I have been a fan of Luminar for a number of years now. The editing style and the technology that they are putting into their product is amazing. However, I am also still a fan of Lightroom. It keeps everything organized and it handles large amounts of photos better than other editors. With Luminar 3 and soon 4, that have a library or a digital assets manager (DAM), not something everyone wants if they are already invested into Lightroom.
Actually, when Luminar 3 came out, I was not too excited. I wanted something that would work with Lightroom, not replace it. Flex was the answer. Not to mention that when Luminar 3 came out, there were a lot of performance issues. Matt Seuss talks about what happened in the beginning of his article.
For me, Lightroom is what I have been using for many years and I don’t really feel like switching over at this point in time. However, I do love the power and editing features of Skylum’s products, especially Luminar and their AI features. I just don’t want to start moving over 10 years of images to a program that has been plagued with performance issues from the beginning.
So I was a bit conflicted when Skylum introduced Luminar 3 with the DAM last year. I was not really impressed or interested in it to tell you the truth, but I did want the latest updates. So what was I supposed to do?
Along Came Flex
I was still using Luminar 2018 when they announced Luminar Flex. It was a great improvement and I liked what they added to the plugin. It felt that this was a hat tip to photographers like myself who sort of said “Thanks but no thanks” to the so-called “lightroom alternative” that they were offering.
Flex quickly became my go-to plugin in Lightroom. I pretty much stopped using the presets and started only using Luminar Flex. It has now become a solid part of my workflow.
The troubling part came with all the updates for Luminar 3. The improvements made to the AI enhancer were amazing but there were nowhere to be seen in Luminar Flex. Now, Skylum just recently added them into their update to Luminar Flex.
What’s New in Luminar Flex 1.1?
The release of 1.1 is a big update for flex and the best part is that Skylum added a number of the updates that had appeared in the Luminar 3 update. It is also a free update. So the next time you use flex, click the tab in the menu and select “check for updates” to get it. That being said, what did they update?
AI Enhancer 2.0
This is a big update as this is really a great tool and one that often can improve an image on it’s own. They have added a “human aware” feature that will apply selective edits when it finds a person in the frame. It is improvements like this that show Skylum is really thinking about the future of their editing software, at least in this regard.
This was another huge update that I liked. While I had no real issues with how Luminar 2018 worked, I did notice a boost in speed when I opened up Flex for the first time. This is something that you will notice as it does feel a little more snappier than Luminar 3 and 2018.
The speed and memory usage was something that I felt was greatly improved. Perhaps it is just my mac but using Luminar 2018 got a little slow and after awhile it felt like it sort of bogged down my machine for a bit.
Filters, Workspaces and Looks
Skylum noted that they made some improvements with their handling of the filter catalog but it is not that remarkable. It is not something that really stands out. Meaning, that while there may have been slight changes in menus being open versus not open, this is really not something worth mentioning with regards to the aforementioned updates.
The same goes for the looks and workspaces. Their release/blog post mentioned about how they have have made things easier and showed you how to import your looks. I hope it is easier than it was before. I made a video about that before. Honestly, the only issue is that if you have any other skylum product installed on your computer, there is a chance that the look will get installed there first.
The bottom line here is that this a much needed and FREE update to Luminar Flex. It shows that Skylum is willing to put the time into making this plugin better for those of us who do not want the DAM included with Luminar 3.
My only concern at this moment in time is that with the upcoming release of Luminar 4, will they continue to delay updates on Luminar Flex? It just felt that Flex seems to play second fiddle to their stand alone editors. I hope that is not the case here and Skylum continues to provide timely updates to Flex.