back to article Photoshop for 40 quid: Affinity Photo pushes pixels further than most

When El Reg tested the leading alternatives to Photoshop we told you to keep an eye out for Affinity Photo, a Mac-only rival from Serif that looked like being the best yet. It’s now out of beta and available for £40, which would buy you a Photoshop subscription for less than five months. Serif Affinity Photo This is an app …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very useful review

    I'm not a pro but I've found the Affinity apps to be very usable. The Adobe situation is reminiscent of when Quark got too entrenched and complacent.

  2. Tannin

    Let me know when it works on computers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

      Till then, stick with the MS Word clip art

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

        Till then, stick with the MS Word clip art

        I'll not downvote you for the snark, but it is a bit misguided. Tannin's comment was, for a lot of us, spot on.

        I know that the Mac has some sort of unholy attraction for graphics people (e.g. my nephew) and I've pointed people in the direction of a Mac as their platform of choice in specific circumstances (yeah, yeah, I'll burn in Gehenna for that), alas, due to constraints beyond our immediate control, some of us have no choice but to do graphics related work with the beast that is MS windows, and (especially now) a £40 supported photoshopesque package would be a good thing (e.g. we could throw this to the PHB who is currently balking at paying the Adobe tax for newer versions of Photoshop - and I don't blame him).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

          A very reasonable position, very reasonably put. Unlike Tannin, you're not trolling to try and start the inevitable and oh so very tedious Mac/PC flamewar.

          The problem with going cross platform is that many of the modern graphics apps leverage the very capable graphics frameworks now built into Mac OS and Windows. That gives a certain amount of agility but can result in quite divergent codebases. Adobe on the other hand has tended not to do this but that's given them a massive legacy overhead.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

          I don't know why you got downvoted because you're right. I can't run OS X on my perfectly adequate i7 thing with its graphics card and 27 inch monitor, so this £40 Photoshop alternative would be to me a £1500 or thereabouts Photoshop alternative. I guess Affinity have done their market research in their target markets, but I can't help wondering if that consisted of the East Coast and the West Coast, and they are missing a huge potential market out there.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

            Ok, I know that I'll get downvoted but at least get your facts rights when slagging off Apple kit.

            It won't cost you £1500 to get a Mac.

            A new Mac mini costs from £399

            http://www.apple.com/uk/shop/buy-mac/mac-mini

            Ok, this is a bit of a puny CPU but the top spec one comes in at £799.

            Plus you can even use your 'real computer' monitor with it.

            Then there is FleaBay for some even cheaper devices

            Say something like this for .£850.

            http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Apple-MacBook-Pro-15-4-Quad-Corei7-2-4ghrz-8GB-128GB-SSD-Retina-Display-2013-/131442911036?hash=item1e9a9ba73c

            Frankly, it is nice to have the boot on the other foot and have a half decent app available on OSX and not Windows.

            I may well be buying this app because I won't pay the Adobe monthly tithe on Photoshop.

            1. moiety

              Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

              I've recently abandoned Photoshop in favour of Bloom - also doesn't seem to have a clipping path; but a lot of the rest of my image-wrangling needs are catered for. Has Windows, OSX and Linux versions:

              http://thebloomapp.com/

              1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

                Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                I've recently abandoned Photoshop in favour of Bloom

                Thanks for that. It looks interesting.

                1. moiety

                  Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                  Thanks for that. It looks interesting.

                  Welcome. It's not a complete photoshop replacement...photoshop is a big program and there are a million different ways of using it; so how useful it is to you depends upon what you use it for. I use it for slicing and dicing images for websites/themes and also buffing up and optimising images and so far things are going OK. The big selling point for me was the linux version as this'll help my eventual transition to linux with as little pain as possible.

                  There's bits I miss; and the lack of clipping paths is the biggest annoyance so far. On the plus side, having a drop-shadow and bevels as built-in layer effects is really handy.

                  I can live without a few toys if it keeps Adobe from twatting around with my machine at their convenience. I did the cloud subscription thing for a year and hated every minute of it. With that and The Gimp I think everything's covered.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

              "It won't cost you £1500 to get a Mac."

              You are focussing on the £1500 and not the fact that I will need new hardware.

              To replace my Windows laptop with a 15 inch Macbook Pro (15 inch being the smallest size I can work with for photography) will cost £1599. Yes I could buy a second hand one, etc. etc. Given your example of a second hand one from eBay -assuming I'm going to take the risk of spending that much on an unknown quantity - the software is still going to cost around £900 rather than £40 for me to use it.

              1. Mike Bell

                Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                Lucky me. I have a MacBook Pro (and the Affinity programs). Being portable, it's a welcome relief from the crappy Windows PC at work.

                Where do you get the bill of £900 for the software that you'd need?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                  "Lucky me. I have a MacBook Pro"

                  Hmm. I wouldn't call you lucky to be stuck in Apple's walled garden, particularly since you overpaid for the privilege of adding to the fruity one's cash mountain!

              2. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                Aside from that, if Apple continue along their current hardware design trajectory, there will be no usable machines available for sale capable of running this software.

                There will be nowhere to plug in your stuff!

                Gigabit Ethernet is long gone - need a dongle, burning a port that could have been a monitor or a USB storage device.

