Skylum has released LuminarAI Update 4, which delivers a rather amazing Portrait BokehAI feature along with a few other new or improved items that add to the popular software application's bag of tricks.
Complete Control of Focus With Portrait BokehAI
This feature will have the biggest appeal to portrait or wedding photographers. It recognizes people in groups or in unusual positions or poses. With subjects isolated from the background, Portrait BokehAI blurs the background to emulate the rich, hazy bokeh of a high-end lens at a wide-open aperture.
The BokehAI feature also offers intelligent mask creation. LuminarAI can recognize people in a photo and can create the perfect mask to separate subjects from the background. The mask is generated automatically, but the artist can still refine and customize the mask to add or subtract focus to a photo.
While the bokeh is automatically generated, it is entirely controlled by the person editing via a single slider.
According to Skylum, traditionally, creamy bokeh could require expensive cameras and lenses coupled with complex lighting. Now, Bokeh PortraitAI works on any portrait.
In addition to adjustable bokeh, artists can further refine the background using sliders to adjust the background exposure, add glow to highlights, set a specific depth of field, and refine edges. Combined with the tools already in LuminarAI, like FaceAI, SkinAI, and BodyAI, a photographer can make subjects stand out in the frame.
Audition Textures With Visual Preview
Skylum has improved textures to help artists see how they might be used to achieve their creative vision. To understand how a texture might fit your work in progress, you can now visually browse textures just as you do with SkyAI and Augmented SkyAI tools. Your own textures are now also accessible right within the dropdown grid. Artists can also load their own textures for reuse to build up a library of their favorites.
Visual Horizon Control in SkyAI
The software has also made some changes in how replacement skies are aligned to the horizon in SkyAI. The Vertical Position, Horizontal Position, and Horizon Blending sliders have been replaced with the Shifting Horizon Control, found in the Sky Orientation section.
This control allows the artist to better position a replacement sky in the frame to align it with the horizon and create a much more seamless and natural final image. The horizon blend control has been replaced with a tool that lets you more accurately define the blend of the horizon, allowing a better match between the ground and the cloud background.
How Does It All Work?
I am really not a portrait photographer, but I used some of the Skylum-supplied samples and scrounged up a few portraits by other photographers to give the Bokeh feature a try. I was mightily impressed. The photographer easily retains control of the amount and look of the bokeh. Here's a split screen that shows how effective the software can be. After blurring the background, I also slightly warmed the color temperature.
There are many controls within the BokehAI panel, and I tried them all. The sliders really do allow you to adjust to taste, and used carefully, I found the effect very realistic and useable.
I also tried the new sky controls. The sky positions can be shifted without the distortion I was seeing in horizontal shifts in the previous version of LuminarAI. The horizon-blending seemed to work fine, although I was satisfied with the previous blending controls. The new iteration does allow more control.
LuminarAI Update 4 is a free update for current LuminarAI users. To update:
macOS users: Open LuminarAI. In the Top Menu Bar, choose LuminarAI > Check for updates. If you purchased via the Mac App Store, open the App Store and go to the Updates tab.
Windows users: Open LuminarAI. In the Top Menu Bar, choose LuminarAI > Help > Check for Updates.
If you are running LuminarAI as a plugin with Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, or Photoshop Elements, it’s also recommended you rerun the plugin installer.
To purchase LuminarAI, visit here.
All in all, this is a worthwhile free update to an already excellent program. This latest version may push portrait and wedding photographers to think about a purchase.