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timlt

Photo 1.6x vs Paintshop Pro 2019

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Warning:  long!

TLDR; summary:  As an owner and user of both Affinity Photo 1.6, and Corel's Paintshop Pro 2019, I have come to prefer Photo as my primary graphics editor.  Super interested to hear the views of anyone who's tried BOTH.  

Pro or con, I'm interested in objective differences (as in "X supports this feature, Y does not"), and subjective preferences ("I like X because...").  Not interested in any unfriendly or irrational bashing of either one.  :-)

Some things I've observed, though I haven't done an exhaustive side-by-side comparison: 

* Purchase cost:  Tie.   Paintshop Pro 2019 Ultimate (PSPU) costs the same as Photo does currently ($49.99 US), although both go on sale at times and I got Photo for $35 on sale.  It's also worth noting you can get a standard version of PSP that has 100% of the same features as PSPU in the app, for typically around $39.99, and it simply omits all the bundled extras.  However, given you can periodically get Photo on sale for $35, I see overall they are both in a very close price range no matter how you look at it.  Both of these apps are "sub $50 US but very powerful alternatives to Photoshop."   Cost is not a deciding factor between them.  

* Licensing model:  Photo wins easily.  To the best that I can understand the lawyer-ese in the very complex PSPU user license agreement, they will let you install it on 2 machines (such as 1 home and 1 work, or 1 PC and 1 laptop).  Photo is more generous and simpler to keep track of:  for the Windows version, you can install it on any Windows machine where you the buyer of Photo, are also the owner or primary controlling user of that machine.  I have many machines at home and work, including 2 laptops, and I can install Photo on all of them.  Rock!  

* What comes in the package:  Tie (IMO, although some may disagree).  PSPU comes with a whole batch of supporting software which Photo does not include.  For example, if you want a professional level app for media browsing, tagging, and management, with Photo you'd have to get that elsewhere, while PSPU includes it in the package (Aftershot 3), plus a more basic/limited version right in the app.  However the extra software for me was not a compelling factor in PSPU's favor.  Most of the add-on software is a crippled version of the real thing (so they start immediately pushing upgrades on you as with Aftershot and Perfectly Clear), or it starts slowly, performs poorly, or lacks basic features I'd expect.  Bottom line:  while PSPU definitely bundles more stuff in the package--and a few of the plugins are actually useful such as the PicToPainting one, or the Particleshop  brush set--there is none of it that make it a clear winner over Photo.  Photo also has a lot of painting, brush, filter, and effects features built-in, and it's relatively easy to add in Photoshop brush sets or additional plugins, so the included items with PSPU were not a deciding factor.   

* Support for Photoshop file formats, brushes, and some plugins:   Tie.  Both do this, and with varying degrees of success on the plugins.  

* Support for many file formats:  PSPU wins. Again for my use, this is not a deciding factor though because while PSPU clearly does support many more formats, Photo has all the industry standard or essential 'open' formats for input/output that I'd care about.  

* Support for 32-bit color depth and RAW editing:  Photo wins by a mile.  First of all, right in the PSPU user manual they indicate it is limited to working with 16-bit color depth.   I confirmed this.  Taking a raw/dng file from my camera, in Photo I can open in RAW mode as HDR 32-bit RGBA color depth, process it, and then save it in the native format, TIFF, EXR, etc, as 32-bit if I want.  PSPU cannot do this, but automatically drops processed RAW photos to 16-bit for working with in any lossless file format, whether TIFF, PNG, or native.  Further, Photo has far richer capabilities for RAW file processing than PSPU.  The ones in PSPU are more than adequate for casual users, but Photo has pro-level capabilities.  

* Support for automation including macros, raw scripting, and batch processing:  PSPU wins.  To be clear, both apps have adequate features for creating, naming, editing, and running macros.  Both also have adequate UI for creating and running batch processes, which can also include macros, to process and rename photos.  However, PSPU goes a bit farther, a feature that warms my heart:  they provide Python scripting both to tweak the existing macros, and to create complete from-scratch macros, or extensive automation processing that gives you a lot of fine-grained control over the whole process.  Very, very slick, one of my fave all-time features of PSPU that very few other apps have anything exactly like this.  A lot of open-sourcey painting apps will have either the raw programming/scripting ability, but will be skimpy on the ability to quickly/easily record and create macros using the app's menu options.  GIMP and Krita are two examples of that.  Other apps will give you the macro recording but no or limited scripting.  PSPU is fairly unique in offering full support for both.  

* Support for media file tagging and management:  PSPU wins.  Even if you ignore that rather poor bundled Aftershot app, PSPU has a built-in tagging and media management.  Photo has no equivalent.  PSPU creates a fairly fast, searchable media catalog, and provides a nice UI for navigation, searching, and creating of virtual photo collections.  Also when it comes to simply tagging metadata with all the core IPTC fields, not to mention keyword tags and ratings, Photo does not permit this, while PSPU does.  However, while ok for a casual user, PSPU's media management features are nowhere what I'd really look for.  What'd be ideal, if Photo could work together with a combined media management and RAW processing app (whether OSS like Rawtherappe, or commercial like Capture One or ON1), and deliver a much richer, better performing solution. 