                Their latest has effectively no ports at all - as you need an adapter for USB and have to unplug the PSU.

                Apple hardware is no longer professional, it's poseur - looks before use.

                1. Frank Bough

                  Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                  It is possible that they've done their research and know how people use their machines?

                  1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                    Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                    If they have, then they've also decided not to support professional computing on Mac anymore.

                    Mac used to be huge in certain "artistic" industries.

                    They've now got to the point where many formerly "Mac-only" software products have gone "PC-first" because there's no Mac hardware suitable to run them on.

              3. Frank Bough

                Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                Well just keep paying your £8 to Adobe, then. It's not the worst thing that one can imagine.

                1. Marshalltown

                  Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                  "Well just keep paying your £8 to Adobe, then. It's not the worst thing that one can imagine."

                  Hmm, let me think, beer or Adobe, beer of Adobe, beer or Adobe ... Well, yes it is the worst thing I can imagine.

              4. jason 7

                Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                Did you include the Apple Care fee in the £1599 in case one of the many now non-replaceable parts like battery, ram and SSD fail?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                  Did you include the Apple Care fee in the £1599 in case one of the many now non-replaceable parts like battery, ram and SSD fail?

                  If you buy your kit in the UK, there are two laws that work for you:

                  1 - EU law makes two years warranty MANDATORY. Apple has already been in trouble with their attempts to sell extended warranty to two years when that is now an EU default. In my experience, electronic problems in computers show in the first half year of use. After that's problems are far more likely to be mechanical wear & tear than electronic.

                  2 - Goods sold in the UK must be of merchantable quality. This means that by normal use, a device must have a normal lifespan, and I would be very easy able to argue in court that 3 years is reasonable for a laptop that is properly treated (like my kit is, and it shows).

                  Of course, Apple can play games by taking a long time for repair, but that is rather fraught with danger because UK's consumer protection watchdogs are quite eager to flex their power.

                  Now, I mention the UK, but I have seen similar laws in place throughout Europe, I'm just not that familiar with those and as experienced in how to use them.

              5. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

                Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                Get a proper monitor instead, and calibrate it. Hook it up to your laptop or a Mac Mini.

                No need to drag around a 15 inch laptop.

            3. Not That Andrew

              Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

              With a Core i7, 16GB RAM and 2Gb HDD the Mac Mini is around £1,224.00, so he wasn't too far off. Also, there aren't exactly many user upgradable parts in there, are there? And Intel HD/Iris graphics are adequate but that's all you can say for it,

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                Also, there aren't exactly many user upgradable parts in there, are there?

                I think there are two separate answers to that, as there is commercial as well as domestic use. If your hobby is taking computers apart and exchanging bits of it, yes, Macs will probably not rank high on the systems you should buy. OTOH, if you write a machine off over 2 or 3 years and replace it, the replacement of parts is only relevant if it breaks and warranty cannot sort it out - I have not seen a need to upgrade specs in the span of 3 years so that is not a decision factor for me.

                As for costs, if you ONLY look at the hardware there is no denying that a decent spec Macbook is expensive. If you start looking at the cost of the software packages for it, the time it saves not having to fight an UI and the simple absence of endless updates and patches the number suddenly becomes much more acceptable, also because you don't have to manage software licenses in case one of your employees decides to have fun and call in a FAST raid. From a Total Cost of Ownership perspective, Macs and PCs differ so little that moving to OSX ended up being a no brainer.

                Spend the same, yet have less hassle getting work done? Easy choice IMHO.

                Of course, if you mainly run pirated software you will probably be cheaper off running Windows, but that would not really be a honest comparison.

                Last but not least, that non-changeable parts thing can also work to your advantage. Set up a modern Macbook with a boot password, enable Filevault and use a decent login password and it becomes a waste of time to steal it as it cannot be reformatted for a new user. You cannot wipe the SSD as the boot password stops you getting to the recovery tools, and as it's soldered in you cannot replace the drive for a blank one so it will always show the user details (at least, mine does on logon). All of that is built in, by the way - no need to buy extra software...

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

                >> With a Core i7, 16GB RAM and 2Gb HDD the Mac Mini is around £1,224.00, so he wasn't too far off. Also, there aren't exactly many user upgradable parts in there, are there? And Intel HD/Iris graphics are adequate but that's all you can say for it,

                Best bet is to get a 2012 Mac Mini with quad-core i7 and upgrade the RAM and storage yourself.

                It will be faster than any current Mac Mini because Ivy Bridge isn't that much slower than current Intel processors (only a few percent) and it will have twice as many cores.

                It also has RAM that isn't soldered on. In fact, upgrading the RAM is easier than on almost any PC since all you have to do is twist off the bottom to access the RAM slots.

                The hard drive is somewhat tricker to swap but you should be able to do it in under 20 minutes (under 10 if you've done it before). It uses normal 2.5" drives. AFAIK the drive setup in current Mac Minis is the same so you'd have to be an idiot to buy a drive upgrade from Apple.

                Of course the graphics "card" is not upgradeable but if we're talking about photo work then that hardly matters.

