Thursday, December 5, 2019

Is That Sky Real or Fake??

Well, it's finally happened. The technology and algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) have gotten so good that, with the click of a mouse, you can turn a blah sky into a fantastic and vibrant sky. In the "old days" you could swap out skies in Photoshop, but it took lots of time and lots of practice to get it right. And if the background was busy with trees or other detail, it was darn near impossible. Not anymore!
Here's a photo from my last post. Granddaughter Lilly standing on a large flat boulder. The sky is kind of plain.

Same photo with a fake sky added, courtesy of a program called Luminar 4 and it's "AI Sky Replacement" function. The program comes with about 30 skies to choose from, or you can use your own sky photos. Can you tell the sky is fake? It looks pretty good to me. The program also has something called "Relight Scene", which tries to correct the lighting in the photo based on the sky chosen. That's a slider, not a mouse click, but still super easy. Here, it removes the blue cast and warms up the color to match the yellow in the sky.

Another example. Took this photo using my cell phone on a walk yesterday. This is a nice vantage point and makes for a good photo if the sky is dramatic. Yesterday it was pretty boring. No problem, let's just add a dramatic sky.

There we go, lots of drama. May be too much, as it looks a little fake to me, but quite beautiful. If I hadn't told you, would you have guessed this to be a fake sky?

How about this one? Another photo from yesterday's walk. Not a bad photo as is, with nice tree silhouettes. It would be IMPOSSIBLY HARD to replace the background sky in Photoshop. Let's see what Luminar 4 can do with it.

Wow, impressive! All the sky detail is filled in perfectly between the multitude of branches and leaves. Ya, good luck doing this manually in Photoshop.

One last example, just because it was the last photo from my walk. I like the sky as is, but just for kicks, let's see what Luminar 4 does with this one.

That's a big change. I like the golden light, and the more intense light on the ginko tree leaves. Not sure I like it better than the original, but certainly a different look!

So, is this a good thing? I must admit, it has me worried. Is it getting too easy to take the "perfect picture"? If your sky is boring, you change it to something else with a click of the mouse. Don't worry if your exposure is off, the AI algorithms will take care of that too! Lighten up the shadows, fix the over-exposed areas, etc. And how will we know if we are looking at an actual photo, or just something concocted by a sophisticated program?

Linking with Skywatch Friday
Click on the link to see real skies from around the world!
Thanks for stopping by!!

55 comments:

  1. I like the real one from yesterday's walk, but the dramatic fake ones are eye-catching!

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  2. Yes it is a really amazing application. Fortunately, there are software programs that allow you to know if a photo has been transformed or not. But for me, who likes photomontages, I should take a look at this application

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  3. Every photo I see from now with a sky that was posted by a blogger, I'll wonder if it's real or fake :)

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  4. Very interesting, I can not master photoshop, it really works me. Smart folk can do wonders with today's technology. THANKS

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  5. your skies are usually just fine, but I can see that there could be times-- I would dial them back a bit. As you can probably tell, I have absolutely no objection to some digital magic when needed. Thanks for putting the word out.

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  6. It sure is an amazing program. I have Luminar3 but I haven't upgraded yet. I still tend to use Lightroom when in a hurry. But the presets are pretty good. I like the ones you have changed and they don't look fake.

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  7. That should be considered as a doping in SWF. 😀

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  8. You ask great questions. I am not familiar with Luminieer but I use the iPhone app DistressedFX+ quite a bit and It can fprovide a nice jazzed up sky also.

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  9. The Luminieer program sky changes are amazing. I'd never guess they aren't real. It's a little scary though how editing and programs like these can alter what is real. Soon we won't know what to believe ;)

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  10. Beautiful crazy shots. I like the right out of the camera look. But to actually change what you saw is almost illegal---LOL
    MB

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  11. That is one big flat rock, I know Lilly is still smll compaired to an adult but even so It would still liik huge with an adult. Like some has just sliced it off. Never knew thats what you could do with that program. I could do with it myself with some of mine

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  12. The sky surprises us always, anyway. There aren't two identical sunsets. :)

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  13. And its progress but also progress in fake news. Indeed something to think about.

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  14. Wow, what a neat post. I would have never guessed the skies were edited. Beautiful scenes and skies, well done! Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend!

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  15. Interesting app. Thanks for sharing.
    Amazing pics.
    Have a nice weekend.

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  16. Interesting but I like the blue skies too - I didn't realize how easy it is to "make" skies.

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  17. I like the pictures both ways but I have to admit, there was little to my untrained photographic eye to make the first two "lumed" pictures look fake. The third one looked fake but I enjoyed the golden look. Still, this type of software makes me a little sad. Big difference, to me, between adjusting a photo to better show what you saw with your eye and just pressing button with no skill behind it.

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  18. I think the added colour would be good on a few photos. I suspect having it all of the time would look fake.

