Quick first Impressions of Affinity for Windows Beta

Started Nov 11, 2016 | Discussions thread
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Glen Barrington
Glen Barrington Forum Pro • Posts: 20,570
Quick first Impressions of Affinity for Windows Beta

This is NOT a review.  One doesn't review Beta titles.  But the whole point of Beta releases is for the developers to get an impression of how real world users will perceive their new product.  It is in that spirit I offer this post.

Lightroom and ACDSee don't  have much to worry about (at this point).

Photo Management

There is no management capability built into Affinity, which means the ability to actively manage Serif's proprietary afphoto file format (their layers capable format) is non existent.  You can sort of manage the files via ACDSee though you can't see the thumbnails.  If you can remember that image with the file name of P0454044.ORF is that picture of the funny llama, then you can do pretty much what you want with it in an external manager.  But are you going to remember that 6 weeks from now?

I'm also a bit uncomfortable with the color management.  I wondered if it was set up in a manner similar to Lightroom where the user isn't allowed input into color management.  but then I stumbled into a set up area where several color profiles can be selected at the same time.  But nowhere is there is any indication of a statement that says, "HERE are the controls for the color management".    All in all, I don't find the user interface particularly intuitive.  I don't think it is impossible to get used to, but it is causing a significant feeling of disorientation.

If the major photo management software titles are smart, they will develop some direct support for that file format.  It's just a matter of time before Serif develops some fairly decent photo management software of its own.

Raw Development

The software claims to support the Olympus OMD E-m10, but while I THINK it does, it is unable to display the thumbnail, so I have to guess at which photo I am actually trying to edit.

I don't think the raw development is quite as powerful and as flexible as ACDSee Pro/Ultimate, or as Lightroom or C1.  I also don't think the basic conversion quality is quite as good.  I think the raw tools aren't quite as sophisticated either.

I had no trouble making BIG changes to the development, but I felt making those subtle changes were harder than than they needed to be.  The sliders weren't quite as smooth as I am used to, and I had to resort to entering the numeric values manually in the numerical box next to the sliders.

Some of this is probably my not being used to the user interface.  However at this point, I am inclined to use ACDSee as the photo manager and raw developer and use Affinity as an external editor for bit mapped editing.

Corel Paintshop Pro has a lot to worry about, and maybe Adobe too.

The user interface is significantly different from both PSP and PS.  But it offers the ability to do panoramas, HDR, Focus stacking and a Stacking mechanism for other purposes.  Included in this is auto alignment as well.

Other than HDR, these are things PSP doesn't do.  And if the price is less than or equal to PSP, Corel could face some user defections.  I think there is a lot of built up and unmet demand for this sort of thing in the mid range bit mapped editors.

Adobe might feel worried in that this does a LOT of what Photoshop CC does for a lot less money.  It might  make the subscription model less attractive to some users.

So far, (I've only played a bit with it) the number and quality of the tools seems rather broad.  But then again, Serif has long had a strong Windows photo editor on the market.  It probably would be less work for them to rewrite those algorithms than it would be for other companies to develop new algorithms.  In this, ACDSee has a new challenge in developing and promoting their ACDSee Ultimate line.

The ACDSee layers program is not as powerful or as robust as Affinity Beta, but on the other hand, with ACDSee, I can process a raw or bit mapped photo from import, to development, to bit mapped editing, to presentation all within the same color management environment.

Also, I noticed that it appears that the Adobe Plug in support has been turned off in Affinity beta.  I couldn't get the NIK tools or the Topaz tools to work This is probably a licensing issue (or an I don't want to spend the licensing money for the free version issue! LOL!).   PSP, ACDSee, and Photoshop DO have direct plugin support active.

Serif already has a library of pretty good tutorial videos they created for the mac version, I found them pretty useful in getting comfortable with the program.

All in all, I think this is a good start  It is clearly in an unfinished state, and I wouldn't use it for production purposes, but I look forward to playing with it, over the next few weeks.

 Glen Barrington's gear list:Glen Barrington's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Olympus E-M5 III Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +13 more
Olympus OM-D E-M10
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