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Had Adobe launched InDesign in 1999 with monthly pricing, we Quark-switchers would have shelled out over $10K through today, and lose access to our work upon non-payment. Adobe is pushing many into Affinity's welcoming arms. And I really needed a hug after the cloudy years with Adobe.
 


I downloaded Affinity Publisher, hoping it might have a set of template pages that I might use for photo album pages. I really didn't find anything that was fully fleshed out enough for my needs, although if someone decided to make a bunch of template pages so it might be used as a replacement for something like iPhotos Books, I'd probably buy Publisher just for that.

But I did find an unexpected bonus (totally documented, but I had not read it at that point), and that was the ability to open and edit unprotected PDF files. I actually did have such a need, and the demo did the job for me. That was impressive and might be worth the price of admission.
 


...And I really needed a hug after the cloudy years with Adobe.
Affinity just earned a hug from me. I was noodling in Catalina with Activity Monitor in a corner and noticed that Affinity Photo actually lit up the second GPU on my 2013 Mac Pro. I have never found another app that uses it. I've never even seen the OS touch it.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... if someone decided to make a bunch of template pages so it might be used as a replacement for something like iPhotos Books, I'd probably buy Publisher just for that. But I did find an unexpected bonus (totally documented, but I had not read it at that point), and that was the ability to open and edit unprotected PDF files.
If you have an existing iPhoto book PDF (or could still make one), maybe that could serve as your template in Affinity Publisher?
 


If you have an existing iPhoto book PDF (or could still make one), maybe that could serve as your template in Affinity Publisher?
Great idea, Ric! I have a few I crafted in iPhoto then converted to individual JPEG pages which I dropped into place in one of Shutterfly's online books. I'll have to give that a try. Thanks!
 


But I did find an unexpected bonus (totally documented, but I had not read it at that point), and that was the ability to open and edit unprotected PDF files.
After seeing your post I searched for the documentation and all I found is the Affinity video tutorials. Does Affinity provide other documentation available without installing Publisher? Could you add more about this capability?
 



After seeing your post I searched for the documentation and all I found is the Affinity video tutorials. Does Affinity provide other documentation available without installing Publisher? Could you add more about this capability?
Sorry, George; I don't have anything other than what I've been reading here and some videos along with my experience playing with that pdf file.
 



I've had my first look at Affinity Designer and Photo and have been impressed, especially with Designer. It opened an Adobe Illustrator CS6 file with all layers intact, including their names, and the artwork seems to be completely editable. First time I've ever seen a program that can do that, other than Illustrator, of course.
 


So, I was interested in downloading the demo... but to do so, I must create an account with email, name, and password. Did I miss something here?
I already hold a license, so I have no need of a trial version, but your post did make me curious: I cannot see how to go about downloading a trial should I wish to recommend that someone else do so. They have scads of information about Publisher features on their site, and a rather prominent Buy Now button at the bottom, but trials are not obvious. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps they regard trials as a free "purchase" that you are making.

I do recall having to log into my account to download the Publisher beta, but I assumed that was because it was a beta.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I cannot see how to go about downloading a trial should I wish to recommend that someone else do so. They have scads of information about Publisher features on their site, and a rather prominent Buy Now button at the bottom, but trials are not obvious.
It might be worth contacting them about it, because they do have an Affinity Photo trial and one for Affinity Designer, but I don't see one for Publisher.

Oh, here's a note:
Affinity Forum said:
Affinity Publisher - Is trial available at the moment?

The trial isn't available right now, you could purchase the app and then you would have 14 days to return it for a refund if you find it isn't for you.

Thanks
Callum
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Off I went in search of such a demo.
I don't know about Barry, but I downloaded the Publisher beta, free of charge (though I had previously bought Affinity Photo). I didn't do much with the beta, but the price was so reasonable (especially on sale) that I just went ahead and purchased Publisher, too (as I'd done with Affinity Photo and Designer).
 


I just went ahead and purchased Publisher, too (as I'd done with Affinity Photo and Designer).
My experience mirrors yours, Ric, beta and all. Thanks for the clarification. Can't wait for the Publisher workbook to come out. I'll be buying that to complete the set. They say they're just getting started, but I can't imagine where they'll go next. That's a good kind of anticipation. And in this age where a sea of subscription software is now considered "normal", that's a great feeling to have.
 


