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I'm here in the hopes that someone can give me advice.  My daughter journey started out many years ago when she started using Fire Alpaca on her Android tablet.  When she started to get more serious, I bought her a digitizer tablet and she continued using the same software on her PC.  However, she started to experience a hiccup recently as the pen (8,192 pressure points) would start to "digitally blot" whenever she tried to started a paint stroke.  She got very frustrated and wanted to try other software.

Well, I may have jumped the gun with my research (due to my limited knowledge) and came across the Affinity suite of software.  She wanted to start using Photoshop and Illustrator but I suggested that before she (we) commit to a subscription model, that she try out Affinity Photo and Designer.  So, I bought both of them for her as I thought this was the best alternative/parallel solution to the Adobe products.  However, she insists that neither of the Affinity solutions allows her to paint like she can with Fire Alpaca. 

Is this true?  Being very limited in my knowledge about the graphics/illustration world, I didn't think that Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator offered this functionality as well.  I only suggested that Affinity as I heard that her school was going to be doing more vector-based illustrations and image manipulation.  If the Affinity software doesn't offer her the same experience as Fire Alpaca, what alternatives are there?  I've heard of Krita but I don't know if this software provides her the path toward her career goals.

If the Affinity Photo and Designer does offer/mimic all the functionality of Fire Alpaca, can you offer any suggestions to various resources, courses, guides that can help her to transition?

Thank you all in advance for any advice/knowledge.

Signed,

...A desperate dad trying to win back his daughter's confidence!

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Hello @benbeara,and welcome to the forums.

I've never heard of Fire Alpaca so I looked at their website. It looks kike a painting program along the lines of Corel Painter Essentials. As such, I suspect that it would have its own file format incompatible with any other software (such as Affinity or Adobe). It should, however, be able to export raster images, such as png or jpg or tiff, and these should be readable by Affinity. If it can export vector formats such as svg or pdf, then these can also be imported by Affinity. You need to explore these.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.9.2 Designer 1.9.2 and Publisher 1.9.2 (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

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FireAlpaca is a pretty basic painting program. IMHO Affinity Photo/Designer can certainly do anything that FireAlpaca can, and way more, but not necessarily in the same way. The same can be said for the Adobe products. From what you say, your daughter was quite happy with FireAlpaca until there was some sort of "glitch". There are plenty of other cheap/free basic painting apps around, just do a "Google" and try a few.

If she wants something more advanced, I would strongly suggest that she sticks with the Affinity apps you have already bought and learns how to use them. (There are lots of tutorials available.) There's really no point in spending lots more money on an Adobe subscription, as, if anything, it will be a steeper learning curve than Affinity. Bluntly I suspect that this is a case of assuming that the most expensive software will be the best, but that is not always the case, it really depends on what you actually want to do with it. There are certain functions which are common to all "professional" drawing and painting apps, so if you learn one, it is easier to transition to another. If she does decide that she really needs to use Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator for some reason in the future, it will be much easier to start using it after learning the basics with Affinity Photo/Designer. But, whether she goes with Affinity or Adobe, there will be quite a difference from using one of the very basic apps like FireAlpaca.

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Thanks for the quick responses!  I have tried various approaches with her but she continues to believe that the workflow should be similar across all applications.

I have been unsuccessful with my YouTube research for various tutorials.  I was searching for various painting tutorials but should I be looking for Affinity Photo or Designer?  Which of the two programs is best suited for painting/drawing?

 

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31 minutes ago, benbeara said:

Which of the two programs is best suited for painting/drawing?

I really depends on the kind of drawing/painting she is doing. I suggest that she looks at the  Share your work forum. This includes artwork created in  both apps.  This may help her/you to decide. Note that only some of the Photo artwork is digital painting. Some are purely raster-based images.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.9.2 Designer 1.9.2 and Publisher 1.9.2 (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

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First and foremost, Affinity Photo is focused on photo manipulation with drawing capabilities, Affinity Designer is vector based graphics similar to illustrator but with less features.

Fire Alpaca is more like Krita or medibang for drawing/painting but the defacto natural media app is Corel Painter, unfortunately it ain't cheap.

