1. Digital asset management (a.k.a. searching and filtering through a ton of images)
This one is a biggie for me. I usually use Lightroom for selecting photos and developing raw images.
Not to mention Lightroom has incredibly powerful output and renaming capabilities that are essential if you want to stay sane managing large photo sets.
So while Affinity Photo has done a great job competing against Photoshop itself, photography is now more than just photo-editing and retouching.
With the large volume of pictures we shoot these days, it’s about workflow as well — being able to manage, select and process photos quickly. So it’s fine if I have 2-3 images to edit in the Develop Persona… but what if I need to work with 100?
To be fair, this aspect of digital asset management is something that Affinity Photo (and Photoshop) is not designed to cover.
But while Photoshop has Adobe Bridge, and is normally packaged as a subscription with Lightroom, Affinity Photo stands entirely on its own at the moment.
Of course, there are alternative raw development software like CaptureOne (used mainly by professionals), but the lack of its own sidekick definitely sets AP at a disadvantage compared to PS.
So while we like to call Affinity Photo a great “Photoshop killer/competitor”, might really be competing against the trio of Photoshop/Bridge/Lightroom.
(To be fair Affinity Photo’s lead designer Andy Somerfield said that DAM is in the works, so we’re just waiting till the they render this moot 😉
2. Batch processing
A decade ago, Photoshop wasn’t very good at batch processing either; but there were plugins like Russell Brown’s “Image Processor” as a stop-gap . (Brown was this zany dude who gave useful image-processing and image-editing advice, and made indispensable plugins and automation actions.)
Anyway, the lack of batch processing might be a deal-killer, especially if you need to apply image crops/resizes/edits to a large number of images at once — think applying that colour-popping, image-brightening image filter to all the photos from that family gathering last weekend.
Don’t forget that it’s also indispensable for adding watermarks, or saving additional batches of photos for different purposes (mobile versions, high-resolutions versions, etc).
3. Panorama stitching
Update (10 Dec): Affinity Photo 1.4 was just realised and we now have both Panorama Stitching AND Image Stacks. More at the Affinity blog.
Nothing like a beautiful panoramic landscape to show the beauty of a place! But putting it together can be a real pain without the help of software.
While it isn’t always perfect, Photoshop’s “Automerge” function usually provides a decent enough starting point, and sometimes can even do most of the work for some image sets.
And while this might be considered a rather niche function, it’s one of those that you really wish was there for the times you need to create one.
4. Plugins, plugins, plugins
Anything that Photoshop itself can’t do… 3rd-parties plugins probably can.
And despite Affinity Photo having some limited support for Photoshop plugins, whether you can get your favourite plugin to work is hit/miss right now.
Ultimately it’s not just a matter of Affinity Photo being able to work with Photoshop plugins better, but also plugin developers working towards making their product work well with AP.
If you’re interested in PS plugin support, this thread over at the Affinity Photo forums might be helpful.
5. It’s the little things (both features and bugs)
For example, when you make a marquee selection in Affinity Photo, there isn’t the option move the selection while you’re drawing it (in Photoshop we simply hold down the spacebar), so quite often I find myself having to do additional work to refine the selection later (or even redo it).
Affinity Photo is also relatively new and there are a few odd bugs here and, such as in the the Develop Persona where we get some strange behaviour if we try to use the straighten and then undo what we just did (it doesn’t really get un-done fully).
If you’re using this in a professional setting such small frustrations definitely add up, so it’s definitely an area where Affinity Photo is still falls short of Photoshop’s long history.
But again it’s very early days for Affinity Photo, so there are still a great many things it can still add, and hopefully these are all things that Serif will work on .