Sky’s the limit: Luminar 4 introduces the first automatic Sky Replacement technology

wickedac

I'm New Here
Jul 19, 2017
12
14
A lot of sneers here but for those of us shooting real estate this kind of software is a huge timesaver. Sky swaps are pretty much par nowadays for listings. If it's a bleh rainy day with a washed out white sky it's a must.

Sometimes it's useful just to swap the real sky back in when it looks amazing in one direction vs totally blown out in the other. Sure you can futz around with sliders or try and mask in manually but anything that makes it quicker is a plus. Real estate isn't fine art where you can spend 40 minutes editing a photo. A minute or two tops per image.D71A2195.jpg37_Danielle_Dr_Grafton001.jpg
 

wickedac

I'm New Here
Jul 19, 2017
12
14
It bothers me a bit that we are becoming so accustomed to picture postcard, lowest common denominator images that we can miss the beauty of the real world and the challenge and joy of producing a memorable image using what is before us.
The reality is if you were house shopping and flipping through listings on Trulia, you are more likely to be interested in the house represented by the image to the right above than you would be the one on the left.
 
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Kit.

EOS 6D MK II
Apr 25, 2011
1,156
569
The reality is if you were house shopping and flipping through listings on Trulia, you are more likely to be interested in the house represented by the image to the right above than you would be the one on the left.
I am more likely to be interested in the darker one. It looks natural.
 

Aussie shooter

@brett.guy.photography
Dec 6, 2016
416
402
The reality is if you were house shopping and flipping through listings on Trulia, you are more likely to be interested in the house represented by the image to the right above than you would be the one on the left.
Give me two minutes in LR and I could make the one on the left look far better than it does. Without the need to swap out a sky. Having said that however I can understand using this sort of thing in cases like real estate photography. But I despise it in most other cases. It is destroying photography. Why bother with a camera at all. Just get on your computer and generate an image from random pixels. It is basically the same thing
 
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stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,182
229
Davidson, NC
Couldn't you just shoot a picture of an unobstructed view of the sky on a nice day (maybe with a polarizer), and just pop it into place? It would take just a second to do a mask of the washed out sky. Then you could use the move tool to position the clouds where they would look the best.

I've done a little real estate photography, and I've always been lucky enough to have pretty days to shoot. Nice days outside also give more light through windows in the kind of nice, open, airy houses we have in my neighborhood.
 

wickedac

I'm New Here
Jul 19, 2017
12
14
Couldn't you just shoot a picture of an unobstructed view of the sky on a nice day (maybe with a polarizer), and just pop it into place? It would take just a second to do a mask of the washed out sky. Then you could use the move tool to position the clouds where they would look the best.
Well yes, that's the current process and that's what I did there. But it never takes "just a second" to mask it out. It's fairly easy and quick but not "one click" quick, that's what makes software like this useful.

I get that it's not for everyone, I'm just trying to point out that there's a reason there's a market for it. Same with software like Aurora; which is hugely popular with RE photographers that shoot brackets for interiors.

Give me two minutes in LR and I could make the one on the left look far better than it does.
Better, sure (and I mean, that's what I did - plus the sky swap of course); but believe me there's nothing to recover there in the sky. It's just gray and it's pouring rain, no pretty blue sky peaking through or puffy clouds. If anything it just looks like smoke. Better isn't good enough, the realtors want pretty blue skies and so they pay for it. It is what it is. Like I said it's not fine art. The idea is to look alluring so that they get lots of inquiries which lead to offers, after that it serves no further purpose. If a program makes it happen with a click in less than a minute instead of five minutes of photoshop work, that adds up significantly. The point is to be profitable and to do that you have to be efficient with your time.
 
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Aussie shooter

@brett.guy.photography
Dec 6, 2016
416
402
Well yes, that's the current process and that's what I did there. But it never takes "just a second" to mask it out. It's fairly easy and quick but not "one click" quick, that's what makes software like this useful.

I get that it's not for everyone, I'm just trying to point out that there's a reason there's a market for it. Same with software like Aurora; which is hugely popular with RE photographers that shoot brackets for interiors.



Better, sure (and I mean, that's what I did - plus the sky swap of course); but believe me there's nothing to recover there in the sky. It's just gray and it's pouring rain, no pretty blue sky peaking through or puffy clouds. If anything it just looks like smoke. Better isn't good enough, the realtors want pretty blue skies and so they pay for it. It is what it is. Like I said it's not fine art. The idea is to look alluring so that they get lots of inquiries which lead to offers, after that it serves no further purpose. If a program makes it happen with a click in less than a minute instead of five minutes of photoshop work, that adds up significantly. The point is to be profitable and to do that you have to be efficient with your time.
Agreed. And the nature of real estate photography is that swapping a sky isn't quite the same 'issue' as it is in landscape photography. It is more like product photography and a bit of 'image creation' is fine in thosee circumstances. But when it comes to landscape, wildlife or photojournalism etc it raises the issue of integrity. I have no problem with doing it. Composites are fine. They just need to be aknowledged as a digital image rather than a 'photo'. There has to be some
Open and honest separation between the two. Someone creating an image on a computer and comparing it to another photographer who has slogged through the wilderness for weeks on end is pretty poor form.
 
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stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,182
229
Davidson, NC
Well yes, that's the current process and that's what I did there. But it never takes "just a second" to mask it out. It's fairly easy and quick but not "one click" quick, that's what makes software like this useful.
One click with the Magic Wand would pretty well select the sky in the picture above. It would take a second to convert the selection to a mask.

