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People who've switched entirely to affinity, why and how's it going?


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I switched from Photoshop to Affinity Designer about a year ago now, here's a brief summary of my experience and why I prefer it:

  • Cheap one time price

  • It's highly flexible (their artboards system kicks Adobe's one by a mile)

  • The UI makes sense (having design personas keeps your workflow simple and easy to navigate)

  • The keyboard shortcuts are similar to Photoshop so the transition was easy

  • It saves my work in a lossless format (rather than rasterised!!)

  • It easily allows import/export of popular formats (PNG,JPG,PSD,PDF,SVG etc)

  • It's cross compatible  LINK MODERATED 

  • Their community is lovely and very helpful (the devs also share their roadmaps and speak with you)

I've got more points but I think that covers the main points for me. I use the software daily and sometimes in combination with Affinity Photo which is just as good (they can also work on the same file together - live editing). :)

 
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10 hours ago, Rancho said:

the devs also share their roadmaps

They haven't done that in a long time.

 

10 hours ago, Rancho said:

I switched from Photoshop to Affinity Designer

That is kind of curious as Affinity Designer compares more to Illustrator rather than to Photoshop, but if it works for you...

You haven't mentioned Publisher, so is there a reason you listed this thread in the Publisher section of the forum rather than the Designer one?

 

10 hours ago, Rancho said:

It saves my work in a lossless format (rather than rasterised!!)

If the data had been raster to begin with then a rasterized format could still be lossless?  Presumably you mean a vector format, but then in all fairness this point would also be true of Illustrator which would be the more appropriate point of comparison against Designer.

 

10 hours ago, Rancho said:

one time price

This is the main reason I stopped using the Adobe stuff; as a matter of principle I won't subscribe to software, so when Adobe went subscription-only they became effectively dead and I started looking around for alternatives.  The Affinity software is overall the best I found so far at a reasonable price, and I agree that its user interface makes a lot more sense than Adobe's in many areas (particularly held up against Illustrator, which I always thought was a mess - somewhat less so with Photoshop but still...).

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I switched from InDesign to Publisher for a few reasons:

  1. Price. I can buy Publisher outright for what it costs me to rent InDesign for two months.
  2. Good feature set. It's not everything I could do with InDesign, but it's about 90% of what I used. The only real losses that I've noticed were object styles, book files, and cross-references.
  3. I'm just done with supporting Adobe.

I use Affinity Photo, but I use Pixelmator more. I use Designer, but I never owned Illustrator in the first place, so it was more of a "complete the set" purchase.

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I haven't fully switched from Adobe to Affinity (yet) as I recently renewed my Creative Cloud subscription for yet another year.

For me, I've never really like Adobe as a company (preferring Macromedia Freehand, Fireworks, etc before Adobe killed them) and only used Adobe software because there was literally no other choice. My biggest issue with Adobe wasn't the subscription cost (the annual cost it pays for itself in days if you're using it professionally), but the ever increasing bloat and bug count that has accrued due to years of neglect and technical debt (which are all completely normal with 'legacy' software). Photoshop for me is unusable on my 2020 13" i7/32GB MacBook Pro connected to a 4K display—the redraw lag is painfully NOT anywhere close to real-time, and it's been this way for YEARS (since the first 4K displays came to market ~2016(?)). Illustrator and InDesign are the devils I know, with InDesign being the plucky newcomer all those years ago that finally allowed me to leave PageMaker and Quark behind. They are generally useable, and I know the bugs that affect my workflow(s)—but my frustration with the ever decreasing quality of the software releases from Adobe just keeps growing. Then there's the 'Adobe Shovelware Buffet', where they insist on throwing even more buggy, bloated, legacy software at you (Premiere, After Effects/C4D Lite, Animate; nee Flash, Bridge, numerous iPad apps of varying quality and lifecycles, etc) in an attempt to sweeten their subscription deal. Personally, I just find this translates to "why am I paying for all of this software I NEVER use?", but I know some folks feel it's 'good value for money'.

So, that's why I'm (trying to) switch(ing) to Affinity, however the bugs (expand stroke, path operations, UI glitches, occasional crashes, etc), workarounds (too many to list), UX/workflow issues (palettes, brushes, layer model, geometry clean-up, copy as SVG/PNG, export preview, etc) and feature gaps (ahem, variable fonts, GREP, plug-ins, scripting…) in the Affinity apps still leave me wondering if trying to switch is really worth it.

