Will I survive a switch from Adobe to Affinity?
July 28, 2019 7:08 PM   Subscribe

My company just announced we are dumping Adobe (for which we all had licenses for their complete suite of products) to Affinity (with licenses for the basic InDesign Illustrator/Photoshop equivalents). Aside from losing all the fun, free ability to play with all those other Adobe apps, I am concerned about a) transitioning learning curve (I have accreted Photoshop and related Adobe knowledge in a haphazard way since Photoshop entered the Windows world), b) using plugins, macros etc I have accumulated and c) working with our many clients and consultants who are firmly rooted in the Adobe world. Should I be concerned?
posted by skyscraper to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you share your files with other agencies and printers? If so, I’d be terribly concerned. I’m a print graphic designer and have no idea what Affinity even is. (I mean, I just googled it, but haven’t heard of it before.) Normally I wouldn’t answer when I have this kind of ignorance but as someone who handles Adobe files in her work every single day and works with a wide variety of vendors who touch those files, Adobe is the standard and it would be death to my business to switch to another software. I send files to vendors constantly and have done so for a decade and there’s a set of standard file types that has never deviated. Occasionally when I first started I’d get a CorelDraw or Quark request but it’s been at least 8 years. Can Affinity export files that can be opened in the Adobe equivalent? Do things get messed up in that conversion?

And more than that, I rely heavily on Adobe workflows ingrained in me for so long I don’t even know how to quantify what it would do to learn new shortcuts, workflows, and lose the powerful tools I assume a cheap software wouldn’t have built in. I personally love the CC model because I find the frequent updates have included some seriously powerful time savers. Do you feel like the loss in productivity will be a problem?

If you can provide more details about what your company does and what you do with the existing Adobe suite of products it should be helpful for more targeted answers. My perspective as a print designer may not be as relevant to you.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 8:46 PM on July 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

We're a large architectural firm. Power users (mostly production staff, not me) will be allowed to keep Adobe licenses. The thing is that I somehow, when things need to go out the door and no one else is around, end up fine tuning imagery (Photoshop), deliverable report text/imagery formatting (InDesign) and using Illustrator to grab stuff in weird file types.

I guess I was mostly wondering if Affinity is a widely used, robust, inter-operable suite that I can seamlessly transition to and easily interact with Adobe users or it's something our accountants found in a Cracker Jack box and I shouldn't expect to contribute in generating professional product with my Adobe-using staff.
posted by skyscraper at 9:18 PM on July 28, 2019

I work in the photo & print industry and I have never heard of Affinity.
posted by bradbane at 9:59 PM on July 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Well, I actually have used Affinity, so can talk about interoperability etc. Take heart!

Affinity Photo can mostly do most of the things photoshop can do, in mostly the same ways. It can do a few things photoshop can't, and vice versa. It's not perfect, nor is it a 1:1 replacement.

It can inport/export to psd, tiff, etc. And Affinity Designer can export ai files etc.

I can't really talk to designer, but Affinity Photo was built pretty much with people like you in mind, so you will find a lot of the menu structures etc are as similar as they can be to photoshop without infringing copyright. They also have a pretty decent support website with lots of tutorials and active forums.

Without knowing exactly what you do with photoshop, I'd say 80% of it will transfer to affinity with little difficulty. The remaining 20% will either have workarounds that are okay, or be impossible/inferior.

It may not be a huge deal I'd give the program a shot, and see how you go.
posted by smoke at 11:24 PM on July 28, 2019 [7 favorites]

To answer the question in your follow up, it's a professional, robust product, fully capable of delivering professional results, made by a real company and its the primary product of that company.

It's fully supported and regularly updated. It's not one of those dodgy rip off programs that are crap underneath and aimed at cheap suckers.
posted by smoke at 11:27 PM on July 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

The company behind Affinity, Serif, started making DTP software just before Photoshop was released. For the past 15+ years their business model has been to sell their previous version at a very steep discount then try to get you to upgrade.
Biggest thing missing in Designer is autotrace.
posted by Sophont at 11:37 PM on July 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

Affinity Publisher only had its first non-beta release a few weeks ago. It is nowhere near as feature-complete as inDesign. The biggest feature that is missing right now is right-to-left text; if you need that, then it's a showstopper.

But yes, it is mostly capable of delivering results as good as Adobe, and the suite is perhaps even better integrated than Photoshop/InDesign/Illustrator. We can’t tell you how big a disruption to your workflow it will be. It could take you weeks or months to get used to Affinity. I personally found some parts Affinity Photo to be maddeningly counter-intuitive for the longest time. But I’m happy with it, especially since I’m the one who is paying for it, and I’m saving a huge amount of money vs Adobe.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:21 AM on July 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Affinity Photo is popular among the sole proprietorship level professional photographers I know because it's pretty full featured and it costs less than six months of Photoshop for a permanent license. Also Serif hasn't sent C&D letters to it's older customers threatening legal action1.

A convertible full featured Affinity Photo trial is available if you'd like to give it a whirl.

1I know that is a gross simplification of Adobe's actions but that is the perception
posted by Mitheral at 12:50 PM on July 29, 2019

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