Things You May Not Know About Luminar 4
There seems to be no lack if articles and praises about Luminar 4 by Skylum Software. Without doubt the software has made great steps forward when it comes to editing landscape images, especially with the Sky Replace feature. There a numerous tutorials on line on the program including this one from the SLR lounge , so I will not repeat what probably has been said numerous times. There are things however that I have discovered while trialing the program that bear mentioning here.
If you have worked or trialed the program, you may be aware that you can either replace the entire sky, or just a single element within the sky such as a cloud. Essentially you are making a composite image with and included program element or one of your own. One of the basics of composites is: Make sure that lighting and colors match as close as possible. I found that importing certain sky's, the blue was too intense for the rest of the image. The program offers a LUMINOSITY MASK directly within the sky replace dialog box that will tend to match overall tone of the image just a little better shown above. I typically work from Lightroom, and I also found that the water which was a highlight needed some color toning once I returned to Lightroom.
As mentioned above, you can also add elements into your landscapes that may not have been there before. In the image to the left, birds were added to the sky to add just a little more interest to the boat anchored by the beach. The key when adding these elements is to ask yourself do they look realistic, or are they out of place for the when the photograph was taken. In order words, would I really see an Aurora in the gulf of Mexico (not likely).
Sunsets may be cool, but the program does not always work well with each image. As you may be able to see if the lower left hand side of the image, the program converted a bank of clouds into a grey 'blob'. Although the program does quite well in many cases, it certainly has limitations. In this case, the original sky was quite grey with little contrast between any clouds and the sky itself.
Since I work in Lightroom, I make sure that any image that I export into another program (including Photoshop) that I am working on a copy and not the original image. In the case of Luminar, it seems to strip out all of the metadata from the copied image including keywords and any copyright information. If your workflow is similar, be alert to this little quirk within the program.
My impression of the program is that it is impressive with the landscape images that I have worked with so far. One can certainly import sky's and other elements an image using Photoshop, but Luminar does the work much faster and in most cases creates a realistic final product. Trial versions of Luminar are available for those who may wish to give it a shot Skylum .