Fire Alpaca is worth installing purely for it's cool snapping tools but regardless of that I wonder if you couldn't find out what's wrong with the tablets behaviour and to that mind what tablet is it?


iMac 27" Late 2015 Fully Loaded, iMac 27" Mid 2011 both running High Sierra 10.13.6 - Affinity Designer/Photo & Publisher - Illustrator CC, Inkscape, Blender, Sketchup, Pepakura Designer, MTC, Pixelmator & Pixelmator Pro + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

Affinity Help - Affinity Desktop Tutorials - Feedback - FAQ - most asked questions

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I've downloaded Krita (free) and it serves all my painting needs beyond Affinity Photo and Designer.  With the Affinity Suite, you simply can not go wrong.  Honestly.  I had a few weeks of frustration, but honestly, they ended as soon as I was working on better equipment.  I recommend Affinity to anyone and everyone.  And, it's true, the Affinity products are MUCH more user friendly than Adobe.  Night and day, really.  As John Rostron suggested above, you should explore some of the work being produced in Affinity products.  Never fails to excite ne.  You can, also, find excellent tutorials on youtube.

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I don't know what the point is why your daughter prefers Fire Alpaca. But possibly it is its simple, overseeable Interface. I tried out different painting programs for my needs, and I determined that for painting it's disturbing if the interface is overloaded with panels and a lot of functionality you don't really need for it. For example in Krita, wich is really a cool software, there are too many panels in the standard-configuration and the layer management is too complicated for intuitive use. But Krita has so called "Workspaces" (like Photoshop), wich means that you can configure different interface-layouts for different needs, save them and load them if you need it. Something similar you can do in Affinity Software too. If even that is too complicated for your daughter, you could test MyPaint. This is a verry overseeable software that is completely concentrated on painting and drawing. It's free software (Open Source) like Krita, but has absolutely no functionality for image editing. It supports layers, you can create own brushes with nice behaviour. It works pretty fine. And you don't loose money testing it.

Another alternative could be ArtRage - my favourite painting software - wich is commercial, also verry overseeable and with amazing functionality. For example the colours react to the textures of the different canvases. And the brush strokes can have a plastical look with realistic lighting. You can work with stencils. There are perspective guidelines and many more. And you can create all that stuff (brushes, canvases, stencils...) yourself. Another alternative is Rebelle, that I haven't tested yet.

It seems that your daughter is interested in Mangas. As far as I know there exist some programs that are created especially for this. But that is not really my cup of tea.

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Generally there will be a learning curve whatever software she starts out with, just because it will have a different user interface to what she is used to and probably a lot more features, which she will not yet be familiar with. That can be frustrating until one gets over the hump - it is the same for all of us. I would suggest that if you have already bought both Affinity photo and designer, that she starts out with photo, because it is a general painting application (as well as a photo editor) designer on the other hand has a steeper learning curve and in any case is more specialised in it's uses. Affinity photo is as good or better than anything else for this purpose, and easier for beginners than some other programs, so you are unlikely to find anything more suitable elsewhere. It is important when viewing tutorials on youtube to actually work through the examples and experiment, you don't learn a lot by just watching videos on their own. And if you search for "affinity photo tutorial" on youtube there is plenty of good material to work through.   

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Once again, thanks to everyone who has offered their advice and opinion. 

I'm not giving up on the Affinity suite of products that I've already bought, but it's starting to sound like I need to look at other options for her.  I don't think the Affinity products are the right solutions for her current needs.  I can't force her to grow into the product as that is something that she needs to discover for herself at her own pace.  I think I jumped the gun without understanding "her world."  Like I tell people, just because Excel can act as a database, should you use it as one? :)

I don't doubt the quality of Affinity's products, but I think to let her explore other "reasonably" priced options first, i.e., not Adobe! 

Thanks again.

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11 minutes ago, benbeara said:

Like I tell people, just because Excel can act as a database, should you use it as one? :)

With enough skill and patience, you can even use Excel to create paintings!

 


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows 1.9.1 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.9.1 • Designer for iPad 1.9.1 • iPadOS 14.4.2 (iPad Air 2)

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12 hours ago, benbeara said:

just because Excel can act as a database, should you use it as one?

Yes - if it works for you and does all you need! Sometimes using an all singing, all dancing app to do something simple is just overkill.

