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 Composition AI Filter. Composition AI is accessed in Luminar from the Edit Module, and by left-clicking the Essentials Tools Panel.
Composition AI is all about cropping your digital images, and correcting perspective effects.
Luminar Composition AI
Upon opening the Composition AI panel, you are presented with a large button called Composition, and a set of options around image Ratio, Perspective, Rotation, and Image 3D transform. Taking each of these options in turn:
The concept of Composition AI, is that it automatically analyses your image, and selects a crop factor and compositional correction; based on what it sees in your image.
Of course, when you use it, you have the option of then adjusting the result. From personal experience, I have found it is better in some genres than others. Generally Composition AI gives a reasonable starting point for Landscape photography. But, in Nature photography, I often get questionable results with Composition AI removing portions of the animal.
For example: On this picture Composition AI has suggested a crop which cuts out a portion of the birds tail. It also leaves the birds head extremely close to the age of the frame. Aesthetically this is not a very good crop-in at all, as generally in nature shots you don’t want the focal point at the periphery of the image.
Even in this Landscape, Composition AI has suggested a sub-optimal crop. In this image, Composition AI has cut out visual interest to the bottom left. It has also prioritised the top portion of the sky; where there is no visual interest.
Again though, it’s a starting point! If you need inspiration from Luminar on creative ways to crop, you can always use Composition AI as a point to build from.
Composition AI – Ratio
Left-clicking the Ratio pull-down menu brings up several different ratios. All of which are pretty self-explanatory. A really useful inclusion to the ratios available are 16:9, which has become hugely popular in recent years, as it fits most modern screen resolutions.
The other one is Facebook Cover. For anyone that manages a Page, Group or Profile page on Facebook, this option optimises the crop to fit exactly in the banner space provided by Facebook.
Another useful option is just to the right of the Ratio pull-down menu, and transposes your crop between Landscape and Portrait orientation.
Below, is an example of a Facebook Cover crop on a landscape image.
Composition AI – Perspective
The Perspective section of the Composition AI panel contains two automatic adjustments. One for horizontal alignment and the second for vertical alignment.
From personal experience, at time of writing, this is another hit and miss AI function in Luminar. To demonstrate, I used the example image from above, which has a very strong horizon line. Clicking the horizontal alignment yields something quite un-optimal, as you can see from the image below!
However, if you need to straighten a horizon, you can use the function as a starting point, and then correct alignment by hand. To do this, you just left-click the draggable handles around the image.
The same goes for vertical alignment. Use the AI function as a starting point, and then correct using the draggable handles.
Composition AI – Rotate & Flip
This section of the Composition AI panel is pretty self explanatory, and contains three buttons.
The first button allows you to rotate your image by 90 degrees. Each press of the button then increases the rotation.
The second button is a horizontal flip. So for instance in our example image, I have used this for demonstration.
The final button is a vertical flip through 180 degrees. You can achieve the same by clicking the rotate button twice.
Image 3D Transform
The final section in the Composition AI section covers perspective corrections. Perspective distortion is a warping of an image and tends to be exaggerated depending on the angle of the shot, where objects close to the lens appear larger than they really are, and conversely, objects further away appear much smaller.
Below is a great little image from wikipedia that demonstrates the effect of perspective distortion at different camera angles.
The great news is that Luminar allows you to visually correct perspective distortion using the three sliders provided:
Vertical – This adjustment, as its name suggests, corrects around the vertical axis.
Horizontal – Which corrects around the horizontal axis.
Aspect – This correction stretches your image. Whereby, moving the slider to the right stretches the pixels vertically, and to the left stretches them horizontally.
Luminar Composition AI Conclusions
Whilst the Composition AI function is not the most honed in the Luminar ecosystem, it provides invaluable manual control over cropping, perspective and geometric corrections to your images.
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.
Here are some related Luminar Articles which may interest you.
The Landscape Enhancer is great for removing haze from your images, and for enhancing sunsets and foliage.
An Essential guide to the Luminar Colour and Luminosity Denoise capability.
An interactive guide to Luminar Details Enhancement filters.
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.
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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.