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£29.99 Developer Seriflabs, affinity.serif.com Requires OS X 10.7 or higher
Winner of an Apple Design Award at WWDC 2015, Affinity Designer is a beautifully powerful graphics design app for the Mac that’s mainly for creating and editing vector graphics but can open pixel-based images too. “This is an excellent example of what a state-of-the-art Mac app should be,” Apple explains, pointing out that the 64-bit software takes full advantage of OS X technologies like OpenGL, Grand Central Dispatch and Core Graphics. The application also supports tablets and the Force Touch trackpad, so you can use it to draw and paint with a degree of pressure sensitivity.
The user interface is highly intuitive and contextual, which means that not only are the tools you need are easy to find, but those available to you will change to reflect what you are trying to do, speeding up productivity. The powerful feature set also includes flexible layer management, adjustment layers, vector blend modes and an impressive range of high quality raster tools for finishing. The saveable undo history means you can step back through edits from any session.
Additional features include live panning and zooming at 60fps, over one million percent zoom so you can work on the finest detail without a loss in quality, and much more. We love it so much we decided to bring you a whole series of expert tutorials on how to use it. Turn to page 50 for part two on mastering brush tools.