            4. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

              "Say something like this for .£850.

              http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Apple-MacBook-Pro-15-4-Quad-Corei7-2-4ghrz-8GB-128GB-SSD-Retina-Display-2013-/131442911036?hash=item1e9a9ba73c

              "

              You can get a NEW Dell QHD+ Infinity Screen XPS13 with better specs, 3 years warranty, and touch screen for that sort of money:

              http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261982153755?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

          2. ThomH Silver badge

            Re: Let me know when it works on computers. @Arnaut the less

            Serif, like the team behind Pixelmator, is based in the UK. I feel like I used to pass an office somewhere in Hampshire; the website says Nottingham now though. So if market research was of the US only then that'll have been as a result of other research.

            1. Chris King Silver badge

              Re: Let me know when it works on computers. @Arnaut the less

              UK office is in Nottingham, with US offices in Hudson, NH. (They might also have had offices in Nashua, NH, but I could be wrong)

        3. LDS Silver badge

          '£40 supported photoshopesque package'

          That is what Paint Shop Pro was before Corel bought Jasc and aimed the product at the 'I want a product to fix my cats photos with a single click, while it scans my disk continuously to find new ones' . I don't know why Jasc was sold, but the too many people I've seen with warez copies of a very affordable product may be a reason. Maybe the Mac space this is a smaller issue.

        4. Teiwaz Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

          It was a little snarky.

          But pretty much a Windows one would save a lot of people from spending XXX or piracy (or having to attempt to learn gimp). £40 is reasonable for the non-commercial user, a bargain (and then some) for the business user.

          As a Linux user, I've pretty much no vested interest in this whatsoever, I use gimp for the things I can't do with RMagick (as a programmer I find it easier to code a solution than deal with a ui).

        5. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

          Darktable or Gimp/Linux ? There are plenty more ... and they're free software.

          1. Stork Bronze badge

            Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

            - and how is colour calibration going on Linux at the moment? Open question, but last I checked it appeared very much beta.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

              Last time I checked it was a bit better than Windows.

              However, neither Linux or Windows are anywhere near where OS X is in this regard.

              MS simply don't bother fixing things that are a thorn in people's side, unless they can see billions at the end of it. This lack of enthusiasm for quality and coherence will be their downfall in the end -as we can already start to see.

          2. Handy Plough

            Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

            "... and they're free software."

            They're also shit.

        6. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

          At least Apple Macs have functioning colour management with correctly applied device profiles.

          Unlike the buggy mess that Windows is.

      2. Zmodem

        Re: Let me know when it works on computers.

        free http://www.hasselblad.com/software/phocus

    2. ES15

      There's Paint.NET (freeware) - it's more basic but works for me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There's Paint.NET (freeware) - it's more basic but works for me.

        I'd call "more basic" a bit of an understatement, it was my tool of choice on Windows too but migrating to OSX puts you on a whole different plane when it comes to graphics and presentation (yes, I've used the GIMP, but I didn't get on with it on either Linux, Windows or OSX, and I suspect that is because i'm not a pro to start with). I personally use Pixelmator, but I have been looking at Affinity Photo with interest and may very well buy it (the beta came at the wrong time so I've had no time to play with it).

        I'm by no stretch of the imagination a graphics artist, but occasionally I have to put something together that looks presentable, and for such tasks software like Pixelmator and Affinity Photo is perfect because it is easy to assemble something that looks decent. I can imagine a pro would be able to do even more with it, probably with less effort as well :).

        The generic observation about OSX is that almost all software comes at a far more reasonable price than on Windows (not MS Office, but since we switched to LibreOffice that isn't an issue anyway). It depends of course of what your business it, but OSX makes making things that look good easy.

        Even the most basic software package is generally very easy to use, and makes it simple to create something that looks good. As a matter of fact, it makes it so easy that you don't have to spend much time faffing around with entirely irrelevant features - you can just get on with things, yet end up with something that just looks more elegant right from the start.

        This is why I find the "Macs are expensive" debate a bit false. When you start adding everything up (and, of course, buy software instead of pirating it) there is financially not that much of a difference between platforms - you try something equivalent to Affinity Photo for Windows for just that price. Not going to happen.

      2. Captain DaFt

        On the art sites I browse, some artists have switched to Paint Tool SAI.

        It's not a complete Photoshop alternative, but quite a few artists like it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Let me know when it works on computers".

      ...and let us know when you've evolved enough to use one.

    4. Frank Bough

      Re:

      Oh dear, someone's IT dept is forcing him to use Windows. I didn't know they still did that.

  3. MarcusArt
    Thumb Up

    Potential rival indeed

    Affinity Photo and Affinity Design are hand in glove with each other and they both provide a commercial alternative to their Adobe counterparts - Photoshop and Illustrator. In fact for me, Affinity products get rid of some of the feature clutter that makes Adobe applications a bit tardy in the workflow area for some projects.

    I do tend to use Photoshop more for concept work and if I'm wanting to integrate 3D in art - Photoshop does handle nicely. Affinity Photo is fast and since I'm a huge fan of Affinity Designer - even over Adobe Illustrator I will try to use Affinity Photo for some concept work and see how it goes.

    Serif has been for many years the lesser known name behind some great shareware and some nice home craft products, but also Serif Draw was a solid solution in its time. Serif products were often seen featured on the Cover CDs of Computer Shopper and PCPro Magazines in the 90s. I should know ... I helped put them there. :-)

  4. AbortRetryFail

    £40 too expensive...

