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Serif AFFINITY Photo

Reviews Views Date of last review
1 1,243 Sat February 20, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $25.00 10.00
Serif AFFINITY Photo

Serif AFFINITY Photo
Serif AFFINITY Photo

AFFINITY Features []
Power, performance and compatibility:
* Optimized for:* Direct3D
* 64-bit engine
* Hardware GPU acceleration (OpenCL) for integrated, discrete and external GPUs
* Create massive gigapixel-sized documents
* 16-bits per channel editing
* Sub-pixel accuracy
* 64-bit plug-in support
* Photoshop plugin support (includes DxO Nik Collection 2 plugins)
* Embedded Photoshop PSD Smart Objects retain editability
* Up to date Tablet support
* Multi-touch support
* Surface Studio with Surface Pen and Surface Dial support
* End-to-end EXIF preservation
* Benchmark testing

Raw development:
* SerifLabs Raw Engine
* GPU-accelerated raw development
* Remove automatic tone curve and apply your own
* Automatic (and manual) lens correction and noise reduction
* Develop assistant for setting default tone, lens correction, noise reduction, and exposure control behavior
* Dedicated tones, lens, noise reduction and sharpening panels
* Support for the latest cameras
* Split view with syncing
* Solid and gradient overlays for restricting adjustments
* Show clipped highlights, shadows, and tones (in output color space)
* Hot pixel removal (SerifLabs RAW Engine only)
* Update to supported Raw Camera list (SerifLabs RAW Engine)
* Apple ProRAW DNG support (iPhone12 Pro)

Professional color support:
* CMYK, Lab, Grayscale and RGB color modes
* Color panel (RGB, HSL, LAB, CMYK, Grayscale)
* Swatches panel
* Generate palette from image
* Global colors
* Color tints
* Color Picker Tool (color mode aware, pick from anywhere on screen, color averaging, layer selection)
* Color Replacement Brush
* Paint Mixer Brush
* Gradient tool (Linear, Elliptical, Radial, Conical, Bitmap)
* Professional color support
* Spot colors and overprint
* PANTONE® color support
* ICC color profiling
* Import Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) color palettes (including spot colors)
* Drag-and-drop colors from Chroma app (SoftPress)

Solid photo-editing power:
* Sizing and transforming:* Resize images and canvas
* Crop to original/custom ratios, absolute dimensions or print sizes
* Straighten photos
* Mesh Warp Tool
* Non-destructive perspective filter
* Liquify tools in dedicated Persona workspace
* Pixel art resizing
* Channels:* View and isolate color channels
* Work on channels for document, layer, adjustment, filter, selection or mask
* Save pixel selections as spare channels
* Isolate and edit spare channels as layers
* Duplicate spare channel for backup
* HDR/32-bit* Merge bracketed exposures together to create 32-bit images
* Unique Persona for Advanced Tone Mapping
* Edit effortlessly in 32-bit unbounded color format
* Maintain a true 32-bit lossless workflow and preview full tonal range
* Multichannel OpenEXR and Radiance import and export
* Full OpenColorIO Integration
* Color managed workflow: choose between display transform, linear light and OpenColorIO transforms
* HDR and EDR display support (for 32-bit unbounded HDR documents)
* Panorama Persona for powerful auto-stitched panoramas
* Live projections (equirectangular and perspective)
* Stacking* For noise reduction
* For exposure merging
* For moving object removal
* Auto-alignment
* Non-destructive behavior
* Focus merging with source cloning
* Selection tools:* Shaped selections
* Elliptical Marquee Tool draws from center
* Intelligent Selection Brush Tool
* Freehand Selection Tool with Polygonal and Magnetic modes
* Refine selections to capture fine detail
* Store and save selections
* Quick masks
* Comprehensive metadata editing

Powerful layer management:
* Drag-and-drop layers
* Non-destructive adjustment layers with clipping previews
* Precise node control in Curves adjustment
* Shareable LUTs
* Non-destructive Live Filter layers with 'live' before/after split views
* Non-destructive Live Liquify filter layers
* More filters work on masks, adjustments and spare channels
* Apply adjustments, filters and blend modes at the stack, layer, group, selection or object level
* Use global colours in Gradient Map adjustments
* Fill layers
* Linking layers
* Pattern layers
* High-quality layer effects
* Layer effects work with global colors
* Clipping within layers
* Blend modes
* Blend modes work on 'alpha only' layers (masks, adjustments, live filters)
* Divide blend mode
* Blend ranges (linear and non-linear) and blend gamma control
* Per-object hierarchical antialiasing
* Lock child layer positions
* Layer masks (brush-based and gradient)
* Colored layer entry tagging for easy identification
* Image control:* Place images on dedicated layers
* Resampling: Nearest Neighbor, Bilinear, Bicubic and Lanczos 3 pixel scaling

