Can affinity designer replace photoshop

Affinity is a great photo editor, but it doesn’t have the same level of features as Photoshop.

Affinity is a great photo editor for basic editing tasks, but it’s not as powerful as Photoshop. For more complex edits, you’ll need to use Photoshop.

Affinity does not replace Adobe. Affinity is a tool that Adobe provides to help their customers transition to the new Creative Suite.

Affinity Photo is a photo editing app for iOS and Android devices that is similar to Adobe Photoshop.

Affinity Designer can edit photos, but it doesn’t have as many features as some other photo editors.

There are many tools that can be used for image editing that may be better than Photoshop. Some of the more popular alternatives include GIMP, Inkscape, and Adobe Photoshop Express. Each program has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to decide which one is the best fit for the specific needs of a project.

Affinity Photo is great for professionals because it has a wide range of features and options to help you create professional looking photos quickly and easily.

Affinity Photo is a powerful photo editor that can replace Photoshop and Lightroom, but it doesn’t have all the features of those programs. It’s best suited for basic editing tasks, such as cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast, and adding basic effects. If you need to perform more complex edits, then you’ll need to use another photo editor like Photoshop or Lightroom.

Affinity Designer is not a one time payment. It is a subscription based software.

Yes, professionals use Affinity Designer. It is a versatile and powerful design tool that can help them create high-quality designs quickly and efficiently.

Affinity Designer can open PSD files, but it may not be the best option for editing them. Affinity Designer is a vector-based design application, which means that most of the features that are available in Photoshop, such as layers and masks, are not available. Additionally, Affinity Designer does not have some of the more advanced features that Photoshop offers, such as text and shape tools.

Affinity Designer is a relatively easy program to learn, especially if you are familiar with Adobe Photoshop. Overall, it is a user-friendly program that allows for a great deal of customization and expression.

Yes, you can edit AI files in Affinity Designer.

Affinity Designer can open PSD files, but it may not be the best option for editing them. Affinity Designer is a vector-based design application, which means that most of the features that are available in Photoshop, such as layers and masks, are not available. Additionally, Affinity Designer does not have some of the more advanced features that Photoshop offers, such as text and shape tools.

Affinity Designer is a great program for creating designs for web and mobile applications. It has a user-friendly interface and is relatively easy to learn.

What is Affinity Photo?

Affinity Photo is a powerful, raster-based budget image editing program for Windows, macOS and iOS. It is part of the ‘trinity’ suite of products along with Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher. It began as a simple image editing tool for the Mac in 2015 but over time, turned out to be an excellent graphics editor and a real Photoshop substitute for those who tried to use Photoshop in the past and struggled to grasp the ins and outs of the application. For those who have already used Photoshop, you’ll find a lot of similarity with Photoshop, but there are also some features of Affinity Photo that are better developed. Affinity Photo basically works around five different “Personas”, all with a different purpose and different layout and tools: Photo Persona, Liquify Persona, Develop Persona, Tone Mapping Persona, and Export Persona.

You might find several Photoshop replacement options. But very first image editing software is still popular among its users.

Photoshop Overview

Adobe Photoshop CC is useful as an image, photo, and design editing software. It is built for designers, photographers, photo editors, and artists. It is a professionally designed tool in the hands of its proponents/users. The design and imaging app is an integral part of the Adobe Creative Cloud services.

It is beneficial for designing the following:

  • websites
  • banners
  • mobile apps
  • posters and icons

You can create these with the help of available templates and tools.

Adobe Photoshop software provides several professional photography tools for enhancing pictures. There a plethora of options for creating beautiful works of art!

Read here Photoshop vs. GIMP

Adobe Photoshop Features

Adobe Photoshop CC helps in the creation and enhancement of paintings. You will also be able to 3D artworks and illustrations. It provides the right tools for creating unique patterns, designs, and effects.

You get advanced brushes in Adobe Photoshop CC. So, you can easily create and customize all types of digital masterpieces.