    ... when compared with GIMP.

    Ok, GIMP's interface is a little clunky but it really is a very powerful bit of software.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: £40 too expensive...

      Ok, GIMP's interface is a little clunky

      Now there is an understatement.. The challenge with the GIMP is that the complexity of its UI gets in the way of usability and so renders the program nigh unusable for people who just need the occasional work done. It's like having a Ferrari with the top 3 gears removed - massive potential, screwed up delivery.

      I agree it has lots of powerful features, but they're too hard to use. The £40 spend on Affinity Photo you earn back in a day on the amount of time you save producing something decent.

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: £40 too expensive...

        GIMP's not that tricky, just learn the interface and don't expect it to 'be' photoshop. It's not, it's GIMP, and has some different metaphors. If you want plugins, one of my favourites is one that separates an image into wavelet frequency layers - so you can touch up some low or mid frequency stuff (eg the shadows associated with facial lines) whilst keeping pore-sharp detail. Looks extremely natural, extremely powerful technique.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: £40 too expensive... @Roq D. Kasba

          Let's get this straight, GIMP is unuseable crap. Struggle if you must and fight the good fight and all that but I have better things to do than bang my head against a wall.

          >don't expect it to 'be' photoshop

          Then why do people keep saying it's a photoshop alternative?

          Want a free alternative then try serif photoplus starter edition. I even tried to buy the full version but for some reason they wouldn't take my money.

          1. Roq D. Kasba

            Re: £40 too expensive... @Roq D. Kasba

            >>>Let's get this straight, GIMP is unuseable crap.<<<

            And yet as I can use it OK, it can't be? I know the interface isn't as simplified as some picture editors, and I would agree that it isn't the right tool for everyone, but Photoshop also has its own opaque methods (until you learn its ways).

            >>>>>don't expect it to 'be' photoshop<<<

            >>>Then why do people keep saying it's a photoshop alternative?<<<

            I guess they mean in the sense that a boat is an seaplane alternative. Not the same, but you can get similar results and have a similar level of control. But you can't blame the software for what people say about it, the GIMP (and plugin) developers are quite clear that they're not trying to replicate Photoshop, they are making a graphics editing package - as such they do some things differently. Some of the stuff they do is simply not as good, some is far better.

            That Wavelet Decompose (plugin) is incredible, AFAIK there is no similar functionality in Photoshop to decompose an image into 10 different frequencies of wavelet, but it is incredibly powerful. Different packages, different capabilities, different pricing models. I like GIMP not just for the compelling price-point, but because it does what I need, when I need it, because I learned how to use it.

          2. richard_cooper

            Re: £40 too expensive... @Roq D. Kasba

            >Let's get this straight, GIMP is unuseable crap. Struggle if you must and fight the good fight and all

            >that but I have better things to do than bang my head against a wall.

            AMEN, I've long been saying that I find it so much easier to create good looking things in good looking software. GIMP's interface on MAC is so foreign and clunky, I find myself struggling to concentrate on what I'm trying to achieve.

            Also, at least out of the box, GIMP does not seem to support any trackpad gestures, which these days make it feel so antiquated.

            Affinity Photo is great and really good value in my view.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: £40 too expensive...

        The challenge with the GIMP is that the complexity of its UI gets in the way of usability and so renders the program nigh unusable for people who just need the occasional work done

        And photoshop isn't ?

        Give PS to a newbie and they'll be just as flummoxed by that as GIMP. Besides since GIMP got rid of those stupid floating windows in favour of a unified interface it's much better.

        1. bpfh
          Alert

          Re: £40 too expensive...

          Ah, the floting windows that threw bits of the interface all over your multiple screen real estate has finally gone?

          Is it worth dumping Paint.net yet?

          1. photobod

            Re: £40 too expensive...

            There's one specific GIMP feature which makes the multi-window interface far better for editing - multiple live views of the same image, i.e. being able to work very close in on fine detail while simultaneously seeing the overall effect alongside. That's proven a huge time saver on many occasions.

        2. Neil Lewis

          Re: £40 too expensive...

          "since GIMP got rid of those stupid floating windows" - those floating windows are still available for those who want them. You can switch from single-window to multiple-window mode with a couple of clicks, and they do enable one particularly useful trick: multiple views of the same image while editing. Use it for working close in on small details while simultaneously seeing the overall effect on the whole image.

      3. Robin 12

        Re: £40 too expensive...

        I am finding that the changes to GIMP are confusing me but are in the direction of what Photoshop users wanted but I have used GIMP for over a decade now. This just goes to show that the changes are user driven. Some of the plugins I used to use don't work in the latest version.

        For what I do, it is a combination of ImageMagick and GIMP for 99% of what I need.

        Some of the tools I see in Affinity would be nice in GIMP.

    2. Chemist

      Re: £40 too expensive...

      "£40 too expensive... "

      Darktable for Mac & Linux if you need RAW photo processing and manipulation - free & excellent.

      http://www.darktable.org

      1. Chemist

        Re: £40 too expensive...

        Also available for Solaris and FreeBSD

        1. Ole Juul Silver badge

          Re: £40 too expensive...

