Affinity Photo & Designer

Affinity Photo & Designer have emerged to become competitors to the long-time reigning Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator. When it was first suggested that I try it out, my thought was that there’s no way these could be comparable to Photoshop and Illustrator, tools that are priced significantly higher. I’ve used Photoshop and Illustrator ever since high school for editing and development of graphics; I even taught them at Tulane University as part of the Media Arts program, so they have been my premier tools for photo and vector graphics. But I had to see what the hype about Affinity was all about.

At first glance, the interfaces are very similar to both Photoshop and Illustrator so the transition has been fairly straightforward. Affinity Photo opens up .psd files without issue and does pretty much all of the photo editing that I typically do. In the same way, Affinity Designer opens .ai files and preserves all of the layers; again, no issue. With the screenshots below of the tool panels, one might think they were from Photoshop and Illustrator, but these are the typical panels for Affinity Photo & Designer.

Affinity Photo
     Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo Panel 1 Affinity Photo Panel 1
Affinity Designer

The typical filters, effects, styles, text tools, history panel, and many other typical tools are all available in Affinity Photo & Designers.  Although the .afphoto and .afdesign file formats may not open in other applications, they include various export options for integration between the two and many other applications.  Ultimately, in the few months that I have been using these, they have served my photo editing and graphic design needs extremely well.  And the price! I can’t deny the fact that the price was a huge selling point for me.

I’ve been on the lookout for shortcomings in either Affinity Photo or Designer in my regular work with them. I encountered a task in which I intended to translate a raster image into a vector image, but unlike Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer does not have the capability for a process similar to Illustrator’s Image Trace.  After some investigation through some online forums, it’s a feature that has been requested by multiple users and Affinity appears to be working on finding a solution for integrating into a future update to Designer.  It’s not a common task in my workflow, but the simplicity of translating through an Image Trace process is missed.  Ultimately though, the cost and functionality suit my design application needs for the most part.

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