Adobe loves the monthly subscription-goes-on-forever plan. Photoshop users? Not so much. Adobe’s pricing policies for their flagship Creative Suite apps has created something of a vacuum at the low price end of the product spectrum. Here’s one that’s much like Photoshop Lite.
Like The Best, For Less
Right at the top let me state the obvious. There is no Photoshop Lite. There’s Photoshop. And Photoshop Elements (a less expensive, feature crippled version of the flagship app).
Affinity Photo is special. So special that’s it’s currently in beta, which makes Photo free– for now. Photo looks, feels, and works much like a mashup of Photoshop Elements and Pixelmatr.
It has the same dark charcoal interface that professionals love (because white is so 1999). Photo is made for Macs with wide screens and a single photo or image gets access to all the graphic design tools; top, left sidebar, right sidebar.
Does this look familiar?
I hesitate to call Photo a Photoshop alternative, but that’s obviously the developer’s objective. Photo is fast. On a friend’s very fast Mac (one that runs Photoshop daily), we couldn’t find anything to slow it down; even files of tens of megabytes in size.
Unlike some Photoshop wannabes, Photo comes with CMYK built in, 16-bits per channel editing, RAW processing, standard ICC color management, and it’s even compatible with 64-bit plugins for Photoshop.
Tools and palettes are remarkably similar to those in Pixelmator and Photoshop (maybe more like the former than the latter). Photo has special workspaces called Personas. These modules provide different tools which can be used on different design functions. For example, there is Liquify, Photo, Develop, Export, and Macro (it’s what you think it is).
Photo goes Photoshop one better with multiple choices on specific tools. I love the slider bar history tool which works like Time Machine to see edits and changes you’ve already made. There’s no word yet on when Photo will ship in final form, but the beta is free to download and try out. Expect the price tag to be about the same as Affinity Designer, $50.