          @ Chemist said: "Also available for Solaris and FreeBSD"

          From the Affinity web site: Built exclusively for Mac

          1. Chemist

            Re: £40 too expensive...

            "From the Affinity web site: Built exclusively for Mac"

            Should have read the thread - it was about Darktable !

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: £40 too expensive...

            From the Affinity web site: Built exclusively for Mac

            It was about Darktable. Now go and get some coffee first, you clearly had a rough weekend :)

      2. Busby
        Thumb Up

        Re: £40 too expensive...

        Thanks for the recommendation for dark table, was planning on processing the raw files from my holiday today and all I had was the app Nikon provide which isn't the best. Might stretch to buying Affinity at some point but free is better than £40.

        1. Chemist

          Re: £40 too expensive...

          "Thanks for the recommendation for dark table"

          Powerful and has many modules for image processing. I esp. like the profiled denoise if I have to boost the exposure by a large amount due to considerable underexposure.although I generally use a lot less than the default setting. Depending on the model/lens it might not be found in the lens correction module but that uses an external database. The shadows/highlight module is also very useful.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: £40 too expensive...

      Really? I can't really understand people who believe that any software above the price of zero is "too expensive". Maybe are you too mean instead? It would be a far worse world if any software business would not exist, and all software would come as a secondary product of other interests, or from volunteers with little or no interests in customers needs but their own.

      GIMP is for you? The better. Others may find better to spend £40, £400 or even £4000 for products that suit their needs better. Often, real costs are not in the product price alone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: £40 too expensive...

        Really? I can't really understand people who believe that any software above the price of zero is "too expensive". Maybe are you too mean instead? It would be a far worse world if any software business would not exist, and all software would come as a secondary product of other interests, or from volunteers with little or no interests in customers needs but their own.

        I agree with you, but I can also understand people not willing to spend money on something they use once in a blue moon which is what gives partly rise to the large amount of pirated software out there. On top of that you then have stuff that is simply overcharged, such as Microsoft Office (in this context I find Affinity software pricing very acceptable, and I tend to buy direct as the App Store tax/tithe is IMHO too high).

        As stated, I've tried the GIMP, but its UI is too complex to support casual use. If you spend your days using it I imagine it gradually becomes less painful in the way Wordstart and Wordprefect keyboard commands became usable over time, but for casual use it takes too much time rediscovering what is hiding where and what quirks it has. Affinity Photo is in that context classical Mac UI in that it's quite easy to Get Shit Done, even if you only use it once a month, and that time saving alone is IMHO more than worth the £40 it costs. As I said before, in general I find OSX software well worth the money, it's one of the reasons that the costs of moving to OSX were far less painful than they appeared at first sight.

        The only solid pain in OSX is collaboration with Linux-based services - SMB and NFS connectivity is not as straightforward as it should be (to be frank, it's a f*cking battle at times), and God knows what they did to WebDAV connectivity as it's shockingly slow. If Apple could fix that there is IMHO no real reason to ever go near Windows again IMHO.

        1. Frank Bough

          Re: £40 too expensive...

          The App Store 'tax' compares favourably with traditional retail.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: £40 too expensive...

            The App Store 'tax' compares favourably with traditional retail.

            I'm not in agreement with that. I prefer to buy the software straight from the supplier if that is possible, also because that route tends to offer trail versions. Pixelmator, Affinity, Omnigraffle - just 3 companies off the top of my head that allow you go "go direct". I'm OK with charges for an eco system, but 30% is IMHO a bit rich. The App Store concept may work for phone apps, but the model is short of methods for trial versions and paid upgrades, so if Apple really want their 30% they ought to fix that first IMHO.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: £40 too expensive...

            Depend on the price of the application. For "apps" sold for a few dollars, it may. As soon as the application price increases, it's no longer that favourable. Retailing costs don't increase lineary with the application price, but the Apple tax does.

        2. Tesseract

          Re: £40 too expensive...

          I've found Expandrive to be fairly reliable for network file systems. Although I forget which ones it supports.

        3. LDS Silver badge

          Re: £40 too expensive...

          No, sorry, I can't buy the assertion "I need Photoshop once in a while, so I pirated it". The truth is you don't need Photoshop at all, and probably don't even know how to use it past basic (and maybe erroneous) techniques - just owning "the powerful software the pro uses" makes you feel "better".

          What you need is actually exactly an application like GIMP or Serif's. But that doesn't mean there are not people who really need Photoshop or even more expensive ones - if they deliver features that really save you hassle and time, and let you do the work you need the way you need.

          And delivering complex, powerful applications needs skilled, expert developers. Who, usually, like to be paid good money for their work. You can't really expect them to work full time on such applications on a voluntary basis...

      2. Neil Lewis

        Re: £40 too expensive...

        It's not necessarily about the price. GIMP is free and entirely driven by what users want. There's no marketing department adding (or withholding until the next version) features just for the sake of selling you an updated copy every few months. The 'real cost' of commercial software is that it's not built primarily for the benefit of users, but for the companies who sell it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You mean...

    ...there is something available for Mac that doesn't exist for Windows? Tell me again how there are millions of better applications for everything on Windows. Just stuff it in a VM and $$$Profit.

