In this Luminar Neo review, I get hands-on with Skylum Software‘s latest and greatest photo editor. With its simple interface, powerful Presets, and AI-powered wonder tools such as Relight AI, Mask AI, and Layers, it’s never been easier or quicker to edit a photo to perfection. For these reasons, Luminar Neo is the best photo editor for beginners and experts in a rush.
This review is based on the latest version of Luminar Neo – version 1.1.0. With its additional features like Portrait Background Removal, refined ergonomics, and increased performance – Luminar Neo has improved a great deal since its release in February 2022. As a result, Luminar Neo effectively replaces Luminar AI and Luminar 4. But is Luminar Neo worth it to you? Let us find out. Jump to Conclusion | Download Luminar Neo Trial
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What is Luminar Neo
Skylum Software’s Luminar products are different from other photo editors. By utilizing AI, Luminar Neo automates traditional photo editing techniques replacing their complexity with a single click.
For instance, Neo offers tools such as Sky Enhancer, Golden Hour Glow, and Skin AI. And to apply these effects, you need only drag a slider.
But what if you don’t want to drag a slider? Well, thanks to Presets, you don’t have to. Presets in Luminar Neo provides you with a 1-click route toward a well-processed photo. And since Luminar Neo’s preset works so well, you may never need to do anything else.
Yet none of this is to say that 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 an experienced photo editor too.
Who is Luminar Neo for?
Luminar Neo is the best photo editor for beginners on the market today. But even if you are a seasoned photo editor, Luminar Neo’s intoxicating blend of speed and effectiveness is hard to resist. If you get used to using Neo, you may find it difficult going back to brushing on masks and fiddling with tone curves.
Luminar Neo Trial
Download the free Luminar Neo trial and try it free for 7 days. No credit card is required.
How much does Luminar Neo cost?
Luminar Neo costs US$79. Click here to check the latest deals in your currency.
Luminar Neo Promo Code
Apply the Promo Code SILENTPEAK10 at checkout for a lovely discount.
When was Luminar Neo Released?
Luminar Neo was released in February 2022
What’s the latest version of Luminar Neo?
The latest version of Luminar Neo is version v1.0.7 and the one on which this review is based.
What does Luminar Neo do?
Luminar Neo is armed with many of the same features as Luminar AI. These include Sky AI, Portrait Bokeh AI, and Face AI. However, Luminar Neo has several tools Luminar AI does not such as Relight AI, Mask AI, and the upcoming Portrait Background Removal tool.
In this part of this Luminar Neo review, we’ll take a look at 11 key features to help you decide whether Luminar Neo is worth it for you.
- Photo Management
- Batch Editing
- Sky AI
- Portrait Bokah AI
- Face and Skin AI
- Relight AI
- Mask AI
- Erase AI
- Portrait Background Removal
Photo management takes place on Luminar Neo’s Catalog tab. Here, you can flag a photo as ‘Favorite’ or ‘Rejected’ and drag your photos into Albums of your own making.
But unlike some other photo editors, you are unable to tag photos with keywords or set up smart searches. Nor does it feature contemporary photos management features such as Geotagging and Face Recognition. Nevertheless, the interface is nice, clean, and pleasant to use.
Luminar Neo features a batch editing tool that allows copying the adjustments of one edit to another. To perform a batch edit, open the catalog tab, select the edited photo, and the photos you wish to copy the adjustment to and you’re done.
Luminar Neo Presets
Presets in Luminar Neo offers you a simple 1-click alternative to manually editing your photo. And with 22 different preset collections containing between 5-6 individual presets each – there’s a preset to suit every photo.
Furthermore, Neo’s AI will assess your photo and recommend the Preset Collections it thinks will best suit your photo. But if you’re still not satisfied, you can buy additional Presets from Skylum’s Market Place or make your own. The slide below illustrates the before and after effects of applying a Preset. Learn more about Presets
Sky AI – Sky Replacement
Luminar Neo features the latest version of Luminar AI’s Sky AI Sky Replacement tool. With Sky AI, it takes seconds to swap one sky with another. Furthermore, Sky AI will relight your scene to match the new sky and even add reflections.
Whilst the quality of the result varies from photo-to-photo and sky-to-sky, you will be surprised just how well it works.
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. Learn how to Edit Landscape Photos with Luminar Neo
Portrait Bokeh AI
Luminar Neo’s Portrait Bokeh AI adds 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 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 many lenses blush. And for a little 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. Read: The fastest way to edit your selfies
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.
Luminar Neo’s Mask AI uses subject recognition to automatically mask objects such as architecture, skies, water, and humans without manual brushing. Once you’ve applied the mask, you can apply adjustments to that area alone leaving the rest of the image intact.
Depending on the complexity of your photo, Mask AI can work flawlessly. If the mask is not quite right, you can touch it up manually using a brush. Learn more about Mask AI
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. Learn more about Relight AI.
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. Learn more about Layers
Portrait Background Removal AI
Luminar Neo version 1.1.0 now has Portrait Background Removal AI. As the name suggests, the tool allows you to quickly remove your subject from their background. This is useful if you want to insert a new background or add your portrait to some kind of graphic art such as a presentation or social post.
