Affinity Photo on Linux/ Who would pay Poll

I would like to get some information how Affinity Photo compares to FOSS programs. I personally prefer to use FOSS whenever possible. However, if a proprietary program is highly superior, I would consider to buy it. At the moment I have no need to look for other image editing software. But you never know, maybe I am missing some great new features? I looked at the Affinity Photo web site but I would prefer information coming from first hand users.

So could @Stephen_Egts or any others knowing the program shed some light on this matter?

I’d purchase it to support the linux support, but likely would continue to use darktable

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Hey Thomas! Like you, I prefer to use FOSS software whenever possible. I’ve been switching between multiple programs based on what processes are required for the work. Dark Table is outstanding for image correction. I’ve always liked to use Photoshop for compositing and complex editing. I have started to use other software like Gimp and Affinity Photo.

Where Affinity Photo excels is that it’s built from scratch and was originally slated to be an iOS app. The developers had a goal from the beginning to create a robust experience while also keeping the app light weight. The program work well on computers with lighter-weight specks. For me, the masking is fantastic. Like all software, there is a learning curve. And what I found from using Affinity Designer was that at first I was making direct comparisons between Designer and other vector software before I understood how the app worked. One of the best things that helped me understand the power of the software was reading Affinity’s Workbooks. They’re written by artists and they take you step-by-step through a project so that you can learn the basic concepts of workflow in the app.

There are tons of Affinity videos on Vimeo. You can see how the app works. I hope this helps :slight_smile:

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@Stephen_Egts Thank you very much for your detailed assessments. That certainly helps!

oh, boy. there is NO serious, professional alternative to the affinity products for linux. how can´t it be a fabulous opportunity to get the whole market and establish the standard for graphics software on a growing plattform, that many modern and creative people use / want to use.

in my experience one of the main reasons why linux does not grow above a certain market share is that there is no competent graphics/creative software. so the current linux market could grow just by the fact that there is very, very good software available.

After looking here:

and here:

I have two questions:

  1. Which specific editing operations does Affinity offer that isn’t also offered by one or many free/libre editing applications such as GIMP, RawTherapee, darktable, PhotoFlow, etc?

  2. Given any specific editing operation that is offered by Affinity and also by one or many free/libre imaing applications, in what specific ways is the Affinity operation better than the equivalent operation as offered by free/libre applications?


For most of the people I know answer is :slight_smile: :

This particular baby duck (meaning me, Elle Stone) thoroughly imprinted on Windows and Corel, then Windows and PhotoShop because Corel only offered 8-bit editing and a very limited LAB gamut.

Now I’m using Linux and free/libre editing applications. I prefer the free/libre editing applications. Of course I’m comparing free/libre editing applications in their current state to Windows and PhotoShop from circa 2006. So let’s hope Windows and PhotoShop have improved in the meantime.

But we aren’t talking about Windows and PhotoShop in this thread. We are discussing Affinity Photo. So again, what is better about Affinity Photo? I’m asking about specific differences, not “ad speak” generalities.

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Refine edges selection, I guess. RAW editing softwares naturally have non-destructive editing, so we’ll be looking at generic image editing software. Non-destructive editing in the form of adjustment masks, and adjustment layers do exist in Affinity Photo along with non-destructive RAW layers+non-destructive transformation masks, and smart object. We currently do not have a all-in-one generic purpose software that are on the level of 3-4 commercial-grade softwares and if you look at features of Affinity Photo, it is clear that it is much better than any generic image editors offered by open source softwares, and Affinity Photo does not suffer from speed issues compared with any generic image editors found in open source.

The best you can have is a combination of GIMP, Krita, and RawTherapee to match the power of Affinity Photo, but even so, GIMP and Krita has their series of issues. Krita do offer features that are only usually seen in Photoshop and Affinity Photo and with the bonus of supporting clone layers (Non-destructive editing (Adjustment layer, adjustment mask (This is like adjustment layers, but in the form of smart filter) , transform mask, smart objects, clone layers) , LAB support, CMYK support, proper color management. GIMP has the bonus of lch support, but still missing some super interesting features found in Krita and pro-grade softwares. Krita lacks lch support, and a good amount of filters.

Feature list of Affinify Photo -

Looking at feature lists is one thing. Actually using the software and seeing what it’s really capable of doing is quite another, sadly. So feature lists are nice, but not definitive. As a stupid example, I looked at Cinepaint feature list a long time ago and thought “Oh, great, that can replace PhotoShop and in the process avoid some issues with PhotoShop processing”, but that turned out to be laughably wrong.

As far as free/libre software not having an all-in-one generic software that’s as convenient as for example PhotoShop creative suite for photographers, IMHO this is a true statement. I qualified “for photographers” because it seems many digital artists prefer Krita not only because it’s free (in either or both senses of the word) but because it meets their needs better.

