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I'd like to upgrade my ageing version of PS Elements (PSE), and I'm wondering if the less expensive Affinity Photo software (currently only $35 CAN) might be a better choice. Any thoughts on this from those familiar with both programs? Currently, I use Capture One Express for Sony for RAW processing and PSE for basic tweaking like dust removal and resizing. Affinity sounds much more versatile than Elements. However, is Affinity just as good as PSE  for mundane tasks?

Edited by John Mitchell
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I have been using Affinity for a few years and this is how it works for me. When I open up my Nikon Raw images it goes into the Develop Persona which has limited options for processing plus a Metadata feature. When you are finished you then you click on Develop button and this puts it in the Photo Persona where there are more options for processing. As my computer is old it can take up to 25 seconds to Develop the image. It has a blemish removal tool for dust bunnies and the usual brush tools plus presents for exposure, contrast etc plus you can create your own presets. To resize an image is not like Adobe. You have to go into Documents, click on Resize Document and type in what size you want and it is done very quickly.. To export the image you have the usual options jpeg, tiff etc. It has a very good stitching feature for panos and a good focus stacking feature.

I strongly recommend that for $35 you will not find a better deal. Beware that they have released software  update 1.9.1  and there are problems with it so if you do buy..get download 1.9

I hope I have answered some of you questions, if you have any more please ask.

 

 

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I have not used Affinity but my wife uses it for some basic graphics stuff so I have had a look at it and it has a lot of the features of full Photoshop, probably a lot more than an ageing version of Elements. As it is a lot cheaper than Elements, then it would seem to be a good bet. In fact that is why I recommended it to my wife when she was looking for a basic photo editing program. I guess it would depend on how mundane the tasks are that you intend to use it for. But I think it would do all the basics and a lot more besides. You would be looking at a bit of an initial hill to climb, as the menus are different as is some of the terminology, but nothing too difficult for someone experienced in photo editing. 

 

I did look at the raw converter which seems reasonable but appears to lack the local adjustment features of ACR. As you use Capture One then that is probably not a big issue. 

Edited by MDM
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Thanks for the very helpful answers. I'm probably going to take the plunge. There's not much to lose for $35, assuming the sale lasts awhile longer.

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5 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

There's not much to lose for $35

Over here there's a free trial of all their products so hopefully you'd get that as well in Canada. It's a very different way of working to Photoshop as Derek describes above and although I don't use it that often when I have I've thought it was a bit slow. The trouble is I don't use it enough to get competent at it as Lightroom does just about everything I need and it's no substitute for Lightroom and its cataloguing. You're in a good position since you're not rooted in either Photoshop or Lightroom. It's nowhere near as good at captioning/keywording as either Bridge or Lightroom but they are gradually improving that and at least now you can access those metadata fields whereas in the beginning you couldn't.

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Following on from Harry's post you could do something I was thinking about, and that is, Use Affinity or whatever processing software then go to Bridge to keyword and catalogue images.

 

Not sure but I believe Bridge is free. Someone will correct me as usual.

 

Allan

 

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12 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

I'd like to upgrade my ageing version of PS Elements (PSE), and I'm wondering if the less expensive Affinity Photo software (currently only $35 CAN) might be a better choice. Any thoughts on this from those familiar with both programs? Currently, I use Capture One Express for Sony for RAW processing and PSE for basic tweaking like dust removal and resizing. Affinity sounds much more versatile than Elements. However, is Affinity just as good as PSE  for mundane tasks?

Thanks for the input from all on this thread. Very useful having just spent the small amount Affinity are asking!

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1 hour ago, Tony ALS said:

Thanks for the input from all on this thread. Very useful having just spent the small amount Affinity are asking!

Interested to hear how you get on. I quite like Affinity, but tend to use PS/LR as I'm more familiar with them and find that I slightly prefer their detail, sharpening, NR and shadow hightlight recovery capabilities.

