Photoshop's 2021 Sky Replacement Feature

ericgtr12

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As a rule, I will only work with lighting features to balance light in my photos, never (ever) photoshopping to add or remove features unless it's just to experiment. That said, this new "Sky Replacement" feature in the latest version of Photoshop is scary good and easy to use. Here's an example of before and after of a red tailed hawk that I took last year.

Original
IMG_8396.jpg

With the sky replacement feature
20190510-IMG_8396-Edit.jpg

The difference is compelling and this took literally no work in tweaking, you just click the button and it automatically finds the sky and replaces it. Very smart and cool feature that I will never use as a photographer but as a leap in technology is really impressive.
 
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Apple fanboy

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As a rule, I will only work with lighting features to balance light in my photos, never (ever) photoshopping to add or remove features unless it's just to experiment. That said, this new "Sky Replacement" feature in the latest version of Photoshop is scary good and easy to use. Here's an example of before and after of a red tailed hawk that I took last year.

Original
View attachment 1433

With the sky replacement feature
View attachment 1434

The difference is compelling and this took literally no work in tweaking, you just click the button and it automatically finds the sky and replaces it. Very smart and cool feature that I will never use as a photographer but as a leap in technology is really impressive.
Agree its not something I would normally do either, but that does look very good? How is it done?
 

hulugu

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As a rule, I will only work with lighting features to balance light in my photos, never (ever) photoshopping to add or remove features unless it's just to experiment. That said, this new "Sky Replacement" feature in the latest version of Photoshop is scary good and easy to use. Here's an example of before and after of a red tailed hawk that I took last year.

Original
View attachment 1433

With the sky replacement feature
View attachment 1434

The difference is compelling and this took literally no work in tweaking, you just click the button and it automatically finds the sky and replaces it. Very smart and cool feature that I will never use as a photographer but as a leap in technology is really impressive.

It's a really interesting technology, but as a photojournalist all these tools in Photoshop give me hives. It's great to be able to bend reality for art's sake, but I'm always worried about what this means for the future.

Apropos:

8d1356afc9b62464cf3c538d779e2aff363ffbf462fc9475e30136a72b2451ec.jpg
 

ericgtr12

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Agree its not something I would normally do either, but that does look very good? How is it done?
Normally I never play with these things but it was highlighted when I updated to 2021 so I thought it would be fun to try it out and couldn't believe how easy it was. It's accessed by going to Edit > Sky Replacement and that's it, then you can choose whatever sky you want.

sky-replacement.png

But yeah, short of adding color correction or a gradient mask (in lieu of a gradient filter) my photos are genuinely out of the camera, for better or worse they're all mine. I would never publish something like this as if it were my own.
 

SuperMatt

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When climate change causes so many wildfires that everybody’s sky looks like this, maybe we can use that tool to pretend it’s not the end of the world.

1605741284553.png


 

ericgtr12

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So I went for the believable sky option. I have to say its very good. Now I feel conflicted! Here is the image unedited.
View attachment 1455
The first is pretty realistic looking. One could just as easily ask themselves whether applying a gradient filter the the sky is any worse, something that nearly all photographers do and is not considered cheating. It's when you introduce artifacts that weren't there to begin with that it's fake IMO.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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I'm actually surprised this is a new feature in Photoshop. Not saying this in a my toys are better than yours way, but that feature has been part of Luminar for a while. Just saying that because you always Photoshop having the latest and greatest of everything. Perhaps they've been trying to stay away from "cheating" functions because they feel it's below them but then are realizing small upstarts are gaining popularity and marketshare. The Facetune app is another great example.

Kind of when the mp3 format came out and audiophiles were shitting all over the quality, but then the industry realized people are mostly listening to music on shitty ear buds. Well Adobe, not everybody is printing out skyscraper sized copies of their photos or traveling the world to sit a tree for 2 weeks straight waiting for the perfect cloud formation or sunset.
 

