March 25, 2023

Luminar Neo Evaluation: January 2023 Replace (Newest Options)

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This Luminar Neo evaluate will cowl Skylum’s newest photograph modifying software program which is obtainable for Mac and Home windows.

With its headline AI-powered instruments and easy-to-use interface, Luminar Neo has been accessible for the reason that begin of 2022 – however does it nonetheless stay as much as its preliminary hype?

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

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With the most recent model (Replace v1.6.2), Neo presents a strong set of options that helps it step forward of its predecessor and now consists of ‘Extensions’ to develop its capabilities additional.

Apart from 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 will help you resolve whether or not you should purchase Luminar Neo in 2023.

What’s Luminar Neo?



  • 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
  • Useful extensions assist with particular duties
  • Particularly helpful as a Lightroom Plugin

  • Gradual to reply (initially)
  • Restricted photograph administration options
  • Restricted print and export choices
  • Disappointing cellular app

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Luminar Neo is a robust picture editor for Mac and Home windows, powered by AI applied sciences that may simplify complicated photograph 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 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 photograph 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 gives a strong collection of core modifying instruments that rival different widespread picture editors.

Quite a few Presets are equipped (with extra accessible 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 save lots of time.

Luminar Neo pairs up with Luminar Share, a primary cellular app for iPhone and Android units 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 may as well 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 preserve utilizing the DAM functionalities of your present LRC catalog, whereas making the most of the AI instruments in Neo, for instance.

What are Luminar Extensions?

Luminar Neo is constructed on a brand new ‘modular’ framework, which signifies that massive function updates might be slotted into the core function set extra simply and frequently than earlier than.

In releasing these Extensions, Skylum has mentioned that they’re fulfilling the primary imaginative and prescient for Luminar Neo to turn into a one-stop artistic platform for photographers.

At current, the Extensions Pack consists of HDR Merge, Noiseless AI, Upscale AI, AI Background Removing, Supersharp AI, and Focus Stacking, with extra Extensions anticipated in 2023.

Luminar Neo Evaluation (Up to date for January 2023)

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, v1.6.2, which was launched in December 2022 with assist for the assorted Luminar Extensions.

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 now not capable of set up third-party plugins in Luminar Neo (akin to Topaz Gigapixel, for enlargements) – one thing you have been capable of 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 onerous 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 cellular app Luminar Share.

2. Importing & Shopping Pictures

Getting photos into Neo is straightforward 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 collection of images in your onerous drive, click on Add, after which every thing all of the sudden 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 necessary to notice that images 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 drawbacks.

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 until: a) you’re prepared to maintain the cardboard within the card reader till you’re completed with the pictures, or b) you switch the pictures to your onerous drive first, then add the images to Neo from that new location.

Confused? Mainly, when your images are moved or deleted in your onerous 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 exterior of Neo.

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

For a lot of photographers, Luminar Neo’s file browser method to file administration shall be a breath of recent air – there’s near zero wait time for images to seem 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 modifying software program, Luminar Neo isn’t an acceptable alternative.

It’s additionally value noting that you could add images from exterior onerous drives and even network-attached storage (NAS), however as quickly as you detach the units, Neo will now not be capable 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, it’s important to admire the simplicity of photograph 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
  • Just lately Added
  • Just lately Edited
  • Trash

Hovering over every title reveals the variety of photos in every case, and ‘Just lately Added’ and ‘Just lately Edited’ provide drop downs which reveal the dates the actions have been carried out.

Below this, the ‘Folders’ stage homes any folder out of your onerous 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’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 possibly can’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 photograph view exhibits a filmstrip beneath – 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

Apart from 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 images.

‘Open In’ lets you open the photograph in varied apps it’s possible 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 an eye fixed icon which exhibits a earlier than (unedited) model of your picture, though I nonetheless favor the implementation of the Earlier than/After instrument in Luminar AI.

One slight annoyance is the frustratingly slender aspect scroll bar, which solely comes into partial view once 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 woman’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 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 may finest complement your photograph, based mostly on its perceived contents.