*  Performance.  Startup times:  PSP 2019 is a bit faster to START (typically 8-10 seconds until I get to the Edit screeen) and Photo is typically 12 to 16 seconds), on 3 machines where I've tried it.  Common operations:  However once you've started, performance on processing, saving, etc., the nod goes to Photo.  It can perform certain filter, effects, macros, saving large uncompressed files, etc., a few seconds faster than PSP for the same type of operation.

* Footprint on disk:  PSPU wins.  Win10 installer tool reports an installed size of 499 MB for PSPU, and 710 MB for Photo.  Note that if you count all the bundled stuff in PSPU, it swells to over 1 GB, but to keep it simple I just compared footprint of the base installed apps.  

* RAM memory usage for common large file operations:  roughly a tie.  Both do a significantly better job of managing and using RAM than say, GIMP 2.10.  

* App stability:  Photo wins.   I find even on a modern Win10 x64 clean build with modern hardware and a dedicated NVidia GPU, PSPU is often unstable, hangs, or stops responding altogether.  Sometimes it even crashes, requiring system reboots.  This happens a lot when loading plugins or running complex file processing.  Photo never, ever does this, it always seems to be a good Windows 10 citizen and stays in its lane, doing its work cleanly, indicates progress, does not hang, and does not crash your system.  This aspect along inclines me strongly to Photo over PSPU.  It's really, really annoying to have a quirky, sluggish, or unstable app, no matter how many cool features it has.  

* UI:  Photo wins this too.  This one is highly subjective, and most Photoshop users I'd guess will prefer Photo.  Not having previous Photoshop experience, I find Photo and PSPU different in some details, but quite similar in the essentials and therefore to ME, one is not strongly preferable to the other.  What tilts the balance is that Photo has a much simpler UI:  it's relatively cleaner, more logical and less cluttered.  You can usually find stuff!  PSPU can get overwhelming at times with lots of disparate menu entries, stuff all over the place and hidden in some unexpected submenus.  

* Drawing, painting, and image processing features:   I honestly don't know.  This could take weeks and weeks to go point by point, look at each feature, see how it's implemented in each app, and compare both the usability and the results.  One example of a clear difference is that PSPU has a set of automated photo improvement features which Photo does not have (like the "Smart Photo Fixer").  These are slick and maybe save time, but I don't know yet whether these ultimately get you better results versus manual tweaking or creating macros for common operations in Photo.  My impression is they both have a LOT of editing functionality in all 3 areas considering both apps are under $50.  Both support what many would now consider must-have features, including many types of nuanced layer handling, and non-destructive editing.  I don't see any huge, glaring feature omissions in either one for serious photo editing and painting.  I have slightly preferred the quality of the output from Photos in high-quality lossless files, but that is subjective at this point and I need to test that for a while.

 

All things considered, I see a lot of good in both these apps, and still evaluating on features and output, but right now I prefer Photo as my go-to graphics editor.  Additional Christmas gifts I would ask for in Photo, if we could get at least a rain check for these things sometime soon:  :-) 

  • Improved in-app metadata editing feature set to including IPTC core fields, tagging, ratings, and keywords.  
  • Some kind of media browser/management solution, whether built-in, as a plugin, or in collaboration with an existing great app.  I would favor an open-source app like Rawtherapee, but whatever.  
  • Enhanced documentation.  More tutorials, always.  I like the built-in docs for the basics, some of the online tutorials are great, and I've also ordered the new Photo guide book.  But more extensive tutorial how-to docs, even if written by trusted users that Affinity reviews/endorses the content, would be so helpful for those of us coming from a non-Photoshop or non-professional graphics background.  
  • A frequently updated web page with a set of Affinity-approved Photoshop plugins, brushes, filters, etc., which have been tested and verified to work in the current version.  I'm aware of the page on the site that lists Plugins and their testing status.  Definitely helps.  But we could use something more comprehensive to include more plugins and brush sets, and something maintained more frequently to include current releases of Photo as well as of the plugins in question.  Even if you farm the testing work out to a trusted 3rd party, it would be super helpful if Affinity could add this detail to the supported plugins docs.  

 

 

 

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Affinity Photo fails on one count in that it does not support scanning. I gather that PSP does. The big question is: will it support pure black-and-white (1-bit) scanning? If it does, I might even buy it!

I have downloaded the Trial and cannot get it to scan. There is no File > Import. My scanner is on.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and Designer 1.6.5.123, (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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1 hour ago, John Rostron said:

I have downloaded the Trial and cannot get it to scan. There is no File > Import. My scanner is on.

If you're running the 64-bit version of PSP that means that your scanner does not support 64-bit applications. (At least, according to the Help for PSP 2018.)


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.243 Beta
Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.243 Beta
Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.238 Beta

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42 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

If you're running the 64-bit version of PSP that means that your scanner does not support 64-bit applications. (At least, according to the Help for PSP 2018.)

