Luminar Neo Will Hold Generative AI Features Behind a Subscription

Skylum Luminar Neo

Skylum Luminar Neo will hold all of its “generative AI” updates behind a subscription in 2024 and will change its release schedule and purchase options along with it.

Update 12/14: After publication, Skylum reached out and clarified its stance, saying that it will continue offering Lifetime support and updates to customers who do not want to switch to a subscription.

“For most of our customers, these changes likely won’t affect anything in how they use Luminar Neo. The main difference will be how they access the new Generative AI tools as well as the Extensions they have not purchased up until now — those will only be available in the Subscription, however, they are in no way obliged to switch [to subscription] if they don’t want to, and can continue using Luminar Neo as before. We honor the choice of our users when it comes to owning a perpetual license of their favorite editing app. The purchase of a Lifetime license for new customers will also still be available,” Skylum says.

PetaPixel has asked what “updates” those with a Lifetime license can still expect and the company responded that “Luminar Neo will have two major product updates with new features and improvements, and regular minor updates addressing performance issues and bug fixes” next year. The company also promised that lifetime customers would also get some new features as part of the updates.

PetaPixel clarified if lifetime license holders would get only two more major updates, to which Skylum replied, “Yes, that is correct.”

For what it’s worth, Skylum’s information packet was unclear, and further communications have raised more questions than answers. Rather than unifying its product offering under one system, Skylum is further breaking up what is already disjointed thanks to the “extensions” system it introduced in 2022.

If a user has combined their Lifetime license with the Luminar Neo 2023/24 Creative Journey Pack, they will have access to the generative AI features until the end of next year, after which time they will need to switch to a subscription plan to retain access to those tools.

Ultimately, users with a lifetime license for Luminar Neo will receive two major updates in 2024, neither of which will include generative AI features. Following that, there will be no more significant feature updates for non-subscribers. Future customers will also still have the option of purchasing a lifetime license, although they must understand that this purchasing option does not and will not include Skylum’s current or future generative AI updates.

In Skylum’s user guide, the company makes clear that the only way to get and keep every new feature, including generative AI, is by having a Pro or Ultimate subscription. If a user has that, they are “all set,” per Skylum. “The Pro subscription is the quickest way to receive the maximum value from Luminar Neo. It includes access to all the generative AI features, Extensions, and all ongoing product updates, major and minor,” the company writes, emphasizing its significant focus on a subscription model.

The original story is below.

In an email that contains link to a detailed FAQ document, Skylum notes that the “future changes” are coming next year and that it will also no longer offer the 2023/24 Creative Journey Passes for lifetime customers wishing to access generative technologies.

“We want to simplify the process of accessing all the latest technologies in Luminar Neo for all of our customers. The most convenient way to do that will be to purchase a Pro subscription,” the company says.

“We strongly believe that Luminar Neo users should have access to all our new features and Generative technologies to get the best experience from our software, that is why in 2024 we are simplifying our offering by focusing on the Pro subscription.”

Add-on purchases such as separate extensions and extension packs will no longer be available to purchase starting on December 26, 2023 while the Creative Journey Pass will no longer be available starting January 5, 2024. Existing Creative Journey Pass holders will get access to all the new AI features until December 31, 2024, regardless of when their pass was purchased as a sign of goodwill from Skylum.

Those who have a “lifetime pass” to Luminar Neo and all its extensions don’t fare as well, however. Anyone who wants new AI features will have to subscribe to Luminar Neo Pro. Those who have a lifetime license to Luminar Neo will receive Studio Light, Neon & Glow, and Water Enhanсer for free, but any other updates will require a subscription.

In addition to moving to a subscription model, Skylum is going to shift from its current strategy of releasing multiple individual extensions throughout the year to a model that will see two major product updates per year along with regular “minor updates” designed to address performance issues and issue bug fixes.

Skylum had one toe in the fully subscription model pool already, so jumping all the way in should hardly come as a surprise. The company joins Capture One, Pixelmator Photo, and Photo Mechanic in moving to subscription models in 2023 after Adobe created a highly profitable blueprint with Creative Cloud.

Image credits: Skylum