In this Luminar Neo review, we take a look at version 1.0.5. of Skylum Software‘s AI-powered photo editor. Like Luminar AI, Skylum Luminar Neo applies artificial intelligence to dissolve complex photo editing processes into single clicks. For this reason, Luminar Neo is one of the best photo editors for beginners and experts in a rush.
However, Luminar Neo is not perfect. For instance, Neo’s photo management tools are basic, as is its implementation of layer-based photo editing. And proposed features such as Portrait Background Removal and Mask AI are yet to be released. But despite all this, Luminar Neo remains an innovative top-tier photo editor for a bargain price. So, is Luminar Neo worth it for you? Let’s find out. Jump to Conclusion | Buy Luminar Neo
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Table of Contents
- What is Luminar Neo
- Luminar Neo Release Date
- How much does Luminar Neo cost?
- Who is Luminar Neo for?
- What are the Key Features of Luminar Neo?
- How fast is Luminar Neo?
- Luminar Neo Discounts
- Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI
- Is Luminar Neo worth it?
- Recent Posts
- Luminar Neo FAQs
What is Luminar Neo
Luminar Neo is an AI-powered photo editor from Skylum Software. Released on the 17th of February; Luminar Neo succeeds Luminar 4 as Skylum’s enthusiast-orientated photo editor.
But unlike other enthusiast-grade photo editors; you don’t need to know much about photo editing to use Luminar Neo. In fact, Luminar Neo is no more difficult to use than the beginner-friendly Luminar AI. Read Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI.
The reason why Luminar Neo is so easy to use is down to its AI-powered photo editing tools. Unlike other applications that supply you with the tools to manually craft an effect, Luminar Neo offers the effect first. For instance, Luminar Neo has a tool called Sky Enhancer and another called Golden Hour Glow.
As a result, you don’t need to understand terms such as white balance, exposure, and tone curves to edit your photos with Luminar Neo. In fact, you don’t need to know much about photo editing at all.
Yet none of this is to say Luminar Neo is a dumbed-down photo editor for beginners. On the contrary, Luminar Neo produces results to match any photo editor on the market today. And thanks to AI-powered wonder tools such as Portrait Bokeh AI and Sky Replace AI – it has plenty to offer the seasoned photo editor too.
Luminar Neo Release Date
17th February 2022
How much does Luminar Neo cost?
$79 USD – Check Prices
Who is Luminar Neo for?
Is Luminar Neo good for Beginners?
Luminar Neo is excellent for beginners. If you have never edited your own photos before, Luminar Neo’s Presets offer you a one-click route to a well-processed image. And with tools such as Enhance AI and Structure AI, you’ll have no problem stepping up to make your own adjustments. In the video below, I show you how to edit a landscape photo with zero photo editing experience.
Is Luminar Neo good for Enthusiasts and Professionals?
Luminar Neo has much to offer experienced photo editors. First of all, it’s incredibly easy and quick to get good results compared to traditional photo editors. And unlike traditional editors, Luminar Neo automatically recognizes foregrounds from backgrounds, skies from land, and people from the scenery.
Therefore, you can process or replace a sky or enhance skin tones with no selective editing, brushing, or masking whatsoever.
But you should take care not to confuse Luminar Neo with something like Photoshop. Whilst Luminar Neo does have layers, there nowhere near as advanced as those in Photoshop. So if you tend to edit in layers or do a little graphics design – Luminar Neo is not for you.
What are the Key Features of Luminar Neo?
- Photo Management
- Sky AI
- Portrait Bokah AI
- Face and Skin AI
- Relight AI
- Erase AI
- Portrait Background Removal
Photo management in Luminar Neo is functional but basic. For instance, you can flag a photo as ‘Favorite’ or ‘Rejected’. And you can assign any single photo to any number of Albums of your own making.
However, you are unable to tag photos with keywords or set up smart searches. Nor does Luminar Neo feature more advanced features such as Geotagging and Face Recognition. Nevertheless, the interface is nice, clean, and pleasant to use.