I haven't noticed this mentioned anywhere else, so just in case others haven't seen it:

I'm running a Sierra Mac Mini with the current version of Affinity Photo and also using Apple Photos as my DAM.

When in Apple Photos, if I take an image and select the adjustment tab, all the usual tools come up (as would be expected). If I then select the extensions tab in the tool selector, there are 6 Affinity tools listed to use in Apple Photos, plus the option to edit the image in Affinity Photo. I've been using the Haze Reduction tool.
 


A question for those who are using Affinity Photo as a replacement for Lightroom - what are you using for a DAM? I asked Affinity about this in January 2018 and they replied they were starting to look at asset management, but it was early days and they could give no time frame for when they might offer a solution that would integrate with Affinity Photo.
 


Something missed is that we have to have the likes of Affinity apps, along with Quark and CorelDraw suite (yup... those two are still around). Otherwise, Adobe would be a monopoly.
My real worry is that someone will make an offer to Affinity for their intellectual property.
 


Re: Affinity Publisher and PDF (understanding that fill-in forms aren't magazines or newsletters):
  • What happens when a fill-in Acrobat form (e.g., 1040 form from IRS) is opened in Publisher?
  • If it is possible to create fill-in PDF forms in Affinity Publisher?
 


My real worry is that someone will make an offer to Affinity for their intellectual property.
Of course, as nothing more than a satisfied customer, I can't speak for them, but I'm not sure how likely that would be. Sure, someone could make an offer, but it doesn't mean they would necessarily accept it.

They've been around (as Serif) for a very long time, with a successful line of software. They dared to basically reinvent themselves while staying true to their legacy, trumpeting to all who will listen their distaste for subscription software. They've invested a lot of time and energy into their current trilogy and the StudioLink integration.

With all that hard work, I just don't see them wanting to sell out and walk away anytime soon.
 


Re: Affinity Publisher and PDF (understanding that fill-in forms aren't magazines or newsletters):
  • What happens when a fill-in Acrobat form (e.g., 1040 form from IRS) is opened in Publisher?
  • If it is possible to create fill-in PDF forms in Affinity Publisher?
PDFpenPro creates PDF fill-in forms with one click. It includes multiple other capabilities like digitized signatures, OCR conversion of any PDF, and digital signatures.
 


Re: Affinity Publisher and PDF…:
  • What happens when a fill-in Acrobat form (e.g., 1040 form from IRS) is opened in Publisher?
  • If it is possible to create fill-in PDF forms in Affinity Publisher?
I opened an IRS W-9 form, and all the underlying text is there. The fill-in form boxes are a hodgepodge whereby the box for items 1 and 2 is one box versus separate boxes, no check boxes, no fill-in boxes for the optional items, and the box for tax ID number is not wide enough.

Anyway, I exported the APub version to PDF, opened that in Acrobat Pro, which resulted in no fill-in fields. Then I used Acrobat's Create Form tool, which created most of the form field boxes.

In Affinity's forum, a user posed the question, Any plans for PDF form editing? to which moderator Dave Harris wrote that form creation is not a feature of the release version but might be in a future version.
 


PDFpenPro creates PDF fill-in forms with one click. It includes multiple other capabilities like digitized signatures, OCR conversion of any PDF, and digital signatures.
Is that still traditionally licensed software? I ask because the same developer had a very highly regarded text shortcut utility (TextExpander), and they decided to go subscription-only with it from version 6 onward. In my opinion, it seems like a very greedy move. Needless to say, I am no longer interested in it.

I would hate to have them pull the same switcheroo with that product as well. That has me wary and is something worth considering if, like me (and many Affinity customers), you are averse to subscription software.
 


Is that still traditionally licensed software? I ask because the same developer had a very highly regarded text shortcut utility (TextExpander), and they decided to go subscription-only with it from version 6 onward. In my opinion, it seems like a very greedy move. Needless to say, I am no longer interested in it.
No chatter about subscription switcheroo with this particular product at this point. But you never know.

From what I understand, PDFpenPro offered on the Mac App Store does not provide any type of upgrade. A new version gets released, and you have to pay full price all over again. This is a common complaint about apps in the Mac App Store.... I wonder if Apple will ever offer a solution.

