So far in 2023, Luminar Neo has released quite an amazing set of new features! We are continually impressed with the unique, creative new ways in which AI is being used to help us edit our photos.

As photographers, we are grateful for any creative tools that allow us to enhance our creativity, and save us time on technical details. In other words, if you’re interested in going as far as you can beyond basic color correction, then a whole new world of possibility is beginning to open up.

With that in mind, the latest major updates to Luminar Neo, in the summer and fall of 2023, have offered some interesting new tools for both photographers and digital artists alike, including Panorama Stitching, Studio Light, and Neon & Glow, as well as some other exciting Generative AI tech like GenErase and the soon-to-be-released GenExpand (coming in December). In this article, we’ll dive in-depth and check out how these latest new tools work.

Luminar Neo | Studio Light Tool

Using its built-in AI to identify subjects in an image, Luminar Neo has come up with utterly realistic lighting tools. For studio portrait lighting, and for any subject, honestly, “Studio Light” is quite impressive.
First and foremost, it’s useful for creating a more dramatic look with any portraits captured in “flat” or soft light. You can add studio-quality lighting, and adjust its position so that the light and shadow fall however you want on your subject’s face.

As professional portrait photographers, we often find ourselves working in natural light. If we don’t have the time to set up elaborate studio lighting, our go-to default is to find soft, relatively flat light. This allows us to create flattering, beautiful portraits in a relatively fast and effortless manner. However, of course, it comes with the drawback of having relatively flat, “boring” light for those portraits!

You can also add textured lighting patterns, such as might only be possible with a complicated scrim flag. This allows you to darken and lighten virtually any part of your image in a highly realistic, natural-looking manner. Or, of course, you can go in the opposite direction: adjust the color of the lighting and achieve some truly wild color effects!

With the ability to completely re-light a portrait and its background, the Studio Light tool becomes one of our new favorite tools for taking portraits to a dramatic and/or exotic level.

Luminar Neo | Neon & Glow

luminar neo special effects with neon glow

Of course, these days, there is more to lighting than simply adjusting the look of natural or studio lighting on a subject. This is where the Neon & Glow comes into the picture, literally! You can “draw” with light, and create visually stunning special effects such as “drone circles” or any traditional “light painting” pattern.

Neon Color Effects

luminar neo special effects

For those of you who love synthwave music and the whole “Timecop 1984” vibe, this next AI tool might just be your new obsession in digital art creation! Here is where you can lose track of time with how unlimited the creative possibilities are, especially for those looking to depart from the traditional craft of photography and dive into the realm of digital or even “generative” style artwork.

Here is what we’re talking about: not only can you add a natural “rim lighting” effect to your images, (the “Glow” effect) …but you can also dive fully into the world of futuristic digital art by using exotic “Neon” colors, too. In the latest update (as of October 2023) you can even use free-form drawing with this light effect, and build angular-shaped artwork on top of your images or photos.

As this is an increasingly popular style of art, we imagine that artists will want to familiarize themselves with this tool! Simply put, it might not be for everyone, but we found it to be incredibly fun to play with.

The Future Of Generative AI | How Will This Affect Artists?

Beyond these tools, more and more things are coming out with Luminar Neo featuring generative AI. In fact, right now we are seeing new tools such as GenErase, GenExpand, and GenSwap. These tools are similar to eraser, fill/stretch, and warping/moving tools that we have seen in the past, except with generative AI they are taken to a whole new level.

Make no mistake, prompt-based creativity is a whole new world, and it can be intimidating or even ominous to artists. However, we see them purely as creative tools that allow us to do a better job of unleashing our creative spirit. That would be our advice to any artist who is concerned about the use of generative AI and digital art: these tools will never be able to replace the human soul, our greatest asset. We can use these tools to better convey our human emotions, in new and inspiring ways.

Luminar Neo 2023 Updates | Conclusion

luminar neo special effects and neon light

So far, 2023 has been the most impressive year yet for Skylum. We have seen the delivery of so many beautiful new tools, including their Panorama Stitching tool which has a few truly unique features that set it apart from competitors.

One of the biggest challenges that any subscription-based software has faced in the photography community has been, of course, delivering new features that make the software worth continuing to pay for. With Luminar Neo, however, Skylum has continued to provide amazing value for many types of photographers and artists, which is why we’re happy to have it in our toolkit!

Luminar Neo | Pricing & Availability

If you are a Luminar Neo Pro subscriber, then you only need to update your Luminar Neo app, and the Studio Light and Neon & Glow features will already be available! Subscribers have automatic access to ALL the new features, which also includes Extension Packs such as the Panorama Stitching and so on.

If you would prefer to buy Luminar Neo outright and avoid a monthly or annual fee, a lifetime purchase is available for $299. However, Extension Packs are an additional cost, as are future updates to the software itself, of course. Again, keep in mind that Studio Light and Neon & Glow are currently standard Luminar Neo features, not extensions. Lastly, of course, you can try Luminar Neo free for 7 days, too!