From my perspective, from the point of view of my own workflow using GIMP as my primary image editor:

  • I don’t care that GIMP doesn’t have its own built-in raw processor. Even when still using Windows, the ACR raw processor just wasn’t as good as other raw processors. But I don’t have a high-volume workflow, which makes switching between programs considerably easier than it is for photographers who must meet deadlines and churn out many images all at once.

  • GIMP lacks adjustment layers and for me this is a drawback that makes editing considerably more difficult. I never used a version of PhotoShop with the smart layers, so I don’t know what I’m missing.

  • GIMP color management still has issues - LAB editing is rudimentary at best. CMYK is missing. There are color space “TRC” errors in decomposing to LAB/LCh or extracting LAB/LCh channels. Support for “any rgb and any trc” is missing though “any rgb” is in progress - I currently use multiple prefixes to work around this “any rgb” issue, which is not an option for a high-volume photographer or someone who doesn’t know how to modify and compile software.

  • GIMP lacks the ability to easily record individual import/editing/export/etc steps in some equivalent of PhotoShop macros, and this is something that’s very important for high-volume output and also for less volume-intense users.

  • GIMP has excellent LCh support, which I use all the time. I’d use Krita considerably more often than I do if it also had LCh support. But GIMP totally lacks CIECAM02, which fortunately RawTherapee has a wonderful CIECAM02 module.

  • GIMP lacks fourier-based algorithms such as lens blur, which fortunately Krita offers.

Hmm, wow. I think I just made a case for Affinity, if it really is as all-encompassing and high quality in terms of editing algorithm output as it presents itself, and if one really does need the convenience of an “all in one one-stop-shopping” image editor. In other words, if it’s as good as or better than PhotoShop and at an affordable price, and putting considerations of “free as in free speech” to one side as perhaps not that compelling to may people.

But I’ve never had a workflow that demanded the convenience of using a single application. And as time goes on I find I do value using “free as in free speech” software.

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Hello everyone

Great discussion indeed: THANKS a lot for all your comments so far :slight_smile:

As far as I am concerned, I only try to work with open source softwares: Gimp - RawTherapee, in particular.
In the long past, at work, I have worked with Photophop (version 8).
To be entirely correct, I still work on Windows 10, which, of course, is not open source (and yes, I do have tried Linux several times in the past…).

As regards Affinity photo its price tag is extremely alluring: no wonder many users are praising it!
On top of that, as soon as you buy it, it is yours for ever: no need no subscribe to anything any further (e.g. Adobe stuff).
The list of features it sports is surely quite impressive…
As already mentionend in this thread, compared to Gimp - Krita, for instance, Affinity Photo allows you to record macro. You can also do photo stacking with Affinity (see Hugin, Enfuse etc for these open source options).
It is indeed not surprising many users are buying this software right now…

I am not at all completely persuaded that Photoshop - Affinity strength - appeal is mostly related to their all-in-one package.
In my experience, when you are a professional photographer you usually work with Photoshop but for many specific tasks you might need to work with other commercial softwares as well.
I have always read Capture One is the best on Windows for tethering your camera. Lightroom has this feature as well but it is not entirely on par with Capture One.
The same applies to photo stacking. Photoshop has this features too but I have always read it is not usually judged on par with Zerene stacker or Helicon.

In my opinion, most “informed users” do not want to switch to open source software for many important reasons:
Lack of good professional documentation: video tutorials, books etc.
Important missing features for PROs: e.g. tethering with your camera, stacking features for macros, CMYK, LAB, macro recording etc.
Lack of professional - commercial support.
Most photographers work on Windows - Mac, whereas the open source softwares are usually developed on Linux.
Just think at Darktable which has been ported to Windows only last year.
Krita is missing some features on Mac.
The Gimp GUIs is supposed to really improve on Windows only with the next 3.0 version, through the GTK 3 toolkit (e.g. thanks to the better tablet support on Windows).
Features available BUT not on par with the commercial ones.
Lately, I have worked with the Free selection tool (lasso) with Gimp 2.10.6 and it was a real pain compared to my old experience with Photoshop…
Drivers are not on par with the sames on Windows - Mac (e.g. the Wacom for tablets are sometimes more buggy on Linux or difficult to set up properly).
Most important of all, in my opinion, most photographers do not want to risk their precious business “only” to save some money thanks to the open source softwares…
TIME IS MONEY: therefore, you do not want to start- learn from scratch your professional workflows : e.g. learn new different shortcuts; new places in the GUIs where you look for you preferred tool, etc etc.

