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Home » Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI – There is no comparison

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI – There is no comparison

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI

Luminar Neo has come a long way since my first Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI comparison. Back then, Luminar AI had some tangible advantages over Luminar Neo that made it the better photo editor for some. But today, Luminar Neo is better than Luminar AI in every way.

Furthermore, Luminar AI has now been discontinued, and even if you could pick up a copy before October 3rd on the cheap – I recommend that you don’t. But is it worth buying Luminar Neo if you already have Luminar AI? Well, with exclusive features such as Layers, Mask AI, Relight AI, and Portrait Background Replacement, I believe you should. And that’s before we discuss the additional functionality found within the optional Luminar Neo Extension Pack. But don’t take my word for it, as this post will answer all. Jump to Conclusion


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Buy Outright

One-off free. Includes all stability updates. Extension pack available separately

$149 $109

Pay Monthly

You get Luminar Neo, All Extensions, and all updates. Billed Monthly

$14.95

Pay Yearly

You get Luminar Neo, All Extensions, and all updates. Billed Yearly.

$99 $119

or Try Luminar Neo for Free for 7 Days



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Table of Contents

How I compared Luminar AI and Neo

This Luminar AI vs Neo comparison is based on the latest versions of Luminar Neo and AI running side-by-side on my PC.

Running Luminar AI (left) and Luminar Neo side-by-side.

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI: Ease of Use

In terms of useability, there’s very little difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo. The first time I loaded Luminar Neo, I thought I’d accidentally loaded my copy of Luminar AI.

The Edit Tab in Luminar AI

Like Luminar AI, Luminar Neo is divided into three parts – Catalogue, Presets, and Edit. The Catalogue is where you will browse and manage your photos. But whether you choose Luminar AI or Neo, you will enjoy the same pleasant, easy-to-use minimalistic interface.

Spot the difference? The Edit Tab in Luminar Neo

After you have browsed your photos, you can take one of them over to the Preset tab. With Presets in Luminar Neo, you’ll be able to process your image to a very high standard with no more than a click of your mouse. In Luminar AI, Presets are called Templates, but in practical terms – Templates and Presets are the same things.

Visually speaking, Luminar Neo’s Edit tab is similar to the Edit tab in Luminar AI. However, Luminar Neo has a few more tools and an option on the left to insert Layers. Layers in Luminar Neo aren’t quite as complete as those in Photoshop, but they’re fun.

Add your most-used tools to your favorites in Luminar Neo.

A small but meaningful difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo is that you can stack your favorite editing tools at the top of Neo’s tool list. You cannot do this in Luminar AI.

Overall, both Luminar AI and Luminar Neo are cut from the same cloth. And this is a good thing as I consider Luminar AI and Luminar Neo to be the best photo editors for beginners on the market today. But thanks to the Favorite Tool list, Neo comes out top.

Winner: Luminar Neo – Just

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI: Features

The main difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo is the feature set. For instance, Luminar AI’s feature set includes impressive tools such as Sky Replacement AI, Portrait Bokeh AI, and Face AI. As a result, Luminar AI is a great choice for editing portraits and landscape photos.

Sky AI: Sky Replacement in Luminar AI

However, Luminar Neo has the same tools as Luminar AI, plus Effect layers, Relight AI, Mask AI, and Portrait Background Removal. Furthermore, you purchase the optional Luminar Neo Extension Pack and access tools such as HDR Merge and Noiseless AI.

HDR in Luminar Neo’s optional Extension Pack

So, while Luminar AI is packed with great features, Luminar Neo steals all of them and keeps its new ones to itself.

Adding a’Light-leak’ effects layer in Luminar Neo

A curious exception to the rule is Augmented Sky AI. With Luminar AI, you can use Augmented Sky AI to drop objects into your photo. For instance, you might like to insert a flock of birds, a distant mountain, or even a Giraffe.

Birds added with Augmented Sky AI in Luminar AI

If you base your choice of Luminar AI vs Neo on features alone, Luminar Neo is the obvious choice. And given how much better Luminar Neo gets with each release, the gap between Luminar AI and Neo will continue to grow.

Winner: Luminar Neo

Luminar AI vs Neo: Performance

At first, there was not much difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo. In other words, both were sufficiently quick but slowed under heavy loads.

However, Luminar Neo version 1.2.0. is much quicker than Luminar AI and older versions of Neo. In technical terms, Luminar Neo needs at least 8GBs of RAM. However, some of my more extensive edits have consumed up to 11 GB of RAM, and even Skylum software recommends 16GB.

You will increase your CPU and GPU load if you want to run Luminar Neo with less RAM. This is not necessarily a big issue, but it could introduce some lag into your workflow – mainly when you’re using demanding features such as Portrait Bokeh AI.

If in doubt, you can download Luminar Neo and try it free for seven days (no credit card required).

Winner: Draw

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI: Price

For a time, Luminar Neo and Luminar AI cost the same, and you could buy both bundled together for a discounted price. This made sense for a while since the earliest versions of Luminar Neo lacked some of AI’s best tools. However, the bundles stopped once Luminar Neo had everything Luminar AI does.

But today, Luminar AI has been discontinued, it will soon be no longer available at any price.

Winner: Luminar Neo

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI Features Comparison

With Luminar AI and Neo loaded side-by-side, I compared each functionality. Please note that many secondary features, such as Golden Hour Glow, Detail, and Noise Reduction, are present and identical in both Luminar AI and Neo. Therefore, this table focuses on primary functionality and more minor but meaningful differences.

