There is much confusion and controversy over the upcoming release of Luminar Neo by Skylum. So in this article, I will give you a quick sneak peek at three of the new tools that will be inside Luminar Neo, and answer some FAQs. This is not a Luminar Neo review per-se, as I’m not using the final version. This is a review of the tools I’ve been given to demonstrate.
I’ll try to answer all the questions you might have and show you some of the capabilities of this much-anticipated software.
What can Luminar Neo do?
First, the fun stuff – let’s see what is inside Luminar Neo!
I was able to get my hands on an early trial version of Luminar Neo. It’s so early that it’s not even a beta. They are calling it a “technical version”.
NOTE: Please note that what you will see in my demo video is not how the final interface or program will look. This is a test version sent to partners and ambassadors just so we can try it and demonstrate a few of the tools.
It currently only has three tools in this technical version. They are:
- Dust Removal AI
- Powerline Removal AI
- Relight AI
These are brand new artificial intelligence-powered tools not available in previous versions of Luminar.
With a single click, you are supposed to be able to remove dust spots and powerlines from your images. Then a few sliders can adjust or fix lighting in your image to bring out the subject or tone down a background.
But does it deliver? Does Luminar Neo do the things it claims? So far – YES!
Watch the video below to see how impressed I was with these new tools.
Are you at least somewhat impressed and curious to know more? If so, make sure you watch the video below as well to get all your questions answered.
Here are a few of the before and after examples that I showed in the video.
Luminar Neo Relight has huge potential
All three of the new tools performed really well, but the Relight AI tool is the one that I think has particularly a lot of potential.
I found it worked better on some images than others, and the depth mapping needs a bit of work. But again – keep in mind that this is a really early build that I’ve got and even by the time it ships this winter, there will likely be a lot of improvements made to it already.
It works almost like a fill flash or reflector on photos of people.
Relight AI also works on landscapes, city shots, street photography, etc. Look how well it worked on this image of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
How long would the edits above in the after images normally take you to do?
If you haven’t already watched the video above – do that now and you’ll see how fast I did it, real-time. Each of the final edits were done in less than about a minute, two minutes maximum.
Can you do that with your current photo editing software?
Even the new masking tools in Lightroom Classic can’t do it as fast. And although you can select the subject or the sky in Lightroom, you still have to make some adjustments. Plus the dust and powerlines would be a lot more work and you’d need Photoshop for that job.
That was done with ONE click for the wires (I also applied Relight) and although it’s certainly not perfect, I gave it an impossible task. But look at the sky area and building on the right? It’s actually done a great job there, 95% of the way.
This is actually usable with a bit more cleanup in the sky and the building front in the center. But wow hey?
What’s the scoop on Luminar Neo?
At this point, if you haven’t already decided whether or not to get Luminar Neo, you likely have a lot of questions about it. I’ve tried to answer as many of those as possible.
Please watch the video below now. I will answer all of the following questions:
- Why another version of Luminar? It is NOT an upgrade for Luminar AI or Luminar 4
- It IS an entirely new product added to the Luminar family
- Is it a good thing? – YES!
- What is the difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo?
- Will it work on Mac M1 machines?
- WIll it work with Windows 11?
- Can you use it as a plugin?
- For which programs can it be a plugin?
- Does it have layers?
- Will it be faster and work better?
- Who do I recommend Luminar Neo for? Who should get it?
- Who do I think should not get it and what do I suggest instead?
- Can I buy it once or is it a monthly subscription?
- Will Luminar AI templates work in Luminar Neo?
- Can you migrate or convert your Luminar AI catalog to work with it?
- Is Luminar AI dead?
- Will it do focus stacking, panorama stitching and exposure blending?
- and a few more . . .
If you have any questions about something I missed, please post them in the comment area at the bottom of the page and I’ll try to answer them for you.
Luminar Neo release date and pricing
Luminar Neo was introduced by Skylum a couple of months ago and is still currently available in the pre-order phase. The anticipated release date of Luminar Neo is the end of winter 2022.
Another question I answered in the video was, “Why should I buy it before it’s released and shipped?”
That answer is twofold. First, the closer we get to Luminar Neo’s release date, the higher the price gets – so if you pre-order it now, you will pay less than after it’s shipped.
Second, it’s risk-free because Skylum offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on it. So once you get it have had a chance to try it out, if you’re unhappy with Luminar Neo – just ask for a refund within 30 days of receipt of the software.
The bottom line on Luminar Neo
In summary, I recommend Luminar Neo for you if:
- If you own Luminar 3 or 4 – get it! It’s a no-brainer for you.
- If you use Luminar as a plugin now for Photoshop or Lightroom.
- If you use Luminar AI and want more.
- If you use PS or LR as your main editor but you want some automation and to take advantage of the AI tools. I recommend getting it and using it as a plugin. THIS is what I do.
- You want a robust editor but do NOT want to pay Adobe’s monthly subscription.
I currently use Lightroom for my image sorting and basic edits. I’m pretty ingrained in Lightroom because I’ve been using it for about 15 years.
BUT I am also really in love with and committed to Luminar as a plugin. Each time they came out with a new version I was skeptical at first, but ultimately its performance wins me over every time. This is no exception.
I cannot wait to get the fully functioning beta version so I can really give Luminar Neo a test. As soon as I have it in my hands, you can be sure I’ll be back with another demonstration video for you!
So stay tuned!