The biggest ever updates to Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer bring power and extensive new features. The Mac versions are up to 10x faster, while Windows users will have to wait a bit more.
GPU compute acceleration, HDR monitor support and a new memory management system ensure the Affinity suite continues to be at the cutting edge of modern creative software, with version 1.7 update, now available, being the biggest-ever Affinity update to both apps. The latest versions underline Serif’s commitment to pushing the limits of performance that users can expect from their hardware. It’s the same approach that made Affinity apps the first fully-featured creative desktop apps to make the leap to iPad.
Although the new version is available for both Mac and Windows, Mac users gain some extra speed. With the new upgrade Mac users can enjoy, as Serif states, “end-to-end Metal compute acceleration to take full advantage of the Mac’s discrete GPU, making all raster layer and brush operations up to 10 times faster than ever before. Additionally, the apps now support multiple GPUs—whether internal or with external units connected—multiplying the performance gains further.”
Affinity on Windows is 3 a 4x faster now
Serif Managing Director Ashley Hewson says: “It’s really important that we are leading the way in exploiting the latest technologies available to us and our customers. GPU compute acceleration is something we have worked tirelessly on for the last couple of years as it is certainly the future in achieving phenomenal speeds, even when working on massive, deep-colour projects. We’re pleased to say that for Affinity customers on Mac the future is now here.”
Windows users were not forgotten, though, and Serif is working on hardware acceleration for its Windows version too, although that will be delivered in a future update. Still, there are performance increases, as version 1.7 introduces a rewritten memory management system resulting in 3x or 4x speed improvements across many tasks on Windows machines.
Support for HDR/EDR monitors
In terms of support there are also news that users of different platforms will appreciate. Dial and Pen support for Microsoft Surface devices has also been significantly upgraded, giving users new ways to interact with the apps. Support for the new Apple Pro Display XDR is also available now.
In fact, Affinity Photo and Designer now come with full support for the latest HDR / EDR monitors, which is a market-first for photo editing and graphic design apps. This allows photographers to see new levels of the detail captured in RAW files, while designers can push colour intensity in graphics far further than was possible before.
“Using Affinity Photo with an HDR monitor offers a simply stunning experience,” says Ashley Hewson. “It’s amazing the detail and dynamic range the latest SLR cameras capture when shooting in RAW, and Affinity Photo now offers the opportunity to actually see all that depth while editing on an HDR monitor.
New compact Affinity UI for Apple iPad
“But this isn’t just for high-end photography. As more and more graphic content is being consumed on HDR displays, it will start to become important that designers are using an app which can both work in a 32bit colour space and render the results on an HDR monitor. Affinity Designer is the first professional graphic design application to do both.”
Users of Affinity on iPad aren’t left out either. There are further performance optimisations and a refreshed, compact UI which both gives more real estate for working, but also to allow for the ultimate experience on the new 7.9-inch screen iPad mini.
“The new iPad mini is an incredible device, especially now it supports Apple Pencil,” says Ashley Hewson. “It’s pretty cool that you can work on high-end photo compositions or full design projects with thousands of objects on such a small device”
As well as these device specific improvements, there are plenty of new features and improvements which have been added – all of them available on the Mac, Windows and iPad versions from today.
Key new features in Affinity Photo
Much improved RAW processing engine offering significantly faster loading of files, a new demosaicing algorithm, more effective noise reduction, hot pixel removal and wide colour space development.
Rewritten brush engine adding all-new multi-brushes, a symmetry mode (up to 32-way) and on-the-fly nozzle rotation with shortcut keys.
Batch processing is improved, a new assets panel is available for quick drag and drop of commonly used elements, and the layers panel has had a complete overhaul.
Key new features in Affinity Designer
New isometric controls allowing you to work directly on any isometric plane – or fit existing elements to a plane with a single click.
Vector shapes can now possess an unlimited number of strokes and fills, with complete freedom to interleave different attributes and control how they are blended together. Arrowheads have been added to the stroke panel too.
Improvements to almost all vector tools, including lasso selection of nodes, the pencil tool adding a sculpt mode, a new point transform tool as well as huge improvements to guides, grids and snapping.
Big new features and little tweaks
“This update isn’t only about the big new features and performance gains—we’ve also made literally thousands of little tweaks and improvements to both apps based on all the feedback we get from our customers every day. It’s a lot of these little enhancements which add up to mean both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are more productive than ever before.”
The new 1.7 versions of both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are available now with a 20% discount ($39.99 desktop, $15.99 iPad) with no subscription. Existing users can download the updated versions free.