First look: LUMINAR + Preorder info!

Time to pre-order!  Get a great deal by getting in early!  Plus I have screenshots, a video, sample images, and more!

Wow, this is a seriously cool product, people!  I have been testing it out for a while now and am really blown away with all the capability built into this thing!  It's become a core part of my workflow in a very short time!

Just when you were settling down to edit all your photos in Aurora HDR 2017, having come off the high of that amazing product, Macphun does it again.  Now, they hit us with LUMINAR, which is totally new and in my opinion, totally awesome (and totally different I might add!).

This is a brand-new, built-from-the-ground up all-in-one photo editing solution.  It has the familiar, comfortable and easy to navigate UI that you have come to expect from Macphun, but they have completely re-imagined the photo editing approach here and I love it.

NOTE: This product does not merge brackets to HDR - it is designed as a single-exposure editing tool.  It is not a replacement for Aurora HDR.  I will continue to use Aurora for my HDR needs (it's the best there is, by far) and I can see that I will use LUMINAR for all my single exposure editing.  I may even take HDR images into LUMINAR for a little extra oomph!  It's adaptable, powerful, and awesome.  Read on.  I believe you will love this product.

The UI is adaptive and scalable to your needs, and thus you can change it as your needs change and grow.  As a beginner, perhaps you just want to use a couple of presets or a filter or two - so that's all you have to do.  As an intermediate, perhaps you are exploring more filters, more features, creating your own presets, etc - easy, it can adapt with you.  As an advanced user, you can further customize it with workspaces (a great, new idea!) and more.  

This is a seriously cool product, my friends.  I can already see that I will be spending a lot of time using it.  I am also proud to say that I built several presets that will be included in the base product, and will be producing videos outlining the features and how to use LUMINAR as well.

Interested? Of course you are!  Click here to pre-order on the Macphun site!

If you like to see videos, you can check out my Luminar Quick Preview video below.  I think it will give you a really good feel for the product and probably get you pretty excited about it, too!

Here's a quick preview of the brand-new Luminar app from Macphun. Edit photos with ease, create your own masterpieces in minutes, and do it all in one app! Read more on the blog here: http://nomadicpursuits.com/

First off, here are some official highlights from Macphun:

  1. Luminar is the first Macphun editor to introduce Workspaces - innovative collections of tools most suitable for a specific type of photography. 
  2. Luminar 1.0 will feature over 35 innovative imaging filters, from classic Tone & Exposure, to Bi-Color, Photo Filter Emulation, Cross-Processing, Detail Enhancement and dozens of others. 
  3. Users can save a group of pre-adjusted filters to create their own one-click preset, or for convenience, choose from over 50 pre-defined presets. 
  4. The new Luminar for Mac introduces a new editing workflow. Users can change the order of applied filters at any time in the editing process, therefore totally changing the look of their photo. With the new History feature users can check all steps of the editing process, and go back to any step at any time.
  5. The new selection tools in Luminar include: adjustable editing brush, radial and gradient masking, as well as masking with a single layer and masking with an independent filter. 
  6. Together with the powerful blend modes, layers and filters, these masking tools allow users to easily perform even the most complex edits, for instance the sky replacement.   
  7. Essential photo fixing tools, including spot healing, crop & transform, clone & stamp, noise reduction and other. 
  8. Complete photo enhancement toolset, including exposure & contrast controls, saturation, vibrance, clarity, sharpness, polarization, and more. 
  9. Creative color controls & adjustments, including bi-color, split toning, selective luminosity, saturation & hue controls and more.
  10. A myriad of photo filters, including cross process, glow, orton effect, monochrome, soft tone and more.
  11. Layers with blend modes and layer masking
  12. Custom Textures with blend modes
  13. Works as a standalone software, plugin & extension
  14. Built-in RAW converter

Availability and Pricing:

Luminar is available for pre-order TODAY at a discounted price of $59 for all new users, and just $49 for anyone who already uses has Macphun photo software. Pre-order offer will also include a bonus pack of photo training videos and a course on building a photography business from Will Burrard-Lucas, an award-winning UK based wildlife photographer with over one million Facebook fans. 

Luminar will be available for purchase on November 17th, if you decide to wait.


Here are some Before/After pics, just to illustrate the power of Luminar.

I enhanced the colors and drama in this one with just a few filters

I quickly replaced the sky and created a more dramatic photo with color and tone enhancements

A simple conversion to monochrome with contrast, structure and Clarity adjustments

Pretty cool, right?


A quick visual tour of LUMINAR...