How well this first iteration of Portrait Background Removal AI works depends on the complexity of your photo. Overall, it works well enough for low-fi use cases such as social media. But a little work is required before it offers good enough results for background replacement and hi-end graphic design. Learn more about Portrait Background Removal
How good is Luminar Neo to use?
Ease of Use
Luminar Neo is very nice to use. For instance, the user interface is clean, and the features are well named and accessible. And since Neo’s AI has successfully dissolved complex editing processes into single clicks, you’ll find it very easy to edit your photo.
Skylum Software has also blessed Luminar Neo with some sensible ergonomics. For example, you can assign your most-used Presets to your favorites list. And since Neo v1.0.7, you can check your histogram and move your favorite editing tools to the top of the stack.
If you’re particularly happy with one of your edits, you can save the sum of your adjustments and create your own preset for future use. Alternatively, you can use the batch edit function to copy and apply those adjustments to other photos in your collection. Overall, it’s difficult to see how Luminar Neo could be any easier to use.
If you would like to learn how to use Luminar Neo, see my free video tutorials.
In terms of speed, Luminar Neo has endured a bumpy ride. Early releases tended to grind along and consume more-and-more RAM as you piled on your adjustments. As a result, the application was prone to stalling and crashing.
However, Luminar Neo v1.0.7 is a different beast. In practical terms, Neo responds to minor adjustments in real-time with complex tasks such as Sky AI and Portrait Bokeh AI taking a little longer. But given the result, the wait feels entirely reasonable.
In terms of hardware, Neo is the most demanding on RAM, CPU, GPU, and Disk (in that order). Therefore, I recommend you run Luminar Neo with at least 8GB RAM and preferably, with 16GB. Otherwise, you’ll pass the load to your CPU and Hard disk.
If you are unsure whether your PC or Mac is up to the job – you can download the Luminar Neo trial and try it free for 7 days.
Luminar Neo Compared
Luminar Neo is a somewhat unique photo editor. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Neo’s main competitor is Sklum’s own Luminar AI. However, ON1 Photo Raw 2022 also features AI technology and a much broader feature set.
Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI
The difference between Luminar Neo and AI is that Neo has almost everything AI has and more besides. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, Luminar AI has Augmented Sky AI as well as traditional Dodge, Burn, and Clone tools whilst Luminar Neo does not.
On the other hand, Luminar Neo has AI’s best tricks plus Layers, Relight AI, Mask AI, and the upcoming Portrait Background Removal tool. Plus Neo runs faster, costs the same, and enjoys continuous development.
Therefore, in practical terms, Luminar Neo has replaced Luminar AI. For more information, visit my full side-by-side Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI comparison.
Luminar Neo vs ON1 Photo Raw
ON1 Photo Raw is an insanely well-featured all-in-one photo studio similar to Lightroom and ACDSee Ultimate. But like Luminar Neo, ON1 Photo Raw features AI-powered wonder tools such as Portrait Enhance, Sky Replacement, and the wonderful NoNoise AI.
Between the two, ON1 Photo Raw is capable of more. But it’s also more expensive and more complicated. If you just want to edit photos as easy as possible – Luminar Neo is the way to go.
Luminar Neo Discounts
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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.
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 like Relight AI for tuning up my portraits, and Mask AI is impressive indeed. But Luminar Neo owes its greatest tricks to Luminar AI. Sky AI is as fun as ever and Portrait Bokeh AI will lift your selfies to the next level.
Luminar Neo Compared
With that in mind, you might wonder whether you should buy Luminar Neo if you already have Luminar AI? Well, as the saying goes, yes. Not only does Luminar Neo have more features, but it is also appreciably faster, and unlike Luminar AI, remains in continuous development. At this stage, there are no circumstances in which I would recommend you buy Luminar AI over Neo. See full comparison
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 expensive and difficult to use than Luminar Neo.
Whilst Luminar Neo is easy to use – it can be slow. However, the latest versions of Luminar Neo are much faster. That being said, Luminar Neo can still grind a little when you use its most powerful features and it requires at least 8GB of RAM to perform at its best. If you are unsure whether your computer has the chops – I recommend you download the free Luminar Neo trial and try it for yourself.
Is Luminar Neo worth it?
Luminar Neo is worth it and then some. It’s feature-packed, affordable, and supremely easy to use. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert looking for quick results, you can barely do better than Luminar Neo. Check Prices | Download Luminar Neo Trial | Back to Intro
- Powerful Presets for one-click photo processing
- Easy to use editing tools
- Fun AI-powered features such as Sky Replace and Background Blur
- Great Price
- Still missing some features from Luminar AI
- Larger edits can suffer from lag
- Basic Photo management
|Ease of Use||
Luminar Neo v1.0.7 is the best Luminar yet. Neo includes everything that made Luminar AI great such as powerful Presets, Sky Replacement, Portrait Bokeh AI, and much more besides. But despite its loaded feature set, Luminar Neo is easy to use and much more affordable than alternative products. Therefore, Luminar Neo is a no-brainer for beginners and experts in a rush.
Get Luminar Neo
Save even more: Use Luminar Neo Promo Code: SILENTPEAKNEO10
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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.