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Is Luminar Neo Upscale AI really that great?

Is Luminar Neo Upscale AI really that great?

Is Luminar Neo Upscale AI useful? And why do we want it? We cover this and more!

What would happen if we upscaled a high ISO detailed image like this? Will high-end AI be any good?

What is Luminar Neo Upscale AI?

Luminar Neo Upscale AI technology It is an extension of Skylum’s photo enlargement software for Luminar Neo photography editing software. This helps your low-resolution photos – which we all have – by enlarging them while preserving the details in a larger image.

Skylum, its parent company, describes its high-end AI like this: “Cut out an interesting frame from a panoramic landscape, get high-quality zooms of wildlife, enhance macro shots, enhance old photos, prepare your photos for printing, and more.”

How can Upscale AI help me?

Basically you can resuscitate smaller, lower-resolution photos. But more than that, if you want to crop a specific part of a larger image, the high-end AI can keep the details there, too.

How well does high-end AI work?

It works well and does exactly what it needs to do. If you’re looking to upgrade something so you can share it on social media or print it, it does exactly what it should…without losing detail. I tested the high-end AI on two images.

First image: High-resolution, highly detailed zoom-out

My first test was a really high-resolution image of our glorious Milky Way. I wanted to know what the upscaling would do for such a fine, detailed image. I chose pixel-peep, so why not? We all want to see what’s going on with that finely detailed image, the high ISO noise and all that.

Above: the original and upscale AI, compared to show how much of a stretch will retain detail when doubled in size (33% width).

Above: the original and upscale AI, compared to show how much of a stretch will retain detail when doubled in size (50% width).

Above: original and upscale AI, compared to show how much detail the stretch will retain when doubled in size (100% display).

You can see that some of the contrast and brightness have changed slightly. The zoom definitely looks good even when we’re viewing it at 100%. However, you might want to take a look at adjusting the contrast or brightness a bit if the feeling of zooming in is thrown off a bit. But the details have been well preserved even at twice the original size. I wasn’t able to test the 4x or 6x zoom because the limit is 16,000 pixels.

Image two: Zoom crop of a low-light photo on the iPhone SE 2020

The following example was a relatively low-resolution iPhone SE 2020 photo shoot of Sodaboxx performing at El Cid in Los Angeles, California. I cropped Victor Gutierrez, the guitarist, then zoomed in by 4x to 6004px across the top edge to see what happens. For comparison, I also enlarged it using Photoshop 2023’s usual Image Size function while “Preserve Detail 2.0” was selected.

Sodaboxx performs at El Cid in Los Angeles.
This is the original iPhone SE 2020 image of Sodaboxx performing at El Cid. I thought I’d try to get close to the guitarist on the right, then upscale it using both Luminar AI Upscale AI and Adobe Photoshop for comparison.

Above: 4x magnification of the cropped image. Left image enlarged in Adobe Photoshop. Right image enlarged in Luminar Neo Upscale AI. As you can see, the photos look almost identical. From the looks of it, both apps performed well!

Either way, Upscale AI did exactly what it claimed to do: enlarge the image while preserving detail and revealing no artifacts.

How to use high-end artificial intelligence

Luminar Neo's AI upgrade.
Drag an image into the Upscale AI window on the right in Luminar Neo. From here, you can select the amount of magnification by selecting 2x, 4x, or 6x.

Leveling up is easy. First, simply open the catalog in Luminar Neo, then drag your image into a file Upscale AI accessory section on the right side. Next, select how much you wish to enlarge it. You can select 2x, 4x or 6x. If your image is larger than 16,000px on the long side, this option will be disabled. After a short while, Luminar Neo will display your newly enlarged photo. If you are satisfied, export that to your computer. It will already be automatically saved to a file Upscale folder In Luminar Neo too.

How to get the upscale AI or the entire extension pack

For more information, go to Skylum’s “2022 Extensions Pack” webpage. You can get this as an extension or add-on for Luminar Neo. There are several plans, including a lifetime license.


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