Just when you expected to glide into the holidays in a relatively calm mood, BOOM! Awesomeness is coming our way! Are you excited yet?
If you are like most people who follow Macphun, the recent announcement that they are launching another new app - called Luminar - may have caught you flat-footed. You likely were not expecting this, considering that it’s only been a few short weeks since they launched Aurora HDR 2017 (which as an aside is a completely amazing product). Yes, I think it came as a surprise to a lot of folks, but hopefully a good surprise. As a photographer, I like these kinds of surprises. New stuff is always interesting to hear about, whether we are expecting it or not.
If you missed that announcement, you can read about it here.
By the way, this was not your regular, run-of-the-mill announcement. This looks like a REALLY BIG DEAL. After reading more and more about it, I would go ahead and say that this is a GAME CHANGER.
According to the announcement, this is a complete one-stop-shop for photo editing, putting them squarely in the upper echelon of software companies that are serious about creating compelling alternatives for photographers. They are no longer just creating products for specific tasks, to be used as plug-ins (though I want to stress there is absolutely nothing wrong with that). This is going for the jugular, so to speak. As we say in Texas, “they ain’t messing around”.
Macphun is continuing to innovate and push the boundaries of photo-editing, making highly capable and intuitive products that ease the burden of digital photo enhancement. They are already known for the ease-of-use of their products, so I can imagine that we will all see a lot of great tricks that they have up their sleeves with Luminar. I’m excited about the possibilities!
Below are some of my thoughts on this product after reading the announcement, some of which were prompted based on comments and replies on the Macphun website link mentioned above. If you haven’t read it, I believe it is a treasure-trove of information and if you are a Macphun user, that blog post and its comments are a “must read”. Go check it out and while you are there, sign up for email updates on Luminar. You’ll be glad you did; I feel certain of that.
Some thoughts and random observations:
- It is a pure all-in-one photo editing solution, which means you can do anything/everything you want to do to a photo in Luminar. Per their website, they describe it as a “complete photo editing powerhouse”. This means you would not need Lightroom or Photoshop to “finish” whatever it is you may be doing with a photo.
- This product will not replace the Creative Kit apps - those will continue to exist and be supported. The CK apps are designed for specific, targeted tasks. Luminar is much more general in nature, yet still incredibly capable. It’s a broad, highly scalable solution for all your photo editing, from Beginner to Advanced User.
- This is a completely different product from Aurora HDR. Aurora is all about merging brackets to create a base HDR, and then editing it with powerful built-in tools to achieve your final vision. Luminar is designed as a single-exposure editor and doesn’t appear to allow you to merge brackets. So you can edit a single exposure in Luminar or take a base HDR (or completed HDR) into Luminar and further edit it.
- They describe it as “the most fantastic piece of software we’ve ever created”. That speaks volumes, if you think about. You know I love Aurora HDR 2017 - I think it is by far the best product I have ever used, and I think many would agree. So if Luminar is even better, this is a product that will require some serious consideration. Plus it appears to borrow some of the greatness from other Macphun apps, but now it’s all under one roof, so to speak. Win.
- There appear to be a lot of filters and advanced editing capabilities built into it, which makes total sense (Layers, Masking, and more). This is not new to Macphun, but putting everything together in a single solution is HUGE.
- There is mention in the comments on that announcement page from Macphun that asset management capabilities are being considered for future versions, so this would truly become a Lightroom replacement option in the future. I believe there is a large contingent of photographers that will applaud this effort.
In short, Luminar looks and sounds fantastic, so I highly recommend that you sign up for their email updates so you can be up to date on the happenings with it. As a lover of all things Macphun, you can be sure that I will be using Luminar and sharing my insights as soon as I can.
Expect to see and hear a lot from me in this space.
Some highlights of Luminar according to the Macphun website (just look at the length of this list!):
- Luminar will be available for pre-order on November 2nd at the discounted price of $59, and will officially launch on November 17th for $69
- Innovative Adaptive User Interface - Users can choose from 4 default interface variations, designed for: quick image fixes, photo enhancement with presets, an intermediate level of control, and advanced editing
- Luminar is the first Macphun editor to introduce Workspaces - innovative collections of tools most suitable for specific types of photography
- 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. Each filter category includes a set of precise controls, which can be adjusted to create countless different looks.
- 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. With categories ranging from Outdoor to Portrait, Street to Drama, there’s a preset for every photography style.
- 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.
- 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.
- Essential photo fixing tools, including spot healing, crop & transform, clone & stamp, noise reduction and other.
- Complete photo enhancement toolset, including exposure & contrast controls, saturation, vibrance, clarity, sharpness, polarization, and more.
- Creative color controls & adjustments, including bi-color, split toning, selective luminosity, saturation & hue controls and more.
- A myriad of photo filters, including cross process, glow, orton effect, monochrome, soft tone and more.
- Layers with blend modes and layer masking
- Custom Textures with blend modes
- Works as a standalone software, plugin & extension
- Built-in RAW converter
Luminar will be available for pre-order on November 2nd at a discounted price of $59 for all new users, and just $49 for anyone who already has Macphun photo software. Luminar will be available for purchase on November 17th.
Well my friends, that should give you something to think about. Actually, a lot to think about! It’s coming soon, and it sounds awesome. Sign up for Macphun emails and expect to see me sharing my experiences with Luminar when the time comes.