Affinity Photo Launches

(news & commentary)

Affinity Photo 1.3.4 (Macintosh only) has made it out of beta test and into the Apple App Store. For those seeking a lower cost alternative to Photoshop, Serif has once again shown that they know how to build an Adobe-alternative that works well. Previously, Affinity Designer took on Illustrator and ended up received a design award at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference from Apple.

Both products (Designer and Photo) are US$49.99, though both are currently available for US$39.99 to celebrate the launch of Photo. Lower cost alternative, indeed. But only if you have a Mac at the moment. 

I’ve been using the beta (and today the final version), and not only does Photo seem like an adequate Photoshop replacement for many Macintosh users, but it feels like a relatively mature product. Here’s what the Photo equivalent to Adobe Raw Converter looks like when I open up a random image from my files:

bythom affinity photo

Yes, it looks a bit different than ACR, but if you look closely (hint: try right-clicking and View Image on any image in this site) you’ll see that it’s a tabbed develop interface, much like ACR. What’s missing are camera and lens profiles, though you can develop your own camera profiles and manual lens corrections are available. Hit the Develop button (top left) and we’re in the editing mode, with more of the familiar Photoshop bits and pieces visible, though again in somewhat different layout and positions:

bythom affinity photo 2

Differences between how Photo and Photoshop work will take some getting used to. For example, by default applying a Nik filter to a background layer in Photoshop creates a new layer, while in Photo the changes are applied to the layer. Turns out that Photo reset the Nik settings I had chosen in Photoshop. 

While the program is out of beta, this was an example of a couple of very minor rough edges, I found. Another example was when I first pointed to my Plug-ins folder via Preferences, Photo offered to relaunch, but didn’t. When I manually relaunched Photo it did recover where I was at in the edit session. 

Still, Photo is a robust, deeply featured, and high performance application that should give the Adobe folk something to worry about. Especially since the next target in their list is Adobe InDesign. Having done very credible Illustrator and Photoshop competitors, I have no doubt that Serif’s desktop publishing product will be at the same level when it appears later this year. What’s more interesting is that Serif says they’re considering whether or not the next product in the line should be something along the lines of Lightroom. 

For US$39.99 how can you go wrong? If you’ve got a Macintosh with Yosemite installed, I’d strongly suggest that you take a look at the Photo Website at a minimum, but it’s probably worth the two Andrew Jackson’s to be able to play with it and assess it fully. 

Support this site by acquiring Photo via the Apple App Store link below:

Download on the App Store Badge US-UK 135x40.jpg

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