Finally, the new version of Skylum's Luminar software is available for sale and I can talk about it and show you around inside!
In a recent comprehensive review of the top photo editing software, Luminar seemed to be the clear favorite.
So, I'm super excited to show you the new Luminar 3 with Libraries!
Here's a quick promo video produced by Skylum to give you an idea what it's all about. I will show you more detail in my video down below.
This has been a long-awaited and much-anticipated release. I've chatted with a lot of people, and a poll we ran on the site a while ago indicates that people are ready for something new, ready for a change. Look at the results below, that speaks volumes right there.
Video Overview of Luminar 3 with Libraries
So without further delay, let's get right to it. Watch the video, then scroll down to get more information on Luminar and how you can order it.
Well, if you couldn't tell from the video, I was pretty impressed with their first run at making their image browser (libraries). Here are a few notes of things I talked about, and what's still to come for Luminar 3.
What's inside Luminar 3 now?
Here are some things that I really found useful and that worked well in Luminar 3 Libraries:
- Luminar 3 works real time: The first thing to know is that Luminar shows your folders and images in real time. So if you edit the folder name or move it on your computer, Luminar does the same. NO more lost images! If you rename or add a folder in Luminar it is also done on the hard drive. If that has been a frustration of yours using Lightroom, your worries are over!
- Import or add speed: The speed at which Luminar imported my folders and images was really impressive. The first one I added had over 8700 images and it took less than a minute. The second one has over 18,800 images and it took just shy of two minutes. I challenge you to do that with Lightroom. NOTE: I've heard that the PC or Windows version is running slower right now but I have not tested it, so can't address that.
- The Luminar Catalog: Luminar saves edits in “.state” files in the catalog it does not use or read XMP files. So I'm not sure about compatibility with other programs like Photoshop that use that format as a sidecar file to carry the edit information.
- Plugins – If you already have any plugins installed they are automatically available to you inside Luminar. They just show up automatically! How great is that?
- Presets/Looks – Just something to note if you've used a past version of Luminar is that Presets have been renamed and are now called “Looks”.
- Syncing edits – You can apply a set of edits to one image and then either copy and paste or sync them to another image or set of images. The drawback is that right now it’s all or nothing. So you cannot choose only some of the edits made. I suggest doing basic edits only first, apply the Sync, then continue editing each image individually.
- Luminar Reads Google Drive and DropBox folders – this is a huge bonus! I told our tour leader Kav (a pro stock and travel photographer) about this and his reaction was (and I quote him exactly), “NO WAY!!! That's actually flippin' cool!!” You can add folders from your Google Drive and/or DropBox and see and edit those images! Super handy indeed.
- Tagging/flagging – Just like LR and PS you can add a flag (pick), rating (1-5 stars) or color tag to your images for sorting purposes. Even the same keyboard shortcuts apply, making it really easy to consider a switch. Lots of stuff is intuitive and I just tried the keyboard to see if it worked and bingo!
- Sorting images – Inside Luminar you can decide how to sort your images and how to filter to see just certain ones. It’s limited now but more options are coming soon. For example, you can tell it to show only images flagged Favorites but not ones that are both Favorite and Red. You also cannot show only images based on metadata (lens, camera, date shot, etc.). But the Smart Search is coming soon in a future update.
- Folders – You can view all the images in one folder, recently added (by date), recently edited (by date) which is quite handy, and even under All Photos, it sorts them by date shot for you (year, month, day).
- Albums – you can also make albums (like Collections in LR) to make a virtual sort of your images. One image can be in more than one Album but your original files always live in the Folders.
What's not ready or coming soon?
- Metadata edits – Current you can't do this, but you will be able to add copyright information, keywords and do other metadata edits. File renaming hasn’t been mentioned.
- Virtual Copies – in LR you can make a copy of a thumbnail without duplicating the original image file and process two versions. You can't do that in Luminar 3 yet, but it's on the roadmap. You can also add any edits as a layer and turn them on/off to easily save two processed versions.
- Smart Search – the ability to search by keywords, EXIF data and more is coming.
- Lightroom migration – this could be a game changer if you want to completely replace Lightroom. I don't know any more about it, other than it's listed as “coming soon”.
To see more of what's already planned for future updates, visit the Luminar 3 Roadmap here.
Things it can't do and what to watch out for
- Batch Rename – Currently there is not an option to rename your images (one by one or in a batch) inside Luminar 3.
- See parent folders – This is something I've sent in as a feature request. It may not be as important to you but I want to see the main folder or drive where the folders that Luminar is showing live (top level).
Warning: Be very careful of the “Delete Folder” function inside Luminar. I saw a warning once when I tried it and then it disappeared. But it does say “Delete Forever” so take heed. If you click that it will not only remove the folder from Luminar but from your hard drive and all of its contents as well.
So if you've been on the fence, or waiting for the DAM (Digital Asset Management) component, now is the time to act.