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This Luminar Neo assessment will cowl Skylum’s newest picture enhancing software program which is on the market for Mac and Home windows.

With its headline AI-powered instruments and simple to make use of interface, Luminar Neo has been the yr’s most eagerly anticipated launch – however does it dwell as much as its hype?

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There’s nonetheless a whole lot of confusion surrounding the characteristic overlap of Luminar Neo with Luminar AI, launched solely a yr earlier.

With the most recent model, Neo presents a strong set of options that helps it step forward of its predecessor, however remains to be lacking performance to make it solely redundant.

Except for all its flashy AI options, will photographers genuinely discover Luminar Neo a helpful enhancing app, or is it destined to be a transient gimmick for the Instagram era?

On this assessment, I reply all the commonest questions that will help you resolve whether or not you can purchase Luminar Neo in 2022.

All info is predicated on Luminar Neo v1.1.0 launched on July 16, 2022.

What’s Luminar Neo?

 

Execs

  • Inexpensive one-time worth
  • Simple and enjoyable to make use of
  • Efficient one-click presets
  • Spectacular AI instruments
  • Glorious portrait enhancers
  • Quick RAW picture imports
  • Promising layer-based workflow
  • Particularly helpful as a Lightroom Plugin
Cons

  • Gradual to reply (initially)
  • Restricted picture administration options
  • Restricted print and export choices
  • Disappointing cell app
  • Lack of processing indicator

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Luminar Neo is a strong picture editor for Mac and Home windows, powered by AI applied sciences that may simplify complicated picture enhancing duties, making them quick and enjoyable.

Headline AI options embody the ‘god-like’ capability to relight a scene, exchange the sky, take away powerlines and mud spots, and carry out varied jaw-dropping portrait enhancements in simply a few mouse clicks.

The primary attraction of Luminar Neo is the chance for a whole novice to hold out immensely complicated picture enhancing duties with a few clicks. It’s additionally helpful for extra skilled photographers who wish to save time or experiment with their picture enhancing.

Along with this synthetic intelligence wizardry, Luminar Neo supplies a strong number of core enhancing instruments which rival different standard picture editors.

Quite a few Presets are equipped, (with extra out there to obtain/purchase), which apply on the spot picture results to photographs to change their look – AI recognises the picture and suggests appropriate ‘For This Picture’ Presets to avoid wasting time.

Luminar Neo pairs up with Luminar Share, a fundamental cell app for iPhone and Android gadgets that lets you wirelessly switch your smartphone photos to be edited within the desktop Neo software program, or vice versa to be shared in your favorite social media community.

You too can set up Neo as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom Traditional, permitting it to load from inside their respective interfaces.

That is helpful if you wish to hold utilizing the DAM functionalities of your present LRC catalogue, whereas benefiting from the AI instruments in Neo, for instance.

Luminar Neo Evaluation (Up to date for June 2022)

Skylum launched Luminar Neo in February 2022 with the intention of offering frequent updates.

This Luminar Neo assessment is predicated on the most recent model 1.0.6, which was launched on Might 12, 2022, with Masks AI, Histogram and bug fixes.

1. Set up & Setup

After downloading and launching the Luminar Neo installer, you’re given the choice to put in Neo as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom Traditional (if you happen to’re already an Adobe person).

Unusually sufficient, you’re not in a position to set up third-party plugins in Luminar Neo (corresponding to Topaz Gigapixel, for enlargements) – one thing you had been in a position to do with Luminar AI. Hopefully, we’ll see this in a future replace.

This system takes up 2.84GB of house on my Mac’s exhausting drive, which appears common when in comparison with different picture editors.

When the set up is full and also you’ve created a Skylum account, you’re proven a QR code which installs the companion cell app Luminar Share.

2. Importing & Searching Photographs

Screen showing importing of images to Luminar neo

Getting photos into Neo is easy and quick.

Getting images into Luminar Neo is lifeless easy and a refreshing expertise for anybody who’s ever tried utilizing Lightroom for the primary time.

Clicking the Add Images button does precisely that – you select a folder or number of images in your exhausting drive, click on Add, after which the whole lot out of the blue seems in your Luminar catalogue.

Images are added impressively rapidly on my 2021 MacBook M1 (32GB RAM) – testing on my spouse’s 2020 Macboom Air with 16GB of RAM was additionally equally quick.

