Gadgets & Gizmos

We're not really writing an anti-Photoshop page here, promise! Photoshop is the top dog with a few idiosyncracies and a monthly payment plan of $14.29 including GST in Australia. It also comes with Lightroom, so it is actually very affordable – the same as a cup of coffee each week. Long live Photoshop!

However, for just $99 you can purchase Skylum's Luminar and it's a one-off purchase. It can also be used in conjunction with Photoshop and Lightroom as a plug-in, so you don't need to transfer across to Luminar completely. And while Luminar offers raw file support, it's not clear what will happen in the medium future as new raw file formats are introduced and whether you may eventually need to purchase a new version of the software to support your new camera's new raw format (which is what you do with Lightroom and Capture One).

However, we're looking at Luminar to replace Photoshop. Can it? Photoshop is highly technical, Luminar is highly accessible. Luminar offers layers and masks like Photoshop, but it's not quite as sophisticated in that, for example, channel masks are not offered (but luminosity masking is).

Luminar appears to offer more than Lightroom, but are we comparing it with plain-vanilla Lightroom, or Lightroom with a series of plug-ins, such as the Nik Software series? Luminar is similar in application to both Capture One and Lightroom, but it has a series of features that are already included.

For instance, Luminar boasts an ‘artificial intelligence’ that enhances your image automatically. Is this a good idea? For photographers learning to edit, it's a great idea because it provides a starting point. However, to leave it at that seems a little boring, so Luminar has a full suite of image enhancement and editing tools, generally applied by a slider control, with the effects easily observed immediately on-screen.

Two features promoted to landscape photographers are the AI Sky Enhancer and the Sun Rays – easy as moving some sliders around.

Luminar also offers a cataloging and file management system, which is important to compete with Lightroom and Capture One, and there are over 60 presets or 'looks' to get you started.

There's a 30-day free trial, so certainly worth investigating.

Find out more at www.skylum.com/luminar

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