I had assumed that my scanner software was 64 bit since programs like VueScan and SilverFast work with my scanner. Perhaps they have their own 64-bit drivers. Maybe I will try 32-bit version.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and Designer 1.6.5.123, (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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4 hours ago, John Rostron said:

I had assumed that my scanner software was 64 bit since programs like VueScan and SilverFast work with my scanner. Perhaps they have their own 64-bit drivers. Maybe I will try 32-bit version.

John

John:  I just checked this out as I have PSP 2019 (note this is latest version, I cannot vouch for 2018) which includes both x64 and 32-bit versions in the package.  I also have a Canon Pixma TS9120, a recent multifunction printer model.  I found that the PSP x64 version indeed will not recognize the scanner in the Acquire from TWAIN menu options. 

However, a few interesting workarounds:

  • The 32-bit version works fine and recognized TWAIN input directly from the scanner (as @walt.farrell said).  It appears that either PSP 2019 x64, or my Canon TS9120's scanner drivers, are not properly updated to work with x64.  Of the two, I'd suspect it's more likely that PSP 2019 x64 is at fault, as I've heard this issue from other users and in reference to using PSP x64 with scanners before.  
  • You may be able to use your scanner device's native software to "send" the output directly to PSP 2019 x64. (BTW, I haven't tested this yet, but I assume since you are just sending digital output in a recognized file format, this same approach would work with AffPhoto as well.)  This is the solution that worked best for me. I used the Canon's included scan software utility, which let you select various configuration details for the scan, including things like output file format, color options (color, B&W, grayscale), size, and other details.  I can also select a "send output to" application, which in this case is PSP x64.  This works just fine, including that it addresses your B&W scanning application.  I can select PNG, PDF, or TIFF as output file formats that work with B&W.  The resulting scan is sent to PSP x64 as a 2-color (B&W, or 1-bit color depth) file.  I can run the "Soften" or "Denoise" adjustments on it, which quickly improves readability/quality for an image that is essentially a text document.  PNG format really works great for this and keeps file size down too.  One other interesting thing I was able to do with my Canon software:  I can select PDF as the output format for a document type of scan, and then select an OCR output application as Microsoft Word, which will consume the PDF and instantly on the fly converts to a perfectly formatted, editable Word doc (which can be saved as Word OR as PDF).   

So, even though it appears to me that PSP have not got their story figured out on scanning in x64, if you use the 32-bit version or use your scanner software to just send the output to PSP x64, you can still get good results.  

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13 minutes ago, timlt said:

It appears that either PSP 2019 x64, or my Canon TS9120's scanner drivers, are not properly updated to work with x64.  Of the two, I'd suspect it's more likely that PSP 2019 x64 is at fault, as I've heard this issue from other users and in reference to using PSP x64 with scanners before.  

Serif have said that the Affinity products do not support scanning on Windows because few scanner manufacturers provide 64-bit drivers, and the Affinity products are 64-bit only.

PSP 2018 documents that the 64-bit version will work with scanners, but only ones whose manufacturers provide the 64-bit drivers. PSP 2019 is probably the same way.

I think the difference between PSP and Affinity in this area is that Serif decided not to implement the scanning functionality on Windows at all, at least for now. And, further, I would guess that the situation with PSP 2019 indicates lack of 64-bit scanner drivers, not a PSP problem :) (but it's only a guess).


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.243 Beta
Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.243 Beta
Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.238 Beta

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@John Rostron, some additional info:

  • My second scenario above, using my scan software with AffPhoto 1.6 for Win10 x64, worked.  I was able to do the same thing as with PSP 2019.  Using the Canon Pixma 9120 native scan software, when the drivers scan a doc or photo, they will launch AffPhoto and send a scanned JPEG, PNG, or TIFF image directly to it.  
  • For my 9120 printer at least, the Canon product drivers page indicates the drivers are providing full x64 support on Win10.  So I still suspect that the fault of scanner not being recognized in PSP 2019 x64, is likely due to PSP not using the new model in Windows which is no longer TWAIN, but rather requires a WIA driver model, as here.  They likely either have a bug, or they haven't implemented WIA yet in x64.  However, the good news is that you don't need to 'acquire' scans from within the application anyway, using the approach above, you can just send your scans from native software to your 64-bit graphics app, whether PSP or AffPhoto. 

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Thanks to @timlt and @walt.farrell for your advice. I have been using VueScan to scan black-and-white images, with the output set to B/W Tiff. On completion, the image is automatically loaded into Affinity Photo, but is as an 8-bit greyscale, which I convert to an effectively 1-but scale using curves.

When I downloaded the trial of PSP 2019 I could see no suggestion of a 32-bit version. I have just down loaded the 32-bit version of PSP X7 which does import scanned b/w files, but loads them as greyscales, which is where I started from!

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and Designer 1.6.5.123, (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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I use PSP 2018 and AF Photo. Scan in PSP works with my canon scanner using import from scanner or camera but does not recognise TWAIN source.  for me, I find some things work better on either or depending on what I want to achieve. The one thing I miss on AF Photo compared to PSP is text on a path. Seems like Serif want you to get AF Designer to achieve this?