It’s essential to notice that images aren’t actually ‘imported’ into Luminar Neo – they’re really being ‘referenced’ of their unique location, very similar to a file browser. This has sure distinct benefits and downsides.

The primary caveat to this file browser expertise is that the images must exist someplace exterior Neo, or they seem as ‘lacking’.

Which means that you’re unable to import photos to Neo out of your digital camera’s reminiscence card except: a) you’re keen to maintain the cardboard within the card reader till you’re completed with the pictures, or b) you switch the pictures to your exhausting drive first, then add the images to Neo from that new location.

Confused? Mainly, when your images are moved or deleted in your exhausting drive (exterior to Luminar Neo), the identical factor occurs inside Neo.

If, nonetheless, you delete a picture from inside Luminar Neo, it’s added to a ‘Luminar Trash’, with the unique picture remaining intact exterior of Neo.

Software program corresponding to Lightroom, nonetheless, employs an precise picture importing course of which creates a replica model of the file inside a separate catalogue, which means any exterior modifications received’t have an effect on the catalogued picture.

For a lot of photographers, Luminar Neo’s file browser strategy to file administration can be a breath of recent air – there’s near zero wait time for images to seem within the software program, able to be edited.

Nevertheless, for skilled photographers who want a direct approach to get photos off their SD card into enhancing software program, Luminar Neo isn’t an acceptable selection.

It’s additionally price noting you can add images from exterior exhausting drives and even network-attached storage (NAS), however as quickly as you detach the gadgets, Neo will not be capable to present them.

3. Picture Organisation

Various organisation options with in the software

Organisation choices auto populate relying in your actions.

Ignoring the restrictions on importing from non-permanent gadgets/places, it’s important to admire the simplicity of picture administration in Luminar Neo.

On the left of the display screen, the ‘Catalog’ module consists of 5 places which auto-update based mostly in your actions:

  • All Images
  • Single Picture Edits
  • Lately Added
  • Lately Edited
  • Trash

Hovering over every title reveals the variety of photos in every case, and ‘Lately Added’ and ‘Lately Edited’ supply drop downs which reveal the dates the actions had been carried out.

Below this, the ‘Folders’ degree homes any folder out of your exhausting drive that you simply add to Luminar Neo.

Lastly, there are the ‘Albums’, which behave equally to Lightroom Collections, permitting you to compile collections of assorted photos that exist already in your Neo catalogue.

You’ll be able to add a number of images to an album or create a brand new one by choosing all of them and right-clicking to disclose the choices. Oddly, you may’t drag and drop the images into the Albums panel to create new albums.

4. Catalog Interface

Right clicking in the software reveals various options

Proper-clicking on images reveals varied choices.

Luminar Neo Catalog’s single picture view reveals a filmstrip under – right-clicking images within the single view or throughout the movie strip reveals varied choices:

  • Set Flag
  • Changes
  • Export
  • Share
  • Open In
  • Go To
  • Create Album
  • Transfer to Luminar Trash
  • Present in Finder

Except for the self-explanatory, ‘Set Flag’ lets you Favorite, Reject or Unmark, utilizing the identical shortcut keys as Lightroom, and ‘Changes’ let you Sync, Copy or Paste any picture edits made throughout different images.

‘Open In’ lets you open the picture in varied apps chances are you’ll already personal: Photoshop, Lightroom, Images, Parts and Aurora HDR.

There’s additionally a coronary heart icon to favorite, an ‘X’ to reject and a watch icon which reveals a earlier than (unedited) model of your picture, though I nonetheless choose the implementation of the Earlier than/After software in Luminar AI.

One slight annoyance is the frustratingly slender aspect scroll bar, which solely comes into partial view while you transfer your mouse’s scroll wheel.

5. Presets Interface

Example of Neo's artificial intelligence suggesting the correct photo preset to use.

The software program intelligently recognises the picture incorporates a lady’s face and recommends portrait presets to go well with.

Subsequent to the ‘Catalog’ module is ‘Presets’ – clicking this reveals a number of thumbnails with considerably ambiguous titles, like ‘Experimental’ and ‘Influencer’.

These presets had been the headline characteristic of Luminar AI (named ‘Templates’), promising to avoid wasting hours of fiddling round with sliders to realize the specified look.

