Affinity Photo Pro

Ye editor is on the look out for an Adobe Photoshop replacement. Recently a colleague recommended Affinity Pro citing the fact that the program runs on both Mac and Windows, has no subscription fee like Photoshop, and has a “ton of photo editing features”. A promise to take a look was made a few weeks ago, and having to do some cropping and tone corrections to quite a number of PixofToronto pictures, the time to tryout Affinity Pro seemed appropriate. What I saw with Affinity Pro tone corrections was to say the least, “very positive”.

Working with Affinity Pro Develop Persona

Like other Photo editors Affinity Pro provides special modes or personas  to simplify the program interface for  specific photo editing tasks. In the case of Develop Persona, Affinity Pro hides many of  the  Edit Tools and ports some of them over to the Studio. A screenshot shows  the interface transformation:
On the left is the standard Affinity interface with a 20+ tools in the left sidebar plus  the Studio sidebar. On the right is Affinity in the Develop Persona which is designed to speed up basic photo edits   with a much smaller set of tools in the left-toolbar. Also changed Studio layout in the right sidebar with many tone, sizing and detailing tools available. But perhaps the biggest bonus is the  before and after display options which can be easily set in the Develop Persona’s uniquely configured topbar.
 

Now this frequent use of photo-editors loves the use of before and after display of changes, especially for color, tone and exposure. As you can see from the above screenshot, there are two dual screen preview modes – the cut-in-half mode shown above and the   split mode shown in the partial screenshot below:
In this case split display mode is used so that  before and after results can be immediately seen. In addition, the Basic photo edits tab has been pulled out from the Studio and is being used to make a variety of immediate adjustments to the image.

This combination of a full tab of Basic edit functions  block coupled with dual screen preview display really accelerates the photo editing workflow. Paint Shop Pro pioneered dual screen preview but users had to turn it on and off within each filter.

The Affinity approach allowing users to turn on your choice of dual screen before -and-after preview makes the  Develop Persona that much more productive. 

Add to this the excellent grouping of basic tonal edits with Exposure having Exposure, Blackpoint and brightness; Enhance having Contrast, Clarity, Saturation and Vibrance; White Balance with Temperature and Tint; and Shadows and Highlights with adjustment to those two prperties. A solid working set.

Two cautions. First, you must save the Develop Persona setting to preserve all the changes. Second, the for each basic edit you must leave the item checked. For example, if you remove the Enhance check, then the Enhance change is removed from the image [but the setting values are remembered and if you reclick on the Enhance settings, the changes are restored.

There are three more Personas for working with Affinity – Tone Mapping which is an even more simplified version of the Develop Persona, Liquefy Persona which emulates Photoshop’s Liquefy feature, an Export Persona which enhances Affinity’s export function. 

Summary

Affinity Pro starts out well in our tests for a Adobe Photoshop replacement. The program is reasonably fast, has a wide range of basic photo edits, and with Develop Persona makes basic photo edits workflow a pleasure. Good start.

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