Clearly my real estate shooting did not happen in the context of great time pressure or rotten weather, either, I admit.
 

Pape

EOS RP
Dec 31, 2018
359
212
Photography is dying. It's sad really. Digital art is amazing. No doubt. But it isn't photography.
Pffft photographic artists been here as long as photography been. Perspective distorting wide angles ,bokeh monsters ,peoples who tilt horizon intetnionally. and still photography is alive and kicking
 
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Joules

EOS RP
Jul 16, 2017
245
159
Hamburg, Germany
That makes me think that we will soon no longer need cameras. Photo software will do all the job. Photography as testimony is coming to an end.
Some types of images can already be created without a camera:


If Nvidia really develops this into a ripe product, it would enable people to create a Picture from their vision without investing in camera gear or travel costs. It would be cool for the people for whom that is enough.

I get more pleasure out of the process of taking pictures and being out to do that than just looking at the result and thinking "That's mine". So an enthusiast like me would still need a camera.

I'd love to see Canon do more with computational photography though. I have a Google Pixel 3a smartphone and apart from the odd perspective you get from shooting everything with such a wide angle, it really shows how you can exceed the limitations of hardware with modern software.
 

HikeBike

EOS R
Feb 6, 2019
51
36
Maryland, USA
I thought this was a really cool feature, until others pointed out the software doesn't use the sky in the photograph...it replaces the sky with a different sky image. Not at all interested.

Also, their lack of .CR3 support is not acceptable at this point. The company has been replying to Canon users in their forums for the past year stating that their software engineers are "working around the clock" to integrate .CR3 file support. Either they are lying, or they need new developers. I'm thinking the former.
 

wickedac

I'm New Here
Jul 19, 2017
12
14
One click with the Magic Wand would pretty well select the sky in the picture above. It would take a second to convert the selection to a mask.

Clearly my real estate shooting did not happen in the context of great time pressure or rotten weather, either, I admit.
The magic wand will select most of the sky if you're lucky but it does a terrible job of selecting where the sky peeks through the trees, leaves, branches, etc. That's where it will be super obvious if you did a sloppy job masking. Plus you have to deal with reflections and color cast, etc... notice how the windows reflect the fake sky as well.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,182
229
Davidson, NC
The magic wand will select most of the sky if you're lucky but it does a terrible job of selecting where the sky peeks through the trees, leaves, branches, etc. That's where it will be super obvious if you did a sloppy job masking. Plus you have to deal with reflections and color cast, etc... notice how the windows reflect the fake sky as well.
Yep, a couple of extra steps needed, depending upon the picture. The picture above wouldn't need much work: maybe use the similar command and then draw around the trees and sky with the lasso while holding down shift and option—quicker than it took to type that. But a lot of other photos would be more of a challenge, such as ones with some sky detail. Perhaps the app wouldn't do that great a job in more problematic scenarios.

But fine. If the app helps some folks save time and does a good job, then they should go for it.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,468
2,637
I would like Skylum or some company to introduce an AI tool to remove people from images. It's exceedingly hard these days to get 'clutter-free' images of the various waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge (especially on the Oregon side) without an over-abundance of people in the pictures. A few is fine but a crowd that is blocking too much of the image is not my idea of a pretty shot. I know one can set up on a sturdy tripod and use a 10-stop ND (& a CPL) for a long time exposure to get some of the people out of the image but this has its limits for functionality. :)

I don't know where everyone on here is from, but in the Pacific Northwest (USA) it is getting harder and harder to be out in nature without the crowds (especially if one is within 1-3 hours of the major metro areas (Portland, Vancouver, Seattle-Tacoma, etc...).
Better still, remove people from CR. Use machine learning to weed out trolls, BS merchants and unpleasantness.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,182
229
Davidson, NC
If you have enough time you can stack multiple shots of landmarks and make people go away.

Sometimes you can be lucky, like I was when I got a picture of the Liberty Bell with just a friend standing by it, even though there were hundreds of people there.

When I was recently at the northern tip of Denmark where the seas meet, I found it impossible to take a clear shot of the waves crashing into each other. It was hard enough just to see it around all the groups being photographed there. I did take a picture of people in our group at the spot. Then after I waited a while, there was eventually just one woman standing where I could see the waves behind her, so that is the shot I took. Stacking would have removed the waves more so than the people.
 

SecureGSM

EOS 6D MK II
Feb 26, 2017
1,160
195
There are probably real estate people and others preparing commercial product that think more of the product that we do.
Real estate photogs do not give a flying duck about being artistic. Candy looking shots with plenty of vanilla skies and over saturated colours attract their audience. With a rare exceptions for a higher budgeted projects.
 

LesC

EOS RP
Jun 27, 2013
239
45
Essex, UK
500px.com
I certainly wont bother with Luminar 4. I have Luminar 3 and never use it - never works properly, is painfully slow and still doesn't support CR3 files! It really is crap!
 
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Hesbehindyou

EOS 80D
Jun 6, 2011
145
2
This looks good for people that can make use of it. I'd expect the main users to be people creating 'digital art' but it'd also see a lot of use from regular joes who want to replace a blown out sky with something more natural, that sort of thing.

As for the 'photography is ending' comments, every book on film photography I've read has included a bit on replacing skies. This is not new :)