    [Troll Icon because]

  6. gerdesj Silver badge
    Linux

    Krita and Co

    Just in case any Penguinistas think that they can't do graphics without sounding like a S&M fan (GIMP) see: https://www.calligra.org/krita/ it's bloody good. Krita is part of a full office suite called Calligra. I haven't tried the rest for a while but Krita is the dog's nadgers.

    Oh, vector? see Inkscape.

    CAD: See LibreCAD, FreeCAD and another one that's been released recently that I can't remember the name of.

    1. LeeH

      Re: Krita and Co

      Had another play with Krita recently. Needed to edit a CMYK image and Krita supports CMYK out-of-the-box. Pretty nifty. Tend to use Gimp but it appears to be slowly becoming abandonware. Will play with Krita more, maybe I'll switch to it.

    2. Robin 12

      Re: Krita and Co

      FreeCAD is a good indication of what is happening in the Linux domain. I have just learned how to use it but have used it for multiple 3D printing projects for work, including 3D printed ceramics. As FreeCAD works on Linux, Mac and Windows, it is a program that will be used by more at work due to cost cutting. Cannot justify AutoCAD prices for many of the sketches and small drawings we do.

  7. C. P. Cosgrove

    Poor Mac users.

    I have used Serif's PhotoPlus and DrawPlus on windows machines for years and love them. There is no doubt that Serif as a company know something about image processing.

    This sounds an interesting product if you are restricted to using a Mac.

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. Frank Bough

      Re: Poor Mac users.

      Restricted? As a Mac can run both Windows and Linux, I don't see a restriction.

  8. ecofeco Silver badge

    Good price, good review

    About time Adobe had some real competition. Now if someone would just make a decent website builder. For Linux would be even better,

  9. Mike Green
    Thumb Up

    I don't know why only Chris has mentioned Serif's other packages, Photoplus and Drawplus. I use PP as a PS replacement and it pretty much has everything PS does with a very PS like interface for only 80 quid. The two notable missing features are, for me, PDF import (which you can do with Inkscape, which I love, and Gimp, which I don't love as much, just because of the UI) and non-importing of PSD text as text, which only one package seems to do. That package is Photoline, which seems to be very full featured and which I'm thinking about switching to, just for this text import.

    Just about everything else I've tried (and I've tried a lot) are missing more features.

  10. DBarber

    The Elephant in the Room

    The elephant in the room isn't mentioned in the article -- No Cloud!

    The biggest Adobe takeaway in PS/CS has been buying, owning, and installing your own copy on your own computer and not paying again until you upgrade. And not everybody likes the cloud with its monthly tariff. The biggest "feature" any other competing editor can offer is a locally installed and owned version -- which Affinity Photo is offering.

    But they do need a Windows version when they have the development resources to support one because no matter how big you are in the Apple world, that's still the small pond of computing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Elephant in the Room

      I think from your post that you see Adobe's cloud offering as a key feature missing on the others. I suspect like most people I see this the other way and are more than happy to drop anything that insists on using it's own bloody cloud.

      Let me control my own files and if I want to upload them for easy access I'll make my own arrangements rather than automatically having everything shunted online to a cloud outside of my control.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Elephant in the Room

        "I think from your post that you see Adobe's cloud offering as a key feature missing on the others"

        Eh? The OP was lamenting the cloud just like the other posters.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Elephant in the Room

      The elephant in the room isn't mentioned in the article -- No Cloud!

      That is a classic example of someone's feature being someone else's bug. There is no way I will ever go near a cloud based product, and even less cloud based storage as I have privacy laws to contend with in multiple countries, and I like my software where I can see it, in /Applications and subs.

      Every time you're using an application which resides and/or stores in the cloud, you don't know what exactly happens en route, nor do you know exactly what software is running on your systems and what data that is having access to. Not going to happen in our place, however much suppliers try to get us to go that route. As a matter of fact, it was the last straw for MS Office deployment so now it's all LibreOffice here.

      In conclusion, "No cloud" is not a problem for us, it is an absolute requirement.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: The Elephant in the Room

        > In conclusion, "No cloud" is not a problem for us, it is an absolute requirement.

        Yarp!

      2. Shell

        Re: The Elephant in the Room

        I also have privacy sensitive clients and it's worth clarifying - Adobe's Creative Cloud stuff isn't actually *running* in the cloud... All the software sits in /Applications. Cloud's only needed for occasional validation of your subscription. Your projects go nowhere near it unless you explicitly save them there.

    3. Frank Bough

      Re: The Elephant in the Room

      They're also the users that don't mind paying for software. Targeting users who are prepared to pay is always a good idea from a developers POV.

    4. Buzzword

      Re: The Elephant in the Room

      Not only is it "no cloud", but it doesn't offer handy zero-click functionality to upload your photos to a fly-by-night online storage provider. Nor is there a handy "Share to YouTwitFace+" button. Did I accidentally click on an article written in 1998?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet at least 50% of readers here either own or use an apple product daily. And I also bet that all of those people will own a Mac in the next year because of how crap Windows is, and how crap the hardware is you Windows users are forced to run your godawful, expensive and bloated software on.

    Every time I'm unlucky enough to have to use anything on Windows I'm appalled how clunky, slow and generally crap it is, and I truly don't get why everyone doesn't switch: inertia as an excuse only goes so far.

