Affinity Photo, Photoshop, GIMP and other image editors

I’ve recently readopted Photoshop, after Affinity turned out not to support a transition from macOS to Windows, forcing me to buy both Affinity Photo and Designer again. I have to say that nothing beats Photoshop at its game yet. I’ve been wanting to love GIMP again and again, but after all these years it still badly needs a radical user experience overhaul, and still can’t match Photoshop’s content-aware tools, to name an example.

I mean Affinity is like $50 bucks. Just because they charge for both Windows and Mac versions it in no way compares to pay to play like Adobe. I’d rather fork over the small one time fee than pay Adobe every month for something that I can do just as well (for my purposes) as their software. Adobe has a lot of legacy and a lot of professional feedback so ofcourse it will have a more robust toolset, but I’m more of a lean and mean type of guy. Affinity is lean and mean, if they’d get rid of that Persona gimmick and up the feature set it would be perfect imo.

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I understand, but in my case, next to the partial superiority of Photoshop over Affinity Photo, the thing that also made me decide to return to Photoshop is the online portfolio you get along with a subscription, which enabled me to cancel my Artstation Pro portfolio subscription, because Adobe Portfolio is very comparable to Artstation Pro. Taking this into account, I’m not paying much extra for the Photoshop subscription, compared to what I paid for an Artstation Pro subscription.

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well ok if adobe + online portfolio is a similar deal than the artstation pro I get it.

I made a funny gif for my students dropping Adobe into the trash can from the dock
and replacing it with Affinity apps.

Truth is Affinity apps are not at the same feature level - but that is a yet.

I was with Adobe since the 90 and hardly did anything in Illustrator over the past ten years
really improve - same with Photoshop.

Truth is people get ripped off.

So I am very excited to imagine how things will be in 2 - 5 years and where Affinity will be.

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Hi Claas,

I completely know what you mean. I’ve been working with Photoshop from 1995 to 2014, when I shifted to Affinity Designer and Photo. I’m not a fan of renting your software forever and never owning it.

I considered buying both Affinity apps again for Windows, and I’ve tried GIMP for the tenth time or so, but in the end the Photoshop + portfolio site deal is currently the most interesting option for me.

Now that I’m working with Photoshop again, I must say that there are a number of positive changes since the last time I worked with it. It feels snappier, the UI is neater, and the content-aware tools are fabulous.

As much as a tried to support gimp in my teaching the app simply never really had the performance needed.

With affinity often the students have an excellent alternative that is also very fast.

In my studio I also switched to affinity because it has all I need mainly.

I miss arrow heads - but on the other side what I love is that affinity designer and photo better share their tools. Photoshop still has clunky old 90th path tools while affinity offers a good vector pixel hybrid something I enjoyed a lot with technical illustration apps in the late 90s.

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Apologies for the off-topic sub-discussion. :slightly_smiling_face:

I like Affinity Designer much more than Illustrator. I’ve never owned Illustrator, but worked with it at a previous employer. The Illustrator UI is a prehistoric disaster in my humble opinion, while Affinity Designer is very clear, to the point and has lots of useful procedural vector shapes, among other highlights.

One thing Affinity Designer is not good at is properly importing AI files. Inkscape does a better job in that regard. In fact, for vector work I’m using Inkscape again since my return to Windows. Its interface is clunkier than that of Affinity Designer, but the software is quite potent.

One more thing: next to Photoshop I really like Photoscape X. It’s free, but I’ve bought the in-app Pro version, and it’s quite a capable image editor, including things Photoshop doesn’t offer, such as a great, powerful drag and drop collage editor.

This probably should be branched… but I’ve switched over to Affinity Designer myself. I tried to switch over the Affinity Photo but it has to many major missing functions, at least for my workflow – so had to stick with Photoshop…

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Very true point about the branching.

Met last questions, “content-aware tools” are present also in Affinity Photo or do I miss something here?

Affinity Photo has a very decent Healing Brush, but the latest Photoshop version (2019) has expanded its healing power to include rotation, scaling, mirroring and color adaptation. The results are impressive.

Yeah I see - thats for me the only area (correction tools) where Photoshop really improved over the years - hands down!

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Ironically, the info page about the new Content-Aware Fill UI contains quite a bad first example, showing a visible leftover area. :slightly_smiling_face:

WOW the rotation ability is pure black magic!

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By content aware tools do you mean stuff like this:

If you do, then you should know that the algorithm for this was implemented as a gimp filter before it was ever found in photoshop, it just isn’t shipped with gimp. You need the resynthesizer plugin pack. The heal selection plugin in that pack can do this. The old gimp plugin registry site is dead, so you’ll need to use the link on this thread in order to download the 64-bit compiled version.

You’ll also want to install the g’mic plugin suite for gimp 2.10. It’s a collection of over 400 filters as well as some interactive smart tools that don’t come with gimp. For example there are some powerful selection tools that in some cases do a better job than gimp’s built in foreground extraction tool.

Extract Foreground Tool:

Color Mask Tool:

Thanks @zanzio. I know that Content-Aware tools in Photoshop and Affinity Photo were preceded by Resynthesizer, but these days Photoshop has more developed tools in that area, and one of the things I dislike about GIMP is the plug-in mess. You need to download this to do that, and download that to do this, and the downloads are years old and don’t work in the 64-bit version, but do work in the 32-bit version, and some coder needs to compile them, and the repository is dead, but it’s still available on that obscure site, and so on. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yeah, ok that is fair. Gimp isn’t as well developed as blender or some of the other opensource projects. For example the old plugin registry site had to be shutdown because the guy who maintained it retired, and the last release took 7 years to come out because they only had a couple of people working part time on the new framework they were moving to.

If its about not having to jump around to find the right plugins to get what you want, I understand. I just wanted to make sure people out there are aware that there are more options than paying money to get these sorts of tools.

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Totally agreed. I’m glad GIMP exists as an option, and I’ve got its blog in my feeds to keep track of its development, as I’m a big open source advocate, despite my Photoshop subscription. :wink:

I haven’t looked at Affinity Photo in half a year or so, so I don’t remember if it had content aware tools actually, or know if they were updated. My biggest missing feature was the destructive Raw conversion, and the fact that there were too many missing features in the raw converter, like a HSV panel… Also no smart objects (including smart Raw objects) I use PS for heavy color grading, so the weak Raw converter was kind of a deal breaker for me, otherwise I liked the program…

And the Affinity apps have no CMYK support, although that’s only interesting to a specific subgroup of designers.

Photoshop also has a new AI-fueled image upscaler, although in a quick test I performed, AI Gigapixel gave a much better result. I can really recommend AI Gigapixel. I’ve used Photozoom Pro and Blow Up for many years, but AI Gigapixel is the next generation of bitmap enlargers.

Thanks for the topic split, @FinalBarrage! :+1: