Serif has launched its Version 1.9 update of the Affinity suite of apps, which includes the Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo. This free update brings multiple enhancements, including live liquify, RAW improvements, and GPU acceleration for Windows machines.
There are a lot of enhancements to the software launching as part of Version 1.9, but below you’ll find a list of the most pertinent updates that relate specifically to the needs of photographers.
Affinity says to expect performance improvements, that are particularly noticeable when working with large complex vector documents in all apps. Speaking of performance enhancements, Windows users are getting the ability to use hardware acceleration just like the macOS (which were also updated to be optimized with the latest Apple M1 chip) and iPad versions of the app. Windows users can experience these large performance boosts too with up to 10x faster performance on pixel-based tasks like filter effects, adjustments, and painting. GPU acceleration requires Windows 10 (April 2020 update or later) with a Direct3D feature level 12.0 capable card.
There is also a new live liquify layer feature, which allows liquify operations to be done non-destructively or applied over the top of a set of layers rather than just on a single-pixel layer.
Affinity is also seeing improvements to its RAW engine. The company has added the SerifLabs RAW engine to Affinity Photo for iPad to ensure consistency between how RAW files are developed on desktop and iPad. This allows for better noise reduction and manual lens corrections, and also gives more cropping flexibility. Affinity has also updated its library to support the latest cameras.
The new Divide Blend mode has been added which Affinity says opens up creative and practical techniques like correcting color casts, enhancing infrared imagery, and augmenting live filters. Additionally, you can now edit spare channels as layers. Previously, there wasn’t a direct way to edit the content of a spare channel, but now you can isolate, edit and duplicate spare channels.
Desktop users gain access to studio presets for the UI layout and numeric field controls for curves. You can now save your favorite workspace setups for different tasks and easily switch between them. The curves adjustment now gives X and Y readout values for each node on the graph, allowing you to make incredibly precise numeric adjustments.
Affinity also now has a built-in benchmarking tool. The new benchmarking option lets you run a series of vector and raster operations to measure the speed of your device. Separate CPU and GPU tests are performed, giving you a clearer idea of how they will both contribute to performance as you work.
These improvements really only scratch the surface of the total number of improvements Serif has added to Affinity Photo. It’s a huge update, and considering it’s free makes it seem particularly gargantuan. You can read the full list of improvements to the software here, and if you haven’t yet tried Affinity Photo you can get it for $25 for Mac, Windows, and iPad here.