Luminar Neo Presets
Presets in Luminar Neo work much the same as Templates in Luminar AI. In other words, you can use Presets to process your photo with a single click.
Furthermore, there are lots of presets to choose from. At present, Luminar Neo ships with 22 Preset Collections with themes such as Natural Skies, Urban Style, and Easy Landscapes. With each collection featuring between 5-6 different Presets – there really is something for everyone.
But if you’re still not satisfied, you can buy additional Presets from Skylum’s Market Place. Alternatively, you can make your own Presets by editing a photo and saving the sum of your edit for future use.
Luminar Neo features the latest version of Luminar AI’s Sky AI Sky Replacement tool. With Sky AI, it takes seconds to replace your photo’s sky. However, Luminar Neo goes a step beyond by relighting the scene to match the new sky. Luminar Neo will also map the new sky to any reflective surfaces in your photo. For all of these reasons, Luminar Neo’s Sky Replacement feature is remarkably convincing.
Whilst the quality of the result varies from photo-to-photo and sky-to-sky, you will be surprised just how well it works. Minor glitches are easily corrected and you can even blur the sky, warm it up, and even blur water to simulate a long exposure.
Luminar Neo includes more than 30 different skies for you to try. Varieties include sunny days, sunsets and sunrises, Storms, and Auroras. If you can’t find the Sky you’re looking for, you can upload your own or buy skies from Skylum’s Marketplace.
Portrait Bokeh AI
Luminar Neo’s Portrait Bokeh AI enables you to add background blur to any portrait or selfie you’ve ever taken. Like Sky AI, Portrait Bokeh AI works very well. Blurring your photo’s background blur is only a matter of dragging a slider.
If you want extreme blur, you can alter the bokeh’s depth for the kind of blur that would make some lenses blur. And if you want a bit of extra punch, you can brighten the highlights to add a little sparkle. In the video below, I show how easy it is to turn a basic selfie into a pro-like portrait.
Face and Skin AI
Luminar Neo’s Face AI and Skin AI is an extremely effective tool for correcting poor light and taking years off your subject.
Face AI enables you to relight your subject’s face. But more than that, you can slim faces, remove dark circles under eyes, redden lips, whiten teeth, and enhance eyebrows. Whereas Skin AI smooths out wrinkles and removes blemishes.
It’s powerful stuff and thanks to Luminar Neo’s AI-powered algorithms, you don’t need to mask or brush. Instead, all you have to do is pick an effect and slide in its strength.
Thanks to Luminar Neo’s AI-powered scene recognition, Relight AI automatically recognizes your photo’s foreground from its background – leaving you free to independently adjust the lighting of either.
Although Relight AI has a wide range of applications, it proves very useful for portraiture. In the video below, I use Relight AI to correct and enhance my backlit subject.
Luminar Neo’s Erase Tool is exactly that. Simply paint over what you want to go and so it shall be. There are also one-click options for removing Powerlines and Dust Spots.
My first impressions of Erase were very good. But after subsequent updates and extended use, I’ve found it to be hit-and-miss. I’ve rarely had good results with Powerline Removal as the photo below illustrates.
Luminar Neo features a simple but fun layer system. With layers, you can add one or many overlays such as Bokeh, light leaks, and flare. You can even blend in another photo.
Like other layer-based editors, you have the option to adjust layer opacity, order, and blend type. But unlike more comprehensive layer-based editors, you cannot add adjustment layers, vectors, and text. Still, it’s supremely easy to use and I like it a lot.
Portrait Background Removal AI
Luminar Neo will soon feature a background removal tool. But for now, we’re left with our imagination and a few vendor-supplied samples. If you would like to see more samples, check out Background Replacement with Luminar Neo.
How fast is Luminar Neo?
Luminar Neo is reasonably fast to use. Browsing from one photo to another is nice and quick whilst zooming and panning are quick enough. In terms of making adjustments, Luminar Neo is capable of keeping up with most of your actions in real-time. However, larger effects such as Sky Replacement and Background Blur take a little longer.
