AI is creeping in on us and photography is one of its favourite applications. Landscape Pro 3 promises to enhance your images with AI, seemingly taking all the creativity and work out of image editing, but looks deceive.
Anthropics sent me AI-driven LandscapePro Studio Max, which supports JPEGs, TIFFs with 8 or 16 bits per colour sample and most camera RAW files. The app saves TIFF files with the same number of bits as the original file. This edition can also be used in “plug-in mode” when LandscapePro has been launched by another application such as Photoshop.
What is deceitful about AI is that it has an aura of deciding by itself what your image will end up looking like. That is not – yet – the case. The AI in LandscapePro 3 does help a lot with selecting different zones in your image – sky, grass, buildings, objects, even – but you are in control at all stages.
The app does make an accurate and fine selection much easier, though, even without using a graphics tablet. And even when it occasionally doesn’t quite produce the most refined border masks, you can paint in refinements with AI-driven brushes that, for example, find the boundaries of feathered and translucent areas. Much to my surprise, to be honest, those tools did produce far better and more accurate borders than my not-so-steady hand ever could.
Once you’re satisfied with the different masked areas, you can start tuning them to your liking. Here the app behaves like a Savile Row tailor. For example, you can add fog and LandscapePro 3 will automatically decide the settings for that to look realistic. But it still lets you change its decision, which I frequently did as I found some of the effects – and fog was one of them – to add clouds where they didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the image. That was always more obvious with complex images than it was with straightforward ones, like the demo image of the cottage, where you have an image-wide sky, an image-wide grassy foreground and the cottage itself.
When I tried it on an image where the horizon was littered with distant buildings, ships and harbour cranes, and the foreground showing two ships with deck structures littered with antennae, fine cables and other details, LandscapePro had a more difficult time adding realistic fog without my intervention.
However, I didn’t have to do much to make it all look realistic, so, in the end, the AI does a very nice job of changing the photo completely.
Where the IA enables you to tamper with reality in ways that are truly unimaginable, the removal of objects is not driven by AI. If you don’t know that, as I didn’t, you’re bound to think this is one area where the AI falls short dramatically.
I tried this with an object on the edge between dark and light sand and the sky. I did what I expected to do: select broadly and let the IA take over to clean my mess up. It didn’t and the edit remained clearly visible. In this area, LandscapePro 3 performed even worse than Affinity Photo’s clone brush which is apparently better at compensating for the lighting differences.
Still, LandscapePro 3 is a boon for photographers, especially those who want to quickly change images dramatically and create a whole new photo with the invisible helping hand of AI.