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

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Clicking into every foremost 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.

Relatively than complicating the method of photograph 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.

With the ability to ‘again off’ the results of a preset could 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 guide and automatic modifying instruments of Luminar Neo. In its ‘Instruments’ panel, you’ve acquired the next:


  • Develop
  • Improve AI
  • Erase
  • Construction AI
  • Colour
  • 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
  • Colour 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 once you’re extra comfy with the fundamental performance of every instrument.

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

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

Subsequent to ‘Instruments’ is the ‘Edits’ panel, which is form of like Lightroom’s Historical past instrument, protecting 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 shall 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 photograph.

Screen showing various edits applied automatically when choosing preset.

Presets might be considered 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 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 collection of overlays which you’ll add to your picture to provide varied results: ‘Flares’, ‘Gentle Leaks’, ‘Sparklers’ and ‘Stardust Bokeh’.

You may as well load any picture out of your onerous drive to make use of as a layer for a double publicity impact. Any layer’s opacity and mixing mode might be altered to attain your required look.

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

As you possibly can see within the earlier than/after above, I used to be in a position so as to add a cool flare/gentle leak impact to a picture from a current marriage ceremony I shot utilizing the brand new Layers function and the outcomes look nice.

(I additionally utilized one of many Presets that Luminar Neo beneficial – all up, all the edit took lower than a minute.)

7. Normal Modifying Instruments

Using the basic develop editing tools in the software.

Clicking instruments reveal varied choices for full guide management over modifying.

For photographers who wish to take a guide method to their photograph modifying, 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 provide your picture a pleasant increase.

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

(In accordance with a Skylum rep who talked to PCMag, Luminar Neo features a database of lens and digital camera profiles which might be used behind the scenes for these varied optical corrections. For something that doesn’t exist within the database, it makes use of normal algorithms.)

Below the ‘Develop’ panel, there’s a combination of AI-powered instruments and extra acquainted normal ones akin to ‘Vignette’ and ‘Particulars’.

Confusingly, ‘Colour’ 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 just like Photoshop’s content-aware spot therapeutic instrument, albeit however with no further clicks.

Additionally of word 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 modifying course of extra accessible to the typical particular person. Whereas in Lightroom, you’d must twiddle with color temperature, readability and varied different instruments to get a golden hour impact, in Luminar Neo, you will get the identical lead to a single click on.

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

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

forest with trees in foregroundsun rays streaming through trees in forest

Where is options to control the look of the sunrays

Varied choices finetune the look of the solar rays.

The ‘after’ picture above is simply from making use of the default sunrays settings – from right here, you need to use varied different sliders to fine-tune the look to your desire – see the screenshot above which exhibits the choices.

The ‘Portrait’ panel accommodates largely AI instruments, and eventually, the ‘Skilled’ panel, which homes ‘Supercontrast’ and ‘Colour Concord’.

‘Supercontrast’ lets you modify the highlights, mid tones and shadows distinction individually, then use steadiness sliders to fine-tune the adjustment.

‘Colour Concord’ offers with ‘Brilliance’ and ‘Heat’, which appear just like ‘Saturation’ and ‘Colour Temperature’ discovered elsewhere within the panel.

Below this, you’ve acquired ‘Colour Distinction’, ‘Break up Colour Heat’ and ‘Colour Steadiness’, which lets you individually modify the colors within the shadows, mid tones or highlights.

8. AI Modifying Instruments

Using portrait facial recognition tool in Neo

Lifelike portrait manipulation is properly throughout the grasp of anybody. Picture: Maria Lysenko

OK, so that is the place all of the enjoyable begins.

For those who’ve learn every other Lumnar Neo evaluate, you’ve little question already been bombarded by photos of skies being changed and faces slimmed – it’s straightforward to turn into desensitized by simply how extremely easy and reasonable complicated photograph manipulation has turn into.