 

Mark

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2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

Not sure but I believe Bridge is free

I found to my surprise that I could download Adobe Bridge 2020 from my Adobe account even though I've only got Lightroom 6.14, in fact I could have downloaded Bridge 2021 but it won't work on Windows 7. Clearly you need an Adobe account to do so but whether you need to have actually purchased anything I don't know, probably not in fact.

 

I've just tried viewing a folder of images in Bridge 2020, adding some captions and keywords to a few, then opened these in Affinity Photo, seems to work fine. Of course in Bridge you can't open RAW files if you don't have the appropriate version of Photoshop and so access to Adobe Raw Converter for your camera but you can view the built-in thumbnails which should be OK for captioning. I believe that Bridge is very good for captions and particularly keywords as you can use time-saving templates etc. If you're just going to type them in then you can do that straight into Affinity.

 

Edit:

Correcting myself here, talking nonsense. You simply set Bridge up to open Affinity Photo for your particular RAW file(s) in Edit > Preferences - File Type Associations

Edited by Harry Harrison
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2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

Following on from Harry's post you could do something I was thinking about, and that is, Use Affinity or whatever processing software then go to Bridge to keyword and catalogue images.

 

Not sure but I believe Bridge is free. Someone will correct me as usual.

 

Allan

 

 

Allan. Is that aimed at me?   🤣  I only correct you when you are wrong.   🤣   🤣   🤣 .  Sorry I can't help it.

 

Anyway in this case you have hit the JACKPOT. Yes Bridge is free. The great thing about the internet and the modern world in general is that it is very easy to find information. If you type Adobe Bridge Free into your browser, you will get loads of hits that tell you exactly that. 

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1 minute ago, MDM said:

Allan. Is that aimed at me?

 

Now you are becoming paranoid.😃🤣

 

Just joking.

 

Allan

 

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20 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

I found to my surprise that I could download Adobe Bridge 2020 from my Adobe account even though I've only got Lightroom 6.14, in fact I could have downloaded Bridge 2021 but it won't work on Windows 7. Clearly you need an Adobe account to do so but whether you need to have actually purchased anything I don't know, probably not in fact.

 

I've just tried viewing a folder of images in Bridge 2020, adding some captions and keywords to a few, then opened these in Affinity Photo, seems to work fine. Of course in Bridge you can't open RAW files if you don't have the appropriate version of Photoshop and so access to Adobe Raw Converter for your camera but you can view the built-in thumbnails which should be OK for captioning. I believe that Bridge is very good for captions and particularly keywords as you can use time-saving templates etc. If you're just going to type them in then you can do that straight into Affinity.

 

Bridge is usable as a database (DAM) but is very inferior to Lightroom in that regard. Bridge is a file browser, not a DAM. It is fine for entering data. Where it falls down is in searching, as it has to access the actual files on a drive unlike Lightroom. For anyone with relatively small numbers of files it is certainly usable as a DAM but it is much too slow for large image collections. Its primary function is to act as a bridge between Adobe apps. 

 

The raw converter in Affinity is lacking in comparison to ACR/Lightroom from my brief investigation. The strength of Affinity is as a pixel editor, like Photoshop. 

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6 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Now you are becoming paranoid.😃🤣

 

Just joking.

 

Allan

 

 

You might be right but on the other hand maybe not or maybe I have always been paranoid or maybe not. 

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2 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

Bridge is usable as a database (DAM) but is very inferior to Lightroom in that regard

Lightroom all the way for me, but I don't think John Mitchell is in the market for an Adobe subscription. I don't know how to use Bridge effectively but I know there are those on the forum that do. 

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2 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

Lightroom all the way for me, but I don't think John Mitchell is in the market for an Adobe subscription. I don't know how to use Bridge effectively but I know there are those on the forum that do. 

 

Effective for entering data perhaps. Having used both there is no competition as a database. Lightroom is far superior.

 

I was just commenting on Allan's suggestion of using Bridge with Affinity as a solution. The missing link there is the raw converter which is not great in Affinity as far as I can see. As John already uses Capture One this may not be an issue but it could be in the more general case. 