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  19. Great photos without the enhancement! There are so many photo enhancement apps (I used to use VSCO) but it leaves me slightly worried with AI being used more and more for everything (cue Terminator music)

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  20. Wow what a cool program! The sky can make or break a photo. I really love the comparisons you showed. Very interesting and exciting post!

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  21. The edited ones definitely are beautiful! I prefer real pretty skies though because you CAN find them at the right moment!

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  22. I'm very impressed with the way it's added a sky behind those leaves and branches, though I'm certain I won't be using it. Pretty soon we won't have to go outside at all!

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  23. Like the original photos ~ edited is good too but I ask myself ~ 'what's the point ~ perfect photo? ~ I guess maybe I am 'showing my age.' ~

    Happy Moments to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  24. Very cool! Interesting effects on the skies for sure.

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  25. Hi Thanks for visiting my page-I love photography so am glad you stopped by-yes we just recently bought a lake house and this eagle, sometimes the pair, sometimes a youngster sits up high in that tree-it is across from our front door-which is a ways down from the road and these trees

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  26. The program is quite impressive. I would use it on some photos but not all. It is getting harder to tell a fake from an original.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  27. It really does raise some questions, doesn't it? Lilly can make a flat rock look like a mountain. Hugs to her from Canada.

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  28. I really love real skies.. I wouldn’t have a clue how to doctor a sky. But I don’t think I’d want to. It is interesting though to see what a great photographer can do!

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  29. No, I can't tell that it's fake, but there's something... I don't know. It feels like the skies are too much in those photos. Not the tree one, but the others. But that's just my opinion.

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  30. I've mixed feelings about this but on the other hand...I'm gonna check it out! lol

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  31. It amazing what techie stuff does, on the other side pancake it can be scary.
    Coffee is on

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  32. Wow! That IS a big change. Makes me wonder how many pictures we see are actually "real" shots.

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  33. you can definitely see the differences between the photos, personally I don't like over edited shots, I like to see what's there naturally.

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  34. Wow - that AI really knows how to make good skies!

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  35. Wow! Really amazing! Showing the before and after photos, I can see the great difference.

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  36. Very interesting and great photos!

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  37. AI! Seems like its is taking over the trill of hunting beautiful sky shots.

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  38. I'm a die-hard realist and prefer unedited photos. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate some beautiful artwork! I love your edited skies.
    As easy as it is these days to edit shots, it frustrates me when (unlike you) people try to pass off the edits as real.

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  39. beautiful editing. Love them both ways (now I can't wait to get this program! thank you for
    sharing. Your granddaughter is beautiful

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  41. Wow! That looks so easy to do! I prefer natural too SPP but sometimes it's really fun to play with images. Gosh Lilly looks quite the experienced hiker there with her walking stick 💛

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  42. There is a lot of advertising online, for programs that can be used to change the images, and it can be fun to try? But I prefer to use the pictures as I have taken them :-))

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  43. The fake skies look wonderful, but that kind of annoys me too. Maybe I'm thinking that reality is good enough and we're bombed with too many manipulated realities? Though to be perfectly honest, if you hadn't told us about the program I would've just believed it was reality and you'd been really lucky to capture it.

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  44. That's a very impressive program! The sky can often make or break a photo no matter how good the rest of it is. I prefer my photos to be as natural as possible, but sometimes cameras just can't capture what the eye is seeing. Photo manipulation has been going on for years...it's just getting easier now. I have no issues with people manipulating their photos as long as it's not being done to cheat or deceive (think photo contests). A lot of folks heavily alter their photos to turn them into their version of art, especially on social media. With the proliferation of cell phone cameras and intelligent, sophisticated software, photography has been forever changed. And to answer your questions, the altered skies look very real and I don't necessarily have an issue with adding to the sky if that's the only thing lacking in the otherwise good photo.

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  45. It’s really interesting to see the scenes paired. I’m not sure how I feel about altering photos though. I belong to a Facebook group of photos from our state and people have taken to adding a note if the photo is unaltered. There are so many that are altered and I think it diminishes the value of the work of the photographer who did all the footwork and artwork himself.

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  46. Wow, that is pretty darn impressive. I wrote the name down. I might have to check that out. I also agree about the worrying part. Anything used for good can also be used for bad.

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  47. With you a fake sky?? Never:) Your grand daughter seems to be shooting up in height. Is she tall for her age? Don't miss my post "Unexpected"- on Thanksgiving day we had 10 inches of snow!

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  48. I'm afraid that I will be cynical from now on every time I see a beautiful skyscape.

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  49. Honestly ...beautiful pictures but scary technology. Fake news is too much with us now ... so this scares me. Changing the skies is one thing (and a thing I could definitely use. It’s so bright here, sky often just looks white or just plain blue). But how easy will it be to manipulate people with fake photos of people and events as well as with fake words. I’m sure it’s already happening and I just don’t k ow about it yet.

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