In a nutshell, Luminar Neo presents a set of non-destructive RAW modifying instruments powered by synthetic intelligence that allows you to perform complicated modifying duties in simply a few clicks.

Whereas a number of of Luminar Neo’s much-touted AI modifying instruments are literally accessible in some type or one other in Photoshop and elsewhere, the way in which they’re offered in Neo is way more user-friendly.

Right here’s the present collection of AI instruments:

  • Masks AI
  • Portrait Background Remover AI (New!)
  • Crop AI
  • Improve AI
  • Construction AI
  • Relight AI
  • Sky AI
  • Environment AI
  • Portrait Bokeh AI
  • Face AI
  • Pores and skin AI
  • Physique AI

I’ve examined all of the accessible instruments and may affirm that they work exceptionally properly within the majority of instances.

As an expert photographer with over 10 years of expertise modifying images, I’ve no use for sure AI instruments provided by Luminar Neo.

I can obtain related outcomes to ‘Crop AI’, ‘Improve AI’ and ‘Construction AI’ manually through the use of instruments present in the usual adjustment panels.

Issues like including reasonable bokeh to a picture, eradicating a background or relighting a scene (controlling foreground and background brightness), I can undoubtedly deal with, however it takes appreciable time to do correctly.

Nonetheless, I draw the road at changing a whole sky, altering the form of a topic’s physique or performing delicate facial retouching. That is the realm of an expert retoucher with years of expertise.

With Luminar Neo, you possibly can obtain all of the above in a few clicks – typically, with only one click on, like within the instance of the Eiffel Tower beneath.

I may present you earlier than and after photos of the results of those AI instruments, however to be trustworthy, they’re all finest illustrated proper right here on the Luminar homepage – you possibly can even click on and work together with among the instruments in real-time.

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Out of all of the AI-powered instruments, Sky AI remains to be my favorite and most spectacular. Whether or not your photograph is a pure panorama or an city scene with individuals and buildings, Neo does a jaw-dropping job of swapping out the sky and relighting the scene to go well with.

Eiffel tower on cloudy day

Close-up of Eiffel Tower showing sunset through beams

100% zoom highlights the fragile masking of recent sky by the tower.

Even when your authentic photograph is a cloudless scene at noon, you may make it seem like a sundown shot in a few seconds.

You’ll be able to see within the screenshot above the unbelievable stage of element retained by the Sky AI instrument – each hole within the Eiffel Tower exhibits the alternative sky by it! Cloning and masking one thing like this in Photoshop would take hours and a really expert hand.

I’m additionally impressed with the Portrait enhancement instruments which may carry out edits to faces and our bodies that might rival even the most effective skilled retouchers.

I can see the portrait manipulating options being helpful for rapidly modifying selfies to be shared on social media – issues like whitening enamel, smoothing pores and skin and even altering eye color might be finished in a few seconds with Luminar Neo.

Apart from the flexibility to slim faces, darken lips and whiten enamel, by far essentially the most helpful utility in my view is the flexibility to manage the face gentle even in images of a number of individuals – that is extremely useful for me when modifying household teams, with the software program controlling the brightness of every face within the photograph.

You’ll be able to see within the ‘After’ picture above how the software program makes use of synthetic intelligence to recognise every of the topics’ faces for me to manually add the Face Gentle function with the slider.

(For those who look intently, you’ll discover the second woman’s face is unaffected by the instrument, presumably as a result of the Face Gentle instrument has introduced the publicity up on the opposite ladies’ faces to match hers.)

One other useful gizmo which is unique to Luminar Neo is the Portrait Bokeh AI function, which utilizing AI to recognise the topic(s) in your photograph, separating them from the background so a fake-bokeh might be utilized (blurring the background).

Fake bokeh applied to background

Portrait Bokeh AI lets you management the background individually from the foreground to introduce a faux bokeh impact which might be manually adjusted utilizing a masks (proven in pink).

Portrait Bokeh AI is helpful for photographers who don’t personal costly ‘quick’ lenses, or when photographing teams akin to within the instance above, the place utilizing a big aperture would usually render among the topics out of focus.