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6 hours ago, timlt said:

For my 9120 printer at least, the Canon product drivers page indicates the drivers are providing full x64 support on Win10.  So I still suspect that the fault of scanner not being recognized in PSP 2019 x64, is likely due to PSP not using the new model in Windows which is no longer TWAIN, but rather requires a WIA driver model, as here.  They likely either have a bug, or they haven't implemented WIA yet in x64.

Interesting. From the PSP 2018 Help:

Quote
32-bit and 64-bit scanner compatibility
 
WIA (Microsoft Windows Image Acquisition) is supported by both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Corel PaintShop Pro.
 
TWAIN is supported by both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Corel PaintShop Pro. However, to work with the 64-bit version of Corel PaintShop Pro, your scanner must support 64-bit applications (in some cases, scanner drivers install to the 64-bit version of Windows, but do not support interaction with 64-bit applications). How can you tell? After you install the 64-bit scanner driver from the manufacturer, a file appears in the following location: Windows/twain_64. If you do not see the twain_64 folder and a file within the folder, then the driver does not support 64-bit applications. For more information, please refer to the scanner manufacturer’s website.

 


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.243 Beta
Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.243 Beta
Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.238 Beta

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Adobe offers a  TWAIN Scanner plug-in for PS, there they tell something about TWAIN compatibility etc. On the TWAIN site there is a short topic "Availability of 64 bit Twain Drivers" about the Win x64 driver theme.

For MacOS TWAIN says the obvious ...

Quote

Apple is moving to obsolete 32-bit support in its macOS products, beginning with High Sierra 10.13.4. TWAIN Application and Driver writers should transition their macOS products to 64-bit. The open source Data Source Manager (currently at version 2.4.2) provided by the TWAIN Working Group is a universal binary that includes 64-bit support.

 


☛ Affinity Designer 1.6.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.6.7 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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8 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

Interesting. From the PSP 2018 Help:

 

@walt.farrell:  Yes, the docs in PSP 2019 also have that blurb about full WIA and TWAIN support in the 32 and the x64 PSP.  However...it's also interesting that other 64-bit apps I have on hand seem to recognize the Canon scanner drivers and work (two I just tried are the included Windows 10 x64 Scan and Fax app, and a 3rd party app called Vuescan). 

This, plus a number of other PSP x64 user complaints about this same issue of not recognizing their scanner, leads me to think that that Corel really has an issue with their TWAIN and WIA implementation in the x64 version.  But regardless, it shouldn't be a blocker for anyone who wants to use PSP x64.  If you have decent native scanner software (like Canon's), or if you can use a solid x64 app like Vuescan, you can still  send your scan output directly to any graphics app including PSP x64.  Of course what would really rock though, is if we could get true WIA scanner support in AffPhoto 1.7.  :-)   

@John Rostron:  Definitely PSP gives you that true B&W option you're looking for, directly from the scanner and without need of conversion.  Agree with you, that aspect doesn't work in AffPhoto.  To get the latest version of PSP 2019 for comparison (this should include both 32-bit and x64), I got my free trial here before I purchased it. 

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1 hour ago, timlt said:

and a 3rd party app called Vuescan). 

From what I've read I think that VueScan may interface to the scanner hardware directly, without using the manufacturer's drivers.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1809, 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz
Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and 1.7.0.243 Beta
Affinity Designer 1.6..5.123 and 1.7.0.243 Beta
Affinity Publisher 1.7.0.238 Beta

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1 hour ago, walt.farrell said:

From what I've read I think that VueScan may interface to the scanner hardware directly, without using the manufacturer's drivers.

That would make sense why it works, and if so, would invalidate Vuescan as an example of a 64-bit app that works with the Canon drivers. 

I pinged Canon driver support for more info on their x64 drivers, definitely has my curiosity going.  

 

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17 minutes ago, timlt said:

I pinged Canon driver support for more info on their x64 drivers, definitely has my curiosity going.  

I do not pretend to know much about this, but from what I have been able to piece together from various sources, the big problem is very few manufacturers provide any drivers compatible with 64 bit TWAIN, & they are unwilling to admit that, I suppose for marketing reasons.


Affinity Photo 1.6.7 & Affinity Designer 1.6.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.6.11.85 & Affinity Designer 1.6..4.45 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.1.1

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2 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

From what I've read I think that VueScan may interface to the scanner hardware directly, without using the manufacturer's drivers.

No I don't think so, instead they have own drivers for most scanners (see here).


☛ Affinity Designer 1.6.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.6.7 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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13 hours ago, timlt said:

@John Rostron:  Definitely PSP gives you that true B&W option you're looking for, directly from the scanner and without need of conversion.  Agree with you, that aspect doesn't work in AffPhoto.  To get the latest version of PSP 2019 for comparison (this should include both 32-bit and x64), I got my free trial here before I purchased it. 

I did download the free trial of PSP 19. The 64-bit version had no import option. I could find no evidence of a 32-bit version. I will have another go at downloading.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and Designer 1.6.5.123, (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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7 hours ago, John Rostron said:

I did download the free trial of PSP 19. The 64-bit version had no import option. I could find no evidence of a 32-bit version. I will have another go at downloading.

