Affinity Pro vs. Acorn for a webcomic artist getting back in the game?
June 1, 2016 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend - the last time they did webcomics, it was on a free version of Photoshop Elements that came with their multi-function printer. They would sketch on paper and scan and work miracles in Elements in Windows XP. They're now on a Mac, and many years have passed, and Photoshop Elements is kinda pricey compared to the competition and looks and acts weird compared to what they're used to. What now?

They have a second-hand Wacom drawing tablet now, and it's very nice, and Krita does insane, bizarre things with zoom whenever the stylus approaches the tablet, and it's not a very Mac-like program, and it's a non-starter.

There are two Photoshop clones on the Mac that get a lot of buzz for being newb friendly - Affinity Pro and Acorn. This is NOT a tech-immersed person, the simpler the better. They will be sketching on a tablet, and then fleshing that out into inked and shaded and colored art. They want the nerdy tools to get out of the way of that process. They don't want to dump $100 into Elements if something is more powerful and easier to master that costs less. Signs point to Affinity Pro or Acorn. Better suggestions? Or how to stop Krita 3.1 from doing that zoom thing? Plz?
posted by Slap*Happy to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Manga Studio or Sketchbook Pro are both exactly for comics and optimized for a stylus. And Manga Studio constantly goes on ridiculous sale. Both have free trials to let your friend play around and see what works.

I have access to Adobe Creative Suite, but I end up using those programs instead because they're designed for comic-makers and styli(?). (I use Sketchbook Pro for lots of drawing on screen, Manga for multi-panel stuff.)
posted by Gucky at 7:41 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a very entry-level sort of thing, I have done some things I'm happy with in MyPaint with basic Wacom hardware. I picked it up because it was readily available on GNU/Linux systems, and I didn't expect to get anywhere with it, but I keep going back for some reason. There's a bit of hidden depth to the interface, and despite lacking some pretty basic features there's something really pleasant about using it. Probably best in combination with some editing-oriented tool, and I'd suggest working big and saving "scraps" frequently, but it might just be worth a try.
posted by brennen at 9:14 PM on June 1, 2016

Best answer: Are you talking about Affinity Designer when you say Affinity Pro?

Because that's what I use and so far I love it. I think Manga Studio (now Clip Studio) has some features that Affinity Designer lacks but when I tried the free trial it felt a little clunky to me. I dunno. I just really loved Affinity designer. I may give Clip Studio another trial shot if I really feel like I'm missing something or need their larger program.

Affinity designer is great and has export options for Photoshop. I've done entire things including painting with just Affinity Designer and it's pretty easy to learn. There's also lots of video tutorials on their website and around the web. You have a vector layout and a pixel (or painting) layout that you switch between. My work is linked in my profile (etsy/instagram) and I primarily use Affinity for anything at all line-work related though I have some things that were photoshop only.

Also, Photoshop is $10/month with the photography plan if they want to keep that on hand. There are certain things that are better/faster in photoshop for what I do.

But yes, download both and try them.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:07 PM on June 1, 2016

If your friend wants to use a program that feels a little closer to Photoshop, I've had an extremely good experience with Pixelmator.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:23 PM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I use Affinity Designer as well. I love love love love love it. But it's not the same type of tool as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. It's more of in the niche of Illustrator, though probably a little lower-powered, but also IMO WAY easier to learn and use. They also have a tool called Affinity Photo, which I've tried out but don't really love. But I haven't used it that much yet. Maybe the problem is that I never really "got" Illustrator, but I totally used the hell out of Photoshop for like 15 years and so I'm calibrated wrong.
posted by aubilenon at 10:51 PM on June 1, 2016

Best answer: Clip Studio Paint 5 (formerly Manga Studio 5) is affordable, versatile, and designed for comics. It'll get as nerdy as you want to get, or it can be very simple and hide its entire interface so you can just draw. It goes on sale for about $50, sometimes even less. Highly recommended.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:57 AM on June 2, 2016

How To Download Adobe Photoshop CS2 For Free Legally

This is a ten year old version but it works great - although it requires an older version of the Mac operating system - may be worth putting an older version of Mac operating system on one laptop just to take advantage of this? Or go back to a PC - I am running this CS2 on a PC with the latest operating system.
posted by cda at 10:21 AM on June 2, 2016

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