Luminar 3 with libraries

Post update on 20.Feb.2019

It was promised a couple of times and delayed more than once but now on Dec. 18th Luminar 3 with libraries is to be released. I took a closer look on the new tool and was curious about the nnew possibilites on managing images.

The program

Luminar 3 with librariesSkylum released with Luminar an interesting image processing tool which i used so far as a plugin for Lightroom only. The last update with the sky enhancer made it easy for landscape photographers to get satisfying results with only 2-3 settings. Since Luminar wants to be a competitor to Lightroom a DAM modul was missing so far.

Luminar 3 and don’t ask why Skylum didn’t name the new update Luminar 2019 is available for Windows and Mac systems and costs 69,– € for the regular license. The update is free of charge for registered users of Luminar 2018. If you pre-order the update prior to the release date you’ll get a 10,– € rebate and if you order via this link and the rebate code you’ll get another 10,– € off the price.

Since the image processing options didn’t change much, we concentrate on the catalog functions implemented in Luminar 3.

The catalog

After the installation the program guides you with a couple of simple steps thru the basic setup. There you decide where the catalog is stored and which drives/folders your image are stored in. After the images are read in the program starts in the library mode.

Luminar 3 with libraries

For this article i used my G: drive (SSD) which contains a little bit more than 8.000 images for import. This took between 5-6- minutes which is pretty fast. But then i ran into problems:

Luminar 3 with libraries

Sometimes like in the above screenshot there were no thumbnails of the imported images. Scrolling down you’ll see a sort of placeholder for the images but you won’t see the images. This gets a little bit better the more often you use the system, but it annyoing. Just so get a better idea of these problems i did a little video on Luminar 3:

Luminar 3 with librariesBesides the problem with the missing thumbnail images most of you probably are disappointed by this so called catalog function Skylum implemented now after advertising this function as the best coming up. For managing your images onyl the capture date and time is used. The Exif metatdata of the images aren’t used and (so far) there is no opportunity to add keywords to the images. Maybe in a first version of a catalog function you might come over a missing keyword feature but not using the exif data of every image as a pattern to search/order your images is not understandable too me.

Luminar defines so called shortcutes comparable to IMatch with the capture dates to group all images captured in one month or on a specific day.

Luminar 3 with librariesIn addition you can rate the images just the same way you know from Lightroom and Luminar uses the same shortcuts the numbers from 1-5. It is also possible to apply a color label to the image susing the keyboard numbers from 5-9. But this leaves out purple.

And the last option is to mark an images as picked (Picked) or rejected (X). As a default all new images are unmarked.

To organize your images they can be added to an album. But even here i occured the problem that after changing to the album view the thumbnail was not displayed.

And this is all there is to the library functions in Luminar 3. With this poor implementation Skylum will be behind the expectations of most of the users.

Image processing

Luminar 3 with librariesNow it is possible to copy the development setting to one or more other images. With this function you can easily process sequences of a scene, in particular timelapse captures.

The former presets in the development are now called Looks. I can’t evaluate why this change was meaningful or necessary. There were discussions on Luminar changed the look of a already processed raw image with the new version. I can’t confirm this after processed some raw images with Luminar 2018 and exporting those images as a JPEG file. In Luminar 3 i opend those  .lmnr files and couldn’t tell any differences.

The roadmap

Probably because Skylum knows about the disappointment of their customers for the catalog function the put a roadmap on their website which explains the further development of Luminar 3.

Luminar 3 with libraries

According to this roadmap the missing option to add keywords and to use the Exif metatdata should be added until July 2019. In addition Skylum plans a Lightroom Migration tool. And until July 2019 it should be possible to edit IPTC data and sync them with a number of images. So that would be at least partially what Lightroom already can do during the import process.


Luminar 3 with librariesWe have to wait and see if Skylum is able to keep these promises in the roadmap after the catalog function took such a long time to implement. The added library function so far is poorly implemented and a disaapointment. Here Skylum has to do a lot of fixes. Lightroom wasn’t built in one day and has a ten year development (not always to the best) but Skylum run against Lightroom, so Skylum has to deliver.

Anyway Luminar is a pretty good raw converter or better image processing tool. You’ll have to decide yourself to get into Luminar, even though the library functions aren’t yet convincing. As an alternative to Lightroom Luminar so far is not suitable.


The problem with the preview images seems to become better, very slowly though. But then i occured a function for backup/restore of the catalog. I thought but this function is available is available not for Windows systems Mac only 🙁


Meanwhile there is a statement from the Skylum support team about the errors and possible release times for updates to fix these errors.

ciao tuxoche


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