But you know, I can't stop with just sharing the standard stuff - I have to show you some screenshots!  So, keep scrollin' down for some of that goodness.  This should give you a good idea about what this product can do (though honestly, I am barely scratching the surface here - you will see plenty more from me on Luminar).

In these screenshots I have a single exposure that I shot in Oregon on the beach at sunset.  No edits were made to the photo prior to bringing it into LUMINAR.  This is a straight-up single exposure taken from one of my bracket sets (yes, I always shoot brackets).

1) User Interface

Here is the landing page you arrive at when bringing an image into LUMINAR (note that you can close things like the Histogram and Layers panel in case you want a cleaner look).  You can see familiar tools across the top (zoom in/out, before/after, etc) as well as down the right side (brush, gradient mask, radial gradient, clone and stamp, eraser, etc).  You also have a histogram, layers, and a filter section where you can add a filter to start editing your photo, and of course you can reach the preset menu from here as well.

This is an unedited photo of a lovely sunset in Oregon.  Sadly, this single exposure didn't capture the vibrancy of the scene, so I am going to use Luminar to bring it back to life!  Let's do it!


2) Filters

Speaking of filters, LUMINAR has them in spades.  There is so much here to choose from/work with that it is incredible.  They are organized by type and after clicking the +Add Filter button, you are given a menu to choose from which sort of pops out to the left.  You also have the option to expand it further and see a description of each filter as in the example below.  Just select one and it drops into the filter section and you can start moving sliders.  Once you finish with that slider, just add another filter on that same layer and keep doing that until you are done!  

You can stack as many as you want.  Ok well, there is probably a limit, but I have done 7 or 8 filters on a base layer with no issue.  Also note that the filters are organized by category (notice that I am in "All"), and that a few filters reside in multiple categories (which makes sense).  Lastly, there is the ability to apply a filter mask, which allows you to mask in the effects of a single filter without having to add a new layer.  It's really a great idea and it is executed well in LUMINAR.

And here is an example of this photo with a few filters applied to it.  You can see the before/after is pretty clear.  If I wanted to add more filters after adjusting the chosen ones here, I would just click on +Add Filter at the bottom (you have to scroll to see +Add Filter, or you can click on the + sign just across from the word Filters at the top of the Filters section), choose another one, and get to work.  Easy and flexible.  And as I mentioned above, I could use the filter mask to selectively apply that filter to the image.  It's quick and easy.  Just click on the brush, then click on the filter you used, and brush it in.

I stacked a few filters to achieve this look.


3) Presets

If you prefer to start with a preset, you can do that instead (or you can add a preset later, it doesn't matter).  There are many presets built into LUMINAR, some of which I created for them, and I hope you enjoy them.  You can also easily create your own presets.  To open the preset menu, there is a little icon in the far upper right corner of the screen that looks like a little rectangle with 3 little boxes under it.  You just click on that and it opens the preset menu.  Then, choose your category, pick a preset with one click, and it will display on your photo like in all Macphun products.  The opacity slider is also built into the preview, like in Aurora so you can make adjustments to it right there.  Note that I have returned to the unedited version of the photo in the below screenshots.  You can see some of the presets across the bottom.

In the below screenshot, I have selected a preset entitled "Warm Sunset" and you can see that the photo has changed based on the settings built into the preset.  You can also see that under Filters in the right hand menu that some adjustment sliders are now showing.  These are the filters that comprise the preset.  This works just like other Macphun products so it should feel familiar to you if you are already a Macphun user.  There are something like 60 presets in Luminar, so you have a lot of options here.  Your creativity can go in so many directions!

Obviously you can also make further adjustments to any of the individual sliders that are built into the preset, further customizing the look of your photo.  It's up to you and your imagination.  Get creative and have fun with it!


4) Workspaces

Ah, Workspaces - this is a unique, interesting and innovative idea, and one that I foresee using a lot of.  Here's how I would describe a workspace: it's a collection of filters, accessed via a single click, that will populate in your filter section and be ready to use.  They will not have any adjustments made to them though - this is not a preset.  It is simply a collection of filters that you would commonly use for a certain type of photograph, and they are zeroed out each time so you can start from scratch to customize the image.

For example, perhaps you shoot a lot of cityscapes, and when you edit the photos you like to accentuate the colors and details to really make your image vibrant.  So you can create a workspace - a collection of filters - and call it "Cityscapes".  When you bring in a cityscape image to edit, just grab this Workspace from the drop-down menu and the filters you assign to this workspace will populate and be ready for you to adjust.