Luminar Neo is can slow down once a photo becomes burdened by a large number of adjustments. However, this was more apparent when I was stress-testing the product – rather than doing a legitimate photo edit.
Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that Luminar Neo is not the fastest photo editor on the market today. But while some photo editors are faster – they are far less automated and require more from you. If you are a well-seasoned photo editor – you may prefer a less intelligent but faster photo editor. But for everyone else, Luminar Neo offers a faster route to a well-processed photo regardless of lag.
Luminar Neo Discounts
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Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI
Not officially, but in practical terms, Luminar Neo has replaced Luminar AI. For a while, Templates were to remain exclusive to Luminar AI, thus differentiating the two products. But the release version of Luminar Neo also has Templates – now called Presets.
Furthermore, Luminar Neo has a similarly easy-to-use interface and shares all of Luminar AI’s tools plus more besides. None of this is to say Luminar AI isn’t very good as it is. But if you are buying today – buy Luminar Neo. Read Luminar AI vs Luminar Neo
Is Luminar Neo worth it?
Luminar Neo is one of the cheapest photo editors on the market today. In terms of value, Luminar Neo is in a class of its own.
If you are a beginner, Luminar Neo is a great place to begin your photo editing journey. And if you’re an advanced photo editor, Luminar Neo does things no other editors can. Thus, Luminar Neo might serve you well as a supplement to your favorite traditional photo editor.
But despite the inclusion of layers, Luminar Neo is not a cheap alternative to Photoshop. If you need advanced layer-based editing and graphics design on a small budget, skip Luminar Neo and try GIMP, ON1 Photo Raw, or ACDSee Ultimate 2022.
Luminar Neo is a superb photo editor that builds on the already-excellent Luminar AI. Despite being billed as an enthusiast-level editor, Luminar Neo is suitable for beginners and experts alike.
With Luminar Neo’s generous stock of Presets, you have an effortless one-click route towards a well-processed photo. And for some truly interesting results, you can add a few effects layers.
As for layers, they are fun and supremely easy to use. But because you cannot add adjustment layers, shapes, or text, Luminar Neo should not be considered a layer-based photo editor in the same vein as Photoshop, GIMP, or ACDSee Ultimate.
As for Luminar Neo’s other features, I really like Relight AI for tuning up my portraits. At one time, I was very impressed with Erase but it seems less reliable and effective than it did in Luminar Neo’s beta releases. But Luminar Neo owes its greatest tricks to Luminar AI. Sky AI is as fun as ever and Portrait Bokeh AI is a wonderful tool.
Luminar Neo Compared
With that in mind, you might wonder whether you should buy Luminar Neo if you already have Luminar AI? Well, that depends. If you have the latest version of Luminar AI – the one with Portrait Bokeh AI then no. Otherwise, Luminar Neo is a more sensible route to this excellent feature and much more besides.
But if you don’t already own Luminar AI, buy Luminar Neo. It has everything Luminar AI has plus Effects Layers, Relight AI, and the promise of a background replacement tool.
Alternatives to Luminar Neo
Perhaps Luminar Neo’s most immediate rival outside of Skylum Software is ON1’s Photo Raw 2022. Both feature Effects Layers, Sky Replacement, and Portrait touch-up features. In terms of features, almost nothing surpasses ON1 Photo Raw 2022. However, Photo Raw is more difficult and expensive than Luminar Neo.
Overall, Luminar Neo is another home run for Skylum Software. It’s easy to use and packs the very best selection of Luminar tools. Therefore, if you’re a beginner or an expert looking for quick results, you can barely do better than Luminar Neo. Buy Luminar Neo | Back to Intro
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Luminar Neo FAQs
The release date for Luminar Neo is February 2022.
Luminar Neo has several exciting features that are not present in Luminar AI such as Portrait Background Removal AI, Relight AI, and Layer-based photo editing.
Luminar Neo is yet to be released as is a free trial
Yes – it is an independent photo editor for Windows 10
Yes. Luminar Neo enables you to edit your photos using layers.