Luminar Neo vs Luminar 4 (Seven Key Differences)

If you're trying to decide whether to upgrade from Luminar 4 to the latest Skylum product Luminar Neo, keep on reading to find out why it's a good choice.

Luminar is Skylum’s flagship image editing software for Windows and macOS. Luminar 4 was launched in November 2019.

The latest version is Luminar Neo, which was released in February 2022 and has seen several feature upgrades since. We review Luminar Neo here.

Luminar Neo and Luminar 4 have many overlapping features, most notably a selection of AI editing tools which have revolutionized digital image editing.

Luminar Neo
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How is Luminar Neo Different to Luminar 4?

1. Luminar Neo has more advanced tools than L4

Enhance AI (formerly AI Enhance) analyzes your image and makes multiple adjustments with a single slider.

This tool was designed to serve as an AI-powered substitute for many staples of image editing such as shadows and highlights, contrast, and saturation. 

Sky AI (formerly AI Sky Replacement). Skylum were the pioneers of AI sky replacement back in 2019 — a revolutionary and time-saving tool that has since been imitated by other image editing applications. 

Face AI (formerly AI Portrait Enhancer) detects facial details and offers a selection of tools to highlight and improve the primary features of a person’s face.

Skin AI (formerly AI Skin Enhancer) detects skin and provides tools to smooth texture and reduce blemishes. 

Though these core features remain unchanged, Luminar Neo offers photographers many powerful new features to create beautiful edits in an intuitive and quick way.

2. Luminar Neo has a Non-destructive workflow and Adjustment History

Luminar Neo presents adjustments in a different way than Luminar 4, listing a history of all adjustments, which can be modified individually or removed.

You can also add multiple adjustments with the same tool. 

To see a list of adjustments that have been applied to an image, click the Edit tab, then click on Edits on the right-hand side.

You can then click the Quick Preview (eye) icon on each adjustment to toggle the effect on and off and see how it affects your edit. You can change each adjustment individually or remove an adjustment altogether. 

You can read more about using the catalog in Luminar Neo here.

3. Luminar Neo can remove dust spots and power lines

It is a fact of life as a photographer that changing lenses will eventually lead to specks of dust inside the camera body.

These will appear on your images as spots and are particularly noticeable when capturing images with a narrow aperture, typically f/11 and higher. 

In addition to removing the dust manually with a brush, you can use Luminar Neo’s Erase tool as a one-click solution that detects and removes these spots for you. 

Erase also has a button to remove power lines and other overhead cables from your image — a big time-saver for landscape and real estate photography.

4. Luminar Neo offers new portrait tools

In addition to Face AI and Skin AI, Luminar Neo introduces two powerful new tools for portrait photographers.

Body AI offers two sliders to shape the torso and abdomen in full-body portraits.

Portrait Bokeh AI automatically detects your subjects in a portrait image and applies a bokeh to the background. You retain control over the strength and depth of the effect (see above.)

5. Luminar NEO features AI Masking

Every tool and Layer in Luminar Neo has a Masking tab, with which you can apply the tool or view the Layer selectively based on a mask you define.

Luminar Neo can automatically mask objects with a single click. The AI engine can detect nine types of objects and mask them with the click of a button:

  • Humans
  • Sky
  • Flora
  • Architecture
  • Mountains
  • Artificial ground
  • Natural ground
  • Water
  • Transport

When you select Mask AI in the Masking tab, Luminar Neo’s engine takes a moment to assess your image and return a list of identified objects. Click on an object type, and all objects of that type will be masked. You can then use the Brush tool to refine the mask further if you wish.

6. Luminar Neo features Relight AI 

This tool creates a depth map of your image, allowing you to selectively lighten or darken the background and foreground. 

Portrait and low-light photographers will love this feature, as it allows you to simulate a flash or foreground light source where one was not available to capture the effect in-camera. The Depth slider gives you control of how far away the effect is applied. 

For even greater control over this effect, you can combine Relight AI with a mask. 

7. Luminar Neo features Atmosphere AI

Another tool which relies on your image’s depth map is Atmosphere AI, which uses the depth map to simulate atmospheric conditions — fog, mist, or haze — in your photograph. 

You can control the strength of the effect with the sliders:

Mode. Choose from fog, layered fog, mist, or haze.

Amount. Define the intensity of the effect.

Depth. Adjust where the effect is simulated in your image. Increasing this value brings the effect closer to the foreground.

Lightness. Adjust how light the effect is relative to the surrounding scene.

For even greater control over the Atmosphere AI effect, you can combine this tool with a mask. 

How to Keep Luminar Neo up to date

The Skylum team are still rolling out new features for Luminar Neo. To keep your software up to date, first open Luminar Neo.

On macOS, go to Luminar Neo > Check For Updates

On Windows, go to Help > Check For Updates

If an update is available, you can choose to download and install the latest version.

As you can see, Luminar Neo is superior to Luminar 4 in several ways. Tap the button below to get it today.

Luminar Neo
Luminar Neo

Powerful AI editing tools improve photos in less time. Affordable one-time price and expandable features.

Use code shotkit10neo to save $10.

Get Discount
Shotkit Writer, Product Tester & Instagram Manager

Jeff Collier is an experienced film photographer who enjoys experimenting with modern digital photography equipment, software and apps. He’s also an ex-world champion triathlete and avid cyclist, clocking hundreds of km each week in the beautiful Tweed Valley of northern NSW, Australia.

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