Luminar AI Announced – A New Direction

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Luminar, Skylum Luminar, Software Reviews | 0 comments

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of Luminar. I last reviewed it here. As a RAW editor it is second to none.

But Luminar has gone through many incarnations, and recent versions have seen a very poor attempt to implement Digital Asset Management features. I say ‘poor’ because all that was added was a fancy image browser and, eventually, the ability to search for an image if you knew the filename. Yeah, right.

That said, I don’t think any tool I’ve tested truly offers Digital Asset Management. Image browsing? yes. Image organisation? Yes. But true management? No. But that’s the subject of a future post.

The New Luminar AI

The new Luminar is advertised as an image editor and will, eventually, replace the current Luminar. Skylum Software say:

We plan to ship compatibility and performance updates for Luminar 4 for another year after LuminarAI is released. We won’t charge anything for these updates.

What’s new?

In addition to the current functionality, Luminar AI will offer:

Portrait Photography – New AI features

  • Body AI – Enhance peoples’ appearance
  • Iris AI – Eye Enhancement
  • Accent AI – Lighting enhancements
  • Bokeh AI – Background enhancement

Landscape Photography – New Features

  • Atmosphere AI: add fog, mist, steam, and drizzle. All effects gave 3D depth
  • Structure AI: Add ‘smart’ detail to people, water, skies etc.
  • Composition AI: AI Cropping for perfect compositions.

These extra features combine with a new workflow, where Luminar actively assists your choice of settings for enhancing your photos.

This is a big step forward

Criticisms levelled at Luminar include it being slow and buggy. I’ve been using Luminar on Windows since its release and have experienced the slowness, but not the bugs that some have reported. Maybe my PC’s specs, particularly the graphics card, prevent some bugs from showing. Top end graphics editors put your PC through its paces and having a non-compatible graphics card causes problems.

I didn’t really experience speed issues until they released Luminar with Libraries, the forerunner of Lumiar 4. The extra processing needed to catalogue and index my photo collection took away processing power from Luminar’s primary job – processing my images. That was annoying as I didn’t want, need or use Luminar for Photo Management.

This new version looks like it is going to be a pure photo editor – and I think it will be all the better for that. Tools, including Lightroom, that try to do everything often end up doing things OK, but not brilliantly. I have yet to test an Image Cataloguing system that I really like and recent enhancements to such tools concentrate on image editing rather than managmement.

For me, the ideal toolset would be:

  • A specialist Digital Asset Manager (DAM) for Photographers
  • A specialist RAW converter that also works on non RAW photos
  • A specialist image editor
  • and so forth…

Photoshop or Affinity Photo are excellent specialist editors and I think Luminar AI will become my specialist RAW converter. I use Exposure X5 & PhotoMechanic for DAM as neither do all that I want. In fact, this combination still lacks features I would like and it’s frustrating having to switch between tools.

Preorder Luminar AI

Skylum will release Luminar AI around the end of this year, but you can reserve a copy at the Luminar website. Early adopters (the first 30,000)  receive an extra discount.

As they are offering a 30 day money-back guarantee (that is, 30 days from date of release) there’s no risk in signing up.

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