What is Affinity Designer?
Serif & # 39; s Affinity Designer is a vector art application with great aspirations. Its goal is to attract creative professionals, such as vector artists and logo designers, away from Adobe illustrator Illustrator, with an insanely low RRP and advanced multiplatform functionality that allows you to easily work on projects in iOS and macOS.
With an excellent feature set and wonderfully optimized support for Apple iPad Pro and Apple iPad Pencil, if you're a vector artist who often works on the go, Affinity Designer is an easy purchase. However, some annoying problems and missing features prevent it from being an Illustrator killer on the desktop.
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Affinity Designer – Tools and UI
Affinity The user interface of Designer is quite simple compared to Adobe Illustrator, but it is notably deeper than the competing iOS creative suites like Procreate.
The application is divided into two & # 39; People & # 39 ;. You can alternate between them using controls that are conveniently located at the top of the UI. The first grants access to Vector Persona, while the second opens its pixel editing tools.
The configuration makes the application look like an intermediate house between Photoshop and Illustrator at first, but after a while it grew on me.  The addition of vector tools is a special advantage for iPad users. For non-creative creatives, vector art is very different from the BMP file formats and the projects in which you will work in software such as Photoshop.
Vector graphics are composed of individual routes and objects, composed of a variety of different forms. Unlike BMP / raster images, which are composed of individual pixels, they are infinitely scalable and do not lose quality when you exploit them or approach specific areas.
The feature set is really impressive. By opening Vector Persona, Illustrator and the desktop, Affinity Designer users will receive a set of instantly familiar tools and options. These include the Basic Pen tool plus a useful vector brush that allows you to create custom routes. A useful selection of live forms is also present, which you can use to create common objects on the fly.
The touch customization options are excellent and, after creating an object, you will encounter the standard controls you would expect every point, or & # 39; node & # 39; As it is called in the application, it can be manipulated manually to increase the size, curvature, angle or color of the brushes. There is also a useful filling tool and a large number of brushes and prefabricated effects that make it easy and quick to create airbrushes or specific marks on Vector Person.
The only notable absence is a vector draft. The Eraser tool is one of the best features of Illustrator and makes the cleanup of the vector line work much easier than in the Affinity Designer. The only way to eliminate overlapping parasitic lines is to delete a node or change its size, unless it jumps to pixel mode and uses its Eraser tool, which will cause a rasterization.
Pixel Persona is pretty impressive, and for the most part it's on a par with Procreate for basic squiggles. You get a brush slathering, eraser, stain, paint bucket and selection tools, plus a decent layer of adjustment and filter options. Although, being direct, if you just want to do a plot work, Serif's Affinity Photo applications are a bit more intuitive and have a more developed set of features. If you are a true newbie, then Procreate is significantly easier to use and easier to use, although it has a radically reduced feature set.
In general, I found myself using Pixel Persona to make rough sketches that I then worked in vector mode.
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Affinity Designer: how to use
When it comes to usability, the application is mostly excellent (tested on the Apple iPad Pro 10.5 inches). With the Apple Pencil, the application worked. With a pressure sensitivity control, it is very easy to configure each tool so that it responds exactly as you wish.
Windows and string stabilizers make the pen particularly useful when working with basic vector lines or creating customized live objects. Personally, I found the iPad a bit small when editing specific nodes on the routes; I regularly had to pinch to zoom. As such, it is likely that the most hardcore artists or designers invest in the larger 12.9-inch Pro version. Considering how easy it is to migrate any project from Affinity Designer to the Desktop Designer application, or Illustrator using iCloud, this is hardly a decisive factor.
I am also a great admirer that also as adjustment elements, such as thickness and bleed, you can also change the colors and shades using different pressures in Affinity Designer. This will be very useful for logo designers and typographers.
My only problem in terms of the usability of the application comes from the lack of customization of the touch controls. The application is full of useful tactile shortcuts. These include basic time savers, such as pinching to zoom in and touch twice to undo an action, more specialists, such as turning a single node into a sharp corner with just one finger.
Features work well once you learn them, which is easy if you have time to take advantage of Serif's impressive online video tutorials library. But I can not help but wish I had the option of setting up custom shortcuts that better fit my specific workflow. The ability to do this in Wacom Cintiq or Mobile Studio Pro using Express Keys is a key point of sale for the devices, although, considering how much more expensive they are, again it is not a decisive factor.
Why buy Affinity Designer?
Despite a couple of annoying defects, it's hard to get over the fact that Affinity Design costs a meager £ 13.99 right now. The mere fact that I compare it with Adobe's software, which is ridiculously more expensive, says a lot about how good it is.
The application presents a set of competitive features and, in iOS, is one of the only viable options for the vector artists. Even if you are an Illustrator user on the desktop, or if you are looking for a mobile workstation and own an iPad, I can not think of a better application to prove that Affinity Designer.
If You are a basic digital painter or photographer working primarily in traditional pixel / plot formats, then Procreate is easier to use. But keep in mind that it has a more stripped-down feature set. Affinity Photo by Serif is also, on paper, at least, a very attractive alternative. However, we still have to prove it and, therefore, we can not comment sensibly on its performance at this time.
At this price, it would be stupid not to try the Affinity Designer.
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