Luminar 4 is a powerful photo editing tool. It comes as standalone software or as a plugin for Photoshop.
Luminar 4 has little in common with the previous version. It makes extensive use of AI machine learning and major changes have affected the way photographs are edited.
The graphical interface of the program is cleaner and clearer. It looks like there are fewer functions.
The edit panel had undergone a significant change. Gone is the workspace system and filter library. We now have four preset panels of editing functions: Essentials, Creative, Portrait, and Pro, between which you can quickly switch.
The individual editing functions are self-extracting, which saves space. However, I would accept the option of locking the package or unpacking.
This would bring the program closer to controlling Lightroom. I would also get the possibility of creating at least one custom filter package, as was the case in Luminar 3.
The strong point of Luminar 4, as well as other programs from Skylum, are presets. They are divided into groups according to genres. The user can create their own and can download more from the Skylum website.
Find exposure settings and white balance here. AI is represented here by AI Enhance and AI Structure functions for the overall improvement of images of all genres.
You will also find work with colors, conversion to black and white, sharpening, noise reduction, the vignetting effect, and Landscape Enhancer with dehaze, golden hour, and foliage enhancer functions.
Here, you will find mainly effect functions. First and foremost, it’s an AI Sky Replacement, with which replacing the sky is a breeze. Use Sunrays to add rays of the sun to your photo.
Three features, Dramatic, Matte Look, and Mystical, give photos of a dramatic, faded, or dreamy look. A significant change in color is enabled by a function using LUT tables.
With Texture Overlay, you can overlay a photo with a texture. Glow adds a diffuse effect, Film Grain adds a film grain effect, and Fog adds a fog effect.
A special portrait mode also uses machine learning. AI Skin Enhancer retouches skin defects.
Portrait Enhancer allows you to easily and quickly adjust portraits, specifically skin lightening, red-eye removal, eye whitening, iris highlighting, face slimming, eye enlargement, lip and tooth treatment.
Then there’s the High Key and Orton Effect, which adds a subtle soft effect.
In the Pro section, you’ll find advanced contrast adjustment, a transition filter, a Dodge & Burn brush, advanced color adjustment, a simple photo filter, and a split toning function for dual coloring.
The program’s advantage is that you can adjust each function (filter) using a mask (brush, a transition filter, Luminosity mask).
AI Enhance – combines overall contrast, exposure, and color adjustment with sky adjustment.
AI Structure – an automatic setting of highlighting or suppression of structures. AI evaluates structures throughout the image and intelligently determines the degree of adjustment for each part of the picture.
AI Sky Replacement – sky replacement function with automatic masking. You can replace the sky with a menu shot or upload your own.
Artificial intelligence will take care not only of precise masking but also of harmonizing the color of the entire image. Both work great. The change of the sky will be reflected even in buildings with a glass facade.
AI Skin Enhancer & Portrait Enhancer – these features save a lot of time when editing portraits. You can adjust the amount of adjustment so that the portraits are natural and do not look like wax.
The program itself detects the face and its parts, so you do not need any brushes. It pays to use your own presets here. You can easily make presets for portraits of men and women, romantic portraits, etc.
Landscape Enhancer – This feature does not use AI, but is still essential for landscapers because it combines several elements with which photos can be quickly edited.
Dehaze serves to suppress the haze of air, Golden Hour emphasizes the effect of the golden hour, and Foliage Enhancer emphasizes the greenery.
The library is simple so far, and the functionality of the Lightroom Classic is nowhere near. It will functionally satisfy the average photographer, who prefers the organization in the directories. A weaker library will not bother those who install Luminar 4 as a plugin to Lightroom and Photoshop.
Luminar 4 will suit those who do not know postprocessing well. AI will significantly help them make their shots much more attractive. The offer of presets is excellent. I like that Skylum offers downloadable presets, LUT tables, and other add-ons.
Advanced editors will lack the classic feature set and better support for image profiles and lens profiles. The portrait mode is a great attraction, even for the more demanding users.
Anyone who has ever tried to change the sky in a photo knows how difficult it is. AI Sky Replacement works great and saves the user a lot of time. The important thing is that the result looks natural.
Luminar 4 is still relatively slow when loading photos and even with more demanding editing. I would recommend a powerful computer, preferably with a fast SD disk.