Moving from Photoshop to Affinity Designer week 1

Adobe Photoshop has ruled the roost for too long but new apps like Affinity Designer are circling it like a vulture.

Familiarity breeds contempt. So like most designers who are hunched over a keyboard twelve hours a day I have bred more than a little ‘contempt’ for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

I loathe them.

After nearly 20 years of use I still wince at some aspects of the apps. I never had a good relationship with it...and now I’m preparing the divorce papers.

Over the last couple of years there are two apps in particular which look to usurp Photoshop and Illustrator’s dominant position for UI and Illustration: Sketch and Affinity Designer.

Everybody hates change. So I was slow to get into either but now I am convinced that by early 2017 I will not be using Photoshop or Illustrator in my working day.

So this week, with the massive update to Affinity Designer, I decided to try five days of avoiding Photoshop.

Affinity Day 1: 
My goal this week was to create characters completely in Affinity. Usually I use a mix of Photoshop and Manga Studio.

I never really used Affinity for inking. Not a great start to be honest. I struggled setting up brushes. I assumed every brush would have both a vector and pixel version. But no, switching between vector and pixel is not very smooth.


Icky lines. Very muddy.

Then I found the Jef Wren’s brushes...but Gumroad’s payment thing is awful and never accepts Paypal.

Affinity Day 2:
Finally managed to pay for the set. All you need is The Box Set. Installing them is straightforward but I messed that up too so nothing was drawn. Also if you lose your layers panel etc you can find them in View>Studio. Learned that the hard way.

The brushes are great though. Look at how silky smooth and flexible inking is in Affinity Designer.


Affinity Day 3:
Left is a sketch done in Manga Studio (which also has vector lines/brushes) and the right is a heavy handed version done in Affinity. Good but not great. Affinity is very intuitive but I really need to watch some training vids as there are some things which threw me like the inability to convert a stroke to outlines and a decent node clean-up tool.


Affinity Day 4:

I must mention that all through days 1-3 I was using Photoshop constantly for game assets and other stuff (out of necessity but also out of instinct mostly) so Day 4 I removed it from the Mac toolbar thing. I tried opening loads of huge .psds in Affinity and they all opened perfectly. I know Photoshop CC has artboards but the artboards and layer grouping in Affinity just feels so much more calming for some reason.

I worked on some Benji Sprites.


It was a very smooth process. And check out his mouth! I realised that I could pose him super-quickly and export each version as a frame.


Plopped them into Photoshop and made this quick animation.


So right now the love affair with Affinity Designer continues.


They also have Affinity Photo which I have yet to try. Illustrator and Photoshop are so similar now that I see Designer as a replacement for both.

My big hope is that Serif creates an alternative to After Effects. THAT is the one Adobe app I can’t lose. I will have to subscribe for that for another couple of years I think.

I subscribe for Adobe Creative Cloud which is around €60 per month...every month.

Sketch and Affinity have a one time flat rate. That is a MASSIVE plus.

Apparently Adobe will reduce your cost if you cancel your subscription but they are still dicky with some cancellation penalties.

Bring on Week Two.

-Bob @clamnuts

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