Going back to -- If all you want to do are a few simple drawings and paintings, there's not much point buying the most expensive software on the market,  of which you will probably never use more than10% of what it is capable of doing. 😉

15 hours ago, benbeara said:

she continues to believe that the workflow should be similar across all applications

It isn't! -- Most drawing/painting apps will have similar tools, functions etc, but, although, once you get the hang of basic concepts, it becomes easier to transition from one app to another, they all need a certain amount to work to learn how to use them. 

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Is this for commercial work or for herself? I never heard of the program, but it is so damn cute, how could  I not download it?

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Hi Rodi:

This is for personal use right now.  She's an aspiring graphics artist (multimedia) in high school who wants to pursue a career in digital animation, etc. 

When you said you've never heard of the program, which one are you referring to?

The other program that she wants to try is Clip Studio Paint which I presume parallels FireAlpaca and Medibang more closely.  Like I said, I haven't given up on Affinity Photo/Designer, but I think she would prefer a more simplistic interface (whatever that means!).

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5 minutes ago, benbeara said:

The other program that she wants to try is Clip Studio Paint which I presume parallels FireAlpaca and Medibang more closely.

Since a free trial for CSP is available across a range of platforms it will cost her literally nothing (apart from time and effort!) to try it for up to six months.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows 1.9.1 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.9.1 • Designer for iPad 1.9.1 • iPadOS 14.4.2 (iPad Air 2)

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On 2/24/2021 at 1:35 AM, benbeara said:

I'm here in the hopes that someone can give me advice.  My daughter journey started out many years ago when she started using Fire Alpaca on her Android tablet.  When she started to get more serious, I bought her a digitizer tablet and she continued using the same software on her PC.  However, she started to experience a hiccup recently as the pen (8,192 pressure points) would start to "digitally blot" whenever she tried to started a paint stroke.  She got very frustrated and wanted to try other software.

Well, I may have jumped the gun with my research (due to my limited knowledge) and came across the Affinity suite of software.  She wanted to start using Photoshop and Illustrator but I suggested that before she (we) commit to a subscription model, that she try out Affinity Photo and Designer.  So, I bought both of them for her as I thought this was the best alternative/parallel solution to the Adobe products.  However, she insists that neither of the Affinity solutions allows her to paint like she can with Fire Alpaca. 

Is this true?  Being very limited in my knowledge about the graphics/illustration world, I didn't think that Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator offered this functionality as well.  I only suggested that Affinity as I heard that her school was going to be doing more vector-based illustrations and image manipulation.  If the Affinity software doesn't offer her the same experience as Fire Alpaca, what alternatives are there?  I've heard of Krita but I don't know if this software provides her the path toward her career goals.

If the Affinity Photo and Designer does offer/mimic all the functionality of Fire Alpaca, can you offer any suggestions to various resources, courses, guides that can help her to transition?

Thank you all in advance for any advice/knowledge.

Signed,

...A desperate dad trying to win back his daughter's confidence!

 

On 2/24/2021 at 4:10 PM, Roqoco said:

Generally there will be a learning curve whatever software she starts out with, just because it will have a different user interface to what she is used to and probably a lot more features, which she will not yet be familiar with. That can be frustrating until one gets over the hump - it is the same for all of us. I would suggest that if you have already bought both Affinity photo and designer, that she starts out with photo, because it is a general painting application (as well as a photo editor) designer on the other hand has a steeper learning curve and in any case is more specialised in it's uses. Affinity photo is as good or better than anything else for this purpose, and easier for beginners than some other programs, so you are unlikely to find anything more suitable elsewhere. It is important when viewing tutorials on youtube to actually work through the examples and experiment, you don't learn a lot by just watching videos on their own. And if you search for "affinity photo tutorial" on youtube there is plenty of good material to work through.   

I am a relative new-comer (a few months) to affinity photo.  I was slow to get going on it as some of the tutorials and the workbook (I have now) , and the interface were a bit beyond me.  I stuck w/ some of the more basic photo editors, like pixlr (old editor, liked for quite some time but defunct now), and painting sofware such as Paint 3D (doesn't save document well or at all anymore).  So I moved into Affinity Photo as a necessity as my other (less quality options) no longer worked.

Don't give up on Affinity, it's really great and more than worth the few dollars paid for it, trust me.  You or especially your daughter can slowly get into it with time.  The more time you put in the more you get back in skill and comfort w/ the interface.  As others have said even though affinity is different and your dtr. may not like it at first, doesn't mean it's not great.  It takes time to learn.