Some essential features of the Adobe Photoshop software are as follows:

  • Brush management
  • lightroom photo access
  • brush smoke smoothing
  • curvature pen tool
  • color and luminance controls
  • paint symmetry
  • group layer arranging tools
  • variable fonts
  • quick share menu

Adobe Photoshop Benefits

  • Stroke smoothing and advanced brushes from Kyle T. Webster
  • Smart brush organization capabilities
  • Luminance and color range masking
  • Quick Share Menu
  • Easy shareability of creations
  • Curvature pen tool
  • Easy navigation through tooltips
  • 360 panorama workflow features
  • Advanced level of paint symmetry
  • Depth Map Import features from High-Efficiency Image Files (HEIFs), etc.

The Industry Standard

Photoshop was originally designed as a darkroom replacement for working on digital photographs. Some of the digital tools you use today are named after darkroom processes. Dodge and burn, for example, replicates the process of exposing areas of photographic paper to less (dodging) or more (burning) light.

Jump forward three decades, and Adobe software is everywhere. This inspired Serif to step up and create the Affinity range of applications. But can Affinity Photos do everything Photoshop can?


At first glance, the layout of both apps is similar. The tool pallet runs down the left side of the screen. The selected tools properties run across the top. The layers, histogram, and adjustments live in a panel on the right. I am a fan of the colour icons in Affinity Photo. They say, ‘I am friendly’. The grey icons in Photoshop are all business.

Affinity Photo main screen layout

Both Affinity and Photoshop are built for photo editing, so the main window is for your image. Although Affinity wins me over with its colourful design, Photoshop allows you to open the same image file in more than one window. This means you can zoom in and edit one window while the other shows your editing in context.

Using two windows in Photoshop to make fine adjustments


I could spend the rest of the day listing every tool in either program’s arsenal. Suffice to say, the expected selection, brushing, and cloning tools are present in both, with pop-out menus when you click and hold.

Affinity and Photoshop are layer-based editors. Adjustment layers can be created, rearranged, and edited in the Panel to the right. Again Affinity wins on design here, as each adjustment type shows thumbnail previews of the change it will make. Once the adjustment layer is applied, it can be fine-tuned in the properties tab/pop-up window.

Affinity, with its colourful adjustments panel on the left. Photoshop’s adjustments panel on the right

Photoshop brushes are compatible with Affinity Photo, as are most (but not all) plugins. When it comes to effects, but, Photoshop has the upper hand. With years of updates and improvements, the Adobe filter gallery and Neural Filters give you options out of Affinity’s reach.

Photoshops Neural Filters make me smile

The photo editing workflow in either application is much the same. When you first open a RAW file, you are presented with adjustment options before loading the image into the software. Adobe Camera RAW lets you adjust detail and exposure before opening in Photoshop. Affinity makes these same RAW adjustments in its Develop Persona.

Much like Photoshops workspace menu, Affinity Persona’s chooses which tools are presented in the main window. These personas are Photo, Liquify, Develop, Tone Mapping, and Export.

  • Photo—for basic image editing tools
  • Liquify—a dedicated window equivalent to Photoshop’s Liquify filter
  • Develop—for spot removal, retouching, and gradient overlays on RAW files
  • Tone Mapping— a filter gallery for adding and adjusting looks
  • Export—where you select file size and format for saving your photo

Affinity’s Tone Mapping Persona allows you to add a specific look to your image quickly

Both applications use the same shortcuts for navigation- command +/- for zooming in and out and the space bar for panning around. There are a few differences in some tool tips and terminology. For example, the Affinity brush shows you a preview of what it is about to do. Furthermore, what is referred to as Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop is called inpainting in Affinity.

Resource-hungry filters and effects like Liquify can slow down your machine to a standstill. We tested the liquify Filter and Liquify Persona, and both programs rendered changes in real-time with no lagging.

Affinity’s Liquify Persona

Both programs will stitch panoramas, stack, and align images. Photoshop seems to load and respond marginally quicker when dealing with files of 100MB+. Both have layer effects, masks, and blend modes—also, text and vector tools and the ability to automate tasks.

One thing I had not accounted for when making resources to teach Photoshop was Adobe’s continual upgrades. You may find that the menu option you were looking for has been hidden beneath a sneaky disclosure triangle. Because of these updates and built-in AI, Photoshop has to take the lead in feature sets and usability.

Photoshop’s AI-powered Replace Sky facility

Affinity is a one-time buy of $49.99. The Affinity iPad app is $19.99.

