Affin­ity Photo 1.4

This sub­scrip­tion-free im­age editor is be­ing her­alded as a Photoshop killer. We find out if such claims are true…

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

This sub­scrip­tion-free im­age editor is be­ing her­alded as a Photoshop killer. But are the bold claims true?

Price £40 Com­pany Serif Web www.affin­ity.serif.com

Serif has re­cently mounted a ma­jor chal­lenge to Adobe’s dom­i­nance of cre­ative soft­ware. Its first re­lease, vec­tor tool Affin­ity De­signer, was aimed squarely at pro users of Il­lus­tra­tor. Now its se­cond, raster tool Affin­ity Photo, is aim­ing to take on the might of Photoshop.

So what does it have to of­fer dig­i­tal artists? Well, if you’re a Mac user and Photoshop is part of your work­flow, the an­swer may be: quite a lot. That’s be­cause Affin­ity Photo doesn’t just ape Photoshop’s in­ter­face and fea­tures in a way that makes it easy to pick up and run with. In many ways, it of­fers a bet­ter per­for­mance.

Named by Ap­ple as the num­ber two Mac app of 2015, the most strik­ing dif­fer­ence it of­fers is speed. In Photoshop, you of­ten have to wait a few

sec­onds for a changed set­ting to take ef­fect. But us­ing Affin­ity Photo on an iMac, ev­ery time we made tweaks they ap­peared in­stantly. In prac­tice, that means you’re likely to get more ‘in the zone’ as an artist, with­out hav­ing your cre­ative buzz in­ter­rupted by spin­ning wheels, frozen screens and the like.

We also love Affin­ity Photo’s non­de­struc­tive scal­ing, some­thing ab­sent in both Photoshop and cheaper ri­vals such as Pix­el­ma­tor. Even if you down­size an im­age layer, Affin­ity Photo still stores its full res­o­lu­tion, so you can in­crease its size later if you’ve made a mis­take. This is handy, for ex­am­ple, when adding ob­jects to im­ages in il­lus­tra­tions. There’s also the much­vaunted mil­lion per cent zoom, which is breath­tak­ing to see in prac­tice.

It’s a young prod­uct, of course, and not quite as fea­ture-rich as Photoshop – lack­ing the lat­ter’s an­i­ma­tion and 3D print­ing smarts, for in­stance. But new fea­tures are be­ing added all the time and for now, up­dates are free. Panorama stitch­ing, for ex­am­ple, was ab­sent from the first re­lease but has ar­rived in ver­sion 1.4.

Affin­ity Photo uses its own file for­mat, but you can also im­port and ex­port a range of file for­mats, such as PSD, PNG, JPG, TIFF, GIF, PDF and so on. As such, it’s more sen­si­ble to think of Affin­ity Photo as a com­pan­ion to Photoshop than an al­ter­na­tive to it.

With a low price and no sub­scrip­tion, it isn’t a big fi­nan­cial bur­den, and its speed and unique fea­tures will save you time and ef­fort with some tasks. A few clients might get ner­vous about you not us­ing the in­dus­try stan­dard, but as long as you choose the right ex­port op­tions, who’s to know?

It’s a young prod­uct, of course, but new fea­tures are be­ing added all the time and for now, up­dates are free

The Affin­ity Photo in­ter­face is sim­i­lar to that of Photoshop, so

it’s easy to pick up.

Ad­just­ment Lay­ers in­clude Hue/Sat­u­ra­tion, Black and White, Pos­ter­ize, Chan­nel Mixer, Ex­po­sure, Curves, Gra­di­ent Maps and more.

You can work in a range of colour spa­ces, in­clud­ing RGB, CMYK, LAB and Greyscale. Daub Brushes has cre­ated 12 free blender brushes to down­load for the soft­ware. See http://ifxm.ag/daubb.

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