Alex Tsepko, Skylum CEO, reflects on the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in service to visual storytellers.
It’s not often that one witnesses, firsthand, a fundamental change in the way things work … at home, in the office or within society at large. Rarer still is having the opportunity to sit at the table where those decisions are being made.
This week, with our big reveal behind us, I had an opportunity to reflect on what LuminarAI, and tools like it, will mean for creators of every size and stripe.
No matter how it is deployed, the most compelling advantage of Artificial intelligence (AI) in the service of human beings comes down to a single word.
It’s the only resource none of us can buy ... at any price. Enter AI. With the thoughtful use of AI, we can avoid spending time in the first place.
A raw photo is like a blank canvas; full of possibilities. As a result, the hardest part of the edit is often knowing where to start. So, we sit and think. Grab a cup of coffee. Think some more. Tick tock. We wait for the creative fires to ignite.
Just to get those fires burning, I have to do a lot of work, the first step alone requires me to analyze the untouched photo to understand the following:
- Common capture issues with sharpness, exposure and contrast.
- Opportunities to improve composition using widely-held principles like the rule of thirds and the Fibonacci spiral.
- 3D relationships within the image between foreground, subjects and background.
- The color palette of the image and how it might be manipulated to greatest effect.
- Which elements in the photo work and which are a distraction.
That entire decision tree is required for every photo just to determine which “keepers” have the most potential for greatness. This process takes a lot of time and, when done, I still have not produced a single final image.
Keepers in hand, I now have to decide which of an infinite array of looks will work best to achieve my creative vision for these photos. I might narrow that field down to 3-5 looks I know I have the technical skill to achieve. I must then apply that skill to the image to test each look to arrive at my desired look.
I’ve just spent a great deal of time making a creative choice for one image. Now, I must invest more time to apply that choice to every photo in the queue.
Professional photographers often hand this work off to a trusted apprentice or freelancer. Hobbyist photographers do all of this work themselves. The first trades money to reclaim time. The second just spends time.
This is where AI can really change the way work like this gets done … forever.
AI can light the spark
One of the most common misconceptions about AI is that it replaces people. I suppose, from a purely technical perspective, I can see how one might think that true.
But that is not how Skylum sees AI. Rather, we see AI as a tool that replaces drudgery and, in doing so, frees creators to focus entirely on their vision and speed the time from concept to final, stunning results.
Like an apprentice, AI can be taught to analyze images and select those with the most potential for greatness. Like a journeyman, AI can be taught to apply time-tested design principles like composition, depth of field and color theory to those selected images and present several enhancement options to the creator.
Focus equals freedom
Options in hand, the creator retains control over the final decision on the best path to follow to achieve the desired results and realize their creative vision. And, equally important, the creator now has more time to focus on just these crucial decisions of taste and style.
Ultimately, these decisions alone most define a creator's body of work. No one cares about the time spent or methods used to arrive at these decisions. In the final assessment, only the results of the decisions matter. Laser focus on these decisions allows more work to be done well, in less time.
Consider Leonardo da Vinci.
Today, we marvel at the tremendous volume of outstanding creative work da Vinci produced. No one cares about how much time he took to deliver the work. In fact, we are amazed that one creator could produce so much in a single lifetime.
As with Leonardo da Vinci, the consistent delivery of outstanding work means the influence of the creator’s work grows in both breadth and depth. Greater influence creates greater opportunity.
Of equal, if not greater importance to the delivery of better results, is the reclamation of the creator’s time. Again, time is the only asset which cannot be purchased, at any price.
At best, we can guard time like the treasure it truly is. Time not lost to drudgery is a gift to ourselves.
AI fuels creative fires
Thoughtfully designed AI eliminates drudgery, creates focus and reclaims our time. In turn, reclaimed time can be invested in new creative work and, when needed, refueling our creative fires by taking time away from the forge.
At Skylum, thoughtfully designed AI is what we do.
LuminarAI is our contribution of thoughtfully designed AI in service of the image creators at every level from the raw beginner to the seasoned professional.
I, for one, welcome the assistance of my AI apprentice. I am excited about tremendous potential creative energy it will unlock in all of us.
Raise a glass. Light the fire. Create.