    If you really can't stomach a Mac, there are so many Linux variants to look at, mostly excellent. Take a look. Literally everything you can run on a computer is better if Microsoft isn't involved.

    So Mac-only software makes a lot of sense.

    1. Arctic fox
      Windows

      Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

      "So Mac-only software makes a lot of sense."

      See title.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

        Rather that your usual moronic snark, why not engage you brain and ask why that might be? You could also Google it. I'll admit that the AC's ramblings might upset your typical oafish Microsoft fanboy's follower's sensibilities (something, something, market share...). Here is a clue, since your dogmatism is clearly clouding yours; it might have something to do with the graphics libraries that exist in OS X and don't in Linux or Windows. This makes developing apps of Affinity Photo's calibre easier. Another benefit of concentrating solely on the Mac is that is seems to be the preferred platform for a not insignificant number of photography and graphics professionals. Now I know this will upset your little world view, but it really is time to put your big boy trousers on and accept that some people have differing opinions to you and that often there are niches that are filled by things that you don't know about or approve of. We can't all be precious and delicate flowers like you...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

          I can agree with that, but it's not just the graphics library, it is the whole GUI interface where ease of use still trumps the "we need more features because we need to sell a new version" reason that MS software's usability cannot be described in politie words if you want to be honest about it.

          I did not move to OSX because of some starry-eyed vision of Apple or Jobs or whatever club argument moronic idiots seem to need to use to mask their jealousy, I only bought a Mac for research. The plan was to get comfortable with the UI in a month, do the research and then keep the machine as a backup Windows machine using bootcamp. Much to my surprise I found myself actually getting work done because OSX is simply much more usable, and Windows got the boot instead. That was 5 years ago and I haven't regretted that chance once.

          You just don't realise how absolutely crippling the Windows GUI and applications have become over the years until you use a Mac and find you can focus on your work instead of having to battle the user interface, updates, patches, virus updates and all the other sh*t that comes with using Windows, and that usability extends into most of the OSX software as well. Oafs proclaiming their undying love for Windows and their hate for Macs declare in reality only their own ignorance, there is no way they have ever near OSX (not that any will admit to that, of course).

          Is it perfect? Nope. Is it better? Yep. Miles.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

            Today, when you're inside an application, it's the application GUI that matters, not the OS one, especially with applications where you spend most ot the time within them, like this ones.

            Is the whole OSX GUI better then Windows? Probably it is - but when I'm using for example Lightroom, there's very little differences in using it on Windows or on OSX. The GUI is the same, and only the occasional OS interaction shows the difference.

            And it doesn't look today OSX doesn't need monthly updates as well... that's just the last wave: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205031 - think. there are some fonts management issues leading to arbitrary code execution just like the Windows ones...

            So, if using a Mac makes you feel better, it's OK, but if it's pissing on everything else that makes you feel better, believe me, you've a problem...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

              So, if using a Mac makes you feel better, it's OK, but if it's pissing on everything else that makes you feel better, believe me, you've a problem...

              So no then. I gave you my motivation for switching, based on daily grind use of Linux, Windows and OSX, and I have been using Microsoft products from MS-DOS 2.00 or so, and antivirus products to keep it safe from the days of Xtree. I have also used SunOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, HPUX and AIX in anger, so I suspect I've always had a Unix bias, and I started using Linux when it still came on floppies.

              To make matters worse for Apple, my last impression of MacOS was formed by being forced to use OS 9 in a telco that shall remain nameless but that no longer exists. The latter experience had sunk my impression os Apple Mac to depths even Microsoft has failed to reach (OK, Windows ME and Vista managed), so it was with the greatest reluctance that I bought a Macbook for research. I was not planning to be a convert, and I was certainly not set up in terms of expectation to enjoy it. My impression of Macs were that they were toys.

              To say that I was pleasantly surprised by OSX 10.6 at the time is somewhat of an understatement. As I said before, you don't realise just how constrained working on Windows has become until you experience a Mac and just can get on with things. Even better, you can also recommend a Mac to someone else without the fear of becoming free tech support for them - you can set it up so it even does a decent backup all by itself (I'm just being me by running two separate ones).

              Do I diss others? Nah, no need to. The facts are enough, and I still have to work with Windows from time to time - I just know what I prefer now from a pure, factual, "I have actually used it productively for more than a month" perspective. I am quite happy to debate the merits of any platform, it just pisses me off that people who have clearly never even been close to a Mac desktop seek to diss it on the basis of bias rather than fact.

              1. fandom Silver badge

                Re: Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

                " As I said before, you don't realise just how constrained working on Windows has become until you experience a Mac"

                I hear that a lot, but I have a Macbook air and using MacOs X reminds me of using a straight jacket.

                Then again, after being a KDE fan for years I get the same feeling from KDE 5.

                1. Sid_the_Kid

                  Re: Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

                  Shock horror: I really have no particular bias towards Mac or Windows. I run the IT for a small company and hardware-wise, we're all Apple. Most use OS X but we've half a dozen or so folks who use Windows exclusively, mostly those of an accounting bent since there's no Sage on Mac and Mac Excel is a lumbering beast.

