If there is one developer of image editing software that doesn't seem to sit still, it's Skylum (formerly known as Macphun).
At the end of last year, Skylum released an update to their Luminar 2018 app, called Luminar 3. Luminar already had a couple of interesting filters on board, such as the Accent AI filter, that uses artificial intelligence to automatically enhance your images. Recently, they added the AI Sky Enhancer which, as you might guess, automatically recognizes and improves the skies in your photos. Another strong point is the ability to work with layers and layer masks in the plug-in.
The Luminar 3 update also added a Library functionality, or at least the start of it. While you could also use Luminar 3 as a plug-in for Lightroom and Photoshop, that wasn't really the intended use and the workflow wasn't ideal. Luminar 3 really positions itself more as a Lightroom alternative rather than a Lightroom plug-in.
However, not every Lightroom user is willing to throw their existing workflow overboard and start completely from scratch with a new application. Some people (such as myself) would prefer to integrate Luminar’s strong features in their existing workflow, such as the Artificial Intelligence driven filters and the ability to apply all adjustments locally instead of just a handful as is the case with Lightroom.
… versus Luminar Flex
If you're one of those people, then you will be super excited about the new Luminar Flex. At its core, Luminar Flex is basically Luminar 3 without the library functionality but with improved plug-in support for Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Photos (on Mac).
Existing Luminar 2018 and Luminar 3 users get a free license for the current version of Luminar Flex, which is a nice move from Skylum. The code for that free version should have been added automatically to your Skylum account. Skylum did announce however that from now on, Luminar 3 and Luminar Flex will be treated as separate apps with separate development trajectories and separate upgrade paths which will in the future also require separate upgrade fees. But that's only logical: normally, you will want to work with one or the other, not with both, and therefore you would only need to update one of them.
It's also important to know that future versions of Luminar 3 will no longer be usable as a plug-in.
Save $10 with code MORETHANWORDS
if you're not yet using Luminar, but this blog post raised your interest, then you can obviously just buy Luminar Flex. You can do so via this link. Luminar Flex is affordably priced at $59 and on top of that, code MORETHANWORDS shaves off another $10 (click on the blue text that says Enter Promotional Code in your shopping cart). Artificial intelligence has never been so cheap :-) By the way, the code also works for Luminar 3, if you prefer that solution.
Also for Lightroom 6 users
Quite a lot of Lightroom users are still working with Lightroom 6 and if you're in that situation, then Luminar has another ace up its sleeve for you: the ability to work with pixel layers inside of the plug-in. Indeed, it's possible to combine different images into one by using Luminar’s built-in layer functionality. I’ll explore this interesting feature in a future video on the blog!