Luminar software has been leading the industry when it comes to artificial intelligence photo editing for years, and now, they are taking things even further with Luminar Neo.
If you're familiar with Luminar AI, Luminar Neo will feel familiar, but under the hood, it's all new. Now, instead of saving all photo edits in your computer's RAM, Luminar Neo saves each individual edit separately in a "history style" panel where each edit almost acts as its own layer. The problem with this design change is that complex editing can become confusing at times, but this decision was made to enhance both speed and reliability. Luminar has never been very quick, and Neo is certainly the fastest Luminar software I've used.
I spoke to the developers at Luminar, and they told me that software like Lightroom is fast because Adobe purposefully limits its functionality so that it is able to edit hundreds or thousands of images at once. The AI editing done in Luminar is far more processor-intensive than your average global edits; therefore, changes needed to be made to make the editing process quicker.
Two of the new AI eraser features in Neo are automatic dust and power line removal. As with any 100% "automatic" feature, it's not always perfect, but these features worked far better than I could have ever imagined.
Neo also has a "Relight" feature that finds the subject and then makes a depth map of the background and allows you to edit portions of each separately. Of course, you could spend 20 minutes with the Pen Tool in Photoshop, cutting everything manually, but Neo does an amazing job, instantly and automatically.
The other new update is the companion app, Luminar Share, which works in conjunction with Neo on a mobile device. This app allows you to wirelessly send images from your phone to your computer, and once you've edited your shot, it will automatically send the finished file back to your mobile device for sharing.
Check out the video above to see Luminar Neo in action. Depending on your style of shooting and editing, Neo could save you hours in editing. At the very least, it's worth checking out the free trial.
I'm afraid I beg to differ.
I've tried Neo and along with every one of its predecessors, it's useless.
Back when Skylum had its annual fundraising campaign (i.e. pre-sale) and I commented on a fstoppers promotion article how shady this company is with its business practices, their marketing sharks were quick to jump in to do damage control.
Here we are now and as I predicted, or rather expected if you've followed this company over the years; the software would be incompatible with its previous version, it would be riddled with bugs, have performance issues and missing features that were promised. - Well, all that was correct but I did not expect how bad it would be this time around, they really topped it this year. Not only was the release 3 months late but even with the additional time, literally half of the features are missing. Not just new features but ones that were existing in previous versions. Here's just a sample by Matt Suess: https://youtu.be/o4q_Q2dMyys?t=1639.
If you want the full picture of everything broken, missing and slow, make sure to check out the Luminar Neo forums which have amassed hundreds of posts already only a few days after release. Of course, Skylum promises to fix all the issues in those magical "future updates" that never come. Like their marketing, these promises are is just hot air, nothing more. Looking forward to 6 months from now when the fundraising campaign starts up again for the successor of Luminar Neo, despite Neo still running like a dog.
I feel that every Luminar article should include a PSA about what's wrong with this software and this shady company. This isn't just a personal opinion, Skylum has a verifiable track record for several years now in the dubious business practices they employ. The proof lies right there in the Skylum forums.
I'm honestly not that deep into Skylum software that I know what's missing and what isn't. They've sponsored many videos in the past and I have become a fan of the software after using it and I occasionally use it for personal work. Is it sometimes slow, or does it sometimes crash? Absolutely, but Neo is faster than the preview versions I've used, and in my quick tests, it never crashed on me.
I'm sure the critiques of the software are fair though and as with any software, I highly suggest trying it for yourself before buying it.