FeatureLuminar NeoLuminar AI
Catalog (Photo Management)
View PhotosYY
Add Photos to FavoritesYY
Create and add Photos to AlbumsYY
Synchronize and Copy edits between multiple photosYY
Revert Photos to OriginalYY
Display Camera and Exposure SettingsYY
Photo Viewer
Add Photo to Favorites/RejectedYY
Revert Photo to OriginalYY
Drag Photo to AlbumYY
Show FilmstripYY
Show HistogramNY
Presets/Templates
Process your Photo in one 1-clickYY
Add Presets/Templates to FavoritesYY
Create your own PresetsYY
Buy new PresetsYY
Show FilmstripNY
Show HistogramNY
Exporting Images
Export images to JPEG, TIFF, DNGYY
Export to 500pxNY
Export to SmugMugNY
Export to MailNY
Photo Editing
Show HistogramYY
Show FilmstripNY
Crop AI/Composition AIYY
LayersYN
Mask AIYN
Develop TabYPartial
Enhance AIYY
Structure AIYY
Erase AIYY
Erase AI Dust Spot and Powerline RemovalYN
Relight AIYN
Sky AIYY
Augmented Sky AINY
Portrait BokehYY
Face AIYY
Skin AIYY
Body AIYY
High KeyYY
Dodge and BurnYY
Clone + StampYY

Luminar 4 vs Luminar AI vs Luminar neo

But what about Luminar 4? Technically speaking, Luminar Neo replaces Luminar 4 as Skylum Software’s enthusiast-orientated photo editor. But in practical terms, Luminar 4 was replaced by Luminar AI quite some time ago.

Luminar 4

Luminar 4 vs Luminar AI

While I like Luminar 4 – it fell behind Luminar AI long ago. Originally, Luminar AI was a beginner-friendly alternative to Luminar 4. However, as Skylum Software continued to develop Luminar AI, it ended up with all the best parts of Luminar 4 plus all-new features such as Sky AI reflections and Portrait Bokeh AI. Read Luminar AI vs Luminar 4

Luminar 4 vs Luminar Neo

Despite Luminar AI steeling Luminar 4’s best features, only Luminar 4 had layers. However, Luminar Neo does have layers and much more besides. If you are still using Luminar 4, I recommend you try Luminar Neo. It’s the replacement you’ve been waiting for.


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Conclusion

In this side-by-side Luminar AI vs Neo comparison, it is clear that Luminar Neo is the better option. Since Luminar Neo is the latest photo editor from Skylum Software, it takes everything great about Luminar AI and adds dozens of cherries on top.

Luminar AI Templates

Features

The main difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo is the feature set. Although Luminar AI is packed with excellent features such as Portrait Bokeh AI and Sky Replacement – so is Luminar Neo. Furthermore, Luminar Neo has many new tricks of its own.

Mask AI – only in Luminar Neo

These include Relight AI, Mask AI, Layers, and portrait background removal. Plus, you can access additional tools such as Noiseless AI, Upscale AI, and HDR Merge via the new Luminar Neo extension pack. In other words, Luminar Neo’s feature set is vastly superior to Luminar AI’s.

Ease of Use

Both Luminar Neo and AI are obscenely easy to use. With their powerful presets/templates, minimalistic interfaces, and AI-powered automation, you don’t need to know much about photo editing to edit your photos.

However, the continual development of Luminar Neo has brought improved features and even greater automation. And the ability to stack your favorite tools together at the top of the screen makes Luminar Neo much nicer. Moreover, Luminar Neo v1.2.0 is the fastest version of Neo yet and, on my PC, leaves Luminar AI in its dust.

Has Luminar Neo Replaced Luminar AI

In practical terms, yes, Luminar Neo has replaced Luminar AI. At first, Luminar Neo was full of potential but had just enough rough edges and missing features to justify the existence of Luminar AI. Fast-forward to the present day, I find this no longer the case. As a result, Luminar AI is obsolete and has been discontinued.

Furthermore, Luminar Neo is in continuous development and is getting better at a near-monthly rate. In contrast, the discontinued Luminar AI will remain as-is for the rest of time. Therefore, the gap between Luminar Neo and Luminar AI will grow to be much wider than it already is.

Luminar Neo vs AI

Overall, this Luminar AI vs Neo comparison demonstrates that Luminar Neo is vastly superior to the discontinued Luminar AI in almost every way. Therefore, my recommendation is pretty straightforward – buy Luminar Neo. For more information, check out my Luminar Neo Review.


Get Luminar Neo

EARLY BIRD SALE UNTIL SEPT 26TH

Plus – Save 10% with Promo Code SILENTPEAKNEO10

Buy Outright

One-off free. Includes all stability updates. Extension pack available separately

$149 $109

Pay Monthly

You get Luminar Neo, All Extensions, and all updates. Billed Monthly

$14.95

Pay Yearly

You get Luminar Neo, All Extensions, and all updates. Billed Yearly.

$99 $119

or Try Luminar Neo for Free for 7 Days


More about Luminar Neo

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI – There is no comparison

Today – there’s no comparison. Luminar Neo is better than Luminar AI in every way.

Luminar Neo gets Clone and Stamp Tool

Clone and Stamp coming to Luminar Neo September 2022.

Luminar AI Discontinued – A Standard-setting Game Changer

Long before Luminar AI was discontinued, it changed the game and set the tone for all other photo editors to follow.

Luminar Neo Noiseless AI Review | Good, but not the Best

The first iteration of Noiseless AI is effective and easier to use but is no match for ON1 NoNoise AI and Denoise AI.

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