Faster than PhotoshopSerif wants Affinity Photo to be a hit with as many people as possible. If it can at least duplicate the success of Affinity Designer, which has already been named the number two Mac app for 2014, it’ll be yet another victory for Serif in a short period of time. According to Serif’s head of Affinity development, Tony Brightman, the company’s plan is for Affinity Photo to eventually be the go-to photo editor and creative work tool for everyone, but with a greater emphasis on professionals. Serif will also collect feedback from the public beta version to enhance the use of Affinity Photo for the professional environment. To that end, Brightman invites users to download this Mac-exclusive design tool and then sound off about their experiences with it on the company’s forums. One of the first things users should immediately notice is the tool’s speed. It is extremely fast. According to Ashley Hewson, Serif’s managing director, the reason Photoshop isn’t anywhere near as fast is its old-school, 25-year-old architecture. As a result of this old-school design, Adobe today is having a hard time adapting its software to leverage all of the possibilities found in modern-day computing tech. To be fair, Adobe — or anyone else — couldn’t have foreseen the stellar evolution in computer science when it released Photoshop 25 years ago. Nonetheless, that has resulted in a distinct disadvantage, in Photoshop’s performance in today’s world.
Significant featuresTechRadar was able to obtain a special preview of Affinity Photo and get a look at its much talked-about features before anyone else. Surpassing ordinary amateur image editors, it features:
- Support for CMYK color (a mainstay of the commercial print industry)
- Raw processing
- LAB color
- 16-bit editing
- 64-bit Photoshop plug-in compatibility
- ICC color management
- Blur effects
- Layer masks
- “Adjustment layers”
Future plansAfter the full version launches, you can buy it for approximately $49.99 from the App Store without any subscription costs and access to updates for free for the next two years. Unfortunately, if you’re still a diehard PC user, you’re out of luck. Though the Serif development team is said to be committed to building a Windows version, there’s nothing set in stone. Reports indicate that you’ll probably have to wait a long time before being able to play around with Affinity Photo on a PC. As we speak, the Serif team’s already busy at work on a third design app called Affinity Publisher, which will be an alternative to InDesign, Adobe’s desktop publishing software. It’s supposed to come out later this year, and, following that, the Serif team will switch gears to finally work on creating iOS versions of all of its Affinity apps. Serif is moving several projects forward at the same time, all with the concentrated focus of cutting deeply into the huge market share that Adobe has in the photo-editing world. While Serif is certainly ambitious in its quest, it has an uphill climb as Photoshop has a 25-year head start on its new tool. Whatever the result of this latest release, one thing is sure: competition breeds innovation, and the web design community can only benefit from more choice.
Marc’s a copywriter who covers design news for Web Designer Depot. Find out more about him at thegloriouscompanyltd.com.
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