Luminar AI vs. Luminar Neo – The Race for a Modern, Faster & Simple Photo Editor

Articles • Sept.27, 2021


Luminar AI from Skylum has been one of the most popular AI-powered photo editors for PC and Mac. Since its launch, Luminar AI has attracted an enormous user base as well. Many people consider Luminar AI an easy yet effective way to create stunning photos — without all that Pro Photoshop knowledge.

You can do a lot using Luminar AI, including Body AI, Face AI, Accent AI, Structure AI, Augmented AI, Sky AI, and Atmosphere AI. The photo editing tool brings the best of convenience and skillful edits. However, at least a few have felt that Luminar AI is a bit bulky.

Skylum seems to have listened to that part, and the developer is all set to launch a new tool: Luminar Neo. Of course, Luminar Neo is not going to replace Luminar AI. Instead, Luminar Neo will bring a new world of photo editing experience.

Anyway, if you plan to purchase Luminar from Skylum, it is time to think twice. First, you must understand which among Luminar AI and Luminar AI is the best choice for your photo editing needs. Fret not; we have prepared a quick and handy guide to help you choose between Luminar AI vs. Luminar Neo.

Luminar AI vs. Luminar Neo: the basics

First, we shall look at the basics of Luminar AI and Luminar Neo.

What is Luminar AI?

Luminar AI is a fully-fledged photo editor powered by Artificial Intelligence. Compared to a traditional photo editing suite like Photoshop, Luminar AI is convenient and faster. What’s more, it even works alongside some popular apps like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Apple Photos. Therefore, Luminar AI does not want to replace Photoshop or Lightroom. Instead, you can use Luminar as an intelligent photo editing assistant. With Luminar AI on your side, automating tasks like portrait bokeh and portrait lighting is easier than ever.

What is Luminar Neo?

Luminar Neo takes all these pointers to the next best level, though. With Luminar AI, you had to choose one template and adjust it later. Also, there were a few things you could not do without putting in much effort. However, Skylum has designed Luminar Neo to automate all these things. As a result, users can create stunning photographs filled with joy, emotions, landscapes, colors, and less fuss with a single click. In other words, Luminar Neo lets you make your photos awesome in a single click.

Luminar AI vs. Luminar Neo: common features

Now that you know the basics about both, shall we compare the standard features of Luminar AI and Luminar Neo?

  • Some AI-based Features

Some AI-based enhancement features like Sky Replacement AI, Enhance AI, Structure AI, Skin Enhance AI, Atmosphere AI, Body AI, Face AI, Portrait Bokeh, etc., are available on both Luminar AI and Luminar Neo.

  • Editing Options

Both tools allow you to import and manage photographs using the main platform. There are options for sync editing state, multiple image export, Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom plugin support, and RAW file support.

We should also note that Luminar AI comes with 32 editing tools and 10 AI tools that you can find on Luminar Neo. However, this slight difference in the number of tools may matter to different people differently.

What’s new in Luminar Neo?

As we said, Luminar Neo packs some of the top features you can expect from the world of AI-powered photo editing suites. Some of those features are:

Relight AI

relight ai

Relight AI allows you to naturally relight any photograph with the help of Artificial Intelligence. So if you have ended up with backlit photos, the wrong ISO, or a non-ideal flash situation, you can use this tool to correct your shot. The feature also allows further customization, letting you pick either foreground and background as the point where you need changes.

AI-Generated Mask

mask ai

Masking features were available in previous versions of Luminar, but Luminar Neo makes it easier than ever to create effective masks. A combination of many features, AI-Generated Mask, will help you clean or change the background without the worries of cropping or editing. In addition, the Portrait Background Removal AI is a true time-saver for every photographer.

Sensor Cleaning AI

sensor ai

The Sensor Cleaning AI included in the Luminar Neo package seems magic at first. It allows you to remove a bunch of small issues from the frame, including dirt, spots, and dust. So, even if you had to capture that one shot with a not-so-clean lens, there is nothing to worry. Instead, you can use the Sensor Cleaning module to make it a fantastic picture.

Some other new features in Luminar Neo are:

  • You can remove power lines and other clutter from a frame with a single click. The clutter-cleaner AI of Luminar Neo will work wonders for most people.
  • Compared to Luminar AI and Luminar 4, Luminar Neo uses a far more superior masking engine. This change means you have more control over the masking process than ever.
  • Skylum has optimized Luminar Neo for improved performance and resource consumption. From CPU to RAM management, this new tool excels at every stage.
  • Luminar Neo also comes with an option to share your finished photographs on mobile directly. The sharing options are easy to use and seamless.

We also noticed that Skylum has improved the User Interface of Luminar Neo a bit. Of course, it goes in sync with the new features in the package. Therefore, if you have some experience with Skylum products — or not —, using Luminar Neo will be as easy as a piece of cake.

Places where Luminar Neo lags behind

There are not many significant issues that you would face in this department. However, we noticed a thing or two while comparing the two versions.

  1. Luminar Neo does not have some standalone editing features that you are familiar with on Luminar AI. The reason is simple: Luminar Neo is designed to be a one-click editing solution. Therefore, you will have fewer options for customization. However, if you were expecting Luminar Neo to replace the AI tool, it may not happen after all.
  2. It is also worth noting that Luminar Neo does not offer access to some features like Composition AI and Basic Local Masking.

Apart from these, you cannot tell any difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo.

When can I get Luminar Neo?

Luminar Neo is still under development, and it will be available from Winter 2021.

Of course, you can pre-order Luminar Neo from the official website of Skylum. In fact, the developer seems to be offering some discounts for those who pre-order. You can save more money if you order Luminar AI along with Luminar Neo.

Luminar AI vs. Luminar Neo: final words

It must be clear to you that Luminar Neo is a worthy upgrade. It makes sense to keep this AI-powered photo editor alongside Luminar AI.

As you can see, Luminar Neo offers many AI-powered features that we have not seen on other tools so far. Compared to different versions of Skylum Luminar, Neo is a significant improvement in terms of features and performance.

While the old Luminar AI is a fully-fledged editor with so much control, Neo does a few things that Luminar AI cannot. So, if you want to simplify your photo editing experience with AI assistance and smart features, we recommend that you check out Luminar Neo.

Also, in case you are wondering,

Yes, Luminar Neo is definitely worth the upgrade.

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