 

To summarise, there are three aspects to digital image management - database, raw converter, pixel editor. Using Bridge, Capture One and Affinity is a potentially good solution for smaller image collections but Bridge can't cope with big collections as a database in my experience and is nor designed to do so. 

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One thing to note with Affinity Photo is that if you are working on a RAW file and want to go back to it where you left off then you can save it in their proprietary  '.afphoto' format so that when you open this file you can pick up where you left off. This is surely an advantage over Photoshop, and in fact behaves more like Lightroom, but the downside is that this file is very large, In Lighroom this 'develop' information is stored in the Lightroom database instead which is more efficient.

 

As an example with my X-T2 the '.raf' RAW files are 48MB but the corresponding '.afphoto' file is 189MB and can get larger once you start adding layers etc.

 

I'm not a regular user of Affinity Photo so stand to be corrected if I've misunderstood or missed something.

 

Edit:

Actually I'm probably not being fair to the 'afphoto' format, it is considerably smaller than an uncompressed 16-bit tiff which is 302MB and of course if you just want to use Affinity Photo like Photoshop you don't have to use the '.afphoto' format at all. Just as with Photoshop layers can be preserved when saving a tiff.

 

 

Edited by Harry Harrison
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Posted (edited)

As mentioned in another thread, I went ahead and spent the $35 CAN (about $29 US) for Affinity. It seems like an incredible bargain. I'll probably keep using Capture One Express for RAW processing for the time being. One of Capture One's advantages is that it has a catalogue, which I've started using (more or less). I currently use Photo Mechanic for keywords and captions. However, I'll be checking out the options for RAW conversion and tagging, etc. in Affinity. Thanks again for the tips. It looks as if I'm going to have a lot to learn in Affinity, so please keep posting.

Edited by John Mitchell
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

One thing to note with Affinity Photo is that if you are working on a RAW file and want to go back to it where you left off then you can save it in their proprietary  '.afphoto' format so that when you open this file you can pick up where you left off. This is surely an advantage over Photoshop, and in fact behaves more like Lightroom, but the downside is that this file is very large, In Lighroom this 'develop' information is stored in the Lightroom database instead which is more efficient.

 

As an example with my X-T2 the '.raf' RAW files are 48MB but the corresponding '.afphoto' file is 189MB and can get larger once you start adding layers etc.

 

I'm not a regular user of Affinity Photo so stand to be corrected if I've misunderstood or missed something.

 

Edit:

Actually I'm probably not being fair to the 'afphoto' format, it is considerably smaller than an uncompressed 16-bit tiff which is 302MB and of course if you just want to use Affinity Photo like Photoshop you don't have to use the '.afphoto' format at all. Just as with Photoshop layers can be preserved when saving a tiff.

 

 

 

I took some time this morning to experiment with RAW processing in Affinity. It's not as good as Capture One Express for Sony by the looks of it. However, so far Affinity appears to be an excellent replacement for my old version of PS Elements, with many more useful features to play with. I've never used the full version of PS, so I can't compare it to that. Happy to avoid the Adobe subscription cost, though.

Edited by John Mitchell
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5 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

One thing to note with Affinity Photo is that if you are working on a RAW file and want to go back to it where you left off then you can save it in their proprietary  '.afphoto' format so that when you open this file you can pick up where you left off. This is surely an advantage over Photoshop, and in fact behaves more like Lightroom, but the downside is that this file is very large, In Lighroom this 'develop' information is stored in the Lightroom database instead which is more efficient.

 

As an example with my X-T2 the '.raf' RAW files are 48MB but the corresponding '.afphoto' file is 189MB and can get larger once you start adding layers etc.

 

I'm not a regular user of Affinity Photo so stand to be corrected if I've misunderstood or missed something.