John

OK, sorry to hear about your woes on the trial.  I don't have my trial edition anymore (installed over a month ago), but to confirm, I IM'd Corel support with the Chat Now option on top of their main site page. They said in the trial installed off that page anytime recently, you should get both 32/64 versions (my trial had them), and should be able to import scans.  They suggested if having issues with the trial, ping them via that IM support option, and if possible, take a screen shot of your disabled Import menu.  

If you have time to get the trial working, as per the OP, I'd be  interested to hear any side-by-side evaluation you can offer on features.  

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I used arcane shareware versions of PSP, specially Animshop addon/companion utility that used to come with it for my pixel art animation (and even higher res 2D animation), decades ago.

I always liked as well UI interface, for ease of use and learn, and being a fast UI. That said, today I wouldn't go for it. Tested it I believe around June, and then the 2019 version. I'll explain my reasons, pros and cons that I personally see.

On 12/15/2018 at 11:43 PM, timlt said:

PSPU has a set of automated photo improvement features which Photo does not have (like the "Smart Photo Fixer").

I run away very far from any toy-feature that makes the sort of magic you would much better do with advanced pro tools. Yes, it can be extremely useful for some very specific cases, though. Would never change it for really advanced selections, masks and other operations, as I'd be loosing a ton of flexibility, and well, the pro ways.

On 12/15/2018 at 11:43 PM, timlt said:

This happens a lot when loading plugins or running complex file processing. 

Like in every package this would worry me the less. In every program I've handled in my life, plugins are often poorly coded, or simply not that compliant with the software internals. There are though brilliant cases where the plugin, addon, or whatever, is so good that has better stability and improves the package so much that some times the plugin keeps evolving (or the author does ( I think Kai Power Tools' author ended up making a "somewhat known "  ;) digital painting solution, called Art Rage ). But these exceptions don't distract me from the fact that a ton of plugins are poorly coded, or have less stability or performance than the core software has. Or simply they are not fully compatible with the app internals. So, is a bit of a gamble, if I find a plugin crashes, almost never blame the core app. Crashes with big files could be the app's fault, or an issue of some sort in a system, often just revealing them selves when using certain libraries and in big load of memory or processing. So, hard to know when someone reports crashes if it's gonna be the app's fault or the machine/system. PSP was always stable on me, but I could have been only lucky.

On 12/15/2018 at 11:43 PM, timlt said:

Licensing model:  Photo wins easily.  To the best that I can understand the lawyer-ese in the very complex PSPU user license agreement, they will let you install it on 2 machines (such as 1 home and 1 work, or 1 PC and 1 laptop).  Photo is more generous and simpler to keep track of:  for the Windows version, you can install it on any Windows machine where you the buyer of Photo, are also the owner or primary controlling user of that machine.  I have many machines at home and work, including 2 laptops, and I can install Photo on all of them.  Rock!  

This is a reason for me to bail out of the psp option. This is sth MS does as well. Let me handle my machines, and do it the old way, like Serif does. For a lot of people this is not a problem, and if they have to call support with some new machine upgrade or change, to get a new number, and/or wait a pair of days (that's really bad for my case) , they wont mind at all. So, more than a CON, I'd say it depends a lot on each person's take. Tie to the machine or any hardware piece is a no-no for me. (just like subscription). 

On 12/15/2018 at 11:43 PM, timlt said:

App stability:  Photo wins

Well, I think in my testing I did not have any crash, back in June.... But I am a user that never have crashes (neither in Affinity) unless those I know I am provoking by asking the machine what the machine can't handle, so, what do I know..... :D 

On 12/15/2018 at 11:43 PM, timlt said:

What comes in the package:

This, for me is not a CON. I only care about the app core features, how well done they are, if stable, if accomplish what the market demands, etc. Yep, Painter Essentials is nice, but not to miss it that much if getting the free Krita (although I don't use Krita anymore as I used to do), or the cheap CSP, Art Rage, or Rebelle). As you said, mostly what tends to be included is half baked software or at least not the very best, which today you can get for not such a high price.

A clear PRO for me has always been good performance with the brush for a PS-like solution (nothing rivals with CSP, Rebelle, Sketchbook or Art Rage in that regard, but all these digital painters are not complete enough for a lot of illustrators like me, where PSP, PS, Corel Photopaint (but need to buy the 700 bucks corel suite :s ) and Photo would be way closer to be the overall good workhorse) . The brush and alt picking color  works great, fast performance, no glitches, and this is for me super essential.  So... is a HUGE pro, considering is inside a tool that handle most 2D operations pretty well.

