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2022 Replace (+ $10 Low cost Coupon)

This Luminar Neo evaluate will cowl Skylum’s newest picture modifying software program which is out there 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 a whole lot of confusion surrounding the characteristic overlap of Luminar Neo with Luminar AI, launched solely a 12 months earlier.

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

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

On this evaluate, I reply all the most typical questions that can assist you determine whether or not you should purchase Luminar Neo in 2022.

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

What’s Luminar Neo?



  • Inexpensive one-time value
  • Straightforward 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 picture 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 picture modifying duties, making them quick and enjoyable.

Headline AI options embody the ‘god-like’ capability to relight a scene, change the sky, take away powerlines and dirt 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 an entire novice to hold out immensely advanced picture modifying duties with a few clicks. It’s additionally helpful for extra skilled photographers who need to save time or experiment with their picture modifying.

Along with this synthetic intelligence wizardry, Luminar Neo supplies a stable choice of core modifying instruments which rival different common picture editors.

Quite a few Presets are provided, (with extra obtainable to obtain/purchase), which apply immediate picture results to photographs to change their look – AI recognises the picture and suggests appropriate ‘For This Photograph’ Presets to save lots of time.

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

It’s also possible to 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 hold utilizing the DAM functionalities of your current LRC catalogue, whereas profiting from the AI instruments in Neo, for instance.

Luminar Neo Overview (Up to date for June 2022)

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

This Luminar Neo evaluate is predicated on the most recent model 1.0.6, which was launched on Could 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).

Surprisingly sufficient, you’re not capable of set up third-party plugins in Luminar Neo (equivalent to Topaz Gigapixel, for enlargements) – one thing you had been capable of 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 laborious 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 Pictures

Screen showing importing of images to Luminar neo

Getting photographs 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 Pictures button does precisely that – you select a folder or choice of pictures in your laborious drive, click on Add, after which all the pieces out of the blue seems in your Luminar catalogue.

Pictures 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 necessary to notice that pictures aren’t actually ‘imported’ into Luminar Neo – they’re really being ‘referenced’ of their authentic location, very like 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 photographs to Neo out of your digital camera’s reminiscence card until: 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 laborious drive first, then add the pictures to Neo from that new location.

Confused? Principally, when your pictures are moved or deleted in your laborious drive (exterior to Luminar Neo), the identical factor occurs inside Neo.

If, nevertheless, 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 equivalent to Lightroom, nevertheless, employs an precise picture importing course of which creates a reproduction model of the file inside a separate catalogue, which means any exterior adjustments gained’t have an effect on the catalogued picture.

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

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

It’s additionally value noting you could add pictures from exterior laborious drives and even network-attached storage (NAS), however as quickly as you detach the units, Neo will not have the ability to 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 units/places, you must 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 primarily based in your actions:

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

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

Below this, the ‘Folders’ degree homes any folder out of your laborious 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 photographs 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 varied choices.

Luminar Neo Catalog’s single picture view exhibits a filmstrip beneath – right-clicking pictures within the single view or inside 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’ means that you can Favorite, Reject or Unmark, utilizing the identical shortcut keys as Lightroom, and ‘Changes’ assist you to Sync, Copy or Paste any picture edits made throughout different pictures.

‘Open In’ means that you can open the picture in varied apps you might already personal: Photoshop, Lightroom, Pictures, Components and Aurora HDR.

There’s additionally a coronary heart icon to favorite, an ‘X’ to reject and a watch icon which exhibits 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 facet scroll bar, which solely comes into partial view if 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 accommodates a woman’s face and recommends portrait presets to swimsuit.

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

These presets had been the headline characteristic of Luminar AI (named ‘Templates’), promising to save lots of hours of fiddling round with sliders to attain 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 will greatest complement your picture, primarily based on its perceived contents.

In apply, in case your picture accommodates an individual, ‘For This Photograph’ will present presets greatest fitted to portrait pictures. If the picture is of a panorama, the AI suggestion might be presets equivalent to ‘Surroundings’, ‘Sunsets’ or ‘Straightforward Landscapes.’

Clicking into every primary 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.

Somewhat than complicating the method of picture modifying, 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.

Having the ability to ‘again off’ the results of a preset can 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 modifying instruments of Luminar Neo. In its ‘Instruments’ panel, you’ve acquired 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 if you’re extra snug with the fundamental performance of every software.

These coming from extra professional-photographer-orientated picture modifying software program might poopoo the considerably hodgepodge organisation of the instruments, however when you’re new to picture modifying, the format is user-friendly and shortly 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 sort of like Lightroom’s Historical past software, maintaining monitor 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 slightly complicated was the truth that any preset you apply to your picture might 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 likely 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 appears like a stab at the hours of darkness.

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

It’s also possible to load any picture out of your laborious drive to make use of as a layer for a double publicity impact. Any layer’s opacity and mixing mode will be altered to attain your required look.

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