 

Edit:

Actually I'm probably not being fair to the 'afphoto' format, it is considerably smaller than an uncompressed 16-bit tiff which is 302MB and of course if you just want to use Affinity Photo like Photoshop you don't have to use the '.afphoto' format at all. Just as with Photoshop layers can be preserved when saving a tiff.

 

 

 

Just for clarity, you can't work on a raw file in Photoshop. The raw file has to be converted first using ACR or another raw converter.

 

ACR does not have the same editing history panel as Lightroom (as far as I know anyway) so Lightroom has an advantage there. However, as all editing in ACR and Lightroom (and indeed any raw converter) is non-linear (meaning that the order in which you edit is not relevant to the final outcome), you can always go back and change a parameter anyway. And if you go back to the edit history in Lightroom and make a change, then you change everything that comes after that. The Lightroom edit history is useful but not essential I think. 

 

As a direct comparison with Affinity Photo, in Photoshop you can go back to any point in the editing history as long as you have enough history points set in the prefs as long as you don't close the file. However, you can also save a detailed editing history in the metadata and depending on how you have edited (destructively or non-destructively) you may be able to go back. Nowadays in Photoshop, you can do a lot of things non-destructively if you preserve layers and channels etc (even cloning if you want to save your dust spots). I save in PSD and keep everything. I don't know if you can go back to any point in the edit history of Affinity Photo after you close and reopen the file (the afphoto file that is not the raw) - if you can then that is better than Photoshop in that regard. But as I say, it is possible to edit non-destructively in Photoshop anyway which effectively means being able to go back after closing and reopening. 

Edited by MDM
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1 hour ago, MDM said:

But as I say, it is possible to edit non-destructively in Photoshop anyway which effectively means being able to go back after closing and reopening. 

Thanks, not familiar with the recent versions though knew about layers & channels of course. Certainly didn't know about saving a detailed editing history in the metadata.

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1 hour ago, MDM said:

However, you can also save a detailed editing history in the metadata

Is that new? I thought it just saved the final state in the metadata. Unless of course by "metadata" you mean what's saved in the LR catalog rather than in the xmp sidecar?

 

Mark

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2 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

Is that new? I thought it just saved the final state in the metadata. Unless of course by "metadata" you mean what's saved in the LR catalog rather than in the xmp sidecar?

 

Mark

 

No it's been there forever under the PS prefs. Nowadays it's got its own panel in the prefs under History Log. It used to be somewhere else in older versions I think. It can be saved in a test file, the metadata or both and as detailed, concise or sessions only. I save Detailed in the metadata. Just to be clear I am talking about editing files in Photoshop, not raw images. The raw conversion parameters are also saved in the metadata but in a different area. The metadata can be easily viewed in File Info in Photoshop. 

Edited by MDM
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3 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

Thanks, not familiar with the recent versions though knew about layers & channels of course. Certainly didn't know about saving a detailed editing history in the metadata.

 

Photoshop has continued to evolve with numerous useful features. It is possible to do all sorts non-destructively nowadays in Photoshop. I can't remember when it was introduced but there is a sample all layers option for many tools which allows you to work on an empty layer above a normal image layer and work non-destructively with operations such as clone, healing brush etc. Adjustment layers have been around since before version 4 (1996).  

 

Smart objects are another way to work non-destructively but I have never bothered with them much as I don't need them for what I do. Having said that maybe I should have another look. 

Edited by MDM
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10 hours ago, MDM said:

 

No it's been there forever under the PS prefs. Nowadays it's got its own panel in the prefs under History Log. It used to be somewhere else in older versions I think. It can be saved in a test file, the metadata or both and as detailed, concise or sessions only. I save Detailed in the metadata. Just to be clear I am talking about editing files in Photoshop, not raw images. The raw conversion parameters are also saved in the metadata but in a different area. The metadata can be easily viewed in File Info in Photoshop. 

 

So there is, mine was set to off, so my file metadata only showed the final state (hence my confusion). Turning detailed logging on and saving in file metadata (e.g. in PSD file) looks very useful. Thanks!

 

Mark

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