Yet tho, there are show-stopper issues that prevent me from buying, since a while; mostly a very big one for me ( I send a lot of stuff to print, I too often need CMYK, and I also need good color  management in general) : color management I kind of split into 2 branches of issues :

- Yes, there seems to be a proof mode of some sort, and split for CMYK in export, but....NOT an actual CMYK mode like you ave in both Photo and Designer (or Krita(poorer, but is free), PS (uber powerful), CSP (again, more limited than in Photo)). This can be very inconvenient in workflows where you need a final conversion and some edits for certain print companies ( having the situation right now in this very moment) that work with offset and yes or yes want a CMYK PDF (or whatever), not a modern offset workflow with PDF/X-4, neither a digital printer asking you for just RGB files,  but PDF/X-1a 2001 or just a TIFF, then needing to be CMYK by spec, but also as they want it so. One way or the other you're gonna need that CMYK mode, and quite more related features.

- Color management in general.   I constantly am digging and trying new apps. This is how I know Photo keeps rocking overall, tho I don't do that to demonstrate it to my self, it just becomes self evident every time. So I dug PSP just once again (again, mentioning I was a heavy user in the oldest shareware times) months ago this year. Found an extremely worrying issue/bug/lack quite detailed in their forums :

https://forum.corel.com/EN/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=63629

Of quite some interest is this very post from someone that seems to know a bit more about the matter/issue than the other posters, and about color management in general :

https://forum.corel.com/EN/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=63629#p357023

It's curious that they mentioned (is from May) Photoline and Qimage as a better path when wanting good color accuracy but did not mention Affinity Photo ( maybe is a too dangerous competition, or more simply, it was yet may, and people knew less Affinity then). I've tested Photoline and IMO (again) Photo wins in UI by a mile, plus also found issues when painting with the brush some basic stuff and zoomed out. But for other matters, is a very nice and useful app. Qimage, haven't tried but from what I've read, is a very specialized app, and I love to have those, but just like the digital painters case, in many fields is nice to have them, but you totally need the work horse, the integration package,  the general 2D behemoth, the file preparation package and that also allows you to make all stages of the project if needed, or to speed up the global workflow for less switching and I/O (still not to diminish the usefulness of having specialized tools). IMO this is what PS and Photo do provide with.    CSP and A. Rage are the digital painters having more "out of their parcel" functionality, but it's miles away from all what you can do with Photo or PS. Or even PSP.

So... For me, as was asked in the thread, until they specially fix the color management (their users would love it) problems, and add a real CMYK mode, sadly, is not sth I'm gonna purchase. I like to have the more the merrier tools, but for any app to treat my files, I need to be able to trust in color management (provided I'd always have well calibrated my system, monitor hardware calibrated, 6500k bulbs lighting,  no windows affecting while I work, no intense colored walls near, etc), and of course, also to work in CMYK mode when needed.

Another show stopper would be stability. But I don't remember PSP crashing on me... And as a rule that tends to be almost always true in my case: I wont worry about other people crashes... besides are often deep incompatibilities or some faulty driver/system file(/s), is just the case that never I do see crashes of those applications in my machine, unless absolutely every one else has the exact same crashes.

Licensing tied to machines is a very big con, but a big pro that they didn't went for subscriptions (but is not enough, either in  this case).

A pity, as is a very nice app, with a very long story. It had a very bad moment when they wanted to convert it, years ago, to more of a toy for newbies, but they clearly steered away for that, luckily. In the current status of things detailed above, is a no-go for me....Might change in the future. Is one of those apps I would love it to be better.

I dislike that the current installer requires you to register with your email or you want get to check the trial ( not doing such trial now just for that, but I had already tested 2019). I mean, of course, they want to grab your email surely only to keep you up-to-date with new versions, but I see it fine when is only an option, not enforced to even try the trial. With current fierce competition, these things should be handled better....Minor thing: it makes an extra zip when installing, does not delete afterwards, leaves it in same download folder. No biggie, but have worked many years in a company very focused in installers, and that kind of thing was avoided, as a rule.( is not a file of config setting left ( after asking) in an app or system folder, it makes it even in the download folder, and wont delete on uninstall. Zero probs with it, very minor, but found it curious.

All pros and cons mentioned, I'm inclined to like quite the application. Once they solve those issues, would be a very nice extra tool to have in "the workbench". (considering one of the issues the "tie to the machine thing" .Until license is just like Affinity's, I might not be very interested)


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM. 
Affinity PHOTO 1.7.x --> AMAZING. Getting there for painting. Temporary trick  (Windows - only) for better "alt" key color picking configured in a Wacom Intuos Pro pen's side button.

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Hey @SrPx, thanks that's a good write-up, exactly the feature-level comparisons I was looking for.  Interesting to hear this apparently long-running issue about color management in PSP, and the fact that in your usage, AffPhoto does a noticeably better job.  

Also interested in this comment about using Photo, PS, or even PSP as an all-purpose work horse editor:

1 hour ago, SrPx said:

It's curious that they mentioned (is from May) Photoline and Qimage as a better path when wanting good color accuracy but did not mention Affinity Photo ( maybe is a too dangerous competition, or more simply, it was yet may, and people knew less Affinity then). I've tested Photoline and IMO (again) Photo wins in UI by a mile, plus also found issues when painting with the brush some basic stuff and zoomed out. But for other matters, is a very nice and useful app. Qimage, haven't tried but from what I've read, is a very specialized app, and I love to have those, but just like the digital painters case, in many fields is nice to have them, but you totally need the work horse, the integration package,  the general 2D behemoth, the file preparation package and that also allows you to make all stages of the project if needed, or to speed up the global workflow for less switching and I/O (still not to diminish the usefulness of having specialized tools). IMO this is what PS and Photo do provide with.    CSP and A. Rage are the digital painters having more "out of their parcel" functionality, but it's miles away from all what you can do with Photo or PS. Or even PSP.