If you purchase PDFpenPro directly from the developer, they do extend reasonable upgrade pricing:
 


PDFpenPro creates PDF fill-in forms with one click. It includes multiple other capabilities like digitized signatures, OCR conversion of any PDF, and digital signatures.
Thanks. When PDFPen was new, I bought a copy, filled in multiple pages of a corporate tax return using IRS-provided fill-in Acrobat PDFs, and watched in consternation as my work literally just slid off the virtual page.

When I contacted Smile Software, I learned that PDFPen (then) used the same technology as Preview, which continues now to be incompatible with Acrobat fill-in forms, at least per Adobe's site.

Given that my experience is "stale," I'm ambivalent about bringing it forward to today when I've not used PDFPen since.

Perhaps someone who's used PDFPen recently to fill a complex fill-in document created with Adobe's Acrobat can comment?
 


Is that still traditionally licensed software? I ask because the same developer had a very highly regarded text shortcut utility (TextExpander), and they decided to go subscription-only with it from version 6 onward. In my opinion, it seems like a very greedy move. Needless to say, I am no longer interested in it. I would hate to have them pull the same switcheroo with that product as well. That has me wary and is something worth considering if, like me (and many Affinity customers), you are averse to subscription software.
I upgraded version 10 of PDFPenPro that I bought in 2016 to version 11 for $30. It's still a traditional license. I also dislike subscription software. The only subscription I have is Microsoft Office for about $10/mo. It's at least reasonable for programs I use every day.
 


I upgraded version 10 of PDFPenPro that I bought in 2016 to version 11 for $30. It's still a traditional license. I also dislike subscription software. The only subscription I have is Microsoft Office for about $10/mo. It's at least reasonable for programs I use every day.
As much as I dislike subscription software, I agree with you regarding Office, especially when compared to the cost of upgrading a traditional license, and the need for compatibility, which can be... less than perfect... in the free alternatives. I will be giving Office 365 another look when 2016 ceases to receive updates. I will say that, while Microsoft is the 800 lb. gorilla of office software, they have somehow managed to keep the pricing reasonable. If they deviate from that, I will of course re-evaluate my need for such strict compatibility.

And I'll give PDFPenPro a look.
 


Perhaps someone who's used PDFPen recently to fill a complex fill-in document created with Adobe's Acrobat can comment?
I just tested a couple of IRS forms using PDFpenPro 10.2.4. Data entry proceeded as expected tabbing field to field. Data was retained upon closing the document. Opening the saved document in Acrobat Reader DC retained all data and behaved as expected. Reopening the file in PDFpenPro and entering additional data, saving, and reopening was fine in both applications.
 



I'm mostly retired these days but have used Adobe and Quark products since their beginnings. I remember when there were lots of different software programs, and we designers would routinely switch to different programs as needs changed. So the idea that "muscle memory" is too much of a burden to overcome is foreign to me, although I understand the problem (limited time for a project). Now that I'm not earning a full-time income, I have switched to the Affinity apps for my work. Yes, there are problems with switching, but you gain a lot, too. The Affinity apps are faster than Adobe's, and you can have unlimited undos. Not every feature is there, but in the old days we found workarounds, and I have been able to do that with the Affinity apps as well.

Not only does Affinity offer a newer, tighter codebase, but they have taken a fresh look at how things should be done, and I have found that many of the changes are improvements to How Things Have Always Been Done. Lastly, there are features in the Affinity products that Adobe doesn't have and, because of their bloated codebase, never will.There is always pain with switching programs, but for most of us, it will be worthwhile in the end.
Update from an Adobe CC user here...

Yesterday, a client file required turning on Adobe Type for a font we didn't own. In the past, I used the online font long enough to get the job done and then turned Adobe Type off. That is a necessary step, as we use multiple versions of (non-Adobe) fonts for our multiple clients, and they do print differently, so we manage them per machine with FontExplorer.

This time, the locally owned correct Adobe fonts would not show as activated in the document. I went through several iterations of restarting apps, reloading fonts, etc. No joy. So, as a test, I turned off all the local fonts and loaded only Adobe online fonts. No surprise, it worked.

I could have just 'replaced' the offending document fonts with the local ones, but there is no guarantee they would be exactly the same.

