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Luminar Neo

Image Editing

A work in progress.
Bringing ideas to life.

Beauty portrait of attractive young half-naked african woman with short black hair isolated over beige background

Table of Contents

Skylum: Reinventing Traditional Photo Editing.

SoftwareFolder says Luminar Neo is a powerful photo editing software that can be enhanced with optional extensions and generative AI tools. Luminar Neo uses non-destructive technology, which means your original photos are always retrievable. A great tool for fixing and enhancing creative imagery.

Brief History of Skylum Software, Luminar Neo and AI

Skylum, formerly known as Macphun, is a software development company that specializes in creating innovative photo editing software.

The company was founded in 2008 and has since released several popular applications for both Mac and Windows. Some of Skylum’s previous software includes Aurora HDR, Tonality, and Luminar AI, all of which have been widely used by photographers around the world.

Aurora HDR is a high dynamic range (HDR) photo editing application that allows users to merge multiple exposures of the same scene to create stunning, detailed images with a wide range of tonal values.

It features a variety of advanced tools and presets to help photographers achieve their desired look, and it can be used as both a standalone application and a plugin for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Tonality is a black and white photo editing application that offers a range of tools and presets to help users create stunning monochrome images. It features advanced tools such as color filters, film grain emulation, and tonal adjustments, as well as a range of presets to help photographers achieve their desired look.

Luminar AI is a revolutionary photo editing application that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help users enhance and edit their photos in a variety of ways. It features a range of AI-powered tools such as Sky Replacement, Portrait Enhancer, and Body AI, which allow users to make complex adjustments with just a few clicks. It also offers a range of other editing tools such as Layers, Masks, and added extensions.

Skylum has a long history of developing innovative and powerful image editing software, with a focus on making photo editing accessible and easy for photographers of all skill levels.

What Exactly is Luminar Neo?

Update: Luminar Neo Released

First of all, this is not merely another “Luminar update” or even a new upgrade. Luminar AI is a totally new product by Skylum. 

Designed for all visual communicators, from professional photographers, photo artist and creators to everyday individuals. Luminar AI  has been built from the ground up and provides the most efficient ways for making stunning images faster. 

Luminar Neo is an image editing software developed by Skylum, which is designed for both professional and amateur photographers. It provides a range of advanced editing tools, such as AI-powered image enhancement, local adjustments, and layers, which allow users to edit and manipulate their photos in a variety of ways.

Luminar Neo also features a user-friendly interface, making it easy for photographers of all skill levels to use.

Beauty portrait of attractive young half-naked african woman with short black hair isolated over beige background

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI

Answering the “wish list” of existing Luminar users, Luminar Neo fills that extendable space for creators wanting software help with pushing their images further than basic photographic and imaging needs.

Inheriting some of the best of the Luminar experience, whilst building a software that provides solutions for tasks that creators and photo-artists endure, or find most challenging, and useful, Luminar Neo answers the requirement for these apparently enjoyable pains.

Open window to the back yard with blue wall.

Open window to the back yard with blue wall.

Luminar Neo in Depth

Diving deeper you might find yourself agreeing, that most creators will enjoy using Luminar Neo for the traditional image-editing features that they have grown accustomed to. 

Unfortunately, this can include a multiple list of specialist tools that require unique knowledge and skills in order to perform what may be deemed as time-consuming and intricate tasks. 

Invariably, this presents a roadblock for many professional and amateur photographers, with little time or the necessary image editing skills and knowledge.

However, at the same time there are also a great many photographers and digital artists that thrive on exploiting their image editing skills and knowledge with the flexibility that any software has to offer.

Which is why, focused on the demands from loyal users of previous Luminar software, Luminar Neo manages to combine the best of Skylum tools into a single app, all with smooth performance and ease of use in mind.

Now, whilst you can enjoy the best of both Worlds, it must be noted that Luminar AI, still “holds the fort” where it comes to – quick and simple editing, with satisfying  photographic results.

Of course you can still push the boundaries with Luminar AI. 

However, ultimately, this is where Luminar Neo steps in for pushing boundaries.

You see, Luminar Neo is based on a new AI technology engine and is designed for undertaking creative tasks with maximum performance and flexibility.

NB: With this new build, Luminar Neo is better equipped for accommodating the more complex of future enhancements and any new features to come.