One other key function of the most recent Luminar Neo launch is the long-anticipated Masks AI, which makes use of a neural community to detect as much as 9 separate components in a photograph: individuals, skies, structure, transportation, water, flora, mountains, pure floor, and synthetic floor.

In different modifying software program, masking includes a tedious technique of manually ‘portray’ areas with a masking brush. That is now not mandatory in Luminar Neo, with the Masks AI doing all of it for you robotically… though with blended outcomes.

In follow, I discovered that the instrument did a blended job of figuring out components in a photograph – as you possibly can see within the screenshot beneath, it appropriately recognised a human, sky, flora and mountains, however incorrectly noticed structure and man-made floor.

Clicking every of the weather to view the masks revealed additional inconsistencies – whereas the topic and sky have been spot on, the opposite components weren’t so correct.

That is the place the guide instruments are available, with the brand new Gradient and Radial masks used along side the common brush permitting you to fine-tune every thing.

AI masking function finding subjects in a photo

AI Masks appropriately identifies some components in photograph.

I just like the course Masks AI is taking the software program, however admit that there’s nonetheless some option to come. It does an honest job when the photograph accommodates very distinct components, however after all, this isn’t all the time the case with pictures.

One good function of Masks AI is the flexibility to repeat and paste changes to subsequent photos, with masks making use of changes solely to the identical masked areas – i.e. it intelligently recognises the identical factor in every photograph.

One other thrilling new function that was launched just lately is the Background Removing instrument, nestled away within the ‘Layer Properties’ panel – choosing the ‘Portrait Background’ instrument, then clicking ‘Take away’.

Relying on the complexity of your scene, it could do a reasonably good beginning job at eliminating the background – something that the AI misses might be added or subtracted utilizing the ‘Refinements Brush’.

While you’re pleased with the outcomes, you possibly can export the ultimate picture as a PNG, then reimport it as a picture within the Layers panel – as soon as it’s there, you possibly can drag and drop the PNG onto every other photograph you want, successfully creating a brand new background to your topic.

9. Output and Sharing

Luminar Neo sharing options

Sharing choices are undoubtedly restricted.

When you’ve finished modifying your images, it’s possible you’ll be questioning what subsequent – how do you get your images out of Luminar Neo?

The reply lies in a tiny share button positioned within the high proper nook of Neo – clicking it reveals 4 sharing choices: ‘Disk’, ‘Messages’, ‘Mail’ or ‘Share to System’ through the companion app.

Why Skylum selected to not embody all these choices in a devoted export module baffles me.

One other weird omission is any devoted print module – the one option to print photos from Luminar Neo is by clicking File > Print within the high menu, which exports your chosen picture to your pc’s default print app.

The shortage of export and print choices is all moderately anti-climatic. After making your images look superb with all the assorted AI instruments, you’re left questioning why Skylum isn’t as excited as you to share or print them!

For skilled or eager hobbyist photographers, the shortcoming to manage export settings or the print course of shall be a deal-breaker.

Nonetheless, many photographers received’t care. It’s a easy course of, and on the finish of the day, you’re nonetheless capable of get your images out of Neo to retailer, share or print.

limited print options in Luminar Neo

Choosing Print from the menu simply launches your default OS print display screen.

The choice to ‘Share to System’ is an odd one. You’re instructed to scan a QR code utilizing your telephone to attach the Luminar Share app to the desktop Neo software program.

From right here, you possibly can ‘Ship Images to Luminar Neo’ or ‘Mirror Luminar Neo’ – the latter possibility permits you to see any edits you make to your picture in real-time.

At first, I dismissed the companion app as utterly ineffective, however in time I realised its enchantment to Instagrammers particularly as a option to share Luminar Neo creations on Instagram in fewer steps. It’s additionally a helpful direct option to switch any photos shot in your telephone to Neo.

10. Efficiency

High CPU usage of Luminar Neo while using certain features.

