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Luminar AI promises to be an automated Photoshop that edits photos for you

Luminar AI
(Image credit: Skylum)

Skylum's Luminar has quickly become a popular alternative to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom over the past few years, but now it's planning to take a big new leap for photo editing with a new AI-driven version called Luminar AI.

Designed to replace the existing Luminar 4, the new software – which won't be fully released for Mac and Windows until "this holiday season" – will build on some of the AI tools seen in previous versions of the photo editing software.

The difference this time, though, is that the AI tools will be center stage. This means that rather than giving you traditional, Adobe-style tools like adjustment brushes up front, you'll get 'templates' like Portraits and Essentials that contain automated editing tools.

The early examples Skylum has given are 'BodyAI' and 'FaceAI' to help refine your portraits, plus effects like 'AtmosphereAI' and 'SkyAI' for landscape shooters, with the latter giving you a new sky in a few seconds.

Even relatively basic tasks like cropping and exposure fixes can apparently be automatically fixed in Luminar AI, making it a potentially good option for those who don't want to get bogged down in photo editing tweaks. 

We've been impressed by Luminar's AI Sky Enhancer and Accent AI Filter in previous versions of the software, so it certainly sounds promising – but we'll reserve judgement this AI-flavored Photoshop until we've tried it.

Luminar AI

(Image credit: Skylum)

Automated for the people

Of course, the flip-side to automated photo editing is that it's for a different audience to those who like to the more manual approach offered by the likes of Lightroom.

This means that Skylum says Luminar AI is aimed at slightly different crowd, including small businesses like Etsy shop owners who don't have budgets for photo shoots, and anyone who doesn't fancy tackling the learning curve of more complex software.

Skylum says that the more familiar editing tools will still be in Luminar AI, so it's potentially of interest to professionals too, but the AI 'templates' will simply be more up front.

You can pre-order Luminar AI now for $79 / £79 (around AU$145). The full software will be available later this year as a stand-alone application and a plug-in for macOS and Windows. If you're an existing Luminar user, Skylum told us that Luminar AI "effectively replaces Luminar 4, and that software will no longer be on sale", but that it'll "continue to get support and updates for another year".