An Adobe subscription starts at $9.99 per month. This gives you Photoshop and Lightroom on desktop and iPad along with 20GB of storage on the Adobe cloud.

When it comes to cost, Affinity is a much cheaper alternative to Photoshop.


Although the difference in cost is staggering, Adobe sells an integrated package. You can shoot, upload, and edit your shots in the field using the iPad Lightroom app. When you open Lightroom on your desktop at home, your pictures are there waiting for you to edit in Photoshop. These edits then update in Lightroom. When you show your work to the client, you can make adjustments in photoshop on the iPad. The Adobe Creative Cloud app also manages your fonts, software, work, and stock imagery. You can even share assets such as graphics and videos with other Adobe users to include in their designs.

Images can be sent to Affinity photo and Adobe Photoshop from most catalogue software. A right-click in Lightroom, Capture One, ON1 Photo RAW will give you an ‘Edit In..’ option.

Although Photoshop PSD files open in Affinity, Adobe products cannot open Affinity’s native AFPHOTO file format. Meaning you have to export PSD files to share work with Photoshop users.

AFPHOTO files are integrated with Serifs family of products, Affinity Designer, and Affinity Publisher (each $47.99). So if you are looking to move away from Adobe, this could be your solution.

So Which is Best? Affinity or Photoshop?

Affinity shares many design and control features with Photoshop. The well-laid-out, comprehensive software is a superb edit platform for those beginning in the editing world.

Would I recommend Affinity for beginners? Absolutely! With no ongoing subscription, it is a highly accessible avenue for photo editing.

Can Affinity do everything Photoshop can do? Not yet. Photoshop has developed for long enough that there are several ways to most things.

Affinity Photo is considered Adobe Photoshop’s immediate alternative. The application includes color space options, optical aberrations corrections, RAW image formats, and live previews, to name a few. The software is less expensive than its Photoshop rival and still delivers excellent performance.

Affinity Photo is a professional photo editing app for both the Mac and iPad. The Mac version is well regarded, and considered by many to be a Photoshop alternative, while the iPad version is a desktop class mobile app that can do virtually everything that the Mac version can.

Affinity Photo: Strengths and Weaknesses

Adjustable workspace. If you are not satisfied with the standard theme and feel like changing it, you may easily customize the interface according to your taste. Users can also adjust the toolbars. Moreover, Affinity Photo offers quite a lot of shortcuts. Go to the View > Customize Tools to create your own toolbar.

PSD support. You may also import or edit PSD files and export anything you need. All the effects, layers, and adjustments are thoroughly controlled so you shouldn’t worry about the integrity of the image.

The design and edits are not disrupted if the picture is opened in various applications.

One-time payment. You pay once and forget about monthly fees like with Adobe programs. The price is also attractive being equal to 5 months of the cheapest Ps subscription.

Local adjustment tool is more user-friendly. The overlays tab is very similar to the local adjustment tool in Adobe software. However, if you want to adjust some areas in the image, you don’t paint this particular part ‒ you create a new layer and apply adjustments.

Easy switch from Desktop to iPad. This feature will be particularly interesting for those, who work on several devices. If you prefer using Affinity Photo on iPad, you may work with native formats.

In case you switch from iPad to Desktop regularly, this feature will please you a lot. If we compare Affinity vs Photoshop, we clearly see that a mobile Photoshop version is weaker in functionality than an Affinity one.

Poor speed when working with RAW files. Affinity Photo vs Photoshop leaves much to be desired in terms of responsiveness. When editing RAW files, Photoshop was faster. For example, in Affinity, it took longer to apply an effect.

Besides, export speed wasn’t the best one. Frankly speaking, it drove me crazy. Perhaps, I did something wrong or there were too many programs working simultaneously ‒ I don’t know what the reason was. You may still visit Affinity forums and see whether it is a common problem.

No file management system. Although Affinity Photo offers faster performance when it comes to a large number of images, it doesn’t have a convenient image cataloging like the one Photoshop offers. I described this feature more detailed in the Affinity Photo vs Lightroom overview.

