This morning, Skylum unveiled additional details about Luminar Neo, set to be released winter 2021. Specifically, the company talked about four upcoming features — layers, RelightAI, Portrait Background RemovalAI and MaskAI.

As a part of Luminar Neo, Skylum is looking to further re-imagine the image editing experience, enabling creators to be more expressive with future boundaries.

“Every day, Skylum technology is unlocking the potential of our artist community, helping them discover and, at times, rediscover their creative passions. With Luminar Neo, were excited to bring new and unique abilities to help creators express themselves through compelling images,” said Dima Sytnik, co-founder and CPO.

The announcement follows Skylum committing to developing a catalog migration tool for both LuminarAI and Luminar 4 with a future Luminar Neo update.

Layers of creativity unlocked

Creators can combine multiple images as layers on a single canvas, including RAW images for maximum control over color and light. Blending, masking and opacity can be used to create collages, double exposure effects and other powerfully creative interactions between layered photos.

PNG images with transparency can be added to layers, allowing artists to move beyond strictly photographic compositions. Textures and other graphic elements can add additional flourishes to the final work. Once these elements are on a layer, they can be easily moved, rotated and flipped to place them precisely within the composition. Luminar Neo includes built-in overlays and object libraries which allow artists to start creating layered compositions right out of the box.

With Skylum’s implementation of layers, it appears like the company is trying to ease the burden that traditional tools often have with layers. Layer names will only be available on hover, meaning you can keep a minimal interface going while working with them. There are also some limitations, for instance not being able to rename layers and the fact that there are no adjustment layers. Merged layers and stamped layers will also not be available at launch, but will come with a future update.

Still, Skylum adding back layers was the most common feature request we saw with LuminarAI. It’s great to see they’re embracing it and listening to customers.

Depth aware control over scene lighting

An artificial intelligence that drives several tools in the Luminar family is 3D Depth Mapping. It is used in AtmosphereAI and Portrait BokehAI to recognize the contents of a photo. Depth mapping seamlessly identifies the planes (e.g., foreground, midground, background) and the elements (e.g., people, buildings, skies, animals). 

Now we unveil a new tool. RelightAI is a lighting tool that uses the 3D Depth Map in a whole new way. RelightAI provides discreet and creative control to artists:

  • Independently adjust lighting in the foreground and background to recover detail and color. 
  • Fix a portrait where the foreground subject is underexposed. 
  • Enhance a landscape photo, where the background is overexposed. 

RelightAI helps isolate the problem areas for correction while leaving the rest of the image untouched. Advanced controls let the artist naturally reposition and blend the light. 

Effortless removal of portrait backgrounds

Human aware AI in Luminar Neo allows an artist to cleanly isolate the subject and remove the background altogether with just one click. While automatic background removal is generally sufficient, edges can be refined quickly. 

Coupled with layers, Portrait Background RemovalAI enables creators to build unique compositions using multiple photos without the tiresome manual process of masking found in traditional image editors. Initially focused on portraiture, other uses of this technology are being explored by the development team to provide more creative options in the future.

Context aware masking opens new creative doors

Upon opening an image, Luminar Neo can identify hundreds of items, like the skies, bridges and flowers. These help calculate accurate AI-powered adjustments. Luminar Neo uses this power to allow visual storytellers to select and use several of these items to generate precise AI-powered masks using MaskAI.

MaskAI is truly useful for creative editing:

  • Accurately control the transparency of a layer for composited imagery.
  • Use a mask to target how a tool is applied, limiting its effect for precise results.
  • Combine multiple AI-powered masks together to speed up editing.

For example, artists can now select a tool like Super Contrast or Color Harmony, to apply targeted exposure and color adjustments to a layer. Once the tool is selected, a context aware mask can be applied, for example limiting the edits to a building or the trees. The result of the tool is restricted to the masked area. MaskAI includes masks for portraits, skies, water, mountains, vegetation and architecture, with more masks expected to be released over time.

Detailing Luminar Neo’s new engine

Skylum also went into details about the new engine behind Luminar Neo, which the company is promising to be a strong foundation for the future. Skylum states that the new engine marries the speed and efficiency of sequential rendering to the creative flexibility of parametric editing.

In traditional editors, sequential rendering stores modified pixels at every step of the edit, which can make rolling back changes more difficult. Parametric editing previews changes but does not apply them until the image is exported. This approach makes rolling back changes simple and fast but requires much longer render times, particularly with tools built with AI technology.

Luminar Neo takes a hybrid approach. Changes are rendered as the edit progresses. In addition, a smart edit history provides infinite levels of undo for every image. As a result, the overall editing environment is faster and more stable. This approach allows users to selectively remove and reorder the application of tools and effects then quickly render these changes with the flexibility of a parametric editor.

This hybrid approach to rendering is just one example of how Luminar Neo’s core engine is built to solve problems now while preparing for future innovation. The complete modernatizion of the Luminar engine unlocks many new and useful options for editing and compositing that will delight artists and photographers. Over time, Skylum will release new AI-powered tools and effects powered by this new core engine.

Create more and get free bonuses, with Luminar Neo

Fulfill your creative ideas with Luminar Neo! Preorder now and get the Photofocus preorder bundle, full of extras like a deep dive training video, templates, LUTs, textures and more when Luminar Neo launches.