I was pretty frustrated at first, but as I am learning more and more I am extremely happy so far.  And I probably only know 5% so far, if that.  This after 4-6 months of brief and casual use and frustration, then the last 2-3 weeks of Affinity only consistent use. 

So once you put in 2-3 weeks of consistent use/work/practice w/ Affinity Photo, it gets easier, and you become excited of its' potential.  Tell her to keep it, get into it when she can.  She will not regret.  Also free Affinity on-line updates for life, with your purchase!

In meantime, as others have said, have her look into a number of free painting software out there.  She will likely find something she likes, and maybe similar to what she had before.  When she does that, and when she has more time she maybe gets into affinity a bit more, she will have a familiar painting software to augment Affinity (which also has great paint capability, but learning curve, different w/ what she's used to).  Affinity likely better, but she'll have both.  Like having two cars, two or many more guitars, etc...

I am also discovering this Forum is great for asking questions and getting good advice.  I need to put a lot more work on my own, tutorials, practice, trial/ error, etc.  But I know now if I reach a stop point or get stumped, I know I can come here.

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On 2/25/2021 at 12:24 PM, benbeara said:

Hi Rodi:

This is for personal use right now.  She's an aspiring graphics artist (multimedia) in high school who wants to pursue a career in digital animation, etc. 

When you said you've never heard of the program, which one are you referring to?

The other program that she wants to try is Clip Studio Paint which I presume parallels FireAlpaca and Medibang more closely.  Like I said, I haven't given up on Affinity Photo/Designer, but I think she would prefer a more simplistic interface (whatever that means!).

Clip studio is fine software...and simple illustration is affordable at $49.  However, if as you say, she is an aspiring GA, she will need the more robust software...which is over $200.  The reason that I mention this is that Clip Studio is not necessarily, the best choice for a budding GA...  I am not aware of how it will transition into the workplace.  If she's to remain a hobbyist/illustrator, the basic will be fine.  Though, honestly, there are indeed, other options out there.  

 

I'm traditional art transitioning to digital.  It's going to be a learning curve.  That is the simple truth.  But, it is worth learning if it advances goals.  Photo bashing and the ability to do so, is an important skill for today's GA...traditional illustration is a finite niche.  Talent needs balance with knowledge and skill.

Just my two cents.

 

Best of luck to you and your daughter, Desperate Dad

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17 hours ago, cutout3 said:

Also free Affinity on-line updates for life, with your purchase!

That’s the major version’s life, not yours! I hope no one expects any version 1.x updates after version 2.0 has been released.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows 1.9.1 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.9.1 • Designer for iPad 1.9.1 • iPadOS 14.4.2 (iPad Air 2)

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3 hours ago, Alfred said:

That’s the major version’s life, not yours! I hope no one expects any version 1.x updates after version 2.0 has been released.

I suppose I knew that was too good to be true, but that's what I thought I heard (read in my own mind, ha).  So whenever they come out with a 2.0 version we will have to buy again if we want it?  Correct?

Just curious then, what was the First Affinity version?  1.0?  How many iterations are they on now?  Thx Alfred!

Edit:  I purchased Affin Photo in June, '20, maybe that version was 1.8?  I was able to download the 1.9 upgrade recently.  Serious question:  The next upgrade may be 2.0 then?  If true that means if I wanted that, I'd go ahead and purchase again?  Or I could just keep using 1.9?  which would keep me busy for years.  Does that about sum it up?

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10 minutes ago, cutout3 said:

So whenever they come out with a 2.0 version we will have to buy again if we want it?  Correct?

Yes.

10 minutes ago, cutout3 said:

The next upgrade may be 2.0 then?

Who knows? We may get 1.10, 1.11, 1.12 before 2.0 appears.

 

11 minutes ago, cutout3 said:

If true that means if I wanted that, I'd go ahead and purchase again?

Yes.

12 minutes ago, cutout3 said:

Or I could just keep using 1.9? 

Yes.


Affinity Photo 1.9.2,  Affinity Designer 1.9.2, Affinity Publisher 1.9.2, Mac OSX 11.2, 2018 MacBook Pro 15"

Betas as they happen... 

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33 minutes ago, h_d said:

Yes.

Who knows? We may get 1.10, 1.11, 1.12 before 2.0 appears.

 

Yes.

Yes.

h_d, Thank you!  All kind of new to me.

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