Things I love about the Affinity apps (in no particular order):

  • performance (generally good, although 1.9.x has issues; esp. with type)
  • vector drawing tools feel nice (but the lack of vector brushes, distortion effects, and node clean-up tools is an issue)
  • the ability to mix vector and bitmap graphics in one document (long-time Fireworks fan here)
  • they generally do the job most (maybe 80%) of the time…
  • general feature parity (incl. the same file formats) on iPad
  • pricing model; when everything is a +$10/month subscription (even tiny timer and note apps), a one-time purchase is refreshing.
  • that they exist at all, some competition in the design/illustration tool space is sorely needed

FWIW I find I use Pixelmator, Procreate and Pixaki/Aseprite (pixel art) more than Affinity Photo for digital painting/illustration and general bitmap work, with Procreate being my favourite by far. I also tend to use Glyphs, Drawbot and Vectoraster/Patternodes to fill in some of the gaps in Designer. For Publisher, I'm using PrinceXML a little more recently as I often need/want to publish to the web as well and it allows me to produce print ready PDFs from HTML files (which I can also package as an ePub, and version control through Git).

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There are some annoyances with the Affinity range. Some things do not make any sense at all, while other things just seem to be obstinacy on the part of Affinity. 

The lack of RTL languages is a real nuisance for me. I know it's a pain to implement. But without it the Affinity range will never be considered 'complete'.

The one-off price is unbeatable in comparison with Adobe. The upgrades do come along sloooowly, without further cost.

It's fair to say that I use Affinity when I can, despite its annoyances and limitations. When I grumble here in the forums it is not for the sake of grumbling. It means I have hit something which just really annoys me.

 

J.

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Tbh I like it but at the same time I'm very disappointed.

The program is easy to pick up, it looks good but it's not true vector which really makes me feel a type of way since they advertise it as vector. I bought all three programs thinking I'd be able to leave Adobe behind (My day to day software is Illustrator) and tbh I just feel lied to. Why not specify that upfront? I bought all three programs and a bunch of brushes thinking I'd be able to say goodbye to Adobe today and I can't. 

At this point I don't know if I should just ask for my money back or wait it out to see if they implement true vector soon. I just hope they don't charge a fee to upgrade cause that'd be the last straw for me. 

 

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Hi @GalileoFigaro, welcome to the forums!

 

On 3/22/2021 at 9:50 PM, GalileoFigaro said:

to see if they implement true vector soon

True vector what, exactly?

 

All three of the Affinity apps are hybrid, providing both vector and raster functionality in the same app.  Even Photo has a vector pen tool, some shapes and the like and can export into vector formats such as SVG and PDF, although for typical vector artwork, Designer would be the program of choice.

Whether or not your finished product is fully vector depends primarily on the actual tools and features you use.  If you use features that are raster only, then obviously you will wind up with raster data in the final output; similarly, some blend modes for layers (for example) are not available in all export formats and choosing them would force the app to rasterize the data on output in order to apply that mode.

What is it that you are trying to do that you expect to work as a vector but does not?

 

There are some features that many consider to be "missing" such as a number of vector deformations (free transform, etc.), which is already being discussed in other threads and will most likely be added to the product eventually, but there is already a fair complement of "true vector" functionality available in the software.

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3 hours ago, fde101 said:

What is it that you are trying to do that you expect to work as a vector but does not?

The lack of actual vector brushes in Designer (the source art for brushes are bitmaps) is a pretty massive disappointment for a professional vector drawing application.

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6 hours ago, Bryan Rieger said:

The lack of actual vector brushes in Designer (the source art for brushes are bitmaps) is a pretty massive disappointment for a professional vector drawing application.

For those who actually use them, perhaps.

Not everyone who uses a vector drawing application needs to use brushes.

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20 hours ago, fde101 said:

Not everyone who uses a vector drawing application needs to use brushes.

True, but if you (or Serif in this case) include brushes in a vector drawing application, then surely you must be able to understand the disappointment that those of us who do use (vector) brushes experienced when we realized they were in fact, bitmap brushes. User expectations could have been managed better.

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I'd love to switch but every time I try and do something in Affinity I end up tearing my hair out. I could write a few pages with reasons why. I'm sticking with it and hoping one day I can use the apps for my professional work. The suite of apps is fantastic value and I want to support software that is perpetual-licence and a company that doesn't treat customers like s**t, but the reliability, UI and feature set is still a way off being usable for me. Regardless of what I think about the apps, I have a commercial need to provide files in various Adobe formats, and at the very least I need better export functionality to do so. For the few commercial jobs I've done in Designer (mostly logos) I have to stuff around fixing and reconstructing things in Illustrator afterwards. That's not too problematic with simple logos but I wouldn't want to do anything more complex.

