Adobe Watch Your Back: This Software Might Just Give You a Run for Your Money

Adobe has been king-of-the-hill when it comes to high-end photo editing for as long as I can remember. With the exception of programs like Gimp (I only know one working professional who uses this, for reasons beyond me) Photoshop is the undisputed industry standard. That may be a thing of the past if Affinity Photo has anything to say about it.

The guys at Serif, makers of Affinity Designer and Publisher, just released a teaser video for the Affinity Photo beta that has all the Fstoppers staff talking, and for good reason. Take a second to check out the video above.

Now tell me that doesn't get you excited.

According to an interview by Creative BlogQ, Affinity Photo is built to take advantage of your beefed-up computer in a way that Photoshop might not be. Serif's managing director, Ashley Hewson, reflects "Photoshop is an amazing piece of software. But the problem is, it's built on 25-year-old architecture." Affinity's all-new code-base is expected to blow this out of the water.

Unlike other would-be Photoshop-competitors, Affinity is aimed at professionals, offering some pretty stellar built-in features including one-click frequency separation, live blend modes, and a suite of retouching tools.

If this has you interested you can sign up for the free beta here. I already picked up my copy, I can't wait to put it through its paces.

[Via Affinity Photo and Creative BlogQ]

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Anonymous's picture

Looks really interesting...
I'll definitely give it a try.....

Lane Shurtleff's picture

I really hope this software can move the computer editing power into the future. I feel (and I'm sure there are TONS of working professionals) that Adobe has really been lazy and lackluster in recent years with thinking they can just coast along without really making any new products and features which we have all been harassing Adobe to fix or add to the Creative Cloud (ie fixing bugs in a reasonable timeframe, if at all, like they stated when they started the whole CC). I've actually had conversations with Adobe engineers about adding a simple "reset button" or "default" to the ACR graduated filter or spot adjustment brush settings. It's very easy to do, and would greatly speed up many workflows. they could also apply the graduated filter and spot adjustment brushes to all files when you do a batch conversion. These simple things makes me feel Adobe just doesn't really pay attention to what we need.

alberto cabrera's picture

You do understand adobe develops more then just Photoshop. I have no idea of the features you need. But from a designers needs I have seen huge improvements and look forward to whats to come. Right now the integration between InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop is smooth. Not perfect but a vast improvement from CS 6.

Also have you tried to press the "option" or "alt" when in a tool window. The cancel button becomes the "reset" button. Every tool has a reset option. Especially in Adobe Camera Raw. Its not Adobe's fault if a person does not know how to use their software. BTW they had it since they created the Adobe Camera Raw beta.

You said....
" I've actually had conversations with Adobe engineers about adding a simple "reset button" or "default" to the ACR graduated filter or spot adjustment brush settings."

I got no idea how you can have a conversation about adding a feature that already exist.

alberto cabrera's picture

Sorry to go off the subject folks. On the subject. Its reminds me of PhotoStyler from 20 years ago. I do like that they made the basic tools for retouching upfront on the interface. Also some of the tools behave like working with vector graphics.

Other then that. I don't think this will replace Photoshop for now. But for $50.(assuming based on their designer software) This will be a great tool to start with. Especially for the rookie and students starting photography. I also suggest to look at their designer software...also they are coming out with a publisher edition.

The other cool feature is their integration with adobe formats. Being able to save as in those formats will prove useful for designers that can not afford to do Adobe. Hopefully Adobe does not become a butt and block files created with Affinity products.

As far as the coding. I don;t know about that. But it looks more dummy proof for photographers. i do not see anything that is better but the price point. Thou I still have to play with it more.

Spy Black's picture

This looks interesting, but I think in order to really be attractive they'll have to sell it as software you can own, as there are many who are not happy with the CC subscription scam. They'll also need to have a PC version if they're really serious about getting this out there.

Adam Peariso's picture

Just checking out their other software & it looks like they prefer the paid route. Which to me is a bonus as I'm not a fan of the subscription model either.

Alice Avenne's picture

I agree 100%. The creative cloud is the most depressing thing ever. Hopefully it will also come as a DVD rather than just a digital download, for archival purposes that is.

alberto cabrera's picture

You do understand you never owned software. You pay for the right to use that software, All adobe did was change the pay structure to make you upgrade every year. Which before you did not have to upgrade. You can keep using the old version till the latest OS won't let you. Also they did it to eliminate the pirating of the software before. If anything is to blame for the new payment struture, that's it.