External resource management
* Linked resources
* Set embedded/linked resource policy on new document creation
* Resource Manager
* Collect linked resources for project portability

* Painting:* High-quality brush galleries
* Change brush size, hardness, and opacity on the fly
* Undo Brush with 'paintback' to saved snapshot
* Import/export brushes, including ABR file import
* Custom brushes (including image-based brushes)
* Create image brushes from any pixel selection
* Create intensity brushes from any mask's pixel selection
* Assign tools to brushes selectively
* Optimized for graphics tablets
* Multi-controller support including pressure and velocity
* Controller-specific brush dynamics
* Customizable controller ramps
* Wet Edges support with customizable ramps
* Sub-brushes (combined brushes)
* Brush symmetry and mirroring
* Choice of brush and nozzle controllers/ramps
* Stroke stabilization for smooth strokes
* Nozzle rotation using left and right arrow keys
* Retouching:* Retouching tools:* Red-eye removal
* Inpainting for object removal
* Clone Brush/Healing Brush
* Blemish Removal/Patching
* Retouching brushes:* Dodge, Burn and Sponge brushes
* Blur, Sharpen, Median and Smudge brushes

Macros and batch processing:
* Record and save actions as macros
* Edit individual recorded steps and their parameters
* Customize macro settings post recording
* Import, export, and maintain a macro library
* Run batch jobs for bulk processing and conversion of images
* Apply macros in batch jobs for a seamless custom workflow

Supporting vector design tools and concepts:
* Precise Pen tool
* Precision straight line length and rotation angle via Transform panel
* Intuitive Move tool (moves, scales and transforms)
* Rotate from movable origin
* Customizable nudge distances
* Node tool for fine tuning vectors
* Customizable geometric shapes
* Full range of non-destructive Boolean geometry operations
* Duplicate and transform objects with precision
* Add noise to fills and strokes as a solid or graduated attribute
* Customizable stroke styles
* Styles presets with import/export
* Artistic and frame text
* Text on a path
* Character and Paragraph panels
* Advanced typography including ligatures* Flowing text
* Spellchecking
* OpenType font features
* Convert shapes and text to fully editable curves
* Save and synchronize defaults
* Expressions

User interface:
* Persona task-orientated workspaces
* Customizable tabbed workspace
* High DPI (retina) support
* Multiple document views
* Docked or floating panels
* Comprehensive keyboard shortcuts and modifiers
* Customizable keyboard shortcuts
* Customizable toolbars
* Saveable Studio panel presets

Design Aids:
* Rotate document view
* Rotate document view (canvas) with mouse scroll wheel
* Incredible zoom range
* Intuitive panning
* Saveable zoom viewpoints
* Powerful snapping control
* Snap to pixel selection bounds
* Dynamic snapping guides
* Pixel-accurate alignment for web graphics and website mockups
* Managers for Brushes, Grids, Snapping and other operations
* Automatic, fixed and projection grids
* Context toolbar and hintline
* Fluid document History

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Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 135

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 20, 2021 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Worthy and inexpensive Adobe Photoshop replacement
Cons: Perhaps not as slick and gloss as PS but that's a nitpick

A message from the Affinity team: As a way to lend support to the creative community during these difficult times, we’re once again offering a 90-day free trial of the Mac and Windows versions of the whole Affinity suite, for anyone who wants to use them (even those who have previously completed a free trial). We’re also bringing back the 50% discount for those who would prefer to buy and keep the apps, including our iPad versions... WHAT THAT MEANS FOR A LIMITED TIME YOU CAN GET YOUR COPY OF PHOTO ONLINE FOR ONLY US$25

Introduction & Overview
The de-facto industry standard for photo editing is Adobe Photoshop (PS), few will disagree. Photoshop critics typically don't complain about the quality of their edits and point instead to cost of ownership, feature bloat, resource and performance issues, interface complexity and learning challenges (and the list goes on). This is precisely the opportunity and the value proposition tackled by Serif’s Affinity Photo product (AP) and will briefly review below. Can AP edit this photographer’s images as good or better than PS at less cost or at less time and effort?