The ‘For This Picture’ presets are your first style of synthetic intelligence coming to your rescue in Luminar Neo, predicting the one-click ‘look’ that might finest complement your picture, based mostly on its perceived contents.

In observe, in case your picture incorporates an individual, ‘For This Picture’ will present presets finest fitted to portrait pictures. If the picture is of a panorama, the AI suggestion can be presets corresponding to ‘Surroundings’, ‘Sunsets’ or ‘Simple Landscapes.’

Clicking into every important preset class reveals varied extra related presets, and so begins the testing course of.

Clicking into The Presets reveals various other options

Clicking a preset title reveals different related presets.

Slightly than complicating the method of picture enhancing, the Luminar Neo Presets panel appears to have been designed to encourage experimentation – ‘Influencer’, ‘Cozy Den’ and ‘Winter Refuge’ imply nothing till they’re clicked.

Don’t just like the impact? Merely click on the arrow to return to the unique, or click on the center icon so as to add it to your favorite presets.

Bizarrely, there’s no choice to fine-tune the presets in Luminar Neo like there was in Luminar AI – you both apply the preset in its entirety…. otherwise you don’t.

With the ability to ‘again off’ the consequences of a preset could be a welcome characteristic, so hopefully we see this added to Neo in a future replace.

6. Edit Interface

The ‘Edit’ module homes all of the handbook and automatic enhancing instruments of Luminar Neo. In its ‘Instruments’ panel, you’ve received the next:

Necessities

  • Develop
  • Improve AI
  • Erase
  • Construction AI
  • Shade
  • Black & White
  • Particulars
  • Denoise
  • Panorama
  • Vignette

Artistic

  • Relight AI
  • Sky AI
  • Environment AI
  • Sunrays
  • Dramatic
  • Temper
  • Tonight
  • Matte
  • Mystical
  • Glow
  • Movie Grain

Portrait

  • Portrait Bokeh AI
  • Face AI
  • Pores and skin AI
  • Physique AI
  • Excessive Key

Skilled

  • Supercontrast
  • Shade Concord

When clicked, every of the instruments reveals a number of sliders and sub-menus.

Something with a slider invitations you to experiment, with the partially hidden sub-menus containing choices for while you’re extra snug with the essential performance of every software.

These coming from extra professional-photographer-orientated picture enhancing software program might poopoo the considerably hodgepodge organisation of the instruments, however if you happen to’re new to picture enhancing, the format is user-friendly and rapidly turns into acquainted,

Something with ‘AI’ after its identify denotes one thing with a really particular occasion trick – extra on these later.

Subsequent to ‘Instruments’ is the ‘Edits’ panel, which is type of like Lightroom’s Historical past software, retaining observe of every edit you’ve made to the picture.

You’re additionally offered with one other eye icon for a earlier than/after, a revert arrow to undo every particular edit, and a pen icon, which lets you make native changes like creating masks so as to add/take away results.

One factor I discovered moderately complicated was the truth that any preset you apply to your picture can be proven within the ‘Edits’ panel, damaged up as particular person steps of the edit.

e.g. the ‘Nighthawks’ black and white Preset applies ‘Black & White’, ‘Particulars’, ‘Improve AI’, ‘Construction AI’, ‘Face AI’, ‘Denoise and Develop’ – I assume this will change barely relying on the contents of the picture.

Screen showing various edits applied automatically when choosing preset.

Presets will be considered within the Edits panel as particular person edits.

Whereas this enables for some granular management over the preset, it’s troublesome to inform what variations the person edits really made to your picture – selecting to manage each seems like a stab at midnight.

You’ll additionally discover ‘Layers’ on the left of the ‘Edit’ module – clicking the + icon reveals a number of overlays which you’ll add to your picture to supply varied results: ‘Flares’, ‘Mild Leaks’, ‘Sparklers’ and ‘Stardust Bokeh’.

You too can load any picture out of your exhausting drive to make use of as a layer for a double publicity impact. Any layer’s opacity and mixing mode will be altered to realize your required look.

These hoping for a real layer-based enhancing expertise akin to Photoshop or ON1 Picture RAW can be dissatisfied, but when all you need is an easy approach to experiment together with your images, Neo comes up with the products.