Skylum Gives Us a Sneak Peek of Sky Reflections in Water

When Skykum gave us sky replacement features in Luminar 4 in 2019, it was a breakthrough that didn't require masks and a lot of work. A whole lot of landscape photographers and real estate photographers loved the feature.

What was missing were sky reflections in water. You could create a lovely scene with a replaced sky, but if there was a lake, a river, any body of water, your new sky simply wasn't there. There are ways to fix this, but they are manual, require new layers, and they didn't match the ease of the one-click sky replacement that Luminar 4 was offering. 

Today, Skylum gave us a sneak peek into their labs to see water reflections working with the new Luminar AI program, due out later this year.

It appears sliders have been added to the Sky Replacement controls, allowing for reflections, ripples, and smoothing. This is a major plus for Luminar AI. Adobe last month announced a sky replacement feature in Photoshop, but there was no mention of a date or if water reflections are included in this upcoming feature. Landscape Pro from Anthropics, an excellent application and plug-in for Adobe, has offered water reflections for years, but they don't offer one-click replacement. You have to provide a mask to let the software know where the water is. In the animation below, you can see what a difference sky reflections can make when you've already inserted a sky.

Luminar says the new feature is due in 2021, so it likely won't be seen in the first version of Luminar AI, something confirmed to me in conversation with Skylum CEO Alex Tsepko last month.

Still, for people who use and appreciate sky replacement, this new feature to provide realistic reflections is a pretty big deal. This can't be easy to accomplish from a software coding standpoint. Other photographers have no use for any sky replacement technique, so this software will be of zero interest. 

You can pre-order Luminar AI from the Skylum website. The company has also provided a quick video to show you the water reflection in action. 

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Alex Cooke's picture

This is super cool, but if this isn't coming to Luminar 4 (and it sounds like it isn't), I'm all the more disappointed about the move between Luminar 4 and Luminar AI and the way it was handled.

derek j's picture

if im going to need to upgrade every year, might as well stick with CC

Graydon Schwartz's picture

Hopefully we find out soon, Alex.

Foto Toad's picture

So the comments section on PetaPixel about this new feature were mostly photographers complaining about the death of true photography, creativity, fakery, blah blah. While I personally put 100 times more value on a non-composited photo with minimal processing I also try to remember that I am also making photos (art) for a consumer (buyer) and lots of consumers do not share our
photographic tastes or opinions.

We often don't expect realism in movie-making. We usually value artistic interpretation in movies and we want that otherworldly, cinematic look. If people want a highly-processed, composited photo (art) then who are we to judge it as worthless? Just do what you love and hope that someone else sees artistic value in your art.

I'm glad to have affordable, easy-to-use tools available. I want more options and more powerful and more affordable. I embrace it but I also am disappointed by the Luminary bait and switch to a separate app. This should be in Luminar 4 as well.

stuartcarver's picture

PetaPixel comments on every article are mostly people complaining.... I struggle to refer to most of them as photographers, trolls is probably a better description.

Black Rock's picture

Skykum ? :D

jim hughes's picture

Reminds me of the old joke: "This is George Washington's original hatchet, with which he chopped down the cherry tree. Of course, the handle had to be replaced. And the blade is new."

John Ohle's picture

Or Triggers Broom.

microteck's picture

I get a chuckle every time I read articles on photo manipulation software. It reminds me of those hamburger advertisements that make a burger look so juicy and perfect. Until you buy one which actually looks like your grandmother sat on it.

Ariel Martini's picture

Once upon a time Instagram Lomo filters were a thing.
But then people realized they were a gimmick and now wish to never have used them.
And.. history repeats itself.

jim hughes's picture

The visual equivalent of AutoTune vocals.

Michel Higuet's picture

Don't call that a photo but an " artistic intrepretation "...

Greg Wilson's picture

Skylum Luminar is still the most buggy, slow and tasteless piece of crap in the market. A software which is remarkably not suitable for anything apart from raising the next investment round from the VCs who have no clue.

Sam Tang's picture

I second these comments.
Skylum is all about flashy features and affiliate marketing. They forgot to make the software’s basic functions work.