Spy Black's picture

I understand that pirating is at the core of the subscription system, but that doesn't help legal users, especially when glitches render your software unusable, as has happened a couple of times now. All that has to happen when YOU need it for a deadline to appreciate the problem.

alberto cabrera's picture

I worked on CC since April of last year. I had less issues with Adobe since then. All my freelancers and vendors are using the same version I am using and working with all three PS, IND, and AI at the same time is smoother then ever. SO form that stand point I had no major issues.

What I was saying with or without subscription it does not matter. You don;t own the software. All you are doing is buying the rights to use it and that's every software company. Big or small. I was also just pointing out one of the main reason Adobe went subscription base. So I don't understand your comment.

"but that doesn't help legal users, especially when glitches render your software unusable"

It use to be, if you had CS4, you could not use the latest and greatest plugins for CS6. Also CS4 was not optimize for the latest OS, so memory management was not efficient. Now you get the latest updates and betas. The software is continuously evolving so the "legal"user has everything at their figure tips.

The only issue I see with the subscription base. Is for the staving photographer that is trying to catch a break. They have been using CS2 since it came out and they don't want to stop using it. Because honestly, it still does the job. For the photographer. I can see how upgrading is not necessary and how the subscription base appears to be a "scam". As a working Creative Director looking it from the big picture. Subscription base model has save my bacon too many times for me to be against it. Not saying I got money to burn. I don;t. But being able to work with everyone I want to and not worry about incompatibilities because someone is not up to date is a life saver in my business.

Spike S's picture

I downloaded it, opened it up to work on an image I did last week, played around for a few minutes with different settings, got something I actually liked, and it hung. Did nothing. Tried moving around, clicking everywhere, it was dead. I was opening up the Force Quite panel when it decided to quite on its own.

There doesn't seem to be support to call it from Lightroom and I can't use the plug-ins that are part of my workflow. I realize it's beta, but although I found the image controls OK and the look pretty good, I can't see using it again for a long time.

Don Fadel's picture

You can add an external editor (like Affinity) in Lightroom Preferences under 'External Editors'. Many tutorials on how to do this.

Eric Priddy's picture

Jeff, keep in mind that this is Beta software and is expected to have bugs, glitches and some instability. As this software was just launched yesterday (February 9th, 2015) there are MANY improvements to come. The photography community will certainly welcome it!

Simon Hooley's picture

Thanks for the heads up. Just signed up and downloaded:)
I love new software!

Anonymous's picture

Looks promising! I look forward to the in depth reviews.

Nick McClure's picture

I'd like to try it out, but it looks like they won't be putting out a Windows version. As for the CC stuff, That is just how things are going, it isn't just Adobe, any large product that traditionally has a large entry price will move to a subscription format, it lowers the cost of entry and the total cost of the product assuming regular major version upgrades that have a fee associated with them.

Joseph Anthony's picture

Hubba hubba, Windows version please.

Dudley Didereaux's picture

MAC only. Until PC version Adobe has nothing to fear.

Kendra Paige's picture

I will definitely give this a try.

I am all for experimenting when it comes to different methods for retouching, and I like the options this software appears to offer in terms of color grading and effects. For retouching, I love to use filter-based workflow apps like Exposure to try on different looks for my images, before spending the time to retouch said images with quality in mind.

Anonymous's picture

Wow world is moving forward ....... can wait for the win version .. looks great

Geir Ertzgaard's picture

If Photos for OS X is as good at DAM as Aperture was, then the combo of Photos and Affinity might be the future most of us were hoping for. For now, the image browser in Affinity wasn't much to shout about.

Tor Ivan Boine's picture

the image browser in Affinity is as good as photoshops image browser :)

Jannik Anker's picture

DAM = Digital Asset Management.

Jon Clayton's picture

That was a very impressive demo video. Photoshop is so entrenched in so many industries it's got to be tough for anyone to have a successful competing product, the best of luck to them, there looked to be some innovative stuff going on.

Louis Leblanc's picture

Well I just tried the beta and I'm impressed so far. Much better UI than Gimp, much more powerful than pixelmator and dare I say gives Photoshop a run for the money. I felt right at home as a Photoshop user. all the critical adjustment layers are there, even some nice additions like a white balance adjustment layers. The filters are nice - I really like the before and after tool that allows you to split the full size image with and without the filter.

The selection tools are on point. The brush tools are easier to modify. The text tool has a separate tool for free-floating text and text frames which is nice as the free-floating text tool lets you scale how big you want the text before you start typing.