This is really what I'm looking for as well, though for slightly different reasons.  I'm not a pro or even an experienced amateur when it comes to actual photography, or in working with graphics software editors.  Goal right now is to learn more, and to build skills working with one primary do-it-all graphics editor that is less than $100 US.  I don't mind having a couple of add-on, specialized apps that do certain things I need, it doesn't all have to bundle into the main workhorse app.  For example, I don't mind having an app like the free/open-source (aka, "FOSS")  Digikam, which is a great tool that combines 3 things I need:  (1) Media file management/browsing/metadata, (2) RAW editing, and (3) Powerful but easy-to-use batch processing workflow.  I also use a FOSS app named ShareX for advanced screenshot functionality, which gets used in my day job.  But in general, I don't need or want to end up with a large set of specialized graphics apps.  Ideally, just a work horse as you said--something I can master and keep using for the long haul--and then a couple of specialized apps if needed.

For me, best candidates for work horse graphics apps costing < $100,  are the 2 listed in the OP (PSP 2019 and AffPhoto).  Yo could also throw in FOSS apps like GIMP and Krita.  I've tried all of these recently, all are actually pretty impressive and could be valid options.  But I've come down on the side off AffPhoto when you consider all the factors listed in the OP.   Would really like to hear more comments from experienced graphics users similar to yours, where you look at support around a specific type of graphics functionality that a medium-to-advanced user would need, and how well that feature is implemented in PSP vs AffPhoto.  

 

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2 hours ago, timlt said:

OK, sorry to hear about your woes on the trial.  I don't have my trial edition anymore (installed over a month ago), but to confirm, I IM'd Corel support with the Chat Now option on top of their main site page. They said in the trial installed off that page anytime recently, you should get both 32/64 versions (my trial had them), and should be able to import scans.  They suggested if having issues with the trial, ping them via that IM support option, and if possible, take a screen shot of your disabled Import menu.  

If you have time to get the trial working, as per the OP, I'd be  interested to hear any side-by-side evaluation you can offer on features.  

I have re-installed PSP19 and looked under Program files (x86) where i found a PSP 19 folder. Drilling down, I eventually found a Setup file. I executed this and it managed to remove almost all of the newly-intalled PSP files. I have contacted Corel PSP support and now have a ticket. 

Apologies for messaging about a rival product, but it is related to a perceived deficiency in Affinity Photo.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.6.5.123 and Designer 1.6.5.123, (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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4 hours ago, timlt said:

and the fact that in your usage, AffPhoto does a noticeably better job.  

Actually, I wouldn't go that far. Both are very powerful. I have used PSP a lot in the past, versions 7 (not x..., but purely 7, u can imagine how old is that :D ) and 8 offered by magazines. These days is a total different thing, but I have been downloading and testing the trials quite regularly. What I definitely can only confirm without the shadow of a doubt is that Aff. Photo DOES a great job, that for very sure. I'm a professional. I know it has corners to polish, but the key things I need (those which are not in other apps, because some things I still need to do them with other tools (check my signature to have a hint ;) ))  are there, and in good status.  

Also, that is unlikely A.P. to be matched by alternatives, even by some quite above in price, reason why I don't think mentioning a rival (also, this thread's main topic is a comparison, polite and civil, but a comparison)  is any sort of threat for Affinity. Indeed, helps clarifying where are the strong points of each (I said it, I like the brush core system and color picking in PSP), so people can do a better decision. I'm only dumping my thoughts (arguable opinions) about the matter. So, I do know PSP current is VERY featured. I know it does not have a ful CMYK mode, and for those (and others) forum threads, I know there are too important issues (for my use, is not everyone case) in color management. I also know is so good and has a quite such an easy UI that if they get their way in fixing the CM, and adding a full CMYK mode (the former way more important than the latter, as at least they have a way to export/proof a cmyk file. Well, a similar situation than Gimp, but even Gimp is solid in its color management, just RGB only, and also capability to do the separation) once they fix those it could be quite a success of a tool. But EVEN so, the momentum gained by A. Photo is already (IMO) too important. Also, you get a full suite with the vectors and publishing apps in Affinity. In the Corel scenario, only the AP equivalent is at this price range. The only thing you can do is put the 700 bucks to get the whole thing. So, HUGE advantage for Serif, there. But there are many more. The price is so low in both companies' products, and the tools are so powerful, that the right thing to do for anyone having a serious full time workload would be to have both, once the issues are solved in PSP. But I know most people prefer to stick to only one solution, mostly so to learn one. I like the more the merrier, or at least, several. (most of my current files are in CSP native format...). The criteria of not using an app is only if is not fit for the job, or another one does it better, that particular task (hence the advantage of having several. No tool is perfect in all fronts) but never the resistance to learn. That always make you better in the particular field (learning several UIs and workflows).

