Affinity has launched version 1.9 of its entire Affinity suite, including Affinity Photo. The free update adds many new features to Affinity Photo, including linked layers, astrophotography stacking, hardware acceleration on Windows and much more.

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Across the entire Affinity suite, including Affinity Photo, users should expect performance improvements. On Windows, the gains will be most obvious thanks to new GPU acceleration. While prior versions of Affinity Photo for iPad and macOS already included hardware acceleration, including Apple M1 silicon support, Affinity Photo 1.9 marks the first time this feature makes its way to Windows. Affinity promises up to 10x faster performance when performing pixel-based tasks, such as adding filter effects, performing adjustments and painting. GPU acceleration on Windows requires Windows 10 (April 2020 update or later) with a Direct3D feature level 12.0 capable graphics card.

For astrophotography enthusiasts, you can stack deep sky astrophotography images in Affinity Photo 1.9. This includes FITs documents in addition to RAW images. When stacking, the software detects hot/cold pixels and can manually highlight column defects, resulting in a cleaner stacked result. Affinity also says, 'There's also a dedicated background removal filter—fantastic for removing difficult background gradients (light pollution, airglow, moon illumination, sensor defects) after tone stretching.' There are a variety of astrophotography tutorials available on Affinity website as well.

Affinity Photo 1.9 includes new astrophotography stacking features. To see this feature in action, click here.

Affinity has added the SerifLabs RAW engine to Affinity Photo for iPad. This ensures that RAW processing results will be congruous between Affinity Photo 1.9 on desktop and Affinity Photo 1.9 on iPad. The SerifLabs RAW engine on iPad offers improved noise reduction, manual lens corrections, and additional cropping flexibility. The RAW engine has been updated with additional camera support.

Affinity Photo 1.9 on iPad includes the SerifLabs RAW engine, bringing the iPad version up to speed with the desktop version.

Photo 1.9 includes a new Divide Blend mode, which Affinity states can be used for tasks such as 'correcting color casts, enhancing infrared imagery and augmenting live filters.' The update adds the ability to edit spare channels as layers as well, allowing the user to 'isolate, edit and duplicate spare channels with a simple click or touch.'

The new Divide Blend mode can be used for correcting color casts, enhancing infrared images and augmenting live filters.

In terms of user interface improvements, Affinity Photo 1.9 adds studio presets. You can create and save different interface layouts. For example, if you want a different interface for editing landscape photos than performing portrait retouching, you can do so in Photo 1.9.

For users taking advantage of Affinity Photo for more than just photo editing, version 1.9 includes live liquify layers, the ability to create path text, linked resources between Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, new brush functions and more. For the full list of improvements, click here.

Affinity Photo 1.9 builds upon existing Affinity Photo features, including non-destructive RAW image editing, HDR merging, panorama stitching, focus stacking and more. To see more Affinity Photo features, click this image to enlarge.

Affinity Photo 1.9 is available as a free update for existing Affinity Photo owners. For new customers, Affinity Photo 1.9 is currently on sale for 50% off. The macOS and Windows versions are on sale for $24.99. A free trial is also available to download. The iPad version of Affinity Photo is on sale for $9.99, down from its regular $19.99 price.

If you'd like to learn more about Affinity Photo 1.9, the YouTube channel Affinity Revolution has a new video, embedded above, outlining its favorite features of Affinity Photo 1.9. The channel is focused on Affinity Photo and includes many tutorials and guides for using Affinity Photo.