a mask that allows the object to be placed within the mask area. In this post, we will show you how easy it is to use this tool. The only limit is your imagination, so get creative and take your images to the next level.

Skylum’s Luminar 4 can be used as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom plus more. It can also be used as a standalone application which is a great option for those not wanting to pay a monthly subscription for editing software. It has lots of awesome editing tool. Check out our post about the Top 5 features we use in Luminar 4.

Don’t forget that you can download a trial version to test yourself. If you like it then just click here and use the coupon code “widescenes” at check out to get up to 15% off.

Selecting the Image

It is important to know that not all images are going to be suitable for AI Augmented Sky. Images that have a defined sky area work best when it comes to the software automatically masking the area for the object to be placed. If you already have images in the Library you can choose the image from there or alternatively just click on the + icon at the top left and select ‘Edit Single Image‘ and navigate to the image you want to work on. You can also use the ‘File’ menu at the top of the application then select ‘Edit Single Image’. Or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+O (Windows) and Cmd+O (Mac).

Creative Edit Panel

Once you have determined which image you want to edit,  just click on the ‘Edit’ button on the top right (next to the ‘Library’ button). This will take you to the Essentials Edit Panel. From here you can edit the image, if you have not done any editing to the image and want to adjust the Exposure, Shadows, Highlights, Colour, Noise, etc. You can always come back to the Essentials Edit panel at any stage and edit the image further.

If you have already edited the image in another application such as Lightroom and you do not wish to edit the image in Luminar. you can click on the ‘Creative’ icon down the right-hand side of the application. Once you are in the Creative Panel you will find many other effects & tools that you can apply to the image. For this post we are specifically looking at the AI Augmented Sky feature. Hover over the images below for a magnified view.

TIP! 

If any of the menu headings font is white and bold, this is an indication that there has been editing or effect already applied within this section. Just click on the heading to view the adjustment and selections made.

Object Selections

To add an object to your sky you need to click on AI Augmented Sky from the menu. This will expand and the section and you can then click on ‘Object Selection’ to view all the installed objects that comes with the application. If the ‘Object Selection’ is greyed out then this means that the sky could not be identified so the mask layer could not be created. If this is the case you will not be able to use this tool for the selected image.

Selecting & Placing the Object

This is where you can start the creative process and it all comes down to the look you are trying to obtain. For a more realistic result, it is always best to match the object style to the image. Choose the preferred object from the list. It should appear in the sky section of your image. If you cannot see it, just click on the ‘Place Object’ button and this will put a bounding box around the object that was inserted. When this appears you can click in the area and move, enlarge, and rotate as you wish. Just click on ‘Place Object’ button again to remove the bounding box.

There are three sliders that allow you to edit the object;-

  • The Amount slider lowers the strength (intensity) of the object that has been added.
  • The Warmth slider adds a warmer tone (100) or a cooler tone (0) to the object.
  • The Relight slider reduces or increases the lighting & colours to allows you to match the overall light & colours of the sky in the image.

TIP! 

At this editing stage, you can only add ONE object. If you wish to add multiple objects you would need to create a new stamp layer. You will then be able to add another object. Just make sure you have completed any adjustment to the first object as you will not be able to change this once the new stamp layer has been created.

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Aurora 1 Object applied to the image. The object has been enlarged & rotated. The image was taken in Kotor, Montenegro.

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Advanced Settings

There are only two options under this section: –

  • The Mask Refinement slider fixes any sections that may have been missed when the object was added. It may be more noticeable around finer details such as trees & wires. If it still does not fix all the areas you will need to edit the mask (see Edit Mask section below).
  • The Defocus slider is handy when you want to blend the object into the style of image. For example, if you used a shallow depth of field and the background was soft, then you can use this slider to apply a similar effect to the object that has been added.

Hover over the image for a magnified view.

Edit Mask

In this section, you can refine your mask further by using the Brush, Radial Mask, Gradient Mask, or Luminosity Mask. To see the section that has been masked just toggle the mask visibility on/off by clicking the Visibility icon (eyeball) in the toolbar. 

  • The Brush mask can be used in the Paint or Erase mode to add or subtract areas from the mask. The Paint mode will add white to the mask and the Erase mode will add black to the mask. This is a great tool for improving the areas where the object meets the foreground
  • The Radial Mask is a round shape that can be added to easily highlight the sun or moon (or any rounded shape) that you want to include or exclude from the mask. To adjust the size grab the inner ring and to adjust the feather of the mask grab the outside ring 
  • The Gradient Mask is handy for creating a gradual blend between the object added and the image. Grab the outer lines and adjust to refine the feather of the gradient
  • The Luminosity Mask is a quick and easy way to adjust the mask based on the brightness of the pixels in the object added

As you can see from the image below it does a great job of finding and replacing the sky. At this stage you can choose to export the image for use on social media pages or for print, or keep adding objects (see tip above for creating a stamped layer). The only limit is your imagination. You can see more examples of AI Augmented Sky on our Luminar AI Augmented Sky review post – click here to read.

So why not download a trial version to test for yourself and see what it can do for own images. It is super easy to use and can definitely add some extra zing to your images. If you like it then just click here and use the coupon code “widescenes” at checkout to get up to 15% off.

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