Affinity 2.0

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Cory Maylett
Cory Maylett Posts: 245
edited November 2022 in Miscellaneous News
Affinity released its much-anticipated version 2.0 of Designer, Publisher, and Photo today. For professional graphic designers, Affinity is the primary competitor to Adobe's Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.

Unfortunately, the upgrade still provides no support for variable fonts. As a graphic designer, I was hoping to finally sever my ties to the Adobe subscription model and switch full-time to Affinity, but that won't be happening yet.
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  • Thomas Phinney
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    Too bad. I am sure they had other things to pursue, but that renders Affinity apps pretty useless to me for design work.
  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,060
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    Any improvement in their non-Latin support yet?
  • Cory Maylett
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    I haven't tested that myself, but people on the Affinity forums are complaining about the update's lack of support for right-to-left text, so I suspect nothing's changed regarding non-Latin scripts.
  • Dave Crossland
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    Nothing changed!! Wow, just wow.
  • H James Lucas
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    I don’t disagree with the criticisms made above (and I have some of my own), but I think it’s worth noting that with the launch of version 2, Affinity Publisher now has footnotes, which is a more substantial feature improvement than InDesign has received in a decade. Footnotes may be low‐hanging fruit compared to global text layout, but it certainly gives me a sense that real progress is still being made. At a meager $40, investing in continued development feels like the steal of the year to me.
  • Mike Wenzloff
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    I don’t disagree with the criticisms made above (and I have some of my own), but I think it’s worth noting that with the launch of version 2, Affinity Publisher now has footnotes, which is a more substantial feature improvement than InDesign has received in a decade. Footnotes may be low‐hanging fruit compared to global text layout, but it certainly gives me a sense that real progress is still being made. At a meager $40, investing in continued development feels like the steal of the year to me.
    Yes, footnotes, endnotes and side notes. All of which can be used in conjunction with each other.

    However, without the ability to map styles, text import is still a pita. As well, too many reports of footnotes coming in without the original's formatting--for instance, all in small caps, a different font with overrides, etc.

    Still no scripting. No tagged text import (which I use a lot).

    I still don't believe it's ready for primetime usage.
  • Thomas Phinney
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    It took InDesign until CS2 (version 4) to get footnotes, so in one sense, that is pretty quick for Affinity!

    On the other hand, that was April 2005. InDesign added that function over 17 years ago, so comparing the current speed of progress between the two apps seems a bit wacky. Affinity could progress faster for many years, without catching up.
  • Claudio Piccinini
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    This is sad… I was considering to upgrade but I think Thomas observations are very solid. :-(
  • Claudio Piccinini
    Claudio Piccinini Posts: 677
    edited January 2023
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    Am I wrong or does it seem like it does not even have support for full numerals OpenType features (i.e. Lining Tabular, Oldstyle Tabular, etc.)?
    EDIT: It's probably me… Things are just sorted differently.
  • Florian Pircher
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    It does offer the various number styles, style sets, character variant, ligatures, etc.
  • John Butler
    John Butler Posts: 270
    edited January 2023
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    Speaking of low-hanging fruit, does Affinity 2.0 happen to still support Type 1 fonts? I still have a few dozen I bought 30 years ago that would cost over $2,000 to replace with OTF, including an untainted, pre-Hunt Berthold Bodoni Old Face. IIRC Adobe Creative Cloud recently ditched Type 1 support.

    I bought Publisher 1.0 as an impulse purchase myself. I had the same mix of success and frustration Evie reports. Eventually I decided Scribus was more worth my time to learn to use, for the kinds of documents I build at least. It has its own frustrations. I still want Affinity Publisher to succeed and grow.
  • Mark Simonson
    Mark Simonson Posts: 1,687
    edited January 2023
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    FWIW, Illustrator 2023 and InDesign 2023 still appear to support Type 1 fonts (for now), but Photoshop 2023 hasn't since it was released last October. 

    It's possible to keep older versions of CC apps installed alongside the current version. But I tried this, installing Photoshop 2021, and it doesn't recognize Type 1 fonts either. Presumably this is because it depends on some low level CC system framework (not part of the Photoshop app itself) that gets removed with the 2023 version install.

    I wonder if this presents an opportunity for a third party to make a plug-in for Adobe apps that would restore Type 1 support, assuming that's even possible.
  • John Nolan
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    I still have a few dozen I bought 30 years ago that would cost over $2,000 to replace with OTF, including an untainted, pre-Hunt Berthold Bodoni Old Face. IIRC Adobe Creative Cloud recently ditched Type 1 support.

