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I was a Photoshop user for 20+ years. I switched mostly because my UI work is done in Sketch or another vector program. Yet, for photo editing and manipulation I still wanted that ability without the monthly fee from Adobe. I also wanted masking and other advanced features that aren't always in iOS apps or other online services.
So, I made the switch to Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer cold turkey.
It took some mind-wrapping to figure out (tutorials and YouTube videos) how to do the things that come second-nature in Photoshop. But isn't that true with any tool? It wouldn't be different if it were identical!
You have to commit in your mind that you will switch and that it's okay to relearn a new set of controls. One thing that baffled me was what was called "offset" in Photoshop (where you can shift the image over and it wraps around to the other side of the canvas). In Affinity Photo, it's called "Affine."That took a bit of Googling, but now I've got it locked in.
Of course, when you do you'll find you can do the same things you used to in Photoshop. In fact, I like the brushes and some of the liquify effects better than Photoshop. As a side note: Affinity Designer is actually an amazing artistic vector tool because of the brushes and the ability to intermingle vector and pixel graphics together.
If you can swallow the $50 commitment, it's certainly approachable and worth trying.
Thanks for the insight.
How does Affinity Designer hold up against Illustrator? I guess it all depends on what you're using it for.. but in general?
Yeah, again I think it's more about relearning the conventions you're used to.
Like I mentioned, the ability to paint with vector brushes in Designer makes it more of an artistic vector tool, yet you can use it for straight up pen tool activities. One downside I discovered was when I converted one of these painted brushes into outlines—the translation near the corners produced a sawtooth series of dozens of extra points. From that perspective, there's some work to be done. But if you're using it for illustration purposes I think you'd be just fine.
What I find most handy is masking (in both tools). Simply dragging the layers so they nest makes a clipping mask. That makes it radically easy to experiment with layout and composition instead of making and releasing masks.
I'm always looking for new tools that have the capability and the usability of Illustrator. Most tools out there seem to fall short on one or the other. I think Designer is so very close to Illustrator when compared to the other competitors, but I'm willing to try something else if anyone has suggestions.
I started using it because for 2 years (until very recently) on the USB-C Macbook Pros the GPU acceleration was broken, glitched and Adobe had no interest in fixing it. also modern Illustrator's CPU rendering is way slower than it used to be, taking almost an entire second to zoom in on an almost blank canvas even on high end macs.
So I was forced into Affinity, found it actually great and it did the job just fine and is way faster than Illustrator in many ways.
Yeah things are a bit different but so is every tool, its only 2D designers who had the luxury and the curse that one single tool was all people ever used. Learning a new tool isn't a big deal for any professional and you shouldn't expect knowledge of 1 program to carry you from cradle to graves
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