Adobe has rolled out some impressive updates to Photoshop and Lightroom, particularly when it comes to automated tools. The new masking tool in Lightroom allows for automatic selections of skies and subjects, but how good is it?
I have never been, and likely will never be, a good landscape photographer. I am proficient, I understand the settings and theory, but it just isn't my genre, despite how much I enjoy other photographers' works in the area. Nevertheless, I have been a photographer for over a decade and have of course taken many landscapes. Like all photographers' early images, they have flaws and it can even be a little amusing to see the mistakes you made. However, when it comes to my landscape images created in the first few years of my owning a camera, they are plagued by the same issue.
The most common time for me to grab my camera and go out to take a landscape is when I noticed a fierce sunrise or sunset. I would find a location — usually an underwhelming one thanks to geography — and then snap away. I took some images I was reasonably pleased with, but I didn't love them. However, looking back, I hate them. I would use a gradient filter in Lightroom to edit the sky separately from the foreground, except for any trees or objects that clipped with the sky, they got edited too. It would often leave horrible final results.
Now, Adobe Lightroom has a tool that can select your sky for you and then auto-mask it, allowing you to make localized edits without the hassling of cutting out the sky yourself. I'm not sure quite how complex the selections can be, but in many cases, it does a good job.