There we are. Adobe will be is forcing users to their online fonts at some point in the future now.

Adding insult to injury, I noticed that after turning off all the online fonts and app, restarting InDesign, and reloading local fonts for a different file, the 'Find Font' palette showed two active online fonts with no warning or activation screen.

Sigh.

A complete computer restart fixed that. Adobe online fonts must have been continuing to phone home anyway.

And the most recent version of Acrobat reset preferences in several locations — most noticeably, in the downsampling of files where you have to explicitly re-embed fonts.

Pay attention, folks.

your milage may vary.

Thought I might keep people updated and see if there was anyone else experiencing the same or similar issues.
 


I have been using Illustrator for years, but am stuck on CS6, because I have no desire to participate in their ransomware. I got a copy of Affinity Designer and have started looking at it. I agree with everything you report and will add that it includes a history window, which operates just like the one in Photoshop, something Adobe never did, at least through CS6. It also imports very detailed Adobe Illustrator documents with lots of layers and text, retains the Adobe Illustrator layers, and everything is completely editable.
 


I have been using Illustrator for years, but am stuck on CS6, because I have no desire to participate in their ransomware. I got a copy of Affinity Designer and have started looking at it. I agree with everything you report and will add that it includes a history window, which operates just like the one in Photoshop, something Adobe never did, at least through CS6. It also imports very detailed Adobe Illustrator documents with lots of layers and text, retains the Adobe Illustrator layers, and everything is completely editable.
I'm a light-to-medium user of InDesign, stuck on CS3, which I run in a Snow Leopard VM. I switched to Affinity Publisher and am very satisfied. Publisher opens PDFs directly in editable form, and it's relatively simple to make adjustments where it guesses incorrectly about the layout of the original InDesign elements.

Editing/publishing concepts are pretty consistent between Publisher and InDesign, even if not implemented exactly the same. It has been easy to adjust to Publisher's workflow, and I've found nothing critical missing, but your milage may vary. If you're not held hostage to an Adobe CC environment (my sympathies to those who are), for the price I strongly recommend giving Affinity a shot.
 




Adobe is promoting easy object removal in the new version of its non-subscription, non-professional Photoshop Elements 2020, just released. There's a video of the "tool" at work on Adobe's site that makes it truly seem like magic.

This site has a review that includes a test, though the image selected strikes me as one that would be very difficult for even a human guru of Photoshop to edit effectively.
ExtremeTech said:
Hands On With Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2020
A new Object Removal Guided Edit allows you to select what you want to remove using a brush, or automatically in several different ways. If the object is in front of an otherwise consistent background, Elements then uses some AI magic to paint an appropriate replacement for the deleted object. As you’d expect, this does still have limits.
I'm wondering if any other photo editing software offers an equivalent tool? Removing images from clutter, or clutter from images is tedious.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Serif has released Affinity Photo 1.7.3 and Affinity Designer 1.7.3, both "optimised for Sidecar" (part of macOS 10.15 Catalina and iOS 13), while bringing "various bug fixes and stability improvements."
 


Serif has released Affinity Photo 1.7.3 and Affinity Designer 1.7.3, both "optimised for Sidecar" (part of macOS 10.15 Catalina and iOS 13), while bringing "various bug fixes and stability improvements."
Ric, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3 is out, as well (same optimizations and improvements, of course).
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here’s an essential example of the whims and dangers of subscriptions and Internet authorization schemes...
The Verge said:
Adobe is cutting off users in Venezuela due to US sanctions
Adobe is shutting down service for users in Venezuela in order to comply with a US executive order issued in August that prohibits trade with the country. The company sent out an email to customers in Venezuela today to let them know their accounts would be deactivated, and posted a support document further explaining the decision.

... The news is not only disastrous to designers and freelancers who rely on the company’s software like Photoshop and Illustrator, but to NGOs and media outlets that will no longer be able to use software like InDesign, Acrobat, and Reader. The ban will also affect all free services like Behance, Adobe’s portfolio site, which requires a Creative Cloud account.

It’s an unfortunate situation that highlights a downside of Adobe’s subscription-based model — users lose access to the company’s products immediately as soon as the option to pay for them is removed, no matter how long they’ve been a customer.
 



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