The holiday season is upon us, and suddenly everyone seems to be in a rush. We all have a million things to accomplish in just a few short weeks. At this time of year, I’m always scrambling to get my Christmas photos processed and ready for viewing. Feeling overwhelmed once again this year I decided to turn to Luminar by Macphun, soon to be Skylum, and try out their unique Accent AI Filter. It’s supposed to be a super simple and quick way to get beautiful images.
What is the Accent AI Filter?
AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and this filter is designed to do all the hard work for you. It uses artificial intelligence to assess the image and then applies the required adjustments to the image. This means that each image is processed according to the individual shadows, highlights, and colors present within the photo. The Accent AI Filter allows you to make quick, impactful adjustments with just one slider.
Locate the Accent AI filter in Luminar by clicking on the “add filter” button or by selecting the workspace called “Quick and Awesome”. This workspace combines the Accent AI filter plus the Clarity and Saturation filters to create a dynamic combo of super quick adjustments.
Time to edit some photos
Each holiday season I have to process a large number of images. The first set of images usually belongs to the commercial realm. I’m often shooting photographs that are used to promote various Christmas art sales. When I’m staring at a collection of 300 images and a rushed timeline, a quick post-processing workflow is so important. I need to download, tweak, and upload and deliver digital images to clients for their social media campaigns. It’s fun, but it can be overwhelming when it needs to be completed in such a short frame of time.
Using Accent AI with commercial images
It’s time to test the Accent AI filter on these commercial images and see how it handles the varied lighting conditions at these venues. These images of a Christmas craft sale located here in Canada were shot in a heritage building.
The lighting was pretty terrible, and on this particular day, it was cloudy, so I was challenged by these factors along with the fact that many of the pieces were quite shiny. It was a challenging situation, especially when I had to photograph the items during gallery hours and I couldn’t set up any lights. I had to use what was available.
Image #1 –Only one adjustment
For the following images, I had to use fairly high ISO settings and a wide aperture of f/2.8 to f/4. In the case of the image below, I moved the slider on the Accent AI Filter over to the right and was able to quickly and easily adjust the image without making any other tweaks. The item in the image is clear and easy for customers to view. It only took me a few seconds to prepare this image for upload.
Image #2 – Applied as a mask
In this second image, I found that the Accent AI filter created too much of a yellow tone that took away from the beauty of the color of the red hat. The wall looked yellow, and I didn’t like this effect. However, I really liked the way the filter treated the hat itself, and I think it brought out its details and rich color.
So I applied the Accent AI Filter as a mask. I added a second layer (just click the + sign next to the word “Layers”) and painted in the filter over the hat. The resulting image took just a few minutes to create.
The Accent AI Filter helped me to edit my photos for clients quickly. It handled the editing of images taken under some fairly challenging lighting circumstances with high ISO settings. I think this speaks to the capabilities of the filter to assess each image and adjust it accordingly.
It should also be noted that you can have too much of a good thing. In some instances, the filter created too much of an unnatural HDR look. It’s important to adjust the slider accordingly and subtly. In this case, I didn’t want a heavy HDR look, and I had to be careful just how much of a boost I applied to each image.
Using the Accent AI Filter for art images
I also tested out the Accent AI Filter on some images I created for use on Art Cards. The following image was shot with the purpose of being used as a Christmas card. I usually make a collection of 10 images that are all winter or Christmas themed. In years past I’ve slaved for hours, carefully editing the work. This year I decided to see if the Accent AI Filter could handle my art photos as well.
In the image below of an ice-crusted coniferous tree, I was struggling with a very hazy atmosphere. I wanted the yellowish tree to stand out from the green of the trees behind. I also wanted to define the ice and create an image that showed the unique nature of that moment in time. Remember I said to be careful in applying the filter too heavily, but in this case, I cranked it all the way to the right.
The brown of the tree branches stood out from the yellow of the tree needles, which is good. I also like how defined the ice became on the strands of dried grass below. There was no banding present, and the image still had a fairly natural look. In this case, the heavily applied filter worked perfectly.
Using the Accent AI Filter to adjust family snaps
Annually, I take a quick photo of the family to document the year. These images are not spectacular. They are family photos that are cherished on a personal level and document the changes each year brings. But they have to be shot quickly as my family isn’t overly patient when it comes to photography. I decided to see how the Accent AI filter would handle the editing of these photos.
Again the lighting is often challenging as they are usually shot on Christmas Eve. I wanted to see if the filter could enhance these memories and also help to fulfill my obsessive photographer tendency to want to take professional quality images all the time. In this case, I messed around a little and wanted to see how the filter affected the portrait. This time I used Luminar as a plugin for Lightroom.
So I made a few adjustments in Lightroom first. I straightened the image and cloned out the cat’s tail. Then I moved over to Luminar and applied the Accent AI Filter. I like the resulting image. The filter helped to put a little bit of definition into the boys faces and balanced out the light. All in all, it worked pretty well.
In conclusion, the Accent AI Filter in Luminar is an effective tool that can help you to adjust a large range of images. The filter is highly “intelligent”. It saves several steps in post-processing. If I were to edit these images without using the Accent AI Filter, I would have had to apply several different filters and spend time carefully adjusting their effect on the image. The Accent AI filter streamlined the process for me.
Also read: Speed up Your Workflow with the Accent AI Filter in Luminar and Batch Processing for more on how to apply this handy filter as a batch to a whole set of images at once.
Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.