In this video, I will give you a demonstration of the newest Luminar Flex Plugin from Skylum. There is some confusion around it, so I will also try to explain some of the differences between Flex and Luminar 3 so you can decide which is right for you.
What is Luminar Flex?
First of all, let’s establish what Luminar Flex is and what it is not.
Flex is designed as a plugin to work within other photo editing software. That means you can use Luminar Flex inside any of the following host applications:
- Photoshop CC (Window and Mac OS)
- Photoshop Elements (Mac OS)
- Lightroom Classic CC (Window and Mac OS)
- Apple Photos (Mac)
- Apple Aperture (on Mac, if you’re still running it)
Luminar Flex is NOT designed to be a stand-alone product. So while you currently can open it as such, future plans will see that option disappear.
Should You choose Luminar Flex or Luminar 3?
The simple answer here is if you are using one of the programs listed above as your primary image editor, then you will want to choose Luminar Flex. If you do not have another editor and you want to use Luminar for all your processing needs, then choose Luminar 3.
It gets more complicated because currently Luminar 3 (and Luminar 2018 if you’re still using that version) still functions as a plugin as well. But again, that functionality will be removed in future versions such as Luminar 4 and beyond.
So base your choice on what the future holds and your own needs.
- Luminar Flex – if you use Lightroom, Photoshop or Photos are your main editor.
- Luminar 3 if you do not. Don’t let all the tech stuff complicate matters, it can be this simple.
How Luminar Flex Works
Okay so let’s take a look at how the Luminar Flex Plugin works. Watch the video below and then scroll down to get more info and details if it sounds like a fit for you and your workflow.
So, what do you think? It does a pretty nice job right?
Features and what’s new for Luminar Flex 1.1
Luminar Flex Plugin has actually been available for a while now but I have only just installed it. So I can’t speak to what is new or how it compares to version 1.0. But I can tell you what it has now and what it does.
Here are a few reasons why you may want to add Luminar Flex to your existing workflow, as I have done.
Flex Can Do Things Lightroom Cannot
Flex will work with layers, masking, texture overlays, do more targeted sharpening and detail enhancing (by small, medium or large details), and more.
Flex Helps Save Time With AI Filters
– the Accent AI and AI Sky Enhancer make editing photos super fast and easy, sometimes this is all you need.
Flex Looks Allows You to Save Time and Get Creative
Looks allow you to experiment and create recipes for your photos quickly and easily.
Boost Creativity With Unique Filters
Filters like Sunrays, Golden Hour, Orton Effect, LUTs and more. These allow you to do things that are complicated and possible only inside Photoshop much easier and faster to do.
Flex Allows For Non-destructive Editing in Photoshop
The Flex Plugin now works as a Smart Filter in Photoshop which means you can return to edit or change the settings at any time for truly non-destructive editing.
Here is a before and after of one of the images I used in the video demonstration, showing what a nice job the AI filters do.
What’s New in Luminar Flex 1.1
If you have already got a copy of Flex this is what’s new in this latest update.
- Accent AI 2.0 – this filter has been updated to match that of the one inside Luminar 3. It does a really nice job knowing which is skin tones and keeping faces looking natural. It also does a really good job on images with a dark subject and washed out sky without creating the dreaded halo around the subject (like the one above).
- Filters Catalog launches by default. Now when Flex opens the Filter catalog is there for you to work with automatically. There is also a category for “recently used” which shows you the filters you’ve worked with most often in recent history.
- Easier management of Looks – how you can quickly add a new Looks pack by choosing File > Add Luminar Looks. You can also access any custom Looks you’ve saved or created with File > Show Luminar Looks Folder. This allows you to back them up, move them or even share them.
- Custom workspaces – now you can save your own Luminar Flex workspace.
- Performance updates – this includes several speed upgrades and bug fixes.
Here is another before/after example.
How much is Flex?
Other notes and things I mentioned in the video
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few other things I mentioned in the video and a couple more example images.
If you want to check out more Looks for Luminar Flex head over to the Luminar Marketplace. There you can find new Looks, LUTs, texture overlays and more. You can find the Looks and Textures I mentioned in the video by Nicole S. Young over on her site here.
Switching from Luminar 3 to Flex
If you already have Luminar 3 but you use it as a plugin for LR and/or PS, you have the option of swapping your license for Luminar Flex. Just contact the support team at Skylum and they will help you. You can also get a copy of the bonus Looks if you already own Flex.
Here are two more before/after examples of images processed using the Luminar Flex Plugin.
Skylum Discount Code
Remember, if you want to buy Luminar Flex, Luminar 3 or Aurora HDR you can get $10 off if you use the following discount code when you get to the checkout page:
If you get it and give it a go, please share your images in the comments below. I’d love to hear and see how you make out with it.
P.S. It really helps when our readers share our articles to their social media channels. Please share this using the buttons below if you found value in it.