AI instruments trigger very quick CPU spikes.

Since testing a buggy and frustratingly gradual early entry model for my preliminary (scathing) Luminar Neo evaluate, I’ve to say issues have improved within the efficiency division.

Nonetheless, there are nonetheless some points with velocity, most notably once you apply presets or use any of the processor-intensive AI instruments for the primary time.

We have been promised a a lot quicker expertise with Luminar Neo when in comparison with its predecessors. Whereas I admit the AI instruments are definitely faster than Luminar AI, there’s nonetheless room for enchancment.

Clicking ‘Sky AI’, for instance, includes a few seconds watch for the brand new sky to be added. Nonetheless, any subsequent skies are inserted virtually immediately.

Luminar Neo’s imaging engine wants a few seconds to analyse the contents of your photograph – when that’s full, making varied adjustments throughout the identical instrument is a comparatively quick and clean course of.

In testing, I used Mac OS’s Exercise Monitor to see what’s occurring underneath the hood of Luminar Neo, and positive sufficient, the AI instruments trigger a pointy spike in CPU utilization, which rapidly dissipates to regular ranges.

For the reason that CPU spikes are so short-lived (2-4 seconds), they don’t have an effect on the steadiness of any purposes you could have working within the background. Nonetheless, these spikes could have been the explanation for the software program to sometimes crash like Lightroom and every other processor-intensive modifying software program.

One factor I want to see in Luminar Neo is a few form of indication that the software program is processing a job – it may be fairly disconcerting to be ready with out realizing if something is definitely occurring. A easy spinning wheel on the cursor would suffice.

Apart from the headline AI options, every thing else capabilities properly with good responsiveness and clean transitions.

There’s little to no delay when switching between the ‘Catalog’, ‘Presets’ and ‘Edit’ modules, which is one thing Lightroom normally struggles with.

Including photos to Luminar Neo is lightning quick, though you do want to attend a second for the picture to render if you wish to edit it.

All in all, so long as your pc meets and ideally exceeds the minimal system necessities and also you’re conscious of the shortage of any indication that a picture is processing, utilizing Neo is way much less irritating than it was.

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11. Extensions

extensions screen in neo

Neo might be enhanced with Extensions.

A key good thing about Luminar Neo over its earlier variations is that it’s constructed on a modular framework – which means Skylum can present vital upgrades to the bottom software program with extensions, a bit like third get together plugins do with different modifying software program.

A current instance of that is the HDR Merge Extension which lets you create high-dynamic-range photos from as much as 10-bracketed photos or simulate the impact by rising the dynamic vary from a single photograph.

Different options embody auto-alignment of a number of photos for when your pictures are barely misaligned (helpful for hand-held pictures), and ghost-reduction when there’s a shifting object in your in any other case nonetheless shot.

sample neo hdr

HDR can squeeze each final element and color out of your photos.

HDR pictures is a well-liked method for panorama, structure, and actual property photographers particularly, or anybody who desires to deliver out particulars in underexposed nighttime images or fine-tune photos with publicity points.

For the reason that merge performance is housed inside Neo, you possibly can nonetheless make the most of all of Neo’s different modifying instruments after producing your HDR picture.

HDR Merge solely works as a paid extension inside Luminar Neo – to activate it, you’ll want to click on on the extension button close to the Luminar brand. As soon as bought, it may be discovered within the aspect panel of the Catalog module.

Yow will discover out extra concerning the HDR Merge extension and the assorted methods to get it right here.

One other thrilling new extension is AI Background Removing which lets you take away the background from behind the primary topic of your photograph, then change it with something you want. That is particularly useful for product pictures.

Upscale AI is a superb extension that helps with picture resizing, permitting you to upscale a photograph as much as 6x and enhance picture decision in a pure approach. That is nice if you’ll want to digitally ‘zoom in’ on a component in a photograph or put together a picture for print and maximise print high quality.

Then there’s Background Removing which does precisely what you’d count on, Supersharp AI for sharpening your photos, and FocusStacking, which is especially helpful for panorama and macro pictures.