    Check your EULAs. I have a very old license for BQ Whittingham. It allows one to "convert and install the FONT SOFTWARE into another format in other environments." But: "the converted FONT SOFTWARE is used only for your own customary internal business or personal use".

  • Mark Simonson
    Mark Simonson Posts: 1,687
    edited January 2023
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    @John Butler To answer your question: Yes, Affinity still supports Type 1 fonts. I think as long as the host OS supports them, Affinity does.

    (Which makes me wonder why Adobe didn't use the still-existing OS level Type 1 support instead of completely dropping it. There are probably reasons.)
  • Mark Simonson
    Mark Simonson Posts: 1,687
    edited January 2023
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    I notice that kerning doesn't work with some Type 1 fonts in Affinity apps. But the same is true with the same fonts in other apps that use Apple's font rendering (e.g., TextEdit), so probably not something Affinity can fix.
  • John Butler
    John Butler Posts: 270
    edited February 2023
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    Credit where it’s due: someone in another thread lamented customers don’t understand Stylistic Sets, and I thought, “well, it would help if they were described plainly somewhere in the font,” which led me to the OT specification and the featureParamsOffset field and corresponding name tables. It’s part of the ss01–ss20 spec, but few fonts seem to populate it.
    I couldn’t figure out how to access this info in my FontLab 6, so I downloaded and installed FontForge and saw that FontForge exposes it. Most of the fonts I have don’t bother to name the SSxx features, but Adobe Source Code Pro does. My next question was whether current end user applications expose these names. Scribus and Inkscape don’t, I don’t know whether current Adobe CC apps do, but Affinity Publisher 1.0 did.
    It also pointed out the cv01–cv99 features, which I was previously ignorant of, though I can’t find a way to access those through FontForge. Fonttools or TTX could probably do it.


  • Thomas Phinney
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    This was added in a later version of FontLab.

    When stylistic sets were first introduced, there was no mechanism for naming them. That was added some years later, IIRC, so at first apps did not expose them, and font creation apps did not all support the naming right away either.
  • Rodi
    Rodi Posts: 3
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    Affinity Publisher along with the rest of the suite has a ways to go, yes! It is an exciting program. I have had some total bombs, but a few hail Mary's as well have worked out.

    exporting to pdf can be a nail biter. I had a 1 color pdf that needed to have the panels fixed for a trifold. That worked great, could not get the pdf to export as 1 color. That has been fixed in subsequent updates. 

    Try this in InDesign. Open a pdf that needs editing. Can't be done. Publisher, no problem. I have set type and extended bleed and swapped out images. 

    I have set of files that come in process that need to be black and Pantone color. I created a master page with the spot color and it's 7 minutes completed vs 15 for pitstop.

    Check folios for positioning. InDesign you have to import and position each page. Publisher, set one page and you can move down the pages. 

    I have used Publisher as a varnish check, which has worked out quite well. 

    I keep using Publisher more and more as I can. Will it completely replace InDesign? Not yet, but they keep pressing closer.

    PANTONE colors. hmm, absent from Adobe products. Affinity has them. Big deal in my environment.

    Type  one fonts, lol. Don't you dare update them without purchasing them again (Vinyl to CD to Download...)

    Rent a Center vs purchase once at cost of less than two months. Mac Windows Ipad. Why wouldn't you try it and see? Isn't it nice to see some life in the segment? What, been 19 years since Macromedia gave up the ghost (oh Freehand, I still miss you!).

    I am old. I remember the promise of the desktop revolution. One day you could work in one program to edit type, vectors and photos. Welp, Deneba Canvas tried and failed. CGS PDF Tuner does it, but it's expensive (rather was expensive, but now only offered with other products not standalone).  Affinity has put them all together in an ingenious way and it's really nice to not have to wait for photoshop to open to edit, or illustrator.

    Good on Serif for bringing a program and kicking up a racket to graphic arts.

    Support them even if you will barely use em. You may end up being surprised how much it can handle for your work. Given the price tag it's worth looking into. 

    I do admit I use photo the least, but Publisher and Designer are quite good.



  • Claudio Piccinini
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    Rodi said:
    Support them even if you will barely use em. You may end up being surprised how much it can handle for your work. Given the price tag it's worth looking into. 

    I do admit I use photo the least, but Publisher and Designer are quite good.
    I know, it’s just that for me it wasn’t the best moment to upgrade, but I mean to do so if I can.
  • Typedesigner
    Typedