How to Replace a Sky in Luminar 4 and create Sunrays

How to replace a sky in Luminar

All of us have tons of images with a dull or washed sky. It is possible to create a new sky or replace a sky with the other photo. It is not an easy task to do it perfectly in Photoshop or other editing software. But Luminar 4 offers AI technology that allows you to replace the sky just by one click.

So how to replace the Sky in Luminar 4? Let’s do it step by step:

  • Open a photo in Luminar 4
  • Goto Creative tab and select AI Sky Replacement
  • Select one of default or your own sky image
  • Make sky refinements
  • Make overall photo enhancements

AI Sky Replacement

So let’s open a photo in Photoshop and select the Luminar in the filter menu. Obviously, you can open the photo in Luminar 4 standalone application too.

First, let’s replace the sky. Go to the Creative menu and select AI sky replacement.

Now select the sky. I will use one of the default skies distributed with the Luminar license. Let’s make some basic and advanced adjustments.

Replace a sky in luminar 4

Adding Sunrays to replaced sky

Now we will add the sun rays. So select the Sunrays menu. First, look at the image and place the sun center where it would fit the best. In my particular photo is the sun placed somewhere behind the bush.

Now increase or decrease the amount or intensity of the sunrays and make additional tunings

Masking unwanted areas

Of course, we want to see the sun rays coming out from behind the hill and the bush as it would be in reality. Therefore we have to mask-out the sunrays from the bottom part of the photo.

So let’s go to the Edit Mask Menu. Then select Brush option. Select Invert Mask and change the painting mode to Erase. Start to paint over the bottom half of the photo to remove the sunrays.

Increase the opacity and change the brush size using left or right brackets as needed.

Now fine-tune the appearance of the sunrays using the Randomize slider. Use also other sliders to retouch the overall sunrays look.

If needed, get back to the mask and fine-tune it. Then make the final sunrays settings.

Overall Photo Enhancements

The overall process is not just to replace a sky. So now we will start to make the overall image enhancements. Let’s stay in the Creative tab and select the Dramatic menu. Increase the amount and local contrast slightly.

Let’s add a bit of Color Style. Choose one of the presets and then edit the intensity. Make sure you apply just a modest amount of it.

Now go to the Essential setting tab and choose the Light menu. Try to bring back some information in the Shadows part and edit the Highlights and the Smart contrast.

Let’s select the AI Enhance menu. Here increase the AI Accent and use the AI Sky Enhancer to enhance the overall look of the sky.

Select the AI Structure and increase the Amount and the Boost.

Color Adjustments

Now let’s make some color adjustments. Let’s go to the Color menu and select the Advanced settings. Here choose particular color tones and edit the Hue, Saturation, and the Luminance of each color tone. Please don’t increase the Saturation too much as it may cause color fringing.

Use the Luminance slider to increase or decrease the brightness of the particular color tone, respectively. Use the blue color tone and by the Luminance slider increase the drama in the sky even more.

Details & Sharpening

We will now enhance the details and the sharpness. Go to the Details Enhancer menu. It is essential to realize what will be the final photo used for. If it is the large print, make only subtle changes here.

Use the Small Detail slider and increase it a little bit. It is useful to use the On and Off button of this effect to see the actual impact on the image. Then use the Sharpen slider and sharpen the photo slightly.

If you increase the sharpness and the details in the photo, it could cause the overall noise increase. The best way to find it out is to zoom in the sky part of the image and find the noise appearance. In my case, it is not bad, so I don’t need to use the Denoise function.

Foliage, Dehaze, Golden Hour

There is another powerful function in Luminar 4, and it is the Landscape enhancer. Here you boost the foliage saturation and richness using the Foliage Enhancer slider. Use Golden Hour to bring warmth to the photo. And finally, use the Dehaze slider to increase the contrast mainly in the sky.


The last setting in the Essential part is vignette. Use the amount slider and pull it to the left side to get the vignetting effect. Here is the same rule not to go too far with the effect. Then fine-tune the Size and the feather parameters.

Final touches

Now let’s move to the Pro tab. Here we will start with the Advanced contrast. Set the contrast and the contrast balance for Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows separately.

Go to the Color Enhancer. Here increase the Brilliance parameter slightly.

Our photo is almost ready. I just don’t like the foliage and bush saturation. so let me get back to the Essentials and in color advanced setting let me decrease the saturation of the green tones

You can view the video tutorial here.


I highly recommend using Luminar 4 for sky replacement. The process is very straightforward and easy. And the results are stunning. Even the most critical parts, like small branches or trees on the horizon, are perfectly incorporated with the newly replaced sky.

Please have look also for another Luminar 4 post here. And also find the description on my gear recommendation page.

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