Quote

 I'm not a pro or even an experienced amateur when it comes to actual photography

Neither am I.  :)   I have done literally tons of photo retouch, but I am an illustrator, designer and game artist (including 3D) as for a living, but I can't handle a camera, hehe. Well, not completely true, I did a year subject in Fine Arts college of artistic photography with a B/W reflex camera ( handling aperture, ISO and all that stuff with a borrowed traditional pro camera) and all the liquids stuff and revealing also your film and all. But that's all I know. Been a huge while. No idea of photography , even less how to handle a modern digital camera :D  . Funny thing is have done very crazy complex photo retouch, though.

Quote

 Goal right now is to learn more, and to build skills working with one primary do-it-all graphics editor that is less than $100 US. 

You're on the right place, then. :) 

Quote

l, I don't need or want to end up with a large set of specialized graphics apps.  Ideally, just a work horse as you said--something I can  master and keep using for the long haul--and then a couple of specialized apps if needed.

With really advanced projects, you end up resorting to quite a few specialized apps. And the tasks in hand are often so difficult and complex , that the less you care about is what you used to get the result. Is just the peace of mind a lot of people seek to  think their main app is going to cope with everything. This is not real in more than hobbyists projects. But anyway, does not matter because people with real will to discover things and advance, realize this organically. Meaning, yep, PS, AP, whatever, are going to be the main work horse. But resorting to particular tools is going to be almost a habit, for efficiency and best results. Is way more evident in a production environment where the ratio speed/quality must be 10/10. I found my self at companies caring for just what was really essential to deliver. But yes, normal workflow will be one main app, and then several apps, maybe 2 per project, as specialized, but what's more, often NOT the same 2. Needs and details vary a lot among different projects. At some games back in 2006, at a studio we'd even buy an expensive tool, perfectly fitting the task, do the stuff one month, and be done with it, no need to use anymore. Expensive most of the times, but paid very well. For a freelancer or hobbyist, is gonna be FOSS apps, and a like 4 - 5 purchased apps as specialized tools, YMMV. 

About the general question, and trust me, not because we're on a Serif's forum (I have no professional/$ relation with them, BTW)  I'd feel quite safer going with A. Photo, all things considered. Not to say PSP is a bad option, but those issues are an obstacle, the way I see it. AP is neither perfect, we all know this as well. It happens to be that for the bunch of fields I handle (quite many) AP fits perfectly, and the lacks/cons are well compensated by the pros, very clearly. For my specific uses, I don't see a rival even in the 300 - 700 $ range. And pricier than that, it's even debatable.  Subscription options are totally out of question.

Mostly... is just 50 bucks :D .  I'd purchase both in case you feel so hesitant.  But for me is crystal clear that AP is a better bet... Buying both you still can always do some stuff with the other (just beware the problems and everything). Even so, if I were to purchase an extra helping tool while keeping AP the main app ( the sensible thing, IMO) if anything  that would be Photoline, not PSP, for many reasons ( wont hurt to have the 3, either, they're that cheap).  And beginning to think I wont need to use more money  (other than AP 2.0 update) in new painters, as besides CSP is a dream come true for inking and even painting, AP is lately improving in the brush system, so I have very high hopes there. I'd rather move the 90% (maybe just not inking) of my activity to AP, by a collection of good reasons.

 


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM. 
Affinity PHOTO 1.7.x --> AMAZING. Getting there for painting. Temporary trick  (Windows - only) for better "alt" key color picking configured in a Wacom Intuos Pro pen's side button.

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On 12/15/2018 at 11:43 PM, timlt said:

*  Performance.  [...] Common operations:  However once you've started, performance on processing, saving, etc., the nod goes to Photo.  It can perform certain filter, effects, macros, saving large uncompressed files, etc., a few seconds faster than PSP for the same type of operation.

First of thank you for this comprehensive review. It was interesting to read.

Other than you I want to "bash" PSP it a bit, because "seconds" is indeed the keyword here!

I also own PSP 2019 thanks to the current Humble Bundle and played a bit around with it to compare it with my good old Photoshop Elements 12 and Affinity Photo 1.6 / 1.7.

From the basic feature set provided I see PSP 2019 on par with both competitors, but performance-wise it feels really sluggish.

For every action you feel there is a extra second that this tool needs to perform any action. It even needs some calculation time after moving the crop window around or zooming in and such which is really annoying.

While the inpainting / object removal / "magic fill" tool from PSE 12 & Affinity Photo both take about 3 seconds on my machine for a specific photo PSP 2019 needs 6 seconds, twice the time, for the same thing. (BTW: The result is good with all tools, but Photos modification is the most convincing one. Really impressing algorithm.)

But I did not use too many of those tools. Maybe PSE and Affinity Photo are just exceptional fast and the performance of PSP is the standard. I just don't get why PSP has so many good reviews while it does not really feel good. Or is it just me?


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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