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Affinity Photo vs. Adobe Photoshop

Is Affinity Photo a real alternative to the market leader Adobe Photoshop? This is the question today. Here's an overview of the differences and similarities while using the software.


Is Affinity Photo a real alternative to the market leader Adobe Photoshop? This is the question today. Here's an overview of the differences and similarities while using the software.

Adobe Photoshop has been on the market since 1990. A long time in which the developers of the software could gain a lot of experience and take into account the feedback of their community. Various competitors have tried to replace Adobe with free or very cheap imitations. For the Adobe diehard fans however, without success. No one has managed to launch a software that is comparable to Adobe in terms of functionality and usability.

Affinity Serif is the only serious competitor that has managed to produce an equivalent.

Affinity's user interface is very similar to Adobe's, so even long-time Adobe Photoshop users will quickly find their way around the new user environment. On the left is the toolbar, as usual, and on the right is the layers panel, colours, and the menu at the top. The individual areas can be adjusted to individual preferences, just like in Photoshop.

User Surface in Affinity Photo.
User Surface in Adobe Photoshop.

On closer inspection, it is noticeable that Affinity has coloured the icons in the toolbar, as well as at the top of the menu. This makes the user environment appear much friendlier. The different tools are easier to find in Affinity Photo because of the colour highlighting rather than the Photoshop uniform grey. Long-time Photoshop users may not see this as an advantage because they are already proficient in using this software. However for newcomers, this visual feast for the eyes makes it much easier to get started with the software and to distinguish and remember the tools.

There are also many similarities in the color panel, but also clear differences. The menu is very similar in structure. Affinity does a really good job of incorporating the main elements that exist in Adobe Photoshop. In addition, the user interfaces are easier to use. Additional integrated scrollbars for example, in the opacity area as well as the RGB colours, make it easier and faster to adjust these properties.

Color panel in Affinity Photo.

In the colour swatches area, you can choose from a wide range of pre-installed and common colour swatches, as you are used to in Photoshop. New colour palettes can also be created and added. Affinity also remains true to its colourful line in the layers panel. The layer in which the user is currently located is highlighted with a blue background. In contrast to Photoshop, this is a real advantage when you imagine a document with lots of layers, where you can quickly lose track of everything in grey.

Color panel in Adobe Photoshop.

Affinity also offers all the tools that are available in Photoshop. However, the presentation as such has been solved more elegantly by Affinity, so that the user also finds his way around more quickly. Not only that the tools can be called up via shortcuts, as in Photoshop. The keyboard shortcuts between Adobe and Affinity are identical. This means that users who are switching to a new program will not have to forego their familiar hand movements and will always be able to select the right tool via the shortcuts.

At the top left of the menu, Affinity Photo offers the user the option of editing photo projects in different personas. At Adobe, this function is called Smart Objects to switch between pixel and vector file. Affinity’s satisfying design offers intuitive menu navigation. Easily recognizable in the top left, the menu can be integrated to your needs, without a long search through the tabs. Affinity Photo distinguishes between the Photo Persona, the Liquify Persona, the Develop Persona, the Tone Mapping Persona and the Export Persona.

In terms of usability, Affinity clearly scores ahead of Adobe. The color highlighting supports the user in his work with the program. Check it out with the free trial version Affinity offers to you.