Top 5 Sky Replacement Tools (2021)

Are Photoshop 2021 and Luminar AI the best applications for sky replacement, or are there other ways to easily enhance the sky on your photos? Join us at the Clever Photographer while we search for the five best sky replacement tool in 2021.

In our search for the top 5 sky replacement apps, we focused on apps and software with a built-in sky replacement function or with a simple "two clicks" solution. So, while any photo editing software with a layer and/or blending functionality (check the end of the text for our favourites) would be able to perform the sky replacement function, we were in search of something more sophisticated this time.

Top 5 Sky Replacement Apps in 2021

  1. Skylum – Luminar AI
  2. Adobe – Photoshop 2021
  3. Skylum - Luminar 4
  4. PicsArt – Change Sky Feature
  5. BrainFeverMedia - SkyLab

The new year in the photo editing world was marked by new sky replacement features released by Adobe and Skylum in the recent versions of Photoshop 2021 and Luminar AI. With Photoshop setting the bar high with the possibility of further sky editing in their layer system, Luminar AI and its Sky AI 2.0 brought the automatic sky reflection. The game is truly on for everyone looking to push their creativity and their photos even further.

1. Skylum – Luminar AI (Sky AI 2.0)

Compatibility: Windows & Mac
Learn more: Here
Price: £59.00
Free trial: Here

The new Luminar AI from Skylum with its new Sky AI 2.0 (released in March 2021) is currently the best sky replacement option on the market. This already powerful software, featuring many excellent photo editing tools, is now upgraded with the latest AI sky replacement, which identifies where the sky starts and ends in a sky image. It then auto replaces the sky with an automatic reflection in water or other reflection areas. No manual work is required, which makes the process much easier. The new AI sky replacement can be a boon for landscape and outdoor photographers who sometimes spend hours handling sky images details.

Pros:
  • The best and most precise sky replacement AI you can find
  • Automatic sky reflection feature
  • Advance colour correction built-in tools
  • Additional human masking and colour correction tools
Cons:
  • The reflection feature doesn't always work, and it will require further updates
  • The sky library has been updated, but it's still too small to navigate

2. Adobe – Photoshop 2021

Compatibility: Windows & Mac
Learn more: Here
Price: £9.98 (Per month)
Free trial: Here

Sky Replacement in Photoshop used to be a time-consuming task with a requirement of advanced photography skills. With the release of their AI sky replacement feature in Photoshop, Adobe makes the job as easy as a few clicks. Just choose a sky background that fits your image from the folders, and Photoshop will replace the sky automatically. With the handful of other adjustments and the possibility of further editing in Photoshop's layer system, Photoshop's sky replacement feature deserves a second place on our list.

Pros:
  • Simple two-click editing
  • Advance and precise sky replacement
  • Possibility of adding your own skies into the system's sky library
  • Further sky editing available in the layers
Cons:
  • No sky reflection
  • Occasional masking issues
  • Only basic colour correction tools

3. Skylum – Luminar 4 (Sky AI 1.0)

Compatibility: Windows & Mac
Learn more: Here
Price: £49.00
Free trial: Here (30 Day Free Trial)

Luminar 4 has to be third on our list as it beats all the rest of the apps with great functionality and impressive result. Luminar 4 includes the first version of Skylum's Sky AI replacement feature. It simply identifies where the sky starts and ends in a sky image and then auto replaces the sky with the sky of your choice. The sky replacement feature is limited when it comes to the new sky's positioning and the AI masking isn't as good as in Photoshop 2021 and Luminar AI. However, the result still beats the rest of the sky replacement applications available to us.

Pros:
  • Simple two-click editing
  • Intelligent and powerful sky replacement
  • Possibility of using your own skies (in jpeg format)
  • Additional editing tools for further adjustments and colour matching
Cons:
  • No sky reflection
  • Occasional masking issues
  • Limited sky positioning options
  • Very basic sky library without sky thumbnails

4. PicsArt – Sky Replacement Module

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone
Learn more: Here
Price: £5.00 per month
Free trial: Here

PicsArt is a very playful online-based photo editor. It has a wide range of photo editing tools with module-based tools, including sky replacement, hair colour changer and double exposure. The basic version of the program is for free, and the fact that you can access it anywhere online makes it a great tool to keep in mind when on the run. The sky replacement AI feature does an excellent job with replacing the sky, and the result is good most of the time. However, the masking is a hit and miss on many occasions, and further adjustments to the sky are limited.

Pros:
  • Online tool
  • Basic tools are for free
  • Other excellent photo editing tools
  • Also available as a mobile phone app
Cons:
  • The pro version is a bit pricy at over £50 per year.
  • The masking doesn't always work
  • Limited skies to choose from
  • Sign in required

5. Brain Fever Media – SkyLab

Compatibility: Mac only
Learn more: Here
Price: £26.62
Free trial: Here

The final tool on our list is a design by an American based company called BrainFeverMedia. Their SkyLab works as a standalone sky replacement feature as well as part of their Visual Effects bundle. This app will make your life easier with a handy set of sky replacement tools, including masking, blending and layer editing. Unfortunately, the app is missing the AI feature, and therefore you will have to perform most of the sky editing by yourself. Luckily the app designers created a very intuitively setup that makes the task a little easier, and with a little bit of patience, you can end up with satisfying results.

Pros:
  • Very good positioning tools
  • Possibility of using your own skies
  • Option of adding other elements like trees, moon etc.
  • Handy brush masking adjustment
Cons:
  • No AI sky replacement
  • Complicated masking workflow
  • Pricy for the standalone tool
  • Only for Mac users

Additional Options

Our goal for this list is to compile software with specific sky replacement features. However, it is essential to say that other photo editing apps will allow you to replace the sky on your photo, and although the task will require some selection and blending skills, it can be easily achieved.

Here is some of our favourite photo editing software with selection, layer and masking features:

  • Affinity Photo
  • Corel Photo-Paint
  • Corel PaintShop Pro
  • Gimp
  • Photoshop Elements

It's All About The Sky

The sky replacement can be a convenient technique that is turning to be an easy task. However, it's important to remember that the sky replacement's key element is the sky itself. Each photo and each scene require a different sky with different colours, light and texture. To match your photos perfectly every time, you will need an extensive library of skies. And this is where we step in at Clever Photographer. Check out our Ultimate Sky Bundle (Here) with over 300 skies and complete sky replacement video tutorials for most photo editing software we mentioned in this blog. 

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