I bought Affinity Photo the day it was released for the iPad. I had been waiting for a very long time for Serif to bring this program to iOS and was excited when the demo was released in June of 2016.
iPad Pro 9.7” with Apple Pencil
The first time I used the app, on release day, it was buggy. It would crash when doing simple tasks like importing a photo, but that was fine. It was release day, and Photo is a complex app. So I gave them the benefit of the doubt and waited for updates to the issues Serif acknowledged.
It has been about two months since release day, and I would say it’s buggier than before. A few examples:
Smart Selection - Good luck getting anywhere with this. Starting with a large selection size is fine, and allows for bulk selection of, say, the background. But then as I start to use smaller and smaller selection sizes to, you know, select the finer parts of the foreground, its a crapshoot of whether the entire selection will disappear or not. The first time it happened, I had spent around 10 minutes selecting different parts via add or subtract when the all of a sudden, the selection outlines disappeared. Annoying, yes, but I blamed myself. Maybe I hit a cancel button? I was using the Pencil, so I figured palm rejection would disallow non-Pencil input, but hey, those systems aren’t perfect. I’d be more careful next time.
Except, each of the next three times of careful selections, meticulously avoiding any palm contact, the selection still disappeared. That’s around an hour of lost time on something as mundane as a selection.
This experience is a microcosm of the Photo app experience itself. I never know just when a tool is going to fail midway, or a picture fail to import, or any of the many functions (so many, which is awesome!) will just crash the app.
Then there’s the issue of app size. The app is 1.3 GB, which is large for iOS, but pretty normal for a macOS program. I know that the iOS version and macOS version share the same backend, so that probably explains the base app size. But why does the app size then balloon with each photo or project added? I’d add a 5MB photo to the app and suddenly the space take up by the app goes up by 150MB. Why? It’s not like I am short on space (128GB) but if I add twenty 5MB photos (100MB total), the app takes up an additional 3GB. Why?? This is absurd!
That’s not even the only app size issue. When I delete the photos from the app, the space is still taken up. It’s as if the cache isn’t being cleared of deleted files. Come on, cache management is such an elementary programming concept. How could you get this wrong?
And what’s with the inpainting speeds? A tiny inpainting selection requires the app to reload the image while the selection is being inpainted. Pixelmator inpaints instantaneously. A $5 app has better inpainting abilities than a now $30 app. Unacceptable.
I think I will stick with Procreate ($6) and Pixelmator ($5). Serif, if you want to see what a real iOS app looks like, take a look at Procreate. I am utterly disappointed in Affinity Photo’s performance. I will not be purchasing Affinity Designer for iOS when it is released.