December 6, 2022
For a long time, Adobe dominated the photo-editing market but this is no longer the case. Skylum has emerged as one of the most innovative players in the industry, and its AI-driven Luminar Neo software is now packed with features to help both enthusiast and professional photographers perfect their images. Click here to try it out!
In partnership with Skylum
What differentiates Luminar Neo from other photo-editing packages is the new Luminar Engine’s ability to look at your images and present a range of AI-driven options, such as enhancing the lighting, or adding attractive background blur, or bokeh. Sky replacement is also easier than ever before, which is a big help for photographers in the UK, who often end up shooting in less-than-ideal weather conditions! No longer will an otherwise great shot be let down by a boring great sky.
Luminar Neo can significantly speed up your editing ‘workfow’ too, with lots of presets and other time savers. The program also seamlessly integrates with the Luminar Share App, for both iPhone and Android phones. Let’s look at some of the tools for enthusiasts and pros in more detail…
A great place for enthusiasts to start is Enhance AI. Using AI, this quickly looks at your images and automatically applies the necessary adjustments needed for shadows, highlights, contrast, tone, saturation, exposure, and details (you can enhance details and contrast further using the Structure tool). Enhance AI is particularly well suited to landscapes but can be used with people shots too. The toolkit also includes the Sky Enhancer, which can be used to make dull skies look much more eye-catching.
As mentioned, one of the biggest challenges facing enthusiast photographers is dealing with a boring-looking sky – nothing is more frustrating than heading to an otherwise stunning location during your precious free time and then watching the clouds roll in. While you can use Sky Enhancer AI, as described above, Luminar Neo also lets you replace the whole sky.
Sky AI works out where the sky begins and ends in your image and gives you the option it something more interesting-looking or dramatic via a drop-down list. It’s also smart enough to recognise if water is present, adding realistic-looking reflections. You can add your own skies to the drop-down list, and there is a very wide range of editing and adjustment tools to make your new sky look as realistic and attractive as possible.
Skies are one thing, but what about adjusting the lighting on the main subject of your image? In the past, this would have been a time-consuming job, but Relight AI builds an accurate 3D Depth Map of your image, enabling you to adjust the lighting on a portrait, for example, along with other key parameters such as colour temperature – without affecting the background. You can also use this tool to improve the look of objects in the background, which is a big saver if you’ve taken a ‘grab’ shot while travelling or enjoying street photography.
Taken this one step further, Mask AI enables you to work on specific objects in your image – maybe some boulders need working up in a classic seascape image, or example, or an interesting object in the background is underexposed. You can mask objects with a single click, and edit as required.
Powerful Erase tools
However careful your in-camera framing, stray objects and distractions can creep in, especially with fast-moving street and travel shots. The Erase tools in Luminar NEO feature the self-explanatory Remove Dust Spots and Remove Power Lines options, which give you a one-click fix, or you can manually remove dust spots and other distractions in your picture.
Portrait Bokeh AI
Very ‘fast,’ wide-aperture lenses can be expensive for non-pros, so there might be times the background isn’t quite as blurred as you’d like on a portrait, for example, or the look of the blur (bokeh) isn’t that pleasing. Portrait Bokeh AI Portrait Bokeh AI uses AI to identify your subject and automatically mask it, so you can adjust the depth of field, softness, and glow.
However good your model, you might need to remove skin imperfections, such as blemishes or wrinkles or make their eyes or teeth whiter and more impactful. FaceAI and SkinAI make this very easy, using sliders to give you a fine degree of control. As mentioned earlier, you can also use Mask AI to automatically identify a person’s face and enhance if necessary, or slim a person’s entire body if required.
Luminar Neo Extensions
While the AI-powered Luminar Neo is very easy to use, don’t assume that it’s too basic for your needs. It also has a host of more powerful features that more advanced enthusiasts or pro photographers will find hugely helpful. Keep on reading for more specific details
This enables you to merge up to 10 exposure-bracketed images into a single HDR image, which will be a massive help to landscape and cityscape photographers, increasing the level of detail and enhancing colours. HDR Merge can also work with a single photo, analysing and boosting dynamic range, while also adjusting tone, contrast, and details. Auto alignment is available to straighten images, while Ghost Reduction is helpful if you have a moving object in the shot.
If you need to remove noise from your image, either caused by selecting higher ISOs or fixing underexposure, this AI-based tool is ideal. As well as quick fixes, new options give you a very fine degree of control over noise reduction. Noiseless AI is designed to work with designed for raw images, but you can use with other image formats, such as JPEG or TIFF.
Sometimes you need a very high degree of control over your focussing, particularly with more complex subjects. This tool can stack up to 100 source images and automatically align and crop them based on the reference photo. By combining photos taken at different focal lengths, you will get very sharp results with a greater depth of field than any of your individual source photos. In addition, Focus Stacking automatically applies lens and chromatic aberration corrections on raw images.
Staying on the subject of sharper shots, this AI-powered tool analyses the depth, perspective and context of your photo to correct slightly ‘off’ focus and softness, as required. Its smart algorithms will deliver a natural looking, super-sharp image every time.
Background Removal AI
As with the Sky AI tool discussed earlier, this automatically recognises the background in your image and enables you to change it – the main subject(s) remains intact. Don’t worry if there are multiple elements you wish to keep, as you can easily select them and remove everything else. A refinement brush enables you to quickly make the new background look as realistic and attractive as possible. Portrait photographers in particular will love this.
Last but not least, this AI-driven technology boots the resolution of images without making them look unnatural. It works with non-raw files and can upscale them up to 6X.
How to order – and get an exclusive offer
Luminar Neo: £129
Luminar Neo Extensions: £39 per extension or £249 for all seven
Luminar Neo subscription
Explore plan – get full access to Luminar Neo for a £79 yearly subscription
Pro plan – get full access to Luminar Neo and the Extensions for an £89 yearly subscription
You can order this great software and get another £10 off everything by using the code AP10 and clicking here.