Luminar Neo added Supersharp AI as part of the expansion pack. We kick the tires on Supersharp AI and see how it works in a few shots.
What is Luminar Neo Supersharp AI?
Luminar Neo Super sharp AI is for sharpening your photos. Fortunately, it does this with a minimum of artifacts and halos by using machine learning. It is part of the expansion pack, which contains several extensions you can add to Luminar Neo.
Skylum, the parent company, describes Supersharp AI as follows: “Supersharp AI fine-tunes the blur on the outline of an object caused by motion, missed focus or camera shake and logically stabilizes the entire image. The neural network at the core analyzes depth, perspective and the environment of the photo and works it out with a compression algorithm. The result is a razor-sharp and naturally sharp photo, just as it was intended.”
How can Supersharp AI help me?
Supersharp AI can handle photos that are not very sharp in three ways: motion blur, universal and missed focus (blur). As we’re writing about this product here at Photofocus as it’s released, Supersharp AI currently only has motion blur as of Luminar Neo Update 1.5.0. It will be added later. We all have photos where for whatever reason the subject moved, we moved the camera, the camera didn’t focus properly, the shutter was too slow, or other reasons. Supersharp AI aims to address all of that.
How well does Supersharp AI work?
I used Supersharp AI to try and sharpen two photos. Since it only had motion blur, I used it on one image where someone was moving. However, I was curious how it would handle another photo that I’ve always wanted to sharpen. Let’s see!
First photo: Sharpening an iPhone SE 2020 low-light photo of a rock show with someone moving
My first test was to see how Supersharp AI would work with guitarist Victor Gutierrez from Soda boxx, who performed at El Cid in Los Angeles. The photo was taken in very low light while the band was moving. So it’s a bit blurry. I’ll show you some screenshots of the process.
Unlike Upscale AI, another extension in Luminar Neo, Supersharpen AI appears in the Edit menu in the Extensions section. I had a hard time finding it at first, as Upscale AI appears to the right of the photo in the catalog.
Clicking Supersharp AI opens a dialog box. Inside you can make adjustments, including choosing what kind of blur to tackle (when the other two modes become available) and masking. Within the mask window, you can choose from several masking methods, including using a brush. But there’s also a Mask AI section, shown above. Here I selected “Human” because Sodaboxx had a human on stage that night.
Above: The left photo is the original photo before sharpening. The right shot was after sharpening, only using Supersharp AI.
As you can probably see the photo has been sharpened. I wouldn’t say it’s a surprising, miraculous, magical amount. It would have been interesting to see what the universal or out of focus modes would have done. However, this is largely about motion blur as it moves, so this was probably the right mode.
I used this in “High” mode. I was surprised it wasn’t “ugly” and full of artifacts. I’m even surprised it didn’t sharpen more.
Photo two: Milky Way image of Mobius Arch in Alabama Hills, Owens Valley, CA
For the second photo I wanted to sharpen, I tested a photo from Mobius Arch. I felt like I missed focus a bit on the arc of this single exposure shot because I had to position the tripod a little too close to the arc. At night it seemed like the bow was sharp. Not so much on a larger screen. This has always bothered me, as I thought this was otherwise an appealing photo. Can Supersharp AI solve this?
I used Mask AI with ‘Natural Ground’ this time. I was curious if this would work, as natural grounds are not normally shaped like an arch. No problem. It masked most of the arc. I’ve cleaned up a bit for good measure.
Above: Before (left) and after (right) applying Supersharp AI to the bow.
Normally one would probably select “defocus” to try and address the missed focus on the arc. I only had motion blur to select.
An interesting surprise when sharpening the rock arch
To my surprise, Supersharp AI handled the blur pretty well. There is a caveat though. The pattern of the rocks in part of the photo had changed! This is likely due to the use of AI to fill in the sharpening rather than aggressively trying to sharpen the “soft” (out of focus) areas.
Since I don’t really care if the patterns of the rock are correct, this doesn’t matter to me. But if it were a different subject, such as a specific dress or item of clothing, product, building, person or something else, I don’t think I would want this. But I hope that with different modes, the machine learning would address the different topics more specifically. Anyway, I was quite happy that my slightly out-of-focus arc looked noticeably better.
Again, I used the “High” mode. And again, I thought maybe I’d get artifacts and make this a little ugly. In hindsight I probably should have used “Medium” as the bow teeters on the precipice of too much sharpness. But when testing this one, I like to max out the controls to see what happens.