A Review of the New Kid in Town
For fans of Affinity Designer, it was big news: a sister app for photo editing officially launched yesterday. Billed by some as a replacement for Photoshop, Affinity Photo is a Mac-based app with some pro-level power. We tested it out with a few images in the RyKie Images & Events office.....and were quite pleased.
The beauty of Affinity Photo is in the interface. It's not a difficult app to navigate; those with even the most basic understanding of the Photoshop environment will have no difficulty with this product.
Why even compare it to the big PS? Well, in many ways, it's a complementary product. You'll find some of the same keyboard shortcuts that seem obvious in Photoshop used in Affinity Photo (ex: tool sizing, zoom with mouse, etc.). Tools and layout are familiar, many of the options are reminiscent of what we've been doing for several years in Photoshop.
What sets Affinity Photo apart are the tweaks. Things that many of us have thought, "there must be a simpler way to do this." This app uses bars to adjust levels, tools are set out quite simple and neat on the interface, and you don't need a degree in rocket science to pull off some cool effects.
Another bonus, raw files are imported directly into the program. This freaked me out for a couple second, as I imported a NEF file. Up popped the document in Affinity, ready to go. No messing around with a raw editor beforehand, or even a split second to wait for it to load - it was just "there"! Yay for raw processing!
In a lot of ways, Affinity Photo is an editor's dream come true. There's live blend modes, inpainting, support for various file types (PSD, ICC color profiles, CMYK, LAB....). Non-destructive tools, even their History feature has an adjustable bar so you can see exactly where a project went off the rails - and fix it.
And we've just scratched the surface.
Fortunately, so has Affinity Photo. It's still in beta, with a formal launch still some time away. Glitches, yeah, there may be a few, but that's the point of beta. Download it, use it, see something go wrong and report it. That's what the crew at Affinity want. I found one minor oops where the app crashed while trying to save a document. Thinking all my work was lost forever (all 15 minutes of it! lol), I relaunched and an autosaved version of my image popped up - I was able to pick up from where I left off!
Will Affinity Photo replace Photoshop? Wow. That's a game-changer. Right now, we're hanging on to the PS we grew up with like a warm, fuzzy security blanket. When everyone was excited about Pixelmator, comparisons were made to it being the PS replacement. Well, maybe for some, but PS still has too many tricks up it's sleeve to abandon it for Pixelmator for those of us that require some serious editing capabilities.
Affinity, however, might just have longer sleeves. The photo editing app has all the simplicity of Pixelmator and the power of Photoshop. After the bugs are worked out, it might just have photo editors lumping PS in the same 'seldom-used, but still can't toss it' folder as Pixelmator.
In addition to Affinity's graphic design and photo editing software, a desktop publishing app is due out later this year. Affinity will be meeting Adobe head on. Who will win the race has yet to be seen, but we just might be cheering for the Brits over at Serif on this one. Expect more reviews to come as we delve deeper into Affinity Photo.