Affinity Designer (iOS) review: A must download

    What’s Affinity Designer?

    Serif’s Affinity Designer is a vector artwork app with excessive aspirations. It goals to entice inventive professionals resembling vector artists and brand designers away from Adobe’s ruling Illustrator, with an insanely low RRP and superior cross-platform performance that allows you to simply work on initiatives throughout iOS and macOS.

    With a wonderful function set and splendidly optimised help for the Apple iPad Pro and Apple iPad Pencil, for those who’re a vector artist who usually works on the go, Affinity Designer is a no brainer buy. A couple of niggling points and lacking options cease it from being an Illustrator killer on the desktop, nonetheless.

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    Affinity Designer – Instruments and UI

    The Affinity Designer UI is pretty easy in comparison with Adobe Illustrator, however is markedly extra in-depth than competing iOS inventive suites resembling Procreate.

    The app is cut up into two ‘Personas’. You possibly can swap between them utilizing controls which are conveniently positioned on the prime of the UI. The primary grants you entry to the Vector Persona, whereas the second opens its pixel-editing instruments.

    The setup makes the app really feel like a midway home between Photoshop and Illustrator at first, however after some time it grew on me.

    The addition of vector instruments is a specific bonus for iPad customers. For non-creatives, vector artwork may be very totally different to the BMP file codecs and initiatives you’ll work on in software program resembling Photoshop.

    Vector graphics are product of particular person paths and objects, composed of quite a lot of totally different shapes. In contrast to BMP/raster pictures, that are constructed of particular person pixels, they’re infinitely scalable and don’t lose high quality whenever you blow them up or zoom in on particular areas.

    The function set on provide is severely spectacular. Opening the Vector Persona, Illustrator and desktop Affinity Designer customers shall be handled to an immediately acquainted set of instruments and choices. These embody the staple Pen software plus a helpful vector brush that allows you to create customized paths. Additionally current is a helpful choice of dwell shapes, which you need to use to create frequent objects on the fly.

    The customisation choices on faucet are glorious, and after creating an object you’ll be met with the usual controls you’d anticipate. Every level – or ‘node’ because it’s known as within the app – could be manually manipulated to extend its brush measurement, curvature, angle or color. There’s additionally a helpful Fill software and a wealth of pre-made brushes and results that make it fast and straightforward to create airbrush or particular marks within the Vector Persona.

    The one notable absence is a vector eraser. The Eraser software is one in all Illustrator’s greatest options and makes cleansing up vector line work considerably simpler than it’s in Affinity Designer. The one means you possibly can delete stray overlapping traces is to delete a node or resize it, until you soar into the Pixel mode and use its Eraser software, which is able to trigger some rasterisation.

    The Pixel Persona is pretty spectacular, and for probably the most half is on a par with Procreate for fundamental doodling. You get a slathering of brush, eraser, smudge, paint bucket and choice instruments, plus a good layer of adjustment and filter choices. Though, being blunt, for those who simply need to do raster work then Serif’s Affinity Picture apps are a bit extra intuitive and have a extra developed function set. In the event you’re a real noob, then Procreate is considerably extra person pleasant and straightforward to make use of, though it has a radically decreased function set.

    For probably the most half, I discovered myself simply utilizing the Pixel Persona to do tough sketches that I then labored over within the vector mode.

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    Affinity Designer – What it’s like to make use of

    So far as usability goes, for probably the most half the app is great (examined on the Apple iPad Professional 10.5-inch). Utilizing the Apple Pencil, the app labored a deal with. That includes a pressure-sensitivity management, it’s super-easy to set every software to reply precisely as you need.

    The home windows and cord stabilisers make the pen notably helpful when doing fundamental vector line work or creating customized dwell objects. Personally, I discovered the iPad a bit small when enhancing particular nodes in paths; I frequently needed to pinch to zoom. As such, extra hardcore artists or designers would probably be higher off investing within the bigger 12.9-inch Professional. Contemplating how straightforward it’s emigrate any mission from Affinity Designer to the desktop Designer app, or Illustrator utilizing iCloud, that is hardly a deal-breaker.

    I’m additionally a giant fan of the truth that in addition to adjusting objects resembling thickness and bleed, you may also change hues and colors utilizing various pressures in Affinity Designer. This shall be massively helpful for brand designers and typographers.

    My solely concern when it comes to the app’s usability stem from the contact controls’ lack of customisability. The app is chock-full of helpful contact shortcuts. These embody fundamental timesavers resembling pinch to zoom and double faucet to undo an motion, to extra specialist ones resembling turning a single node into a pointy nook utilizing a single-finger maintain.

    The options work properly when you study them, which is straightforward in case you have the time to reap the benefits of Serif’s spectacular library of on-line video tutorials. However I can’t assist however want I had the choice to arrange customized shortcuts higher suited to my particular workflow. The power to do that on the Wacom Cintiq or the Mobile Studio Pro utilizing Categorical Keys is a key promoting level for the units – though, contemplating how rather more costly they’re, it once more isn’t a deal breaker.

    Why purchase Affinity Designer?

    Regardless of a few niggling flaws, it’s exhausting to recover from the truth that Affinity Design prices a meagre £13.99 proper now. The actual fact I’m evaluating it to Adobe software program, which is ridiculously costlier, speaks volumes about how good it’s.

    The app encompasses a aggressive function set and, on iOS, is likely one of the solely viable choices for vector artists. Even for those who’re an Illustrator person on the desktop, or for those who’re looking out for a cellular work station and personal an iPad, I can’t consider a greater app to strive than Affinity Designer.

    In the event you’re a fundamental digital painter or photographer who primarily works in conventional pixel/raster codecs then Procreate is simpler to make use of. However observe that it does have a extra stripped-down function set. Serif’s Affinity Picture can also be – on paper, not less than – a reasonably alluring different. Nevertheless, we’re but to check it and so can’t sensibly touch upon its efficiency in the mean time.


    At this value, you’d be silly to not give Affinity Designer a strive.

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