Most just lately with Luminar Neo replace 1.6.0 in December 2022, Magic LightAI joined the present household of extensions.

This thrilling new instrument analyzes the photograph and appears for any factors emitting gentle, then permits you to make them extra intense, add beams and modify the glow.

Be aware that Magic LightAI and all different Extensions can be found in Luminar Neo for Professional Plan month-to-month and yearly subscribers in addition to for homeowners of the Extensions Pack. Moreover, Extensions can now be bought individually.

With extra extensions nonetheless to be launched, that is an thrilling time – I’ll be steadily updating this Luminar Neo evaluate to maintain up with all the most recent options.

Is It Price Shopping for Luminar Neo?

Price of Luminar software

The flexibility to purchase Neo as a one-off buy is especially engaging.

Purchase Luminar Neo if:

  • You need to save time modifying images – there’s no denying how helpful the AI instruments are in Lumianr Neo. There’s no easier and quicker option to carry out sure complicated edits, and the one-click presets make your images undeniably prettier.
  • You don’t need to pay for an Adobe subscription – whereas Luminar Neo is certainly not a alternative for Lightroom or Photoshop, it does provide a lot of their instruments and a number of other that don’t exist on both platform.

Luminar Neo might be purchased outright for a similar worth as just a few months’ Adobe subscription, making it nice worth for cash.

  • You discover Photoshop too difficult – once more, they’re very completely different packages, however Neo will help you carry out difficult picture edits in seconds that may take you hours in Photoshop.
  • You need to have enjoyable along with your photograph modifying – enjoying round in Neo is enjoyable. The interface encourages experimentation, and gear labeling is usually easy and self-explanatory.
  • You’re a heavy Instagram person and want a easy option to polish and share images

Don’t Purchase Luminar Neo if:

  • You want highly effective photograph administration instruments – Neo is extra of a photograph browser than it’s a photograph supervisor. The distinct lack of keywording/tagging/sorting instruments makes it a no-go for execs who require this performance.
  • You want varied print choices – there’s no option to print photograph sheets, collages, and so forth. You’ll be able to solely management print sizes from inside your pc’s default printing app.
  • You want an built-in cellular modifying app – when you can wirelessly switch photos to and from Luminar Neo to the smartphone app, you possibly can’t do a lot else with it. It’s a far cry from the wonderful Lightroom Cellular app.
  • You already personal Luminar AI – there’s little must improve at this level until you actually need one of many aforementioned instruments that the older software program is missing.
  • You don’t have a robust PC or Mac – test the minimal system necessities beneath. For those who don’t meet them, the modifying expertise shall be sluggish.

Alternate options to Luminar NEO

  • Adobe Photoshop – a robust vector graphics editor and picture manipulator with a steep studying curve. Photoshop can change skies and carry out portrait retouching like Neo, however it’s a lot much less user-friendly and in addition requires a month-to-month subscription.
  • GIMP – a free, open-source different to Neo with a moderately dated interface and no AI-powered instruments. It’s additionally not appropriate for batch modifying or managing a photograph library.


What are the System Necessities?


  • MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Professional, iMac, iMac Professional, Mac Professional, Mac mini, early 2010 or newer
  • CPU Intel® Core™ i5 or higher
  • Reminiscence 8 GB RAM or extra (16+ GB RAM is beneficial)
  • macOS 10.14.6 or greater. IMPORTANT: macOS 10.13 will not be supported.
  • Laborious disk 10 GB free house; SSD for finest efficiency
  • Show 1280×768 measurement or higher


Home windows:

  • Home windows-based {hardware} PC with mouse or related enter machine
  • CPU Intel® Core™ i5 or higher, AMD Ryzen™ 5 or higher
  • Open GL 3.3 or later suitable Graphics Playing cards
  • Reminiscence 8 GB RAM or extra (16+ GB RAM is beneficial)
  • Working System Home windows 10 model 1909 or greater (solely 64-bit OS).
  • Laborious disk 10 GB free house; SSD for finest efficiency
  • Show 1280×768 measurement or higher

What are the Supported Languages

  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • Chinese language Simplified
  • Chinese language Conventional
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Dutch

Extra information right here.

