Affinity Photo... What do you guys think?

Discussion in 'Software' started by thatcomicsguy, May 10, 2019.

  1. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I gave Serif Software's Affinity Photo trial version a test drive this morning. (The 30-day trial version is available here.)

    Not bad!

    [​IMG]

    Affinity Photo is designed for the Apple iPad, as well as for the Mac and Microsoft Desktops. -Which by itself is an achievement in cross-platform gymnastics. It also happens to be one of the better Photoshop alternatives out there, and you can own the thing outright for $69. I tested mine on a PC running Windows 10, on both a Dell Canvas 27, and the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro. (Both using built-in Wacom digitizer tech).

    I liked it! Affinity Photo is still perhaps a few iterations away from being great; it's still a bit buggy I found, but otherwise, the Serif Software folks have a robust, attractive and powerful application available for modern platforms which is mostly ready for prime time. Photographers and artists would do well to take note, especially at the price point offered.

    And, by gum, it has that lasso tool working where you can toggle on the fly between free-hand and polygonal selection without closing the selection space! This is a small feature, one hard to describe why I find useful, but holy cow, NOBODY else but Photoshop offers it! It remains one of the top reasons I continue to use Adobe's flagship program. (Other reasons include supremely refined Font control and long-developed platform stability and speed.)

    Affinity Photo has a bit of a hard time with its brush engine; it suffers from glitches and an annoying delay when you're scribble-filling areas. -A real pencil allows for you to scribble-shade the darker parts of an object, and normal raster-graphics software should have no trouble keeping up. -And if it does, it means that the undo feature is probably not being efficient in how it records artist's actions to memory. Affinity apparently finds my rapid scribbling a complicated enough problem to require the spinning up of the computer's fan and pushing the CPU beyond its comfort zone, all of which results in a glitchy drawing experience.

    However, whatever vector magic is going on to require all that crunch power is also what allows for 1000+ levels of speedy undo. -Which, while indeed very clever and probably an accomplishment the Serif Software team is proud of, is not actually a feature I've ever wanted or asked for. I rarely need to go back more than thirty steps while drawing. Usually half a dozen is enough. -Bearing in mind that I'm a sketch artist and traditional inker who just wants his computer to emulate pencil and ink on paper. For other kinds of illustrators, these may not present serious limitations, but for me, I don't need clever undo magic. I need a reliable line I can scribble with. Which is to say, your line-mileage will vary depending on your personal style.

    Affinity Photo also needs its touch interface refined and fleshed out. You can pinch-zoom, for instance, but you can't rotate the canvas. And Panning is not what I'm used to; You can drag the canvas around using two fingers, and only one finger if you happen to have the Hand tool selected, but if you have your brush tool selected and you use one digit, suddenly you're finger-painting. Badly. Coming from Clip Studio Paint, where the touch interface is close to perfect, Affinity is a bit jarring. -Not to mention, the palm rejection is iffy at best; you'll find yourself inadvertently activating the scroll tab and getting phantom touches registering while selecting objects. I don't realize just how well refined CSP is until I'm using some other software with a half-baked touch GUI.

    But I must remember that CSP was glitchy for its first few years as well. It took a few iterations before it settled down to become one of the more stable and reliable work-horses in the art software universe.

    Affinity Photo, otherwise, is a very nicely designed piece of powerful software whose publishers appear to be quite serious about placing it among the best pro-level applications on the market. When this is finally achieved, I'll happily buy a copy. I feel like it needs another year of simmering first.

    What do you guys all think?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  2. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I bought Serif's Affinity Designer early on --- wish they'd continued working on making it like to Freehand --- it's not quite good enough to get me to switch.

    Don't do much pixel image work (and have CS6 through work), so don't really need it, but will probably buy it the next time I have some discretionary money just to support them.
     
  3. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I'm considering re-installing CS6. -It wouldn't run last time I tried, but with some effort I might get it going.

    How well does it play with touch input, do you find?
     
  4. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Personally, I have switched to AP full time as my raster and mixed-vector design/layout tool of choice. It has pretty much entirely replaced Photoshop, except for the brush engine. However, for drawing and painting, I switched to CSP (w/Painter on the side) even before I dumped PS. :p

    But I'm curious, could you see yourself switching from PS to CSP+AP professionally? What are the main factors holding you back?
     
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  5. Azzart

    Azzart Late night illustrator Senior Member

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    No good for drawing on a touch device.
    No two finger canvas rotation, not able to distinguish between touch and pen so stray marks everywhere. Clunky interface.
    No love.

    The iPad version instead is a pretty great software.


    Edit:
    Also, absurdly slow and resource heavy on the Surface Book 2
     
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  6. WillAdams

    WillAdams Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I don't use CS6 much --- just Illustrator at need for auto-tracing, InDesign in case I need it, and Photoshop for file conversion and making animations and so forth.

    Moreover, I'm on 1703, so not a good test. You can pull up a keyboard and type on it as needed, and mostly touch functions as a mouse, so no automatic scrolling and no pinch to zoom and so forth.
     
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  7. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Touch limitations were my main criticisms as well. -Along with the unstable nature of the package as a whole; glitchy drawing and selecting, phantom touches and processor hangs. It needs some combing to get all that hair straight.

    I'm eagerly waiting to see what Paint Tool Sai 2 brings to the table if it ever reaches completion with a touch interface. Currently, all the bread and butter features are really smooth. No freehand/polygonal selection toggle option, though, mind you I don't expect one from Japanese programmers at this point. I don't think Japanese artists think about area selection the same way Westerners do. They seem to favor heavy use of mask painting rather than "marching ants".
     
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