Human and Artificial Intelligence, Working Together


Everywhere you look these days, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the rise. On our smartphones, AI can be found in virtual assistants like Siri, turn-by-turn directions and filters which organize our email inboxes. Social media uses AI for everything from making product recommendations to applying funny filters to your video chats. You might be surprised to know that, on the average airline flight, human pilots are in direct control for only about seven minutes of actual flying.

As companies race to embrace AI, people are uneasy. We’ve heard it from our customers as we talk to people about LuminarAI. They fear creativity will be dictated by AI, not human creators. And, as a result, a single, machine-driven, homogenized standard for beauty will emerge.

Let’s take a closer look at the reality and the opportunities.

For the most part, all creativity is a form of storytelling. And, when it comes to telling stories, humanity has the upper hand.

Always has. Always will.

Stories … told with music, written or spoken word, or still or moving images … are fundamentally driven by human desires and human passions. Can AI learn some of the mechanics of storytelling? Absolutely. Can it replace the human soul? Absolutely not.

Still, technology can play an important role in supporting storytellers. For example, how often do you rely on the autofocus feature of your camera? Is autofocus deciding the subject, action and composition to be captured? No. It is just helping you capture your still frame story in an image with the most potential for greatness.

Your brain is an organic problem-solving machine. At any given moment, it could be sorting through a complex emotional issue or finding the right way to tell a story. Human intelligence is also great at generating unique options that convey a person’s needs, wants and unique personality.

At its core, artistic expression is the outcome of human intelligence. While there are differences in creative technique and style are common between distinct cultures, art is made by people. Despite these different approaches, there are some universal guidelines — such as composition and lighting — that can be found in all creative traditions, regardless of their culture of origin.

That’s where AI comes in.

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When thoughtfully designed, an AI is trained from the best examples. Therefore, the most effective AI builds on exceptional human intelligence. Using examples of the best of human creativity, LuminarAI can help enhance a portrait’s eyes in an attractive yet natural way or subtly adjust the in-focus area in a picture for shallow depth of field.

When applied thoughtfully, AI can produce incredible time-savings. Tools like AccentAI help you produce perfect exposure with one slider instead of nine … without the need for selections, layers or masks. SkinAI helps you produce perfect skin in a portrait, without spending 15-30 minutes retouching.

Once it understands a creator’s own style, AI can save the creator time by reproducing that style across a large group of images. For example, after using LuminarAI to produce your signature look on a single image, you can easily sync that look to dozens or even hundreds of other images … in just a few seconds.

It doesn’t matter if some images in the batch have variations in exposure or composition. As the creator, you’ve set the standard. Then, LuminarAI does the work of bringing every image in the batch up to that standard. When it’s done, you retain complete control. Review its work and make minor adjustments as needed.

Whether a working professional, a raw newcomer or somewhere in between, wouldn’t you like to achieve your unique vision in dramatically less time?

As an author of 40+ books and 200+ classes on photography, I know how difficult and time-intensive photo editing is.

Sure, I can make just about any tool sing — I’ve written official books for both Adobe and Apple. But all those extra steps in traditional editing are really a turn-off to most. Nothing makes me happier than seeing creatives of any age … from grade school to retirement … making photos they’re proud to share.

You might think at Skylum we believe AI is all you need. That’s not the case. Rather, we believe AI not made from real human intelligence is not AI worth using. That’s why, at Skylum, artists, photographers and retouchers who help train the AI are just as important as the developers and data scientists who build it. To build a useful AI, the human factor simply cannot be eliminated.

This dedication to the human factor carries over to our work on the user experience. In fact it is the single most important factor in how the application is designed. Put most simply, no matter how well designed, no AI can replace you.

So, within LuminarAI, artificial intelligence is only there to help you. You are always in control. Use what you want, tweak it, refine it. And, as you become comfortable with our AI tools, you can use them to build your own photo “recipes.” Our goal is to help you make the photos you’ve always wanted … in one-third the time.

What excites me most about LuminarAI is our novel approach to photo editing. Our team has built an entirely new experience, from the ground-up, based on AI which fuses human inspiration and technical innovation. That’s why we’re unveiling two new ways to edit images.

If you’re an experienced editor, try this approach. This is how I usually work, probably because I’m stubborn and opinionated.

  1. Open a photo and let LuminarAI analyze the content and problems in the image.
  2. Edit using AI-powered tools, which are easy to spot as their names all end in AI. From exposure to contrast, skin to portraits, skies to details … Luminar can help.
  3. Once I have the image that reflects my vision, I select multiple images — usually ones that have something in common (but not required) — and choose Sync Adjustments.
  4. Luminar goes to work. All the changes are made based on the standards set in my original image. Using that example, LuminarAI calculates the right values for each image in the batch to bring it up to that standard.

This is really amazing. You get the results you want with little to no refinement needed after the first image is edited. LuminarAI adapts to variances in lighting, composition and image contents.

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Perhaps you’ve had a tough day or you’re feeling uninspired. Maybe you want an even faster way to edit. To get you to your final look faster LuminarAI introduces a whole new approach called Templates.

Templates are more than simple presets. They are packaged workflows which use our AI tools to solve any problems that exist in the image and apply a group of enhancements designed to produce a very specific end result. These enhancements are much more than simple adjustments; they can include sky replacement, texture and color overlays and much more.

And, while LuminarAI will suggest Templates to you, it does not create them. Rather, Templates are designed by some of the best photographers and photo retouchers in the world.

Here is how you work with Templates:

  1. Open a photo and let LuminarAI analyze the content and problems in the image.
  2. LuminarAI then recommends several Templates you might apply to the image.
  3. Select a template you like. If needed, adjust the strength of the template with a single slider.
  4. Happy with the results but want to look under the hood? You can see every action the Template took and make tweaks to any actions very quickly.
  5. Dial in a look that meets your unique vision and Save. If needed, choose Sync Adjustments and apply this new look to as many photos as you like.

The speed of Templates is incredibly impressive. In my experience, Templates can reduce editing time by 90%. I use this recaptured time to make more photos and spend more time with my family.

LuminarAI has fundamentally transformed my editing workflow, making it faster and easier to get amazing results. And, while AI gives me a hand, it never drives my creative process. The final result is always mine and always something I am proud to put my name on.

As I get to know LuminarAI better, I look forward to creating my own templates to capture my best edits and have them just one click away. So, on days when creative lightning strikes, I can catch it in a bottle for the days I need a little jolt to get me going.

I joined the Skylum team because I believe in the vision and the promise that LuminarAI represents. This team wants to enable everyone to explore their creativity and recognize their unique vision. They want to use AI to open doors and create opportunities for artists and creatives.

I also love that Artificial Intelligence is built with loving input from amazing artists and creative people. LuminarAI preserves and enhances human intelligence. I simply see it as:

Creativity. Made better.



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