Luminar NEO vs. Luminar AI: A Breakdown of Similarities and Differences

In the realm of AI-powered photo editing software, the competition is incredible. Among the contenders, Luminar Neo and Luminar AI have garnered significant attention from photographers and hobbyists. However, a recent development has shifted things around.

Luminar NEO vs Luminar AI

Luminar AI, once a popular choice, has been discontinued, leaving photographers with the newly updated version of the software Luminar Neo. The new version is significantly different, with a number of impressive upgrades, including a new suite of AI-powered tools like Relight AI, Portrait Background Remover, and Mask AI that make the photo-editing process more intensive but, at the same time, far easier.

In this article, I’ll compare these two software, highlighting a few key differences between them to aid you in your decision-making process.

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Luminar AI vs. Luminar Neo

Luminar AI and Luminar Neo are two powerful photo-editing software applications that Skylum creates. The first of these, Luminar AI, gained significant popularity among photographers and was something I used regularly.

But, then, Luminar Neo emerged as a robust upgrade with additional features and improved performance. In this section, we’ll compare the two software to see whether the upgrade is as good as some say.

Luminar AI was initially introduced as a mainstream alternative to outdated software, Luminar 4, but over time, it was found to have some gaps in its abilities that Luminar Neo later filled. Here are some of the key differences between the two software and how Luminar Neo has replaced Luminar AI.

Layer-Based Editing


What I find to be one of the significant differences between the new and old software is the inclusion of what is known as layer-based editing. While Luminar AI focuses on automated edits and simplified workflow, Luminar Neo offers the added flexibility of working with layers.

I really appreciate this feature which allows users to blend multiple images, apply localized adjustments, and create complex compositions, making it a preferred choice for advanced users and those seeking greater control over their edits.

Layers are a fundamental tool and professional photo editing software allowing precise adjustments and creative composition. With layers, I can blend multiple images seamlessly, overlay textures or graphics, and selectively apply adjustments to specific areas of an image.

This level of control is particularly valuable for tasks like retouching portraits, enhancing landscapes, and creating complex composites.

Additionally, working with layers allows for seamless collaboration and workflow integration. I can organize and manage my edits across multiple layers, making it easier to revisit and refine specific adjustments at any point during my editing process.

The inclusion of layer-based editing and Luminar Neo sets it apart from Luminar AI, as it provides advanced users with the tools they need to take their editing to the next level.

Additional Tools and Features

Luminar Neo also introduces several new tools and features that are not present in the previous version of the software that I think are well worth exploring. These include Relight AI, Portrait Background Removal AI, Mask AI, and the ability to create and manage Layers (as previously discussed).

Relight AI, for example, is a powerful tool that allows photographers to easily rebalance the lighting and their images. This feature is particularly beneficial for me when correcting dark backlit portraits or adjusting the overall lighting to achieve a desired mood or atmosphere.

The portrait background removal feature is another notable addition. It enables users to quickly and easily remove the background of a portrait, regardless of its complexity.

Mask AI is another good feature that I use on a regular basis. It can precisely identify in mask specific objects and images, such as people, skies, mountains, and more. This capability allows for targeted adjustments and selective editing.

Performance and Speed

Luminar Neo also boasts several notable improvements in performance and speed compared to Luminar AI, which has significantly contributed to my enhanced editing experience.

The latest updates and optimizations have resulted in a faster and more stable application, enabling smoother and more efficient photo editing. One of the key advantages of

Luminar Neo is the ability to handle resource and sensitive tasks without compromising speed or responsiveness.

The enhanced performance translates to quicker load times on my computer and faster processing of edits. This means that I can spend less time waiting for the software to respond and more time focusing on my creative vision.

Moreover, the increased ability of Luminar Neo ensures a more reliable editing experience. The software is less prone to crashes or freezes, providing users with a more consistent and uninterrupted workflow.

User Interface and Workflow

User Interface and Workflow

Both Luminar AI and Luminar Neo offer user-friendly interfaces that cater to photographers of all skill levels, ensuring an accessible and intuitive photo editing experience. Luminar Neo inherits this interface design, making it a seamless transition for users who are already familiar with the previous versions.

The interface is clean and modern, emphasizing simplicity and ease of use. The workspace is designed to provide a clutter-free environment, allowing me to concentrate on my editing tasks without unnecessary distractions. The various editing tools and controls are thoughtfully organized and easily accessible, enabling users to easily navigate the software.

Both software emphasizes simplicity and efficiency in their workflows, something that I find to be critical in photo-editing software. One-click presets, and templates are available in both versions, providing quick and automated editing options.

For those who prefer more hands-on editing experience, both software offers extensive manual editing capabilities.

Users can fine-tune various parameters, apply selective adjustments, and experiment with different tools and effects to achieve their desired results. The intuitive interface design ensures that these manual adjustments are easily accessible and straightforward to implement, empowering users to have complete control over the editing process.