Windows 7 & 10 64-bit, Dual Xeon workstation(s) 64gb RAM, and single i7 laptop 32gb RAM

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The OPs topic title fits not to me, as I still have to use PS, Illu and ID. Main points why I am using Adobe products are: Creating forms in ID, still on the process converting PSD with PSD paths to a more Affinity friendly version and having a plugin for our Mimaki in Illu. That's it.

At the beginning the (nearly) switch was quite hard, getting old(er) and an over decades muscle-memory adapted to the Adobe way were not helpful. But right now everything is running quite smoothly, not to mention a few seldom WTF moments making me think WHY? But all in all I am quite happy, that I discovered Affinity for me.

------
Windows 10 | i5-8500 CPU | Intel UHD 630 Graphics | 8 GB RAM | Latest Retail and Beta versions of complete Affinity range installed

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Got a new laptop and attempted Affinity only for a while... had to re-install CC within a day, I think. ☹️

It's sadly impossible to switch completely to Affinity at the moment. To many bugs and too many basic things missing.

Muscle memory and shortcuts didn't even have time to become an issue for me! 😂

(See my post history for the specifics, and am just about to post a new thing as well, when I find the appropriate thread...)

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I would use Affinity if working from home casually. Adobe is the standard and to work well with others I stick with Adobe CC. When I received packaged Indesign and Illustrator files I need to open and work with them not worrying about converting for Affinity. That reason alone keeps Affinity in the play around and test things only category for me. I am not interested in taking up the fight to try and change an industry standard, especially since I like Adobe and the whole ecosystem they have created. 

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I do mainly page layout and photo editing/restoration, both at my "real" work place, and for my own small company during evenings and weekends.

For my own little company even a monthly InDesign + Photoshop subscription would not make economical sense, as work assignments come and go very unevenly and are not especially higly paid, as I mainly work for non-profits and private persons. Just like many others, I was using the last non-subscription version of CS for as long as it was technically possible. So I was very happy when Photo came along, and when more was promised.

The complete conversion to Affinity did not happen overnight. I started with Photo and Designer. When Publisher came along at about the same time Apple released Mac OS versions that would not run 32-bit InDesign anymore, the transition became complete.

So far, there have been some hiccups and problems, mainly with the early Publisher versions, and mainly because of slightly different way of app ”concepts".

  • User unrecoverable file corruption. I've stated this in many  forum posts: the save files have to be completely rock solid, 100 %, no exceptions. Loosing a few minutes of work because of a crash is nothing, but loosing even a days work (my backups don't run continously, and frequent backups can also become unrecoverable) starts to hurt business reputations. Fortunately Affinitys support has, as far as I've seen, always managed to get corrupted files back into some servicable state. I had one of these cases also, and it was not funny, with customers breathing down my neck.
  • crashes during pdf export (turned out to be greyscale graphic files which for some reason were assigned RGB profiles in Photo)
  • color management inconsistencies: a document set up as "greyscale" exported as RGB. Didn't know I was supposed to set up CMYK documents, to output clean K documents

But generally I am very happy, especially with the 1.9 versions of Publisher, which feel more solid. I'm however missing a few things, before I can get rid of my Mojave startup disk with ID CS6:

  • Import of, and support for footnotes
  • Tables that can be inserted into text frames, or at least tables that can span several pages (just like text frames)
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7 minutes ago, Rabari said:

Tables that can be inserted into text frames

They can, thanks to the pinning feature. I would love to see tables spanning several pages. Making a manual cut at every page is not very comfortable.

------
Windows 10 | i5-8500 CPU | Intel UHD 630 Graphics | 8 GB RAM | Latest Retail and Beta versions of complete Affinity range installed

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  • Moderators

Sorry to break it to you guys, but Rancho was an SEO spammer, who simply copied other peoples threads, so they could come back in the future and add SEO links to the copied posts. I have hidden their other 8 posts, which did not have real conversations under them.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Affinity/comments/8pmtwg/people_whove_switched_entirely_to_affinity_why/.compact

That doesn't detract for the conversation, which is why it has not been deleted, but just to say Rancho will not be replying

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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