How to remove a background using Luminar Neo’s Background Remover AI extension

Do you want to easily remove the background from a photo using the power of artificial intelligence? There’s a powerful new tool that can help you do just that. It’s a new extension to Skylum’s Luminar Neo called Background Removal AI, and in this article we’ll show you what it is and how you can use it.

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Full disclosure: This article was brought to you by Skylum, the software company behind Luminar NEO.

A few weeks ago, the Skylum team released an awesome new extension for Luminar Neo called Background Removal AI that can automatically remove the background behind one or multiple subjects in a photo with just one click.

According to the company, the new AI-based tool can detect the main subject and up to nine types of other elements in an image, giving users the option to choose which ones to keep. If there are imperfect masks, once the AI ​​tool is complete, users can use a refinement brush to fix anything the neural network missed.

Anyone who has spent any time creating composites for product photography and advertising knows that it can be an incredibly laborious and time-consuming process, so any progress to free up the time spent masking, layering, and exporting these assets will be incredibly welcome. The big question that remains on everyone’s mind is how well it works.


What is this new AI background removal tool?

Background Removal AI is one of the latest extension packs attached to Luminar Neo that leverages machine learning neural networks to train it to intelligently remove backgrounds from your images. Skylum has trained this tool using tens of thousands of images to accurately recognize backgrounds and quickly crop them so users can easily replace them. In most cases, the AI ​​extension can do this in just seconds, but it may take a bit longer depending on the complexity and focal depth of the image.

To clarify, this is a collection of plugins (also including HDR Merge, Noiseless AI, Upscale AI, Supersharp AI, and Focus Stacking) that are not included with Luminar Neo as they are not needed for general photo editing, but rather a more specialized niche toolset for those who want to do things a bit more creative with their images. If you’re interested in using these extensions, they’re available as part of the subscription model that Skylum has launched, or you can buy them all outright as a one-time purchase.

Why is background removal useful?

Background removal is quite common in the world of commercial photography and advertising. It helps viewers avoid distractions and focus on the topic or product you want them to pay attention to. Replacing the background with a simple solid color (or any other background) can help people avoid showing the messy scenario where a product or person may have been shot, leaving them with a clean, vibrant, distraction-free environment.

Even when shooting products in a “clean” environment, there could be an unwanted color cast in the background that removing it can help clean up and allow the editor to achieve a pure white (or the color you were aiming for) easily. If you’re shooting for a brand, removing the background helps keep your images consistent no matter what setting they were captured in, which can help viewers feel more trusting towards you.

It could also be that the photo was not properly exposed and the background or foreground is too bright. Removing the background and replacing it with a “plate” can make the image look more natural and aesthetically pleasing.

Even if you’re not a serious or professional photographer, background removal can also be used for fun and creative purposes, whether it’s isolating subjects in portraits to create a collage, or turning images into internet memes.

How to use background removal AI

The process for using the tool is pretty simple, but it does require a bit of digging to find it at first. Once you’ve opened an image in Luminar Neo and brought up the EDIT section, at the top you’ll want to click on Layer Properties and then select Masking to bring up the first set of options for you to choose from.

From the available options, select AI Background Removal to start neural network analysis of the image to identify the subject (or subjects) you want to keep. Based on what the AI ​​detects in the image, it will ask you to select some additional options to (optionally) enhance the mask, such as identifying things in the image like people (humans), plants, buildings, etc. Once you’ve made your selections here, click the “Remove” button and let Luminar Neo do the work for you.

Once the background has been removed, you can continue editing your image or optionally select the Refinements Brush dropdown to enhance and enhance the masking that was done to select and separate the subject from your image. Some images may need a bit of tweaking to get the mask right, especially in lighting situations where there are reflections and glare, but after a few brush commands the AI ​​should pick things up quickly.

This is where you’ll be presented with a “tri-color” mask layout where the blue represents the background and anything you want to remove, the white “checkered” area represents the transition, and then the brown mask is to refine the object or image. person. on the image you want to isolate and extract.

Once you’ve made the adjustments, you can simply continue editing your image by moving to another tool and the background will be officially removed, making it easy for you to save it as a PNG resource, or even continue editing in Luminar Neo to create something. new.

While not perfect, I was able to extract, isolate and import a random image from one of my trips to Alaska and then combine them into a makeshift “Advertising” type photo in less than a minute total. In fact, it took me longer to choose a new background than it did to do the work and make the edits and adjustments to the final image seen above.

Fast, easy and impressively accurate

The background removal AI works quite well and while there are some cases where the masking isn’t perfect, it’s very easy to quickly fix the mask and get the image (layer) where you need it for further editing and production. Masking works best if you have clear, well-defined lines, but if those areas are blurry or too bright, the system may have some difficulties, but remember, with most AI-based systems, the tool only gets better. over time and the more work you put into it.

While the removal AI tools can manage some fairly complex hair selections, as well as semi-translucent materials that save many users countless hours of time manually masking, there will still be some scenarios where there will be room for improvements that require you to spend a bit. cleaning time and adding to the masks. Even in those scenarios, the background kill AI tool can easily help users save more than 90% of the work and time spent on these normally complicated tasks with just a few clicks.

Pricing and Subscription Plans

Luminar NEO is available in a variety of combinations ranging from $99 to $119 per year as part of subscription plans, or for $149 as a one-time standalone purchase. Additionally, users can purchase the 2022 Extension Pack which includes 7 extensions (HDR Merge, Noiseless AI, etc.) for $299 for even more creative power.

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Full disclosure: This article was brought to you by Skylum, the software company behind Luminar NEO.

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