Affinity Photo vs Photoshop – Worth the Switch?

October 15, 2019 0 By Peter Engel


Affinity photo is a great alternative to photoshop but it was only available on Mac. It’s finally available on Windows and I’ll be testing the public beta. You can find out where to get Affinity Photo in the video description. I spent the entire day playing around with Affinity Photo and today, you and I will be exploring the features comparing the pros and cons between Photoshop and finding out if it’s worth to switch from Photoshop to Affinity photo. So, if you’re interested keep watching and let’s find out more about this Photoshop competitor. When you first use affinity photo, you’ll find that it’s very similar to Photoshop. The filters, adjustment layers, and even the keyboard shortcuts are mostly the same. But there are some great features that make Affinity Photo standout. Disclaimer, this is not a paid product review and Serif the company behind the software you’re about to see, they don’t even know that I’m making this video. What you’re seeing is my honest opinion. Also keep in mind, I’m using a free public beta released which just came out. So, I don’t have too much time to play around with every single feature. So, with that said; here’s my favorite things about Affinity photo. First, by default the layers act sort of like smart objects. In Photoshop for example you can resize them up and down without losing any image quality. You can also apply filters which are like smart filters in Photoshop. The layers remember any live filters that you supplied and you can always go back to change the settings or remove it. But unlike smart objects in Photoshop, you can actually paint in the layer if you want. You can do raster adjustments to the layers and layers act like both smart objects and layers at the same time. So, this is something that I wish Photoshop will have and hopefully eventually Adobe will see it. And will be like ok this is a great idea, we should put it in our product. Just a note, not all filters on Affinity photo can be applied as live filters or smart filters as we’re used to calling it in Photoshop. For example, the haze removal filter can only be applied as a regular filter which means that you should do it on a separate layer because you can’t remove it or change the settings. Speaking of the haze filter, that’s my second favorite feature. Haze removal is also available in Lightroom and Photoshop’s camera raw filter but they’re not the same thing. The haze removal filter in Affinity photo is way better, there’s more parameters to adjust. Such as the distance setting which lets you specify how far into the distance the haze removal should reach. For example, you can remove haze in the foreground but leave it visible in the background or you can go all the way and remove it from the foreground to background. The results are also better than Lightroom or Photoshop, There’s still some glowing or halo effect around the edges, but it’s not as pronounced as Adobe’s haze removal, and the colors are also a lot better. In Lightroom or Photoshop, if you push the haze removal too far, we get a lot of color artifacts in Affinity photo, it’s still there, but it’s a lot less. My third favorite feature in Affinity photo is the curves adjustment. You can change the mode from RGB to other colors like CMYK or lab, but unlike Photoshop you don’t actually need to change your document’s color mode you can access these in RGB mode. Now, I wouldn’t say this is a necessary feature but it’s definitely cool to be able to play with curves in a different way. And I think it will open up some new color grading techniques. There’s a lot more features in affinity photo such as the frequency separation filter and a really cool lighting filter. I really like Affinity photo and I think the developers did an amazing job creating this. But, there are some things I don’t like. First of all, Affinity photo has something called “Personas” which is a pretty ambiguous term. Personas are basically different workspaces. For example, we’re currently in the photo persona which is simply the main photo editor. There’s also one liquefied persona for liquefying your photo. A developed persona for the raw image processor, a tone mapping persona for the HDR stuff and finally an expert persona for exporting and saving your document. The problem of personas is that they don’t really make any sense, it’s not like in Lightroom where you have a library module, a develop module, etc and they’re all in sequential order to a typical workflow. Personas in Affinity photo are really just anything that changes the workspace. I mean couldn’t they just moved some of the personas into the filters menu. It’s totally okay for the filters to change your workspace temporarily. For example in Photoshop, the blur filter gallery does this. It changes your entire workspace and it works perfectly fine; and it brings another question. What if Affinity photo released this new filters that also use different workspaces? Are they really going to add more personas until you can’t fit anymore? I don’t know, personas to me seemed like a fancy term for something that’s unnecessary. Speaking of personas, the raw editor or develop persona isn’t nearly as good or as powerful as Adobe camera raw filter. It’s decent and it has all of the basics, but, don’t expect much from it. The last point I want to make is that a lot of minor cracks and some of them are not sure if they’re bugs or just something that they never really paid attention to. Like when you’re using the lighting filter and you moved the light to a different spot, then you make some adjustments, after making those adjustments your light will move back to the top left corner and you have to move it back in position again. So, I hope that’s a bug. I’m pretty sure that’s a bug but something that I’m not so sure it’s a bug is if you want to cancel out of a dialogue or window, you would naturally press the Escape key right? The escapee is just one of those shortcuts that we used so often and don’t even realize it. It’s in every software, it’s same thing as cancel. But there are some filters in Affinity photo where if you press the Escape key, instead of cancelling, it applies the filter as if you click the ok button. So I hope these are bugs in the Windows public beta and not something that’s actually in the stable Mac version. Time for the ultimate question, should you switch to Affinity photo? For most people the answer is No. First of all, if you use Lightroom CC and I’m not talking about Lightroom 6 by the way, those are completely different. Then you already have Photoshop CC as part of your subscription. Right now, Affinity photo isn’t as good as Photoshop and it has a long way to go before it can catch up. There are unique features in both; Affinity photo and Photoshop but overall, the additional features in Photoshop outweigh the additional features in Affinity photo. Photoshop also does a lot, more than people realize. For example, you can work with 3d models and do 3d printing. It has enough factor tools that you can create an entire effective project from it and you can even trim and color grade videos. But, it’s not always about the price. If you already have a Lightroom and Photoshop CC subscription, you might still want to buy Affinity photo for some of the stuff that it can do better and Photoshop. Like curves adjustment or the haze removal filter. So it all comes down to this, currently, Mac version goes for seven dollars. For what it offers, Affinity photo is very well price and is a best alternative if you can’t afford Photoshop. If you can afford photoshop and you’re deciding which one to learn, then stick with photoshop. It’s not that much harder if you’re professional photographer and you’re already making money from it, then you should still use Photoshop as your main editing software but maybe there are stuff in Affinity photo that you might find useful. Keep in mind that there are presets and plugins that costs more and do less, so for 70$, Affinity photo is still a great deal even if you don’t use all of it. Hey thanks for watching this video and I hope you found that useful. Now it’s just a very brief look at the Affinity photo but I want to know what you guys think. Do you think of Affinity photo is awesome or do you think it’s sucks? Let me know your honest opinion in the comments below.