Key Luminar Neo Advanced Features

Diving deeper you will find that most creators enjoy Luminar Neo for a number of traditional image-editing features that have been enhanced and provide simple controls for tasks that once took hours to achieve.

Here are 5 key features that make Luminar Neo such a powerful tool.

1. Advanced Masking options

2. Advanced Layer options

3. Advanced Lighting options

4. Advanced Portrait options

5. Advanced Extension add-ons

What are Luminar Templates?

Luminar Templates was a previous name used for what is also known as Looks or Presets in other editing software. Now using the standard term, Luminar Presets are simply pre-defined sets of adjustments that can be applied to your photos to achieve various artistic effects or enhancements  quickly and easily.

From what I have seen so far, the best way to think of using Luminar AI’s Templates, is as a quick method for reaching a starting point for your final editing…

Although, there are the few occasions where Luminar AI will render a perfectly satisfactory result “right off the bat”, leaving you with little to no additional editing.


Introducing Luminar Neo “Extensions”

Expand the capabilities of Luminar Neo with paid added professional features…

With the release of Luminar Neo 1.2.0, besides the return of the Dodge and Burn tool, Skylum introduces a modular approach for extending the capabilities of Luminar Neo, through the addition of Extensions.

Who are Luminar Neo Extensions for?

Luminar Neo (and Luminar Extensions) will now allow users requiring specialized professional photo-editing tools, such as the HDR Merge extension, which can be added according to user preference. 

This will be of interest to, and will likely draw the attention of, creative Photographers that use High Dynamic Range photography, as well as existing users of Aurora HDR.

Luminar Neo Extensions will also be of great interest to creators that execute photo-editing for graphic designs and art.


Using Luminar Presets

Each template contains a combination of adjustments like exposure, contrast, saturation, color grading, and other effects that are carefully crafted to create a specific style or mood in your photos. 

The adjustments within the templates are based on the expertise of professional photographers and image editors, and they can be applied with just one click.

For instance, if you have a landscape photo that looks a bit dull, you can try applying a “Vibrant Landscape” template to instantly boost the colors and contrast, making the image pop. 

If you have a portrait, you may want to use a “Soft Portrait” template to enhance skin tones and add a subtle glow.

Luminar Presets are fully customizable as well, allowing you to fine-tune the applied adjustments to suit your specific preferences and the needs of the image. You can adjust the intensity of each effect and make additional modifications as desired.

As you know things evolve over time so make sure to check out the latest Skylum software updates.


How We Use Luminar Neo

studio light panel demo

From the various social media comments I have come across, regarding the new release of Luminar Neo, it’s easy to realize just how some individuals may be perceiving Luminar Neo as a Photoshop, Lightroom or other photo-editing software replacement or alternative. Well, it can be, but that depends on your photo-editing workflow requirements.

Now, when I speak of your workflow, I refer to the editing process and software used in order to complete a task or project.

For this purpose I have prepared the following as a demonstration which will hopefully give you some ideas of how you can also take advantage of Luminar Neo. 

Luminar Neo Beyond Photography

Composing an image for a book cover using Affinity Photo, Affinity Design and Luminar Neo.


Created using Affinity Photo, here is a quickly retouched image of a fairy, which is to be applied to a background image and then finally edited using Luminar Neo.


Once the composition has been decided further editing using Luminar Neo tools such as; sky replacement, plus adding sunrays…

How Does Luminar Fit Into Our Photo Editing Workflow?

Well to start with, unlike Photoshop, or Affinity Photo for that matter, for me, Luminar is more like your Swiss Army Knife – a handy set of convenient tools in what may at first appear to be a small package.

With its sleek uncluttered interface, Luminar Neo packs quit a punch, with tools that performs conventionally tricks tasks effortlessly, like magic. 

In my opinion Luminar is not truly comparable to the likes of Adobe Photoshop and Affinity Photo, as it is more of a “Finishing” tool with very powerful features, that are perfect for professional creative photographers and photo artists.

Take for instance the Portrait Tools, and how they allow you to readily edit different parts of a face, or skin, without all the preparatory work you would normally have to fiddle with using traditional software.

Luminar provides many convenient features that allow quick editing to images that may well have first been constructed in Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo and then finished in Luminar.

I guess that is why as well as being standalone products, Skylum’s software such as Luminar, can also be used as plugins from within Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and Photo for macOs…