MacPhun has announced a new version of its innovative photo-editing application Luminar. Called Luminar 2018, it’s available for pre-order in both Mac and PC versions, and brings new filters, RAW editing tools, lens distortion and perspective correction, LUT support (look up tables for colour adjustments) and, coming in 2018, a new digital asset management system (DAM) which will let Luminar organise your images as well as edit them. Luminar is designed to simplify complicated photo editing tasks, but with the new organising tools coming in next year, MacPhun also wants to take on Lightroom.
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The PC version of Luminar will not immediately have all the features of the Mac version, but MacPhun says these will follow shortly via free updates. The move into the Windows market has prompted the other big news from MacPhun – it’s changing its name to ‘Skylum’. This will happen gradually, so that the MacPhun name will continue to be used for the rest of this year but the name change will be completed at the start of 2018.
How it works
Luminar takes a new and interesting approach to image editing. Adjustments are made using modular filters, which can be combined to create custom workspaces for particular kinds of photography, for example black and white, portrait or street photography. The idea is that you only see the filters you need to make your workspace is as clean and simple as possible. There are more than 40 of these image enhancement filters in total.
Luminar also offers one-click effects presets arranged into categories. These range from vintage effects, through black and white treatments to regular image enhancements. Each of these presets consists of a set of specific filters and settings. You can modify the settings once you’ve chosen a preset, create and save your own presets or download new preset packs from the MacPhun website.
You can also combine images in layers to create composite images and merge them together using masks and blend modes, so Luminar is more than just a simple images effects and enhancement tool.
Luminar 2018 comes with a number of new filters, including a dedicated RAW Develop filter, a Sun Rays filter, Dodge and Burn filter, Matte filter and more.
The RAW Develop filter is designed to be the first step in enhancing RAW images. The previous version of Luminar could edit RAW files directly too, but did not have tools designed solely for RAW image enhancements. The new Develop filter has additional Lens and Transform tabs for correcting lens aberrations and perspective issues respectively. Luminar 2018 does not offer automatic lens correction profiles, however, so you dial out distortion and chromatic aberration manually with sliders.
The new LUT feature is interesting too. LUTs (look up tables) are a way of translating or ‘remapping’ colours and can be used to apply colour corrections or effects. MacPhun says Lightroom presets can be translated into LUTS for use in Luminar 2018 via a free third party tool.
Other improvements in Luminar 2018 include real time noise removal, speed improvements thanks to a ground-up redesign and a new interface which is visibly cleaner and more professional-looking than its predecessor’s.
Pricing and availability
Luminar 2018 will be available for pre-order between November 1 and November 16 2017 at a special price of $59, $39 for those upgrading from an earlier version and $49 for users who signed up to the Windows beta program. If you pre-order you’ll also get a pack of signature presets and tetures from pro photographer Nicolesy (Nicole S Young), an exclusive pack of LUTs and a 1-year SmugMug Power Plan worth $72 (new users only).
At the end of the pre-order period, Luminar 2018 will go on sale at its regular price of $69 for new users, or $49 for those upgrading from an earlier version.