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Might 2022 Replace (Newest Execs & Cons)

This Luminar Neo evaluation will cowl Skylum’s newest photograph enhancing software program which is offered for Mac and Home windows.

With its headline AI-powered instruments and straightforward to make use of interface, Luminar Neo has been the 12 months’s most eagerly anticipated launch – however does it reside as much as its hype?

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There’s nonetheless loads of confusion surrounding the function overlap of Luminar Neo with Luminar AI, launched solely a 12 months earlier.

With the newest model, Neo presents a stable set of options that helps it step forward of its predecessor, however continues to be lacking performance to make it fully 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 evaluation, I reply all the most typical questions that will help you resolve whether or not you can purchase Luminar Neo in 2022.

All info is predicated on Luminar Neo v1.0.6 launched on Might 12, 2022.

What’s Luminar Neo?



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

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

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

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

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

Along with this synthetic intelligence wizardry, Luminar Neo gives a stable collection of core enhancing instruments which rival different common picture editors.

Quite a few Presets are provided, (with extra out there to obtain/purchase), which apply immediate photograph results to pictures to change their look – AI recognises the picture and suggests appropriate ‘For This Photograph’ 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 can even set up Neo as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom Traditional, permitting it to load from inside their respective interfaces.

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

Luminar Neo Evaluation (Up to date for Might 2022)

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

This Luminar Neo evaluation is predicated on the newest 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 (when you’re already an Adobe person).

Unusually sufficient, you’re not in a position to set up third-party plugins in Luminar Neo (reminiscent of Topaz Gigapixel, for enlargements) – one thing you have 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 area on my Mac’s arduous drive, which appears common when in comparison with different photograph 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 Photos

Screen showing importing of images to Luminar neo

Getting photos into Neo is straightforward and quick.

Getting pictures into Luminar Neo is useless 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 collection of pictures in your arduous drive, click on Add, after which every part all of the sudden seems in your Luminar catalogue.

Images are added impressively shortly 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 pictures aren’t actually ‘imported’ into Luminar Neo – they’re truly being ‘referenced’ of their authentic 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 pictures must exist someplace outdoors Neo, or they seem as ‘lacking’.

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

Confused? Mainly, when your pictures are moved or deleted in your arduous 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 outdoors of Neo.

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

For a lot of photographers, Luminar Neo’s file browser method to file administration will likely be a breath of recent air – there’s near zero wait time for pictures to look within the software program, able to be edited.

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

It’s additionally value noting which you could add pictures from exterior arduous drives and even network-attached storage (NAS), however as quickly as you detach the gadgets, Neo will not be capable of present them.

3. Photograph 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/areas, it’s a must to admire the simplicity of photograph administration in Luminar Neo.

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

  • All Images
  • Single Picture Edits
  • Not too long ago Added
  • Not too long ago Edited
  • Trash

Hovering over every title reveals the variety of photos in every case, and ‘Not too long ago Added’ and ‘Not too long ago Edited’ supply drop downs which reveal the dates the actions have been carried out.

Underneath this, the ‘Folders’ stage homes any folder out of your arduous 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 varied photos that exist already in your Neo catalogue.

You may add a number of pictures to an album or create a brand new one by deciding on all of them and right-clicking to disclose the choices. Oddly, you possibly can’t drag and drop the pictures into the Albums panel to create new albums.

4. Catalog Interface

Right clicking in the software reveals various options

Proper-clicking on pictures reveals numerous choices.

Luminar Neo Catalog’s single photograph view reveals a filmstrip beneath – right-clicking pictures within the single view or inside the movie strip reveals numerous 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’ help you Sync, Copy or Paste any picture edits made throughout different pictures.

‘Open In’ lets you open the photograph in numerous apps you could already personal: Photoshop, Lightroom, Images, Components 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 desire the implementation of the Earlier than/After instrument in Luminar AI.

One slight annoyance is the frustratingly slim facet 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 photograph accommodates a lady’s face and recommends portrait presets to go well with.

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

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

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

In follow, in case your photograph accommodates an individual, ‘For This Photograph’ will present presets greatest fitted to portrait images. If the photograph is of a panorama, the AI suggestion will likely be presets reminiscent of ‘Surroundings’, ‘Sunsets’ or ‘Simple Landscapes.’

Clicking into every foremost preset class reveals numerous 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.

Relatively than complicating the method of photograph 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 guts 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.

Having the ability to ‘again off’ the results of a preset can be a welcome function, 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:


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


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


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


  • Supercontrast
  • Coloration 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 comfy with the essential performance of every instrument.

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

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

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

You’re additionally introduced 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 relatively complicated was the truth that any preset you apply to your picture will likely 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 photograph.

Screen showing various edits applied automatically when choosing preset.

Presets might be seen within the Edits panel as particular person edits.

Whereas this permits for some granular management over the preset, it’s troublesome to inform what variations the person edits truly made to your picture – selecting to regulate every one appears like a stab in the dead of night.

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

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

These hoping for a real layer-based enhancing expertise akin to Photoshop or ON1 Photograph RAW will likely be disenchanted, but when all you need is an easy option to experiment together with your pictures, Neo comes up with the products.

7. Customary Modifying Instruments

Using the basic develop editing tools in the software.

Clicking instruments reveals numerous choices for full handbook management over enhancing.

For photographers who prefer to take a handbook method to their photograph enhancing, the Develop panel is the place all of it begins – ‘Publicity’, ‘Highlights’ and ‘Shadows’ are acquainted, whereas ‘Sensible Distinction’ is exclusive to Luminar, controlling each highlights and shadows in tandem to offer your picture a pleasant increase.

Underneath that, ‘Blacks & Whites’, ‘Curves’, ‘Sharpness’, ‘Noise Discount’ and ‘Remodel’ are self-explanatory, whereas ‘Coloration’ refers to temperature and white steadiness, and ‘Optics’ fixes lens distortion and vignetting.

(Based on a Skylum rep who talked to PCMag, Luminar Neo features a database of lens and digicam profiles which might be used behind the scenes for these numerous optical corrections. For something that doesn’t exist within the database, it makes use of basic algorithms.)

Underneath the ‘Develop’ panel, there’s a combination of AI-powered instruments and extra acquainted commonplace ones reminiscent of ‘Vignette’ and ‘Particulars’.

Confusingly, ‘Coloration’ exists right here too however offers with ‘Saturation’, ‘Vibrance’ and the removing of color casts.

‘Erase’ accommodates two of Luminar Neo’s newest instruments inside its drop-down: ‘Take away Powerlines’ and ‘Take away Mud Spots’, each of which work much like Photoshop’s content-aware spot therapeutic instrument, albeit however with no extra clicks.

Additionally of observe is the ‘Panorama’ instrument, which lets you dehaze a photograph, add the phantasm of a photograph taken at golden hour and even improve the foliage in a scene.

The explanatory labelling of instruments is Skylum try to make the photograph enhancing course of extra accessible to the common individual. Whereas in Lightroom, you’d must twiddle with color temperature, readability and numerous different instruments to get a golden hour impact, in Luminar Neo, you may get the identical lead to a single click on.

The ‘Artistic’ panel homes instruments that you actually need to experiment with to know their impact, regardless of explanatory names reminiscent of ‘Dramatic’, ‘Temper’ and ‘Mystical’.

My favorite is the ‘Sunrays’ instrument, which nonetheless blows my thoughts regardless of being a number of years outdated. The power to position a practical solar in your picture, and have the solar’s rays wrap round or poke by means of objects as if all the scene have been three dimensional is just unbelievable.

forest with trees in foregroundsun rays streaming through trees in forest