Extension Pack

Extension Pack

Luminar Neo offers an exclusive extension pack that provides users with additional ai-powered image enhancement tools to expand the capabilities of the software, something that truly makes it one of my favorite photo software on the market.

I love these tools that are designed to offer advanced editing options and help me achieve professional-grade results in my photo editing workflow.

  • Noiseless AI: This is a tool that effectively reduces noise and grain in photos, resulting in cleaner and sharper images.
  • SuperSharp AI: A tool that users can employ to enhance the sharpness and Detail in their images by leveraging Advanced AI algorithms. It helps bring out the intricate details in your photographs and is one of the most important tools that I’ve used in this new version of the software.
  • HDR Merge: This super useful tool Helps users combine multiple exposures of the same scene in a single high dynamic range image.
  • Focus Stacking: focus stacking is another important technique that I enjoy using in this new version of the software. It combines multiple images captured at different Focus points to create a final image with a greater depth of field.
  • Background Removal: This is a fairly common tool and photo editing software, but, all the same, I find it to be very important. It provides users with the ability to isolate subjects and create clean cutouts, making it easier to play subjects in different backgrounds or create composites.

There are a few other features that you’re likely to test out in the software as well, all of which add to the wide range of options you have to improve your photography.

Pricing and Availability

Like all photo-editing software, both Luminar AI and Luminar Neo come with price tags. When Luminar AI was the only option, it cost around $79 for a single license, $99 for two licenses, and $119 for three licenses. You can compare this to Luminar Neo, which today costs $59 for a year-long subscription and $79 for a lifetime plan.

The price has remained around the same (depending on where you live and when you buy the software), but the features have been upgraded substantially.

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Customer Support and Community

The developers of Liuminar AI and Luminar Neo Have successfully implemented a comprehensive customer support system for users to engage with, as I have on more than one occasion. They offer various resources to assist users and troubleshoot issues, learn the software’s features, and connect with fellow users.

You can reach the support team via email or submit support tickets through their official website. I’ve always found the support team to be responsive and willing to address your issue, no matter what it is.

They also offer a range of tutorials, guides, and educational materials to help you get the most out of your new Luminar Neo software. These sources cover a wide range of topics, from the most basic software navigation to advanced editing techniques. Plus, you can always check on YouTube to see what other software users are sharing about their experience.


Topaz Video Enhance AI Specifications

Both versions of the software are designed to work with Windows and macOS platforms. This ensures that users like myself, who have had different operating systems, can access and Utilize its features and capabilities.

The software company strives to provide a consistent user experience across these platforms, enabling users, whether they’re on a Mac or a Windows computer, to utilize all the benefits of editing tools.

Both versions of the software also support a wide range of file formats, including jpeg, png, tiff, and raw files from many different camera manufacturers.


Here are a few frequently asked questions about Luminar AI and Luminar Neo:

Is it worth upgrading from Luminar AI to Luminar Neo?

Yes, it is worth upgrading from Luminar AI to Luminar Neo. The latter offers more features and can be updated easily and more frequently. The extra extensions, which I find to be incredibly important, make the new version of the software far more powerful than the AI version.

 Can I still use Luminar AI even though it has been discontinued?

Yes, you can still use Luminar AI even though it has been discontinued. You will not be forced to upgrade to the new software, but Luminar AI will not receive any updates, and it’s likely that you may eventually encounter processing issues.

What are the system requirements for Luminar Neo?

The system requirements for Luminar Neo are as follows: Windows 10 version 1909 or higher with 8GB or more RAM and a display of 1280×768 or higher resolution. With a Mac computer, you’ll need to have an early 2010 or later MacBook (Air, Pro, iMac, or Mac Mini). The processor needs to be Intel® Core™ i5 or better with the Apple M1 chip.

Is there a trial version available for Luminar Neo?

Yes, there is a trial version available for Luminar Neo. You can try the software free for 7 days with a simple download and then determine whether you want to purchase a year or lifetime subscription.

How can I get support for Luminar Neo?

You can get support for Luminar Neo by contacting the Skylum customer support hotline, submitting a request on their website, or sending them an email. They also have an extensive FAQ section that you’ll likely want to explore.

In Conclusion

Choosing the right software

In the world of AI-powered photo editing software, Luminar Neo and Luminar AI have made significant strides and providing photographers with powerful tools and features to enhance their images.

I found that the transition from Luminaire AI to Luminar Neo brought about notable improvements and additional functionalities that cater to the needs of both beginner and advanced users.

Luminar Neo stands out, to me, with its inclusion of layer-based editing, offering advanced users greater control and flexibility in their editing process. Additionally, being able to use the extension pack is incredibly helpful. These tools Leverage AI algorithms to enhance lighting, remove backgrounds, and precisely mask objects enabling users to achieve professional-grade results.

Other elements of the software, such as performance and speed, have also seen significant improvements in Luminar Neo compared to Luminar AI, making it more than worth it to upgrade.

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