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The New Luminar from Macphun – A Preview

UPDATE: Now you can download a FREE TRIAL of Luminar!

 

Be sure to join my Luminar and Aurora HDR Users Group on Facebook!

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Macphun, the (currently) Mac-only photo software company that is behind popular photography editing programs Aurora HDR 2017 and the Creative Kit (which features programs such as Intensify, Tonality, Snapheal, FX Photo Studio, Focus, and Noiseless) has a brand new program coming out November 17, 2016 called Luminar. I have been working with a beta version for a couple weeks now and here is a quick preview with my initial impressions.

Also included in this preview is my exclusive video interview with Kevin La Rue, the V.P of Macphun regarding Luminar. Look for the interview towards the end of this preview!

Luminar Workspace

 

Luminar is a brand new program and is Macphun’s first all-in-one photo editing solution.

It features:

Innovative Adaptive User Interface

The Luminar user interface is built around the idea that every photographer is different, and therefore their photo editing needs are different too. 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.

Built in RAW converter

Luminar so far in my testing has done a very impressive job in RAW processing from my Sony a7R files. Shadow recovery is way better than Lightroom and on par with Capture One Pro, with fantastic color and low noise.

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Workspaces & Filters

Luminar is the first Macphun editor to introduce Workspaces – innovative collections of tools most suitable for a specific type of photography. Default Workspaces will cover Portrait, Landscape, Street, and Black & White Photography. In addition, users can create an unlimited number of custom Workspaces, as well as import Workspaces from other photographers.

Over 35 Imaging Filters

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.

Convenient descriptions and previews of the effect are available with each filter too. Some of my favorite right away are the Adjustable Gradient, Advanced Contrast, Image Radiance, Channel Mixer, Color Contrast, and Orton Effect filters. 

Luminar Filters

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.

Innovative non-destructive editing and powerful selection tools

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.

Together with the powerful blend modes, layers and filters, these masking tools allow users to easily perform even the most complex edits.   

Luminar Masking

One thing I really like about Luminar is the ability to create a mask on any individual filter. This allows you to paint-in the effect you want to the specific part of the photo you want. No need to create a separate layer – just grab the brush tool and click on the filter you want to create the mask from and paint away.

What else is in Luminar?

  • 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

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My Preview Conclusion

As the version of Luminar I have been using for the last few weeks is a beta I will withhold giving a more in-depth review until I am able to test a final shipping version. So I won’t go into detail on missing features, as I already sent Macphun my list of things missing and will wait to see what gets added between now and the final shipping version. In certain situations I noticed some undesirable results in image processing that I made them aware of – which is normal in beta testing – so I won’t give an official grade on image quality either at this point.

I will say however, in regards to image quality, I am for the most part quite impressed with the results from RAW files from my Sony a7R. Results that in many cases equal, if not exceed, what I have come to expect with Capture One Pro and which are far better than what I see in Lightroom – especially in shadow detail.

Having a completely customizable workspace is wonderful, and there is a large amount of filter effects you can use to completely enhance your photographs.

Luminar is not here to replace the Creative Kit nor Aurora HDR 2017. While some features overlap with the Creative Kit, some still remain exclusive to the Kit while others are exclusive to Luminar. Watch my video interview with Kevin La Rue, the V.P. of Macphun below for more info on this.

In conclusion, based on what I have seen from the beta I have I would definitely recommend purchasing Luminar or at the very least I would be sure to download a free trial once it becomes available on November 17. Macphun appears to be very committed to Luminar and I would expect to see any missing features not available in the v1.0 release to be strongly considered for future versions. I will certainly be bugging my contacts at Macphun to add features I notice are missing 😉

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Special Pre-Order Savings Now through November 17

Luminar is available for pre-order now at a discounted price of $59 for all new users, and just $49 for anyone who already uses has Macphun photo software. The pre-order offer also includes 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. Laminar will be available to download on November 17. Read more about Luminar on Macphun’s blog here and pre-order it here.

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Exclusive Video Interview with Kevin La Rue

The last week of October I had the opportunity to interview my friend Kevin La Rue, the V.P. of Macphun. This interview was primarily for those who purchased my Mastering Aurora HDR 2017 Online Course, as we talked quite a bit about Aurora and Macphun.

But we also talked about Luminar. The video below contains the edited par of the video where we discussed Luminar.

FREE Webinar this Thursday October 6

Join me this Thursday, October 6 for a “Behind the Scenes” with Aurora HDR 2017 FREE live Webinar, brought to you by Macphun!

