Is Luminar Neo Upscale AI any good? And why would we want it? We cover that and more!
What is Luminar Neo Upscale AI?
High-end Luminar Neo IA is an image magnification software extension from Skylum for their Luminar Neo photography editing software. It helps your low resolution photos – which we all have – by making them bigger while retaining the detail of a larger photo.
Skylum, the parent company, describes the high-end AI as follows: “Crop an interesting frame from a panoramic landscape, get high-quality wildlife zooms, improve macro shots, improve old photos , prepare your images for printing, and more.”
How can Upscale AI help me?
You can essentially resurrect smaller, low-resolution photos. But more than that, if you wanted to crop a particular part of a larger photo, Upscale AI could also retain the details.
How well does high-end AI work?
It works great and does exactly what it should. If you’re looking to upgrade something so you can share it on social media or print it out, then it does exactly the right thing…without losing detail. I tested Upscale AI on two photos.
First photo: magnification of a very detailed high ISO photo
My first test was an already high resolution photo of our glorious Milky Way. I wanted to see what scaling would do to such a finely detailed photo. I chose to pixel-peep because, why not? We all want to see what happens with such a finely detailed photo, high ISO noise and all.
Above: Original and high-end AI, comparison to show how much detail the extension would retain when doubled in size (33% view).
Above: Original and high-end AI, comparison to show how much detail the extension would retain when doubled in size (viewed at 50%).
Above: Original and high-end AI, comparison to show how much detail the extension would retain when doubled in size (100% view).
You can see that some of the contrast and brightness has changed slightly. The enlargement looks really good even when we view it at 100%. However, you may want to consider adjusting the contrast or brightness slightly if the feeling of enlargement has been slightly disturbed. But the details have been well preserved even at twice the original size. I couldn’t test 4x or 6x magnification because the limit is 16,000 pixels wide.
Photo 2: Close-up of a cropped photo of the iPhone SE 2020 in low light
My next example was to take a relatively low resolution photo of Sodaboxx’s iPhone SE 2020 performing at El Cid in Los Angeles, CA. I cropped Victor Gutierrez, the guitarist, then zoomed in 4x to 6004 pixels on the top edge to see what would happen. For comparison, I also enlarged it using Photoshop 2023’s usual Image Size function while selecting “Preserve Detail 2.0”.
Above: 4x enlargement of the cropped photo. The photo on the left was enlarged in Adobe Photoshop. The photo on the right was enlarged in Luminar Neo Upscale AI. As you can see, the photos look virtually identical. At first glance, both apps worked well!
In both cases, Upscale AI did exactly what it claims to do: enlarge a photo while retaining detail and not exposing artifacts.
How to Use High End AI
Scaling is easy. First, simply open the catalog in Luminar Neo, then drag your image into the Premium AI Extension section on the right side. After that, select how much you want to enlarge it. You can select 2x, 4x or 6x. If your image exceeds 16,000 pixels on the long side, this choice will be disabled. After a short time, Luminar Neo will display your newly enlarged image. If you are satisfied, export it to your computer. It will already be automatically saved in your High-end backrest also in Luminar Neo.
How to Get the High End AI or the Entire Expansion Pack
For more information, visit Skylum’s “2022 Expansion Pack” webpage. You can get it as an extension or add-on to Luminar Neo. There are several plans, including a lifetime license.
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