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Affinity Photo Review – Photoshop competitor?

Affinity Photo

Does Adobe Photoshop have some competition?
In this review I will list my likes and dislikes regarding Affinity Photo,
and give you my overall opinion at the end.

Always trying to lean towards optimism let’s start with my Likes.

I found out under the View menu you can customize your Tool bar to show your own set of common used tools. Nice!

Affinity has a great Share feature where you can share to mail, messages or to the various social networks – Flickr, Twitter & Facebook. This is brilliant, & makes it easy to share to platforms we tend to share to on a daily basis.

Also under the File menu is Reveal in finder – a fast way to find your image in the specific folder it resides.

I like the way that there is Liquify Persona, Develop Persona and Export Persona icons right there in the top Left in the option bar for easy access. And the option bar has also 4 icons for Auto developments – Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, Auto Colors and Auto White Balance.

The Develop Persona feels like Adobe Camera Raw or the Lightroom Develop module. Sliders work fast and feel even perkier than Photoshop. There is a simple checkbox for Exposure in which to preview your before & after settings.

The Tones section while in the Develop persona has Curves, Black & White and Split Toning nicely docked together for quick access.

Under Filters the Lighting panel feels more responsive and has many more options than than the Lighting Effects in Photoshop which feels hidden under Filter/Render in Photoshop. In Affinity the Lighting panels has the variety of features you would expect with 3D lighting.

In the Layers panel while using Layer Blend modes there is a live preview of the effect when you scroll over the names of the different blend modes. This makes me yell out – why doesn’t Photoshop have that?! (Though I know Lightroom has a live preview when using develop Presets.) I like the way the Adjustment Layers panel to the Left of the Layers panel is organized. Feel like it entices me to try the different Adjustment options and again the sliders feel perkier than Photoshop. 

As for my Dislikes the first would be that I feel trapped in the UI workspace by not being able to undock an image from the tab layout. In my Photoshop preferences I always choose not to do tab docking. Would be nice to have the preference not to be forced to use tab docking in Affinity.

Instead of Image Size and Canvas Size in Affinity you have Resize Document and Resize Canvas, which feels constrained of options. Many times I need to resize an image and when in Photoshop it is helpful to see that my choices like Bicubic Sharper is for reduction, and Bicubic Smoother is for enlargement. Affinity has no such reminder, and also has a Resample option called Lanczos 3 which I have never heard of and have no idea what it does when resampling and resizing.

In the Characters panel there seems to be no WYSIWYG preview of the various fonts, that just seems unprofessional. Am I missing something? There must be a way to turn this on? Seems like a mistake. I also find it strange that the Character & Paragraphs panel are 2 distinct panels that can’t be docked together. Considering how much these 2 panels work hand in hand they should be docked together.

My overall opinion is Affinity makes me ask – where would they be if Photoshop didn’t pave the way first? So many tools, panels and features are obviously copied from Photoshop.
But I have to say if Affinity Photo tweaks certain features I will enjoy using it, it feels perkier and more responsive than Photoshop and I like the way it is organized. For me I don’t think it would ever replace Photoshop, but will be a nice alternative when I want a break from Photoshop from time to time.

Thanks for reading!

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