                  Myself, I dual boot between OS X and Windows but to be honest, since putting W10 on this machine, I've barely used OS X. I'll go there if I need to manipulate PDFs but W10 has plugged a lot of the gaps that used to keep me in OS X and so far has been rock-solid.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

                    Myself, I dual boot between OS X and Windows but to be honest, since putting W10 on this machine, I've barely used OS X. I'll go there if I need to manipulate PDFs but W10 has plugged a lot of the gaps that used to keep me in OS X and so far has been rock-solid.

                    I take it you're not allowed near anything confidential or private then. When our lawyers took a look at W10 they concluded (after they finished laughing) that it was impossible to deploy in our company under those conditions without breaking not only data protection laws in a number of countries, but also get into deep trouble with our more intelligent customers who are entitled to see our audit reports. That pretty much spiked any attempt to go near Windows 10.

                    We haven't seen El Capitain's T&Cs yet, I guess that will happen tomorrow. Apple has nailed its colours to the mast when it comes to privacy, but it's still too early to see if they do as stated as that fight has only just started. Signs are good, but it's a battle of titans so it would be premature to declare winners.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Hello AC - Are you mainlining that Kool-Aid ?

          It looks there is a lot of dogmatism among Mac "followers" as well, and consequently very arrogant way to reply.

          1) Actually powerful graphic libraries for 2D and 3D image manipulations exist on every platform. For advanced graphics applications, some of the code is usually from specialized libraries, or custom one. They may be different and require porting and/or an abstraction layer, especially when data needs to be displayed on the screen, and that makes development more difficult - but it's not lack of libraries. Sure, a cross platform applications is *always* more complex.

          2) It is true that for *historical* reason the Mac is the preferred platform by professional art people (Mac no longer has any edge nor in hardware nor in software). But they are also those strongly tied to Adobe for the same historical reasons, because Adobe is a de facto standard, especially if you have to rely on external services for the final output (or you have to work on someone's else input), also because most of the courses, books and tutorials you can find around are aimed at Adobe products.

          Many non-professional photographers/artirsts may work on Windows for several reasons, making them maybe also an attractive target for a £40 software, especially since Adobe is trying to move everybody to its CC line, and other products like Paint Shop Pro went the wrong direction.

          Of course Serif knows what its resources are, and what targets have the better ROI right now. Surely, too many Windows user don't like to pay for software, even £40, and that's a big issue, if piracy kills your revenues, there's little reason to invest the money to support a platform.

          Actually that's the same reason why many don't port commercial software to Linux - as long as users are not willingly to pay (and moreover the potential user base is so small), there's really no reason to invest in that direction.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A quick, public note to the articles author; Photos is not an image editor, neither is it marketed as an image editor in the same vein as Photoshop. It is an editor in the same way that Lightroom is. Or, more specifically, it's a cross between the discontinued apps iPhotos and Aperture. In fact that is exactly what it is! That you don't grok this does question your qualification as a "pro"...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is there another app that allows you to organise stills and videos like iPhotos? I do not find Photos an improvement, it has fewer facilities to organise pictures (unless you build "albums" which is IMHO something that was last done in the 90s). Is that what Darkroom does?

  13. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Happy

    Paint.net

    I've found Paint.net to be a great freeware program too.

  14. RDW

    It looks like there may well be a Windows version, perhaps next year - several comments from staff accounts on the Serif blog suggest this could happen once development of the Mac version is complete:

    https://affinity.serif.com/blog/affinity-photo-beta-launches/

    Frankly, they'd be silly to ignore the Windows market. Adobe's switch to the rental model has created a 'buy once' niche that's ripe for exploitation. At work, we used to buy 'Creative Suite Design Standard' (PS, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, etc.) which had everything we needed. To get all these packages now, we'd need a complete Creative Cloud subscription. We qualify for academic pricing, but the cost of a single year of CC is about the same as we used to pay for a perpetual CS Design Standard licence. Since this software isn't central to what we do, and we still have current machines with CS6, we haven't subscribed to CC. In future, I suspect we'll either manage with GIMP and Inkscape, or buy Corel Suite. But Affinity for Windows might well be exactly what we're looking for.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hackintosh no longer a thing?

    Last time I bought an OSX disk - admittedly snow leopard, the licence agreement stated may only be used on products with the apple logo. Helpfully though, they'd included 2 adhesive apple decals, result!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hackintosh no longer a thing?

      Helpfully though, they'd included 2 adhesive apple decals, result!

      LOL, I love it :)

      I have actually been thinking about a Hackingtosh, more as an experiment in seeing just how powerful I could make one with water cooling, but I don't have the time to mess around with hardware now. Maybe in a year or so..

  16. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I was waiting for someone to fill the vast void the Adobe left when they went with the subscription model. I have only payed for Lightroom so far (Photoshop seemed costly), but I'm not about to switch to their subscription version.

    For something only used sparingly (a few times per year), subscription makes no sense at all.

  17. riki

    Not a penny! FREE GIMP is the answer.

  18. knolton

    Serif Photoshop alternative Windows PCs

    ?? Serif makes a nice Photoshop alternative for Windows PCs called "Serif PhotoPlus". It seems to have much the same functionality as the Afinity app for the Mac. I've used it for years. It costs around $30 US. I think the latest version is "X8"

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019