Colour me impressed - all the tools are there and they work well, the whole thing seems snappy too.

Richard Perry's picture

Downloaded, installed and ran like a dream. Imported PSD files and all the layers and adjustments from photoshop were there and I could manipulate. They did a nice job keeping the interface close to photoshop, so the learning curve is kept to a minimum. If it takes off, and I do hope that it does, then we might see Adobe bring it stupid prices down and maybe, just maybe abandon the loathed CC subscription rip off. They will have a tough job breaking into a very well established base of photoshop tutorials but if they crack that then I think they're onto a winner... well done

John Skinner's picture

A pretty serious contender to what has more or less been a 1 pony show for years.

If these guys can develop and maintain a stable, expandable program and GUI across both O/S, and not done EVERYTHING that Adobe has done.. I'd be in.

I was miffed when the reason for CC was to add "updates as soon as we can deliver them". Only to be followed by another COMPLETE program download called CC 2014. Keeping in mind... there like your girlfriend or wife.... merely on loan as long as you keep paying for it.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

Darn it! All you Mac users are making me jealous!
I'm all about trying new alternatives to Adobe products and it;s been hit and miss up until now. This things looks like it might be a hit ... a huge hit.

Jon Dize's picture

For MAC only? That is a big FAIL.

Michael Brinkerhoff's picture

If you are PC only then just skip over this one. :)

Rick Hyde's picture

What's the price point?

Eric Lefebvre's picture

Apparently it will go for 50$ once it comes out of Beta ... or so claims another popular photo site.

Jason Borg's picture

You should mention at least somewhere in the article that this is Mac only.

David Saunders's picture

I always giggle to myself when I see photographers or designers thinking that a Mac will enhance their editing/creating abilities...

This software needs to be available on a PC if it is to succeed.

Michael Brinkerhoff's picture

Apple computers have been in schools for a very long time. Most colleges have them. Most students learn on them. Many of them buy a mac during and after school. It is a safe bet that you will find more professionals out of college who can use/own a mac.

I am sure these guys have a keen eye on their targeted customer base, just like you do with your customers.

These guys are starting small. PC support might already be in their development roadmap. Sometimes you have to launch with what is ready in order to turn some heads. :)

Louis Leblanc's picture

I'm pretty sure this app takes advantage of the Apple's Quartz/core image tools which probably allowed them to write an app will fully featured tools that can take advantage of GPU acceleration with much less work than would have been necessary on Windows. -I'm not sure there's something as powerful openly available in Windows.

Neo Racer's picture

Was curious till it said 'for the mac' Im out

Randall Chambers's picture

Not all of us use Mac's. Actually quite abit use windows based. Until this reaches windows, I will stick to my Adobe CC . No complaints here with them. #randallchambers

Javier Torres's picture

Article talks about new software but the thread ventures off into mac vs. pc... Anyways, I read the article, became interested and downloaded the beta. The UI is similar to GIMP, Ps and Corel, so no big deal there. There is definitely a learning curve like anything else. Everything that I have been using on Ps for the past two decades is right in front of you along with more or less options, which made it slow to use. I will definitely continue to play with it and follow its progress. It’s sort of like relearning to play the piano after loosing six fingers.

Javier Torres's picture


Stu Haluski's picture

No Windows version? That's an outstanding business and customer base appreciation model. This software nor any software that is Mac only will ever challenge Adobe. Once again clickbait title.

Claude Laramée's picture

Tried it yesterday and liked it A LOT ! Lots of quick keys similar to PS, there is good thinking/thinkers behind this software, hope to get my Nick Collection working seamlessly ! Thanks FS for sharing about this !

Eric Sherb's picture

When will it come for Windows too? I want it! ;)

Deleted Account's picture

Ill stick to Adobe..

Joe McGuigin's picture

Downloaded it and gave it a shot, it looks a lot like PS as far as where everything is located, a lot of the keystrokes are the same as well. Overall though I'm not that impressed, It just seems like a different version of photoshop that I'd have to sit for hours to figure out how to do everything all over again. I'll stick with PS. It does seem to run a lot faster then PS but I'm also working on a pretty fast machine as it is so I don't know what it would be like for someone without as much memory and machine quality.

Leonardi Caraballo's picture

I am very happy with corel software products, Paint Shop Pro X8 and AfterShot Pro 2, (win10) awesome software and easy to use, AfterShot Pro 2 is like 50$ ;) and support so many cameras ;)

I use adobe at work, and at home corel products, no problem whatsoever.