The standout choice for professionals. Faster, smoother and more powerful than ever, Affinity Photo continues to push the boundaries for professional photo editing software. With a huge toolset specifically engineered for creative and photography professionals, whether you are editing and retouching images, or creating full-blown multi-layered compositions, it has all the power and performance you will ever need.
Affinity Photo has just about all of the photography-related tools that Photoshop has — such as adjustment layers, masks, color management, dynamic paint brushes, a healing brush, lens correction, and CMYK and RGB editing — as well as support for RAW and 16-bit files. However, it lacks some of Photoshop’s extra functionalities that are outside the normal photo editing realm, such as 3D editing.
In some cases, where it is different from the Photoshop workflow, Affinity Photo goes one step further. For instance, the RAW processor is part of the interface, rather than a plugin that takes you out of the workspace. In other words, you can process a RAW image in one tab and work on a JPEG or PSD in another tab at the same time. You can save any RAW edit settings as a preset and apply it to other RAW files.
Affinity Photo’s tools and commands have a depth of functionality that will take some time to explore and master. For anyone used to Photoshop, the learning curve won’t be steep, because Affinity’s interface is as clean and logical, though some terminology is different.
Affinity Photo is a young program, which means that some key portions are still in development or have been overlooked but will probably be added in future incarnations. For instance, Serif is currently going through the extensive list of third-party Photoshop-compatible plugins to ensure they work properly in Affinity Photo. So far, it has tested the most popular ones, such as Nik and Topaz, which Serif says function fully within Affinity. If any particular plugin is important to your workflow, it would be best to check whether it’s supported before making the move to Affinity.
No matter how large your image files are, tools and commands work in real time. That’s because Affinity uses a tiled file format for resolution independent editing. To a certain extent, this is similar to Photoshop’s Smart Objects, except it doesn’t require conversion, and unlike Smart Objects that function with only some features, this resolution-independent editing is consistent throughout the program.
For those who know photo editing history, this concept will be familiar: It’s what the old program Live Picture offered. In essence, it delivers only the amount of data (or image pixels) needed to view and edit at the current zoom level. One of the major benefits of this feature is that it enables efficient memory management, so that Affinity apps don’t run out of RAM. However, when Affinity saves the edit information and applies (or renders) it to the full file, you might experience some delay, depending on the number of edits and the image size.
While rendering enormous files might take a bit of time, it shouldn’t interfere with your work. All operations are asynchronously designed to take full advantage of multicore processors. In other words, everything will run in parallel. For instance, while the RAW processor is developing your picture in one tab, you can paint on another in a separate tab.