P_X

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Normally I never play with these things but it was highlighted when I updated to 2021 so I thought it would be fun to try it out and couldn't believe how easy it was. It's accessed by going to Edit > Sky Replacement and that's it, then you can choose whatever sky you want.

View attachment 1442

But yeah, short of adding color correction or a gradient mask (in lieu of a gradient filter) my photos are genuinely out of the camera, for better or worse they're all mine. I would never publish something like this as if it were my own.
Is it at least a machine learning sky generator or are these default fixed skies? It the latter, we'll see the same fucking skies all throughout this year. Dystopian as hell.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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Is it at least a machine learning sky generator or are these default fixed skies? It the latter, we'll see the same fucking skies all throughout this year. Dystopian as hell.

I can only speak for Luminar but I assume Photoshop works the same way. You can use a sky from any photo you have.
 

ericgtr12

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Is it at least a machine learning sky generator or are these default fixed skies? It the latter, we'll see the same fucking skies all throughout this year. Dystopian as hell.
A little of both, the skies it applies are stock that you can choose from (or you can add your own) but the software finds the sky in your existing photo for replacement and it's spot on every single time, even in photos where the clouds are mixed with trees and such, very impressive.

To your point though, the stock skies will quickly be spotted as there are only so many to choose from. To me this is not a big deal as I will never use it in any of my photos because I keep them true to what they are, but maybe cool for those creating graphics, etc.
 

Chew Toy McCoy

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A little of both, the skies it applies are stock that you can choose from (or you can add your own) but the software finds the sky in your existing photo for replacement and it's spot on every single time, even in photos where the clouds are mixed with trees and such, very impressive.

To your point though, the stock skies will quickly be spotted as there are only so many to choose from. To me this is not a big deal as I will never use it in any of my photos because I keep them true to what they are, but maybe cool for those creating graphics, etc.

I kind of see it as inspiration to take photos of great skies even if what below it isn’t all that appealing.
 

Clix Pix

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I bought Luminar AI yesterday -- not so much for the sky-changing feature but for the "erase" feature, which I had on Luminar 3 and really loved until that program went blooie after I installed and began using Big Sur. Not a huge surprise since the program was older and not a huge loss since I primarily use DXO for my processing/editing anyway. I did like that "erase" tool, though..... I didn't bother with Luminar 4 since I knew that Luminar AI was on the way and figured it would be kind of handy for things from time to time. So I experimented a little with it after purchasing and downloading, and it'll be fine for occasional quick-and-dirty editing if I just want to mess around with one image quickly and am not processing/editing an entire folder's worth. It'll also be interesting just for experimenting, but in general I am not a big fan of manipulating one's images to the extent of replacing actual real skies with something else from a software program. For me, whatever the sky is in the image I'm shooting, that's the sky that will remain. However, I have been known to convert to B&W and make an otherwise boring blank grey sky grainy so that it looks more interesting.

Someone on Nikon Cafe also bought the program and he played around with the Sky feature and discovered that there are about 20 different objects that one can add to a boring sky -- along with the inevitable rainbow, hot air balloon, sun rays and such, there's a space shuttle (!) and, believe it or not, a giraffe. That's right, one can float a GIRAFFE in the sky!!!! Seems to me that they also should have a pig with wings, too..... LOL!!!!!

I think that Luminar AI will appeal to novices, the Instagram and FB set who just want to quickly edit and share their selfies and such, those who have bought a "real" camera and aren't quite sure what to do with editing images. It's pretty quick and straightforward when opening the program to see what one wants to do: there are the various presets and one can simply click on one of them and get pretty decent results. If a preset is a bit too much, there are sliders to control that. If someone wants to do more, actually manually edit an image, that is also possible, and again fairly straightforward when opening the editing panel.

I haven't shot anything today and have been busy with other things so haven't experimented further with Luminar AI..... Next time I do shoot something I'll probably play with it again. It's more of a novelty than a serious program as far as I'm concerned....
 
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