Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer: the End of Photoshop and Lightroom?

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Over the years Abode Photoshop has established itself as the web’s leading photo editing software. While many competitors have tried to threaten Photoshop’s crown over the years (GIMP, PicMonkey and Canva, to name but a few) it’s been a long time since a piece of software emerged that could pose a real threat to Photoshop (and Adobe’s other leading piece of design software – Lightroom): enter Affinity Photo, which debuted back in 2015 and has been making waves ever since.

Not only this, but Affinity Designer is also making a name for itself and is regularly touted as a strong competitor to both Photoshop and Lightroom.

In today’s post we’re going to take a closer look at both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, as well as comparing them to Photoshop and Lightroom. Could this be the end of Adobe’s domination? Let’s find out.

Affinity Photo

The Affinity team bill their product as being the standout choice for professionals, describing it as:

“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 is absolutely crammed with features that professional web designers will use daily in their work. Here are a few of the highlights (view the full list):

  • Professional colour palettes and profiles
  • PSD file support
  • Customisable toolbars and shortcuts so you can create your own tailored editing toolbar
  • Full support for retina devices
  • Robust undo capabilities up to 8000 history steps
  • Regular AutoSave so you never need to worry about your work being lost
  • Smooth panning and zooming (even with the largest images)
  • Scope for both RAW and regular processing
  • Apple Photo integration, allowing you to retouch, liquify and miniaturise right there in Apple Photos
  • Backup your work to iCloud and share via eail, iMessage, AirDrop, Flickr and social media

Available for both Mac and Windows devices, Affinity Photo clocks in at £48.99, also containing free gifts that include a macro pack, a fine art texture collection and sky-inspired overlays. Users can also request a free trial for either Mac or Windows.

vs. Photoshop

The main criticism Adobe have faced in recent years is about their switch to a subscription-based pricing model, and this is where Affinity Photo knocks Photoshop out of the park.

£48.99 for ownership vs a £9.98 monthly subscription (and an annual contract)? No contest.

Pricing is obviously the main draw Affinity Photo has over Photoshop, but when we look more closely at other elements, there isn’t a surefire winner. While Affinity Photo might load large images a touch faster and it’s layout is more user-friendly than Photoshop, Photoshop edges ahead when it comes to customisation and integration.

Our advice: if finances factor into your decision then Affinity Photos wins, if money isn’t an object then it all comes down to your personal preference.

Photoshop might not be beaten outright in this battle but it certainly has some stiff competition now.

Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is a fully-fledged graphic design solution for both hobbyists and professional web designers.

The Affinity team describe it as follows:

“Affinity Designer is the fastest, smoothest, most precise vector graphic design software available. Built from the ground up over a five-year period, every feature, tool, panel and function has been developed with the needs of creative professionals at its core. With continuous innovation and development, the result is a ground-breaking application that will revolutionise how you work.”

The team spent years developing a one stop shop for enterprise-level graphic design and they’re deservedly pleased for how well-received it’s been since it was released.

Enabling you to work on a variety of design projects, Affinity Designer is optimised for:

  • Illustrations
  • Icons
  • Branding
  • UI design
  • Print projects
  • Mock ups
  • Web graphics
  • Pattern design
  • Typography
  • Concept art

Like its photo editing counterpart, Affinity Designer is available for both Mac and Windows devices, is priced at £48.99 and contains free gifts that include handcrafted fonts and textures, brush packs and a UI kit.

vs. Lightroom

Let’s finish off by pitting Affinity Designer against Adobe Lightroom, which has always been seen as a go to piece of software for designers. Can Affinity Designer challenge it? We think so. Again, the main factor here is the price point, which Affinity Designer providing much the same service for a fraction of the price. Plus, you pay once and that’s it. No licensing fees, no subscriptions.

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What do you think about the Affinity vs Adobe battle? As we’ve said previously, the services themselves are comparable both in terms of features, ease of use and functionality. It’s a tough call and we’re afraid there’s no definitive answer. It’s going to come down to your personally preferred way of working and your budget. The jury’s out on this one!

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