The first image editing was known to be happening in the 1860s to a photo of Abraham Lincoln. In the early stages before the invention of the computer and other technologies, editing was carried out manually by hand. People used to edit pictures by cutting and pasting different photos and adding inks or paints. Later, with the invention of the computer and other technologies, computer programs for photo editing were made in the 1980s. Since then, many software was released, and many technologies were introduced in this field. Nowadays, mobile apps and online web services are also available for easy and fast photo editing. In this article, we will discuss Photoshop vs Affinity.

Today, we will compare two prominent image editing software, the most famous and leading Adobe Photoshop and Its competitive alternateAffinity photo. Before going into the comparison, let us have a basic idea of both Photoshop vs Affinity Photo applications.

3D animation, modelling, simulation, game development & others

Adobe Photoshop is a raster graphics editor founded and published by Adobe Systems. Photoshop was introduced in the 1980s, and since then, It is known as the trademark or industry standard in the field of photo editing. Even people started using the word Photoshop to describe editing an image. It is the most advanced image editing software capable of everything from simple retouching to complex 3D designs and illustrations. The possibilities are endless as it has many features and tools. Adobe Photoshop is not a program for everyone, both for its price and for its steep learning curve. It is, however, an indisputably powerful tool, and photo editors wouldn’t be what they are today without the advances that this program introduces version after version.

Affinity Photo is commonly known as the alternate for Adobe Photoshop. It is a raster graphics editor found by Serif, and it is available on different platforms like MacOS, iOS, and Windows. Affinity photo is a part of affinity suit which comes with a package of 3 software. Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher. Affinity designer was the 1 st application launched from this family in 2014. Later in 2015, they introduced Affinity photo; recently, in 2018, Affinity publisher was released. This application includes editing RAW image formats, color space options, live previews, image stitching, optical aberration corrections, etc. Affinity photo is well accepted by professionals and common users due to its high performance and low price.

Head to Head Comparison between Photoshop and Affinity Photo (Infographics)

Below is the top 7 difference between Photoshop vs Affinity Photo :

Key Differences Between Photoshop and Affinity Photo

Both are popular choices in the market; let us discuss some of the major difference:

  • The main difference between Photoshop vs Affinity Photo application is the price of the product. Affinity photo is very cheaper as compared to Photoshop. Also, affinity is subscription-free software. Users can buy affinity photo at the cost of $49.9 as a one-time payment. At the same time, Photoshop costs $29.9 as a monthly plan and $239.88 for an annual subscription.
  • Move tool in Affinity photo is way better than Photoshop. For example, if we want to resize an object, too many steps are needed in Photoshop; at the same time, in affinity, we just need to grab the move tool and resize the object. Also, there is no need to make the layer as a smart object; Affinity automatically resizes its layers in a non-destructive manner.
  • Affinity photo has live brush previews, whereas Adobe Photoshop does not. Live brush previews helps to save time and reduce the work.
  • Another major difference in the interface of both the software is the five personas present in the Affinity photo. Personas are the useful features that are giving you the ability to control software interface based on your product. But Photoshop has a standard workflow.
  • Some of the features of Photoshop which Affinity photo misses are 3D features, 3D printing features, animation, video timeline, and scripting.
  • Smart objects and live smart filters are available in Affinity photo, and at the same time, these are missing in Photoshop.

Photoshop vs Affinity Photo Comparison Table

Below is the topmost comparison:

Adobe Photoshop

Affinity Photo


We could say that we have got two professional and well-executed raster graphics editing software from all the comparisons and details. Both software performs really well and competing with each other to give better experiences to users. As we know, Photoshop always retains its position as an industry standard and all other software fighting hard to reach the position attained by Photoshop. Among those fighting software, we can choose Affinity Photo as the number one alternative to Photoshop. Due to its cheaper price and excellent features, Affinity got an important position in the editing field and many people already considered it as an alternative to Photoshop. Availability of free subscription is another factor which made Affinity more popular and selective. But if you do advanced stuff like photo stacking, you might want to stick to Photoshop itself.

In the end, we may choose affinity photo, but still, it stands as a younger brother to Photoshop. But with the timely revisions and technology updates, Affinity has the power to stand beside or sometimes ahead to Photoshop in the future.

