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Nuts and Bolts: Affinity Graphics Software.

June 28, 2019

Nuts & Bolts – Affinity Graphics Software


We are pleased to bring you a guest post by GCU artist Betsy Bush of Dragonfire Graphics and Birthday Cards Cafe. Betsy shares her experience with a graphics software program called Affinity as an alternative to Photoshop.   Thank you, Betsy!


Good day, Fellow artists,

I hope everyone is well and looking forward to a wonderful summer. I am popping in to share my experience with a new software program that I hadn’t heard of until about two months ago. It is called Affinity Photo and was said to be an inexpensive alternative to Photoshop. I was intrigued so I did some research and was more intrigued. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love Photoshop, but sometimes it really annoys me when it behaves badly! I won’t go into details about that, but anyone that uses it probably has had some issues.

So, I decided to dip my toe into the Affinity waters and take advantage of the 10 day free trial. As with any new program there is a learning curve, but I found Affinity to be very similar to Photoshop and easy to pick up. Of course I had to turn to online tutorials for some things (and still do 2 months later), but then after 5 years I still need to watch PS tutorials. At the 8 day trial mark I decided I really liked Affinity and jumped in with both feet! I paid the $49.95 and don’t regret one penny of that!

Some of the things I really like about the program are:

1- The move tool is very smooth.
2- The brushes that come with the program.
3- The ease of exporting to different file types. All options are on one screen to choose from instead of scrolling like in PS.
4- Affinity reads PS files and can export to a PS file. PS can’t read Affinity files.
5- I love that I paid just the one price and still get free updates without having to purchase the new updated version.
6- There are many tutorials to answer your questions.
7- It loads super fast!
8- I think the text tool behaves a little better than PS, has a smoother method for kerning and leading the text. (Although, it does have 2 types of text tool and I am still a bit perplexed by this!) Also, it does lack the ability to warp the text right in the tool, you would have to use text on a path, from what I have found out so far, and I have never been good at that!
9- As with PS you can make your own keyboard shortcuts.
10- It also uses what PS calls styles and actions, in Affinity they are called styles and macros. (It doesn’t use PS styles or actions)

Some of the things I don’t like so much about the program are:

1- the drop shadow effect tool just doesn’t wow me, but it is ok. It is called outer shadow.
2- the color tool is very strange. It seems to change the foreground and background colors at weird times. I really don’t know how to explain this, I suppose it is something you just have to experience. I just keep at it until it does what I want! Apparantly this is one tutorial I haven’t watched!
3- the guides took me a bit to figure out and I really don’t care for how it behaves when the Snapping is turned on. There is just way too much going on in terms of it giving info on dimensions right on the screen. Again, I am sure I am not explaining this very well.
4- And one thing that really threw me for a loop was after using Affinity way more than PS for a month, ALL of my PS file icons changed to Affinity icons! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS YOU ASK! Well, after about half an hour of being ready to call Affinity and find out what in blazes just happened, I found the reason why and it wasn’t earth shattering after all! Apparantly after using a particular program so much for a period of time, Windows thinks you want this to be your default program and changes the icons for you! It doesn’t mean a PS file is no longer a PS file, it just means they think you want to open it in Affinity. It was a super easy fix to get my beloved PS file icons back. If this ever happens to you, this is what you do.

in Windows:

Right click on the PS file, click “properties”, on the general tab and the “opens with” line click “change” and choose PS and apply.
This works for any file I assume where you want to change the program that opens it.

That’s all for now! I would love to hear from any of you that may be proficient with Affinity or if you decide to try it, how you find working with it.

Oh, and I forgot to mention there is an Affinity Designer program as well that handles vector and raster graphics.

Have a great day!


The difference is made in the details!



GCU Community Manager
6 Comments leave one →
  1. budandtony permalink
    June 28, 2019 8:20 pm

    Thank you Betsy for your review of Affinity Photo. Great info. I had switched from using Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop in protest since they went to their ‘subscription only’ plans. Since then, I use mostly Affinity Designer and was elated to finally have a software that I didn’t have to pay a monthly subcription cost for. I found that both Affinity Designer & Photo have worked very well for my creative needs, and without that expensive Adobe monthly subscription price tag. I highly recommend both Affinity Designer & Affinity Photo for designers who don’t want to be tied to a costly subscription rental plan.
    Keep creating fellow designers!
    Betty @DesignersWorkshop

  2. June 29, 2019 12:50 pm

    Betty, Thank you so much for your input! Did it take you a while to cut the Photoshop cord? I would really like to eventually do that but I panic, not wanting to give up certain things I rely on.

    • June 30, 2019 3:41 am

      Hi Betsy, It didn’t take me long at all to cut the Photoshop & Illustrator cord. I used Adobe Illustrator for years mostly, but felt betrayed when they went to subscription only. All that $ I invested in ‘purchasing’ their software and suddenly I felt like I was being held hostage! No thanks. I don’t use Photo nearly as much, so I’m not as reliant on it’s particulars, and Photoshop I only used occasionally. I absolutely love Affinity Designer as my alternative to Illustrator, and the best part is it’s affordable for us ‘starving artist’ types with free updates. For the price, I believe Affinity Designer & Photo are incredibly powerful applications that have allowed me to continue creating my art and not feel like I’m being fleeced. Keep creating! & Ciao/Meow,
      P.S. I love your work! You are a wonderful designer.
      Betty @kontinentalkitties

      • June 30, 2019 1:50 pm

        Thank you for the lovely compliment, Betty. I love your work, too! I will keep you posted if I manage to leave Photoshop behind! I am paid until January, so it won’t be right away! Take care!

  3. June 29, 2019 1:13 pm

    Thanks for the article and information. How are software updates handled? Fees for those? Fees to buy new versions of the program?

    • June 29, 2019 1:23 pm

      Hi Stacia, No, no fees so far. One day I opened Affinity and the start screen told me there was an update available and the option to do it, I clicked on it and it takes me to my account where the update is waiting for me to download. Right now they are offering a 20% discount so it only costs 39.99!

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