[/item] What’s the newest model of Luminar Neo?

Common Updates

In Replace 1.6.2, Extensions have been improved.

Now the Upscale AI and Supersharp AI Extensions have built-in Face Enhancer AI expertise, which suggests these instruments can improve faces and make them seem clearer and sharper in blurry or low-resolution images.

On high of that, they’ve mounted quite a lot of bugs, so Luminar Neo works much more easily. 

In Replace 1.6.1, imports have been sped up and every thing appears to run extra easily. There’s additionally further localization choices for non-EN talking nations.


Bug fixes:

Easily use shortcuts (rotate, return to authentic measurement, match to display screen, zoom in/out) within the Luminar Neo Apple Images Extension

Get Preset suggestions with the For This Photograph function just for the bottom layer picture

Launch Luminar Neo with a catalog positioned on network-attached storage with out receiving a “connect with server downside” alert

Export in .jp2 format with out EXIF knowledge getting erased by Luminar Neo

Home windows

Bug fixes:

Drag and drop information to Luminar Neo’s gallery and easily add them to Single Picture Edits

Navigate to Extras with out Instruments disappearing from the Edit panel

Open a Luminar Neo catalog with a protracted path with out infinitely increasing the Chosen catalog window

Swap from Edit to Preset mode and have the Presets within the For This Photograph function displayed appropriately (not blinking)

How A lot Does Luminar Neo Value?

Luminar Neo is obtainable in 2 Plans: a Subscription for US$59 and a One-time buy for US$79.

(Each choices include a 30-day money-back assure.)

You’ll be able to select between 1 or 2 ‘seats’, permitting you to make use of Neo on 1 or 2 computer systems.

Our advice: Purchase Luminar Neo for a one-time buy with 2 seats. That is the most effective worth for cash, and you need to use the code beneath.

There are different plans which embody a Luminar X Membership, the Extensions Pack, and varied presets as items – for the reason that presents incessantly change, faucet the button beneath to see precisely what’s accessible immediately.

Luminar Neo Code – $10 Low cost

Skylum has offered a limited-time Luminar Neo code to save lots of $10 on the one-time buy plan – use it quickly earlier than it expires.

Code: shotkit10neo

(The code will also be used along side any present discounted Neo worth however is barely legitimate on the one-time buy plan.)

To make use of the low cost code, click on the button beneath, then click on one of many Purchase Now buttons, then click on the blue ‘Enter Promotional Code’ textual content and enter shotkit10neo and eventually click on Apply.

Remaining Phrases

There’s no denying that Luminar Neo has some spectacular get together methods.

The whole focus of the Skylum advertising and the furore surrounding its launch has been on these headline AI options, and in that, Neo utterly delivers.

As a ‘common’ picture editor, it presents all of the instruments most photographers will ever want for a guide modifying expertise.

The place it falls quick, nevertheless, is as a one-stop-shop for all of your photograph administration/modifying wants – this is the reason it’s additionally been developed as a free plugin for Lightroom, a far superior DAM.

At first, I believed an expert photographer like me would don’t have any want for Luminar Neo, however I used to be incorrect. The truth is, I discover myself opening Neo to carry out fast picture edits that may usually take for much longer or simply merely to have a mess around with my images.

It’s on this experimentation that I’ve grown to get pleasure from utilizing Luminar Neo – modifying images is now not a laborious job, or a way to an finish.

Moreover, for newbie photographers or these merely unaccustomed to complicated post-production methods, Luminar Neo is a silver bullet to attaining issues that may in any other case be unattainable.

When you settle for Luminar Neo for what it’s, it’s onerous to withstand. It’s a easy, highly effective, satisfying and inexpensive software program which continues to enhance.

Assets & References

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