Serif has announced version 2 of its Affinity creative suite with a huge list of updates for Designer, Photo, and Publisher, which still don’t require a subscription.
Affinity Photo 2 adds 10 new features to the platform, all listed below. A detailed breakdown of Affinity Designer 2 and Publisher 2 can be found on Serif’s website.
Non-destructive RAW development
Affinity Photo 2 now supports what Serif calls non-destructive RAW development, allowing editors to go back and change develop settings at any time, even after adding additional layers or adjustments to the file. The software also allows publishers to choose to embed a document file or an external link to reduce file sizes.
The compound masks feature allows editors to combine multiple mask layers non-destructively using add, intersect, subtract, and XOR operations. Serif explains that this means that separate masks that have been created can be retained non-destructively when creating new masks based on those components.
Live Mesh Chain
Live Mesh Warp allows editors to apply non-destructive warping to an image or file so that it can be warped to match the surface of an underlying model. Serif says it is very effective for layout work, where users can place document files and compose them on surfaces such as book or magazine pages.
While this feature isn’t particularly useful to photographers, Affinity Photo 2 has added what Serif calls Normals Adjustment, which allows editors to modify the lighting information that exists on existing normal cards. The company says it’s a great standalone feature for texture artists, but also allows editing of lighting layers generated from 3D rendering software.
Much of what Serif has added to Affinity Photo 2 is based around the idea of non-destructive editing, and Live Masks continues that. It allows editors to create multiple non-destructive workflows that automatically update based on the properties of the underlying image.
Range of shades
The Hue Range allows editors to create a mask based on a specific color in an image, which they can apply adjustments, effects, or simply paint over the auto-generated mask for the chosen hue.
Band-Pass creates a mask focused on the edges of an image. Serif says this has many uses for retouchers working on different frequency layers, but also allows for the creation of what he calls artistic effects.
Editors can now hide specific brightness ranges in Affinity Photo 2. For example, they can hide specific ranges of highlights or shadows (or anything in between) to apply controlled adjustments to those areas .
Saved Layer States
Affinity Photo 2 now supports saved layer states, allowing editors to save different visibility states of their layer stack to quickly review different design options or versions of their work.
“Either create a manual layer state to save your layer’s visibility as it currently is, or smart layer states that allow you to specify whether you want to turn layers on or off based on one or more of the criteria filters: layer color tag, layer type, layer name, and lock state,” Serif explains.
JPEG XL Import/Export
Finally, Affinity Photo 2 now supports JPEG XL, which allows editors to export to an increasingly supported format, especially on web browsers, for wide color gamut and HDR images. This format is also supported by some HDR displays.
Affinity Photo 2 is also supported on iPad, optimized to take advantage of the increased memory limits available since iPadOS 15. iPadOS 16 users will also get the added benefit of the new Virtual Memory Swap which dramatically increases performance on very large documents.
Additionally, all Serif Affinity apps have a new Command Controller Radial Menu that gives quick access to common modifiers across all tools and a Quick Menu, which gives quick access to clipboard options and nine shortcut operations customizable with a three-finger swipe. Finally, a new compact mode for layers and the brushes panel allows editors to keep these panels open while maximizing document space.
Price and availability
Serif Affinity Photo 2 can be purchased on its own for $70 (currently reduced to $41) and $20 for the iPad app (currently reduced to $12). It’s also available as part of a three-pack with Publisher 2 and Designer 2 for $170 with a universal license. This universal license also allows you to bundle Affinity Photo 2, Affinity Designer 2, and Affinity Publisher 2 for use on Mac, PC, and iPad together for one all-inclusive fee.
At launch, this pack is discounted by 40%, making the entire $100 universal license package subscription-free. Serif did not mention how long he would be offering this discount. All purchase options are available on the Serif website.
Picture credits: Serif
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