Could 2022 Replace (Newest Professionals & Cons)

This Luminar Neo overview 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 straightforward to make use of interface, Luminar Neo has been the 12 months’s most eagerly anticipated launch – however does it stay as much as its hype?

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

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

Other than 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 technology?

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

All data is predicated on Luminar Neo v1.0.6 launched on Could 12, 2022.

What’s Luminar Neo?



  • Inexpensive one-time value
  • Straightforward 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

  • Sluggish to reply (initially)
  • Restricted picture administration options
  • Restricted print and export choices
  • Disappointing cellular 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 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 an entire novice to hold out immensely complicated picture 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 supplies a strong number of core enhancing instruments which rival different well-liked picture editors.

Quite a few Presets are equipped, (with extra obtainable to obtain/purchase), which apply instantaneous picture results to pictures 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 cellular app for iPhone and Android gadgets that lets you 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.

You can even set up Neo as a plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom Basic, 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 catalogue, whereas benefiting from the AI instruments in Neo, for instance.

Luminar Neo Evaluation (Up to date for Could 2022)

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

This Luminar Neo overview 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 Basic (in the event you’re already an Adobe person).

Surprisingly sufficient, you’re now not capable of set up third-party plugins in Luminar Neo (corresponding 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 house on my Mac’s arduous 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 cellular app Luminar Share.

2. Importing & Shopping Pictures

Screen showing importing of images to Luminar neo

Getting photographs into Neo is straightforward and quick.

Getting photographs 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 Photographs button does precisely that – you select a folder or number of photographs in your arduous drive, click on Add, after which every part all of the sudden seems in your Luminar catalogue.

Photographs 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 vital to notice that photographs 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 drawbacks.

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

Which means that you’re unable to import photographs to Neo out of your digital camera’s reminiscence card until: a) you’re keen 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 photographs to Neo from that new location.

Confused? Mainly, when your photographs are moved or deleted in your arduous 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 corresponding 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 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 photographs to seem within the software program, able to be edited.

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

It’s additionally value noting that you could add photographs from exterior arduous drives and even network-attached storage (NAS), however as quickly as you detach the gadgets, Neo will now not have the ability 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, you need 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 Photographs
  • 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’ supply drop downs which reveal the dates the actions had been carried out.

Underneath this, the ‘Folders’ degree homes any folder out of your arduous drive that you just 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 possibly can add a number of photographs to an album or create a brand new one by deciding on all of them and right-clicking to disclose the choices. Oddly, you may’t drag and drop the photographs into the Albums panel to create new albums.

4. Catalog Interface

Right clicking in the software reveals various options

Proper-clicking on photographs reveals varied choices.

Luminar Neo Catalog’s single picture view reveals a filmstrip beneath – right-clicking photographs 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

Other than the self-explanatory, ‘Set Flag’ lets you Favorite, Reject or Unmark, utilizing the identical shortcut keys as Lightroom, and ‘Changes’ can help you Sync, Copy or Paste any picture edits made throughout different photographs.

‘Open In’ lets you open the picture in varied apps chances are you’ll already personal: Photoshop, Lightroom, Photographs, 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 device in Luminar AI.

One slight annoyance is the frustratingly slim facet 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 picture comprises a woman’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 function 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 will greatest complement your picture, based mostly on its perceived contents.

In apply, in case your picture comprises an individual, ‘For This Picture’ will present presets greatest fitted to portrait pictures. If the picture is of a panorama, the AI suggestion will likely be presets corresponding 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.

Relatively 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 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 handbook and automatic enhancing instruments of Luminar Neo. In its ‘Instruments’ panel, you’ve bought 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 snug with the fundamental performance of every device.

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

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

Subsequent to ‘Instruments’ is the ‘Edits’ panel, which is sort of like Lightroom’s Historical past device, protecting 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 somewhat 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 picture.

Screen showing various edits applied automatically when choosing preset.

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

Whereas this enables for some granular management over the preset, it’s tough to inform what variations the person edits really made to your picture – selecting to manage every one seems 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 number of overlays which you’ll add to your picture to provide varied results: ‘Flares’, ‘Gentle 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 Picture RAW will likely be upset, but when all you need is a straightforward option to experiment together with your photographs, Neo comes up with the products.

7. Customary Modifying Instruments

Using the basic develop editing tools in the software.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Erase’ comprises 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 device, albeit however with no further clicks.

Additionally of word is the ‘Panorama’ device, 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 picture enhancing 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 ‘Artistic’ panel homes instruments that you really want to experiment with to grasp their impact, regardless of explanatory names corresponding to ‘Dramatic’, ‘Temper’ and ‘Mystical’.

My favorite is the ‘Sunrays’ device, which nonetheless blows my thoughts regardless of being a number of years previous. The flexibility to put a practical solar in your picture, and have the solar’s rays wrap round or poke by means of objects as if the complete scene had been three dimensional is solely unbelievable.

forest with trees in foregroundsun rays streaming through trees in forest