Serif releases Affinity Photo for Windows
Originally posted on 11 November 2016. Scroll down for details of the commercial release.
Serif has released the long-awaited Windows version of Affinity Photo, its professional-grade 2D image editor, as a free public beta.
The Windows beta is feature-identical with the Mac version of the software, and includes the toolsets from the upcoming Affinity Photo 1.5, including HDR editing and macros.
A serious alternative to Photoshop?
Touted as a serious alternative to Photoshop on its launch last year, Affinity Photo is an “unashamedly pro” tool for photographers and CG artists, promising an industry-standard workflow and good performance.
Although most of the reviews of the software have been from the photography and computing press, they have been almost uniformly positive, with TechRadar giving Affinity Photo a five-star review.
Apple also chose the software as its Mac app of the year for 2015.
Solid basic functionality
Affinity Photo has the standard functionality you’d expect in a professional image-editing tool, including support for the CMYK, RGB and LAB colour spaces, and an extensive RAW editing toolset.
According to reviewers, interactive performance is good even on large images; and there are some nice workflow features, including over 1,000,000% zoom and 8,000 undo steps in the History stack.
The software’s handling of layers is also strong, with support for layer grouping, masks, adjustment layers, and a good range of blending modes and layer effects.
It doesn’t offer the same range of filters as Photoshop, but you do get a good range of blur effects.
For digital painters, there are a wide range of brush customisation controls, including hardness, spacing, flow, shape, rotation, luminosity, jitter, and texture scale.
New in the Windows version: HDR editing and macros
To that, the Windows beta also adds two notable features currently missing from the Mac version: end-to-end 32-bit HDR image editing, and support for macros.
Updated 8 December 2016: Serif has now added both features to the Mac edition of the software.
You don’t get all of the same advanced functionality as Photoshop – you can’t import 3D files, and there is no direct equivalent of Smart Objects – but there are some nice suprises like Inpainting, Serif’s version of Content Aware Fill, and a complete Liquify ‘persona’ for image warping.
Good pipeline compatibility and an attractive price
When it comes to pipeline integration, Affinity Photo also imports and exports PSD files, preserving layer properties, paths and masks; and imports PSB files and brushes in Adobe’s .abr format.
However, for many artists, its key selling point will simply be the price: the Mac version costs under $50, and it’s a perpetual licence rather than an ongoing subscription, unlike Photoshop.
Updated 8 December 2016: Affinity Photo for Windows is now shipping. The MSRP is $49.99, but it’s currently available at a launch discount. You’ll need to be running 64-bit Windows 7 or above.
The Mac version is available for OS X 10.7 and above, and also costs $49.99. The latest update, Affinity Photo 1.5, adds support for 32-bit HDR image editing and macros.