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Watch as I show you some of my favorite new features of Aurora HDR 2017, which was just released last week. This webinar will also include a questions and answers period!

The one-hour live webinar is scheduled for 12:00 PM PDT and you must register in advance to reserve a spot, as space is limited.

See you on Thursday!

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P.S. Be sure to check out my review on Aurora HDR 2017 here and take a look at my Mastering Aurora HDR 2017 Online Course.

Coming Soon: My Mastering Aurora HDR 2017 Downloadable Online Training Video

Learn all about Aurora HDR 2017, the newest editing program from Macphun, with my Mastering Aurora HDR 2017 Online Training Video Course. Featuring over 50 videos plus course photos & FREE presets, this will be the most comprehensive training video available on Aurora HDR 2017.

 

COURSE NOW AVAILABLE: Visit here for the details!!

 

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Find out more about my upcoming training video course here. And while you are there, be sure to sign up for my no-obligation pre-order list to be the first to know more about this course and to take advantage of special exclusive savings during the pre-order period happening soon.

Aurora HDR 2017 Review

Aurora HDR 2017 Review

In November of 2015 Macphun took the photo processing world by storm when it released Aurora HDR Pro – a brand new program designed for HDR photography with features no other HDR software package had. Made for the Mac in partnership with HDR guru Trey Ratcliff, in 10 months since it’s release it has amassed nearly 700,000 downloads.

Now almost one year later Macphun is releasing their newest version, called Aurora HDR 2017.

They say it is packed with improvements and new features. But what exactly has been improved and how special are these new features in a program that has been out for less than a year? And more importantly, are these new features & improvements worth upgrading so soon?

Find out here in my in-depth Aurora HDR 2017 Review!

Saguaros at sunset at MacDonald's Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona
This photo was from 3 exposures edited in Aurora HDR 2017, using 3 additional layers – one of
which was a luminosity mask to bring back the sky from one of the original 
exposures – and
the other 2 were for selective edits with the masking brush.

Macphun Announces Aurora HDR 2017

Last month, in August of this year, Macphun announced the newest version of Aurora, called Aurora HDR 2017, and mentioned it would be coming out later this year (available September 29, 2016). This was announced 8 months after the original version was released.

 

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So what is Aurora HDR 2017?

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Just Announced: Aurora HDR 2017

Macphun has just announced that my favorite HDR program has a new version coming soon: Aurora HDR 2017.

The new version has a number of features & improvements. It will be available for pre-order on September 15th and it will officially launch on September 29. Be sure to sign up here to receive more info as it is released and to be notified when it is available!

Aurora-2017

Features and Improvements List:

  • New Batch Processing

  • New Tools, including polarize filter and radial masking tool

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  • New presets by Trey Ratcliff and other recognized pros

  • Updated tone-mapping and bracket merging technology for more realistic looking HDR images

In all, Aurora 2017 will come with over 20 key improvements and new features. More details will be released soon!

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Availability:

  • Aurora 2017 will be available for pre-order September 15th and will officially launch September 29th.

Upgrades and Pricing

  • Current users of Aurora HDR Pro can upgrade to Aurora HDR 2017 at a special pre-order price of $49

  • Current users of the standard version of Aurora HDR can upgrade to Aurora HDR 2017 at a special pre-order upgrade price of $69

  • New customers can pre-order Aurora HDR 2017 for $89

  • Pre-order customers will also receive special bonuses that will be announced soon

Don’t forget to sign up here for more info and to be notified when Aurora HDR is ready!

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String Lake Milky Way at Grand Teton National Park

Of all the times I have photographed the night sky, shooting the Milky Way at String Lake in Grand Teton National Park has to be one of my top highlights.

Words alone can’t describe the peacefulness encountered that evening as I was sitting on a rock at the edge of the lake in complete darkness, watching the stars and Milky Way reflected in the still water at 2am.

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I had photographed in this location a number of times in the daytime and as such I had a pretty good feeling this spot would pay off in the nighttime as well. Getting there at night sure is a little harrowing driving along roads in complete darkness looking out for any elk, deer, foxes, or any other animals that might want to dart out in front of you. I kept my speed at 35-40mph, even though the limit was 45mph, just to be safe (as I usually do while driving through the Tetons and Yellowstone at night).

One other safety tip if you decide to go photograph there especially at night – don’t forget to bring your bear spray!

How I Photographed This

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