Macphun adds AI power to photo editing app

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neptune
Macphun adds artificial intelligence to Luminar with its Neptune update.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

When Macphun entered the imaging software game, it wanted to make products as powerful as Photoshop, Aperture or Lightroom yet with fewer clicks to well-styled photos.

Today, Macphun released an update to its all-in-one editing app Luminar that can make a photo beautiful in still fewer steps.

How does one sound?

The update, Luminar Neptune, comes with a number of improvements but at the top of the list is a powerful filter with the understated name, Accent.

Accent is an AI filter, a single slider bar that when moved taps into dozens of filters that analyzes and quickly improves various areas of an image, including colors, contrast, exposure and other parameters.

The slider bar controls the intensity of the filter and gives advanced editors a foundation for additional fine-tuning.

Artificial intelligence is not new to imaging software. What I like about Luminar’s Accent filter so far is that it seems to allow the photographer to retain the position of lead thinker.

Luminar Neptune
Here is shadowy evening light on a image prior to adjusting the slider bar on the Accent AI Filter.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Luminar Neptune
The same image with the slider bar adjusted just enough to bring out some detail in the faces and separate the subjects from the background.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

It doesn’t automatically assume that the dark areas of a picture need to be lighter, that I can decide whether any detail gets to appear in the shadows. Exposure is a matter of taste and what a photographer does with it can establish a palpable mood. An AI-based app sometimes makes assumptions that kill a mood.

Also new to Luminar Neptune is a workspace Macphun dubs “Quick & Awesome.” It consists of the Accent AI filter but also includes the filters for saturation, vibrancy, and clarity for even more refined tweaks.

Other improvements include a plug-in integration to Macphun’s Creative Kit and Aurora KDR 2017, faster and smoother performing brush, gradient and radial gradient tools, additional vignette styles and improvements to user interface.

The Neptune upgrade is free for Luminar users. Luminar otherwise is $49 for anyone who owns other Macphun software or $59 for new users.