The Essentials Tools Panel in Skylum Luminar is a set of filters. These filters are frequently used in many image post-processing workflows. This article is an ultimate guide to the Structure AI Filter. and is accessed in Luminar from the Edit Module, and then by left-clicking the Essentials Tools Panel.
Firstly, a teaser video from the Skylum team. The video was created using Luminar 4, but the functionality is exactly the same in Luminar AI.
Luminar Structure AI
The Structure AI tab consists of just two sliders (Amount & Boost), and a Paint Mask capability.
The purpose of this tool is to enable you to target contrast, detail and clarity. Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes into play because the tool is content and human-aware. So, for example, the tool recognises human features in an image so that they don’t get over-processed. This leaves humans looking natural and the elements in the image around them atmospheric and grainy.
Amount – The Amount slider is used to adjust the strength of the AI Structure effect. The slider datum is centre. Moving the slider to the left flattens the image results in a loss of detail. Conversely, moving the slider to the right increased the amount of detail and clarity.
Boost – This slider specifically targets the level of detail in the image. It is particularly useful for surfaces with texture as it emphasizes and hardens the image. It is extensively used in HDR imagery to give that classic grainy atmosphere that you often see in HDR.
Paint Mask – All of the AI tools in Luminar contain an Paint Mask option. This pull-down menu allows you to selectively paint the AI Structure filter to regions of the image that you choose. Giving you even more creative power over the effect.
AI Amount Example
Using an example factory scene, you can see that at -100 the detail is softer in the image, but no change is made to the man in the photo. With the slider at 100, there is more detail and contrast, particularly in the metal structures and background.
AI Boost Example
Using the same example file, you can see that the metal texture has become more grainy and defined. The effect has not though impacted the skin tones of the man in the image. As with AI Amount, the effect is subtle, but gives a more gritty feel to the composition.
Paint Mask Capability
All of the AI tools in Luminar also contain a Paint Mask option. This option is selectable by left-clicking the paint brush symbol at the top of the Structure AI tab.
Paint Mask allows you to selectively paint the Enhance AI filter to regions of the image that you choose. Giving you even more creative power over the effect.
By default, you can brush the effect onto the image with control over the the Radius, Softness, and Opacity of the paint effect by using the respective sliders.
However a new enhancement in Luminar AI allows you to also add Radial filters as well as Gradient filters as well as a Paint Mask.
To use the Edit Mask from the drop-down menu, you first apply either the AI Amount or the AI Boost filters. Then selecting Brush in the Edit Mask drop-down menu, you can paint the areas of the image you want to affect.
You can change the brush size using the bracket keys or using the radius slider:
- [ = Smaller Brush
- ] = Larger Brush
You can also change the flow of the effect for finer control over the edit.
This option is available by left-clicking Paint Mask, and then selecting either the Radial Mask or Gradient Mask from the pull down menu.
From here you then drag either a circle or gradient lines onto your image, and then determine how you want to apply the filter. So for a Radial Mask the effect is either inside or outside the circle; selectable by inverting the selection using the respective icon or menu options in the Structure AI Tab.
Similarly for a Gradient Mask, once you have positioned your mask by left-clicking and dragging on your image, you can determine a standard or inverted mask using the menu options.
This Luminar Essentials article forms a suite of interactive guides on the Skylum Luminar photo editing software. If you found this useful, please check out our other Luminar articles and how-to guides in the Learn Photography section of our site.
If you don’t yet have a copy of Luminar, but would like to purchase one, you can get a copy from the Luminar website.
Here are some related articles which may be of interest to you:
An interactive guide to Luminar Details Enhancement filters.
An interactive guide to the Luminar AI Structure Tool capability.
An Essential guide to the Luminar Colour and Luminosity Denoise capability.
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Specialising in landscape and wildlife photography, David is a semi-professional photographer based in Scotland, with an established fine art and stock photography portfolio; which includes published photography with the New York Post, Huffington Post, as well as various travel and tourism companies worldwide.