October 4, 2017

Affinity - alternative to the Adobe and Corel suits?

After continuous crashes forced me to look for alternatives to the bug ridden Corel PhotoPaint I ran across Affinity Photo some time ago. While experimenting with open source GIMP, I remained on the look out for other programs to create bitmap art, mainly because GIMP has an entirely different approach and many features are still being developed. Photoshop licences used to be immensely expensive, which got even worse since Adobe switched to a horrendous subscription policy. It has definitively made me forget about using software from that company. All functionality and integration of the programs in the Adobe suit are far outweighed by their deceptively overpriced subscription scam.

Affinity has a wealth of functions that almost make it match Adobe's usability and quality and its pricing is no less than spectacular. The desktop versions of Affinity Photo (for pixel pushers) and Designer - for vector drawers - both sell for 55 Euro. The iPad versions cost just under 20 Euro! This means you buy a license and are not forced to endlessly pay for the use of Adobe's programs and work in their cloud! Affinity's pricing is a humongous financial advantage over that of the Adobe programs. I haven't yet bought the Affinity programs, but watched many tutorials on Youtube, which kindled my enthusiasm. Affinity's programs were selected Apple's editor's choice for very good reasons in 2014 and have improved their functionality ever since. Today there are Mac and Windows versions of the programs, which makes exchange of files a piece of cake.

Affinity exports to psd-files with conservation of all layer information, allowing Photoshop license holders and subscription victims to flawlessly edit them (and send them back to Affinity users if needed). To learn more about Affinity Photo's dazzling feature list, please visit this page. And here you find the Designer feature roadmap. Affinity's managers have even acknowledged it will be possible to import CorelDRAW files some time in the future. This would potentially lower the threshold for quite a few CorelDRAW users to make the switch to Affinity. I remain very curious to their software development progress. The time to ditch the established players on the market that abuse their monopoly position, is nearing rapidly. It was only a matter of time before less expensive but very usable alternatives would emerge. They have become available now and work most excellently.

Update October 6 2017:
I've tried Affinity Photo and was positively surprised by some functions. In Particular the the Pen-tool (comparable with the Path-tool in Photoshop) that actually is parametric, which means you can apply changes to it afterwards, because it actually is a vector shape inside a pixel program. In addition the Pen shape can be turned into a selection that can be blurred... The same parametric property goes for the Prefabricated Shape-tool (of which there are many available) and the Text-tool. The fully customizable Transparency-tool can also be changed afterwards. These are magnificent features for artists and designers. More over, the entire history of applied tools can be viewed and edited, which is something no other bitmap editing program allows to do. I must say I am thoroughly impressed by Serif's programming, Serif being the company that has built Affinity Photo.

I am totally convinced that Affinity Photo is going to gain a market share rapidly, once its presence / availability is going to be noticed by a growing audience. I feel I can safely recommend both the Photo and Designer programs Affinity has created. They're a breath of fresh air in a market that looked like it was being choked by Adobe and Corel. The open source programs GIMP and Inkscape are going to have to step up their development pace if they intend to keep up with Affinity, especially since the company has put a more than friendly price tag to their programs and made them work on Windows, Mac and iPad platforms. Affinity has the potential to change the landscape of graphic design, which is a huge compliment.