Serif Affin­ity Photo 1.4 £40/$50

Pow­er­ful, fast and a Ph oto­shop re­place­ment

NPhoto - - Gear Zone | The Big Test -

Five years in the mak­ing, Affin­ity Photo has been de­signed as a pro­fes­sional-level Pho­to­shop com­peti­tor of­fer­ing fea­ture-for­fea­ture par­ity with high-speed, real-time pre­views. It’s the cheap­est pro­gram on test, but this is down to Serif’s highly com­pet­i­tive pric­ing, rather than any lack of power or ca­pa­bil­ity.

One ob­sta­cle for many will be that this is a Mac-only prod­uct, but there is a Win­dows ver­sion on its way. An­other is that this is not an all-in-one cat­a­logu­ing and edit­ing tool. While it does have an ef­fec­tive lit­tle Me­dia Browser, you’ll have to look else­where for proper fil­ter­ing, search­ing and cat­a­logu­ing tools.

Reg­u­lar im­age ad­just­ments are car­ried out us­ing ad­just­ment lay­ers, just like Pho­to­shop’s, com­plete with masks and blend modes, which pre­view as you cy­cle through the menu choices. Be­yond that there’s a range of in-built Pho­to­shop-style fil­ter ef­fects, plus a fast and pow­er­ful Light­ing fil­ter for ‘re­light­ing’ pho­tos, panorama stitch­ing, haze re­moval, per­spec­tive and blur ef­fects, se­lec­tion and mask­ing tools and more.

Per­for­mance

Affin­ity Photo is fast, slick and ef­fec­tive, though it’s not quite the fin­ished prod­uct in ev­ery area. The De­velop Per­sona workspace of­fers sim­i­lar tools, but doesn’t yet match the fi­nesse and power of Adobe Cam­era Raw. While you can use third­party plug-ins, you may have to add them man­u­ally – though Serif is work­ing on this.

Make no mis­take, this is a tool for pro­fes­sional pho­to­graphic and de­sign use. It of­fers end-toend CMYK and 16-bit edit­ing for those who need it, to­gether with brush, text and vec­tor tools. It’s not an all-in-one pro­gram for non-ex­perts, and it doesn’t of­fer one-click photo ef­fects. Think of it as Pho­to­shop re-imag­ined – it’s a di­rect re­place­ment for Adobe’s flag­ship pro­gram, but cheaper.

Specs

Plat­form: Mac (PC TBC) Re­quire­ments: Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later, 2GB RAM, 780MB hard disk space Brows­ing: Yes Cat­a­logu­ing: No RA W pro­cess­ing: Yes Lens corrections: Yes Lo­calised ad­just­ments: Yes Lay­ers and masks: Yes Pre­set ef­fects: No Plug-ins: Yes

Ver­dict

Fea­tures Ease of use: Per­for­mance Value for money

Over­all

A few rough edges aside, this is a gen­uine, great value Pho­to­shop al­ter­na­tive.

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