What is new in Skylum software’s LuminarAI?

LuminarAI is the latest version of Skylum software’s slider-based photo editing software. In this blog post, I will go through my impressions of some of the new features introduced in LuminarAI.  We will ask: What does LuminarAI have that previous versions like Luminar 2018, Luminar 3, and Luminar4 don’t have?

LuminarAI is about getting results.


Skylum’s software’s mission statement concerning their approach to photo editing says it all. We want to “focus on the result and not the process.” This mission was accomplished in the last version of Luminar. Luminar 4 had a newer streamlined interface where sliders took over.

I might be wrong but, to me, with Luminar 4, Skylum abandoned the idea of being compared to mainstream software like Photoshop, Lightroom, and CaptureOne and forged on a vision of their own. 

To me, it was the maturing of a teenager that took place. Luminar cam of age by learning the mistakes of its youth.

Luminar and Jacques Gaines


Ever since I have been using Lumiar 2018, I have been amazed by its capacity to think like a photographer. Luminar has had the ability to do one slider edits that simply boggle the mind. Luminar 4 is not only a great quick fix but also a quick enhancement for all my photography in post-production.

Luminar 4 has a lesser-known all in one black and white conversion feature that is second to none.

Luminar’s pros and cons


Although I did like Luminar 2018’s approach to post-production, I really felt that both version 3 and the 2018 versions lacked depth in the all-important process of triage. Skylum software has recently attacked this issue head-on with Luminar 4’s better-implemented library functions. Although they are not perfect, they seem to be able to satisfy many users.

This video looks at some of the pros and cons of Luminar compared to its biggest competitors Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom 

Photo processing and workflow have always been somewhat frustrating on all Luminar versions due to high CPU and GPU loads. This has also been addressed in version 4.3 and, although performance has improved, it needs some work. 


But all in all, the software was a revelation for me. I think that it takes away the worry and complication from the photographic process and lets creators put their mind on creating – plain and simple.

Portrait of a woman being edited by Luminar 4 software
Luminar 4's simple interface yielded beautiful complex results

An example of how Luminar shines


To put this all into perspective; With my years of experience, I have nailed portrait frequency separation, but Luminar 4’s portrait panel with AI Skin enhancer and AI Portrait enhancer tabs makes the long process of doing this moot. 

In my humble opinion, I cannot tell the difference between a 5-second slider edit and a 2-hour retouching in photoshop. That says a lot for a $100 software really.

What does LuminarAI promise?


Skylum had already taken photo editing to a new level with this version 4, so when I read the press release, I was wondering what might be their next offer. Well, Skylum software promises a lot of stuff that will be nothing short of groundbreaking.

Is the LuminarAI core different?


Luminar is a fully redesigned software. This news is kind of good news and bad. The good news is that this redesign will attack performance issues the software has had in the past.  


The bad news is that you will not be able to move your catalogs from Luminar 4 to AI. It is not a big thing for me because I use the software as a plugin for Photoshop. But those who have invested in L4 libraries might be disappointed. 

LuminarAI has a new UI


The user interface has a 100% look overhaul. However, the UI keeps the same slider based and tab-based edit feel on the right-hand side of the photo you are editing. The feel is a bit less dark, a bit more blue, and brighter in general.

The new Luminar AI software interface
A bluer feel and an even simpler interface

Even better portrait edits


Luminar continues its tradition of giving brands to its edit sliders. SkinAI promises to smooth skin, preserve texture, and reduce shine on top of removing blemishes. FaceAI promises to do edits where it thinks edits should take place. It sounds to me like an upgrade to an already stellar portrait section.

CompositionAI will automatically fix Crooked images.

In the same vein, look for other cool branded enhancements like IrisAI, ColorAI and AtmosphereAI

One slider body edits


Luminar responded to competition from Anthropic’s software line of AI-based photo editing software for portraits, body, and landscapes by adding a feature that is sure to be a hit. There will now be a bodyAI slider similar to what Anthropics studio’s Portrait Pro body does.

Luminar is attacking Anthropics head on with body AI

Templates now replace looks


It was clear in the product announcement that templates were going to be an upgrade to looks. Here is how a more AI-based workflow using templates was explained at the product launch:


“When you first open a photo, LuminarAI will suggest editing templates. You then have three choices

  • Choose options as presented
  • Customize the strength of the template with one slider
  • Click the edit button and see the tools in use. You can now modify customize and add whatever you want with your extensive editing tools”


Maybe this is just a nomenclature change, but I have the feeling that it might be a lot more. The templates are probably related step 3 where the actual LOOK can be customized by either pulling back or adding to each pre-selected effect.

A little bit of suggestion never hurt


Editing suggestions, AI-based selections, and masks are also promised. I am not quite sure as to how these new improvements will work though. As soon as I get an advance copy of the software, I will make a couple of tutorials on the new LuminarAI features.

Batch processing that thinks for you


Skylum promises catalog functionality changes. I think that these changes will offer performance hikes and other little tidbits.

Also, INTELLIGENT batch processing has been thrown in the mix. Based on editing decisions you made on one photo in a batch, you can automate the task for a whole bunch of photos.

Skylum software is going against two library and photo collating behemoths Adobe Lightroom and CaptureOne in my book. I think that it is worth noting that these software are not in the same ballpark price-wise however.

Who is luminar for?


So who should buy LuminarAI? Well, my answer has not changed on this one. If you care or need to care about good quick photo edits, it is a software for you. Therefore, bloggers and vloggers who want to have appealing content will love this software. Serious hobbyists and what I like to call super tourists will benefit from the LuminarAI workflow.

Comment below?


What do you think of the new Luminar AI release? Give me your opinion in the comment section below.

Can you preorder LuminarAI now?


Luminar ships this 2020 holiday season. Those who preorder will get an early bird special. The discount is on the first 30,000 copies sold by the company. The price will be $79 ($69 with a loyalty discount for Luminar 4, Aurora HDR & Aurora HDR’19 owners). Those early birds will also be invited to the Luminar insider’s program as well. More details on that plan coming very soon.


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