In this example, I would take the filters I would need most for this type of photo, add them to the workspace, and save it under the name "Cityscapes".  The filters (let's say I would take Clarity, Tone, Saturation/Vibrance and Color Temperature) are then dropped into your filter section and ready to go.  I don't have to go get them each time.  If I decide I need another filter, I can just go add it to this edit, or even create another workspace should I feel the need to do so.

Basically, this idea is a shortcut.  It saves you several steps, because you don't have to go get the filters each time.  They are accessible via a single click.  I anticipate that I will create Workspaces for things like Sunset Landscapes, Blue Hour Landscapes, Cityscapes, Interior Architecture, Portraits, and more.  Each workspace will contain the filters I would commonly use for that category of photo.  You can set up Workspaces to mirror other products that you use, or for any sort of custom work you might want to do.  It's incredibly flexible.

Using the same example photo, you can see below that I added Color Temperature, Saturation/Vibrance, and Clarity to use in the photo below (you can add more if you want to - this is only an example) and made some slider adjustments to those filters.  Then, I click on the drop-down menu and choose "Save as New Workspace".  Give it a name and it is saved for future edits.  But again, the sliders are zeroed out in the workspace each time.  The workspace is simply saving the filters so you don't have to bring them to each photo.  You just choose the workspace based on the type of photo you are editing.

As you can see there are 4 workspaces that are built into Luminar: B&W, Landscape, Portrait and Street.  Each is set up with specific filters that would commonly be used for editing that type of photograph.  Thus far I have used the Landscape Workspace on many of my images.  As time permits, I will be building a lot of my own because I love the ability to have all the necessary filters accessible via a single click.


Getting into some of the tools on the right hand side menu for a moment...and these are just quick screenshots.  There's plenty there for you to experiment with, believe me.  I will have a full review written up too, and will cover things in detail then.

5) Transform

This is a great tool to have in the event you are replacing a sky (for example).  After laying the new sky image on top of the original photo, you can use the gradient mask to apply it and then the transform tool to move it around so that it looks just right.  You can find a quick example of that in the first video on the Macphun blog post about Luminar (click here) - it's about 1:20 into the video.  Very handy little tool!

You can squish things around if you need to!   Great for composite type stuff, sky replacement, etc.


6) Clone & Stamp

There are times when the eraser just doesn't cut it, or you need to do something a bit more drastic.  In those situations, the clone and stamp tool is your new best friend.  You can basically just cut and paste one part of the photo onto another part of the photo.  In the example below, I took some of that lovely golden light that is shimmering on the sand and cloned and stamped it onto a boring part of the sand.  It makes quite a difference!

The before version - note the big area of dry sand in the right hand side about midway up the frame.  Let's make that prettier!

See how I covered that dry spot with lovely golden light?  Easy and fun!


7) Eraser

It's great to have the eraser tool built right into Luminar.  I am always removing dust spots or little bits of this and that.  Now I can do it right here while I am stylizing my photo.  Just click on the eraser tool, mouse over what you want to remove, and let Luminar do its magic!  It's quick and simple.

Get rid of those pesky spots!  Just click on them, click Erase, and then the green check mark.  Easy.


8) DeNoise

Another amazing built-in feature is the denoise tool.  This saves you a round trip to another program and it's accessible via the far right hand menu of tools.  Just click on it, choose your Strength setting, and let it remove the noise.  You can then go in with a brush to apply it to targeted areas if you want to.  There is also the "Amount" slider which allows you to further refine the intensity of the chosen Strength setting.

Clean up that sky my friends!

9) Crop Tool

As with other Macphun products, the crop tool is built into Luminar and offers a lot of options.  Just click on the tool to get into crop mode, and you can choose from various standard options (square, rule of thirds, etc) as well as custom ones.  You can also straighten an image in the crop tool.  Again, this saves you a trip elsewhere to perform these edits.


Ok, that should cover it for today my friends.  This was supposed to be a quick teaser, but there is just so much here to talk about that I shared a lot - and truthfully, I could go on for hours!  I hope it helps to give you some clarity about this awesome new product.  As you can see, there is a LOT to talk about with LUMINAR and it is a very powerful product.  In fact, there are many advanced features that I haven't even shown here, such as Layers, Blend Modes, Filter Masking, and more.  I will come back and cover more as soon as I can in my full review.  LUMINAR is coming soon - I hope you are excited about it!  I know you are going to love it!

Reminder: Click Here to pre-order on the Macphun site.

Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions!

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