Affinity Photo released: First look at contender for Photoshop's crown

Released today, Serif's creative Mac app hopes to emulate success of Affinity Designer

Serif has released the full version of Affinity Photo, now available on the Mac App Store at a special introductory price.

Affinity Photo is the second in Serif’s line of professional creative software for the Mac, with an eye on the lucrative professional photo editing market.

Stablemate Affinity Designer was launched in October last year and has enjoyed some success, culminating in receiving an Apple Design Award last month.

“The whole ethos around the Affinity range is producing incredibly fast, sophisticated tools that are focused to provide a productive workflow for creative and photography professionals” said Serif's managing director Ashley Hewson. “We want to create game changing products, and we believe that Affinity Photo truly is a revolutionary photo editor”.

The app (currently £29.99/ $39.99 / €39.99) includes high-end capabilities such as RAW processing, PSD import and export, 16-bits per channel editing, and ICC colour management.

It was originally launched as a beta in February, prompting over 230,000 downloads.

“One of the things we take really seriously is listening to our users,” said head of Affinity development Tony Brightman.

“The beta period has been invaluable to us. We’ve worked round the clock implementing the features and making the improvements the community has been asking for.”

The application has been optimised for Yosemite and retina 5K iMacs, with task-focused workspaces (personas) and and a multi-document, tabbed, panel interface.

It also runs on Lion and newer OS X versions.

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The release version of the app features camera lens and exposure corrections, accurate adjustments, live filter layers, high-end controls for channels and masks, advanced layer handling, and built-infrequency separation editing.

Serif claims that nearly everything in the app happens live, in real time, as you work.

“The performance of the product is what we are most proud of,” said Brightman. “We take full advantage of all the latest Apple technologies like OpenGL, Grand Central Dispatchand Core Graphics."

Brightman continued, "What this means to the user is whether it’s a 100 megapixel image or a complex composition with 1000s of layers, you can still pan and zoom at 60fps and see live views of all adjustments, brushes, blend modes and filters with no compromise."

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Layer effects,  filter layers, adjustment layers and blend modes are all 'live'.

Photoshop PSD files can be opened, edited and saved, with layers, adjustments, effects, text, and EXIF preserved.

There's also support for CMYK output, while users can export whole documents, layers or custom regions.

The range of colour and lighting tools include full 16-bit per channel colour depth support, with the full set of live filters included.

It also offers a full size colour chooser, ICC colour profiles support, support for Adobe Swatch Exchange files and Apple system palettes and colour picker, as well as LAB, RGB, HSL, Greyscale and Hex colour modes.

Affinity Photo is available exclusively in the Mac App Store for the special launch price until 23rd July, when it will revert to its normal price of £39.99 ($49.99 / €49.99), with no subscription.

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