Affinity Photo is available as a free trial download, for purchase from many reputable distributors including B&H, Adorama and directly from the manufacturer -- Ownership includes limited technical support, upgrades, security and bug fixes with your one-time payment it is NOT a subscription model. This alone makes it more economical than Photoshop (score 1 for Affinity) but how do they compare qualitatively as editors?
As seen from the above list AP supports a full range of professional features. Download size is about half gig, installation size about 2 gigs and runtime recommendation is minimum 4 gigs. This is a smaller footprint than PS that should help make it more nimble and that’s been my experience. Not only that, the output PSD files also seem significantly smaller than for PS.

Lightroom Workflow
For millions of Adobe Lightroom users who still own a standalone copy of the product ie. versions prior to the cloud subscription model, this might be good news. AP is easily configured as an external editor in Lightroom. PS is better integrated however so one can easily roundtrip from Lightroom into PS and back again whereas with AP one must Export and overwrite the initial PSD file before returning to Lightroom.

Here are a couple good resources for finding and comparing what digital image asset management (DAM) software might work best with Affinity Photo for you --,, and there are plenty more resources available online, we won't have time to further discuss here.

Editing Workflow
AP supports non-destructive editing of most manufacturer’s raw file image formats including for example Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Samsung and Apple but not Fuji cameras with X-Trans image sensors, whereas PS does support the latter.
Note AP’s raw file support is automatic, built-in (can be manually overridden), includes hundreds of the latest lens and cameras profiles -- unlike PS which depends on the services of the Camera Raw tool.
My typical workflow looks something like this… with the disclaimers no one should misinterpret as a paragon for photo editing, I am not a qualified trainer and results are not guaranteed:
  1. Import original image into Lightroom catalog
  2. Lightroom edits…
    • Camera/Lens profile corrections
    • Perspective, vertical, horizontal corrections
    • if necessary fisheye/rectilinear corrections
    • if necessary apply radial/linear gradients to more evenly balance exposure and recover dark/light details
    • if necessary cleanup sensor dust, debris, distractions, etc
    • Carefully and deliberately crop -- do not decorate with vignetting yet
    • Details -- Perform noise reduction and moderate sharpening
    • Basics -- Perform an Auto exposure adjustment and fine-tune. Use the Curve tool if you have to
    • Take a Lightroom Snapshot. At this point your image should be looking pretty good if not finished and lots of people could well stop development and look at Exporting. But for more advanced photo editing and experimenting with different looks you’re now perfectly poised for more exciting things
  3. External edits…
    • If Photoshop was installed with Lightroom it would be configured automatically as default external photo editor whereas Affinity would need to be manually configured in Lightroom. Not merely an inconvenience this can be a barrier to many
    • Select the image for editing in AP [PSD, copy original with Lightroom edits, sRGB, 16bit color depth]. It will open as a locked background (pixel) layer and would be possible to perform many kinds of edits directly to this layer however for best practice it is recommended to work with layers whenever possible

Adjustment Layers
For my style of photography I nearly always want to layer on a Levels Adjustment followed if warranted, by Vibrancy and HSL Color layer adjustments. Meaning I might stop at just Levels or at Vibrancy if satisfied already. These three adjustments behave similarly and produce almost identical results in AP and PS with one important difference. The AP Levels tool has two very useful extra sliders for recovering black and white blowouts that PS does not.

Live Filters
With the primary color and exposure adjustment layers done, the next-to-last finishing steps in PS would be to clean up noise, image sharpening and more effects, directly on the background (pixel) layer. AP ‘Live Filters’ are more advanced than in PS because actions that previously could only be performed on the background layer, can now be separated out into distinct image adjustment layers. This is a big deal and besides, noise reduction in AP does seem to have an edge over PS!

Nearly every significant feature in PS is matched in AP don't think it warranted to compare them all, not necessary if their output results are roughly close and certainly not advisable for all photographs. With photo editing less is probably more, over processing should be avoided and why purposely I’ve constrained this review to just the three filters mentioned above.

Both AP and PS offer ‘Unsharp Mask’ and ‘High Pass’ filters for your background image (pixel) layer. Going an extra three miles, AP makes these two and ‘Clarity’ (which works on mid-tones to give the impression of sharpening) also available as ‘Live Filters’.
PS has many great tricks that for those in the know, can be quickly deployed to impressive effect with just a few clicks. AP to their credit has made two of these advanced user actions available under the filter menu as ‘Frequency Separation’ and ‘Apply Image’, secret no more!

Finally I want to highlight a new AP Live Filter named Lighting. I think it is possible to achieve a similar effect in PS but not with the same degree of ease or speed. In short, Lighting allows to add one or more point sources of light (and shadow) very precisely with all manner of controls to your image background layer or as a Live Filter. See for example Lighting applied to obtain a Chiaroscuro effect to the splash image below.
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