In my view, it is only in these recent years that the overall quality of open source has really improved.
I am thinking of Gimp 2.10.x, for instance. The 2.8.x versions were good but they were strictly related to jpeg (8 bit stuff). The 2.6.x versions were weird with all their floating windows :slight_smile:
Krita is extremely powerful right now but it was quite buggy in the past: e.g. for the text tool, the G’MIC support, the vectors options (through Karbon). Its new text tool is quite still annoying right now though…

Just my 2 cents and sorry for the looong rambling…

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My comments are based on my observations. I don’t have much experience with apps and development.

I don’t think that there is such a thing as an all-in-one piece of software even in the commercial world. This is a generalization of course. However, if you look at any software company, chances are that you would have a litany of offerings.

Say, for example, Adobe. Look how many apps it has in total (I bet most of us don’t know most of them, except for the popular ones)! No app does it all. Very likely, you would need at least Photoshop and Lightroom to do the job. Same with Illustrator and InDesign. I find that I would need both, not one or the other. Making features missing in one app and available in another partly has to do with getting the customer to spend more money (before Adobe turned to the subscription model). It also has to do with keeping software development and quality control manageable.

Oh, the subscription model. The app world is moving in that direction. Something to do with job security… Lots of other industries do that and are quite successful, although the poorer customers are worse off due to having to pay the constant upkeep, along with their normal bills. It does have its benefits, like addressing the problem of having to cripple software to entice more purchases. Adobe customers don’t have to deal with that any more, though there are subscription tiers.

This model of course was a big turn-off for many customers who proceeded to migrate to other software ecosystems. I think that is why Affinity means something to many people. In certain respects, FLOSS software, even though they have their own issues, are not hostage to the issues that I described above.

Gimp and Inkscape fulfill my needs, but I’d most certainly buy a license for any Affinity product if it was available on Linux.

The thing is, I only use FOSS software but I purchase the proprietary equivalents on Linux too because you never know when you might need them.
Also, I like to use proprietary software from time to time to get familiar with the new features and practices. That way I make informed feature requests or bug reports to their FOSS alternatives. It’s a good practice I’d say, especially for that price.

I support FOSS projects via donations, just to make clear that I don’t leave out foss projects out of my monetary contributions because of the proprietary software.

What I don’t ever use is pirated software, that is a serious security risk.

I would easily pay $250 for Photo and another $250 for Designer. I publish graphic novels and comics, so CMYK is a must for me, and the Affinity products give me great (albeit not 100% but damn close) compatibility with Adobe file formats, but without having to purchase an expensive subscription - also, if I need to view files on the go or do minor edits, I can use their great iPad apps.

I know the alternative is to use Win10/Mac, but I find owning more than 1 mac cost prohibitive, and Windows 10 has become to slow, insecure, and distracting - popups for updates, system issues etc… sometimes I just want to get work done, and for me Ubuntu is perfect for this.

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One thing that AP can definitely do better is focus stacking. Panorama is different. I recently did a comparison between Hugin, AP and Ps with a huge panorama composed of 28 shots - AP was the winner, although its results are worse when it comes to smaller panoramas. Hugin could not build the panorama in original size.
AP is also very good at large color spaces.
But there are also functions that AP “copied” form e.g. darktable.
Well, one could maybe say that AP is the leading photo app these days… I personally only use it for focus stacking, i.e. hardly ever. But I kind of like to have it. Sometimes I do the same task with several programs and then compare the result.
I think the developers of AP are watching the open source apps like a hawk because that’s where the new ideas come from.

I see I am the last person who commented this thread. Nevertheless I want to try to revive it.

Apparently Affinity Photo is becoming more and more interesting for “pros”, e.g. advertising agencies. MS Office for Linux is already partly available (btw: it is an interesting coincidence that Teams for Linux was released days before the Corona crisis). MS might swallow Ubuntu…
This poll shows clearly that there is interest in Affinity Photo for Linux
Although I would clearly prefer some long awaited important new features in GIMP, but are those coming ever?
Might this depend on MS and Canonical?

I’m actually working on adding guided selection on Krita to make it closer to Photoshop/Affinity. And then, I might work either on adding LCH Blending Mode and/or filters to make it better. I have added several blending modes, symmetric difference selection mode, and gaussian high pass filter.


I currently print with Affinity Photo in a Windows 10 virtual machine from Linux. Because printer drivers for photo printing on my Epson XP-8500 are still miles ahead on Windows compared to Linux.

Now if only there was a VM software that was faster than a snail with broken legs on a 4K screen…

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Nooooooo! Say it isn’t so! :wink:
Actually, most of what I read suggested that M$ is unlikely to believe that Canonical has enough to offer.

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Well, of course it’s just speculation so far but… it looks like MS is abandoning Windows because it’s not profitable enough. They still can make money with Office though. Office for Linux (both deb and rpm) is definitely coming. Windows will still be around for some years. Well, time flies…