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This has been a guide to the top difference between Photoshop vs Affinity Photo. Here we also discuss the key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

Photoshop Training (9 Courses, 12+ Projects)

Here are some alternatives to using Adobe Lightroom (also in no particular order):

  • Capture One Pro
  • DXO Photo Lab
  • ON1 Photo RAW
  • Skylum Luminar

In the coming weeks, we will be doing more deep dives into Capture One Pro, and Affinity Photo, with image quality comparisons, some real-world processing workflows including tethered shooting in the studio, and more. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Can Affinity Photo Replace Photoshop?

Few would disagree that the most popular image editing software in the world is Adobe Photoshop, the top illustration app is Adobe Illustrator, and the preeminent page layout package is Adobe InDesign. Many design and publishing professionals spend their lives in one or more of these apps.

There’s one problem: cost. Adobe provides access to them only via Creative Cloud subscriptions , where each app costs $21 per month, making it hard to pass up the $53-per-month All Apps bundle that includes all three plus Premiere Pro, Acrobat Pro, and more. That All Apps bundle works out to an eye-watering $636 per year.

For many people, that $636 annual expense is just the cost of doing business. They need the full power of Adobe’s tools, and they need to collaborate with others using native Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign files. If you fall into that camp, no worries, and you can stop reading right now.

However, if you’re subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud merely because you need a capable image editor, illustration app, or page layout package, and you aren’t otherwise deep in the Adobe ecosystem, consider the Affinity suite from Serif : Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and Affinity Publisher, each of which costs $55. Once. That’s right, you can buy all three for $165, or just about the same as 3 months of Creative Cloud. Updates are free. Versions for Microsoft Windows are available for $55 too, and Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer also come as $10 iPad apps.

The obvious question is if you could replace Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign with Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and Affinity Publisher. We can’t answer that for sure—the Adobe apps have so many features that it’s impossible to know which are most important to you and if the Affinity apps’ features are comparable. Some may not match up—we’ve been told that master pages in Affinity Publisher are a bit funkier than master pages in InDesign, for instance. Others may even be better—some people we know find exporting Web graphics from Affinity Designer easier than exporting from Illustrator. And some may not exist at all—it doesn’t seem that Affinity Publisher (the newest addition to the suite) has a Track Changes feature like InDesign.

For instance, just as you can embed Photoshop and Illustrator files in an InDesign layout and then use the Edit Original command to edit them in the other app, you can embed Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer files in Affinity Publisher. Serif’s StudioLink technology provides direct access to the primary tools from Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer right within an Affinity Publisher document. It’s neat.

Overall, the feature sets are similar. Those who would consider switching from Creative Cloud can probably figure out how to accomplish their necessary tasks using the Affinity apps. That’s not to say that they’re clones of Adobe’s apps. In many cases, you might need to learn a new technique for accomplishing some task. Along with full documentation, Serif provides hundreds of tutorial videos and runs an active user forum where people ask questions, make suggestions, and share tutorials. Simple Web searches also often turn up blog posts with useful techniques from Affinity users.

What about moving files back and forth? Affinity Photo can open Photoshop’s proprietary PSD files, although it’s not guaranteed to import everything perfectly. Affinity Designer can open Illustrator documents as long as they were saved with the Create Compatible PDF File option selected. Similarly, it can open Illustrator-created PDF files that many designers send to clients as proofs. And Affinity Designer can open InDesign files that have been saved in IDML (InDesign Markup Language) format. Plus, you can often just copy and paste text and objects between the apps. If you decide to switch, you might want to continue your Creative Cloud subscription while ensuring that your key Adobe files are saved such that the Affinity apps can open them.

On the export side, the Affinity apps can export in many formats, but they’re more for final exports when it’s time to print or publish. You probably wouldn’t want to use the Affinity apps to collaborate on files with those using the Adobe apps. That said, Affinity Photo can export PSD files for use in Photoshop, and Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher are probably best served by exporting PDF files that Illustrator and InDesign can open. Just don’t expect everything to move between the apps flawlessly.

In the end, the decision is yours—we’re merely suggesting the Affinity suite as a cost-saving option if you don’t need everything Creative Cloud provides. Visit the Affinity site, watch Serif’s marketing and tutorial videos, and poke around in the extensive online help. Free trial versions of all the apps are available, and there’s a 14-day money-back guarantee. In the best of all worlds, you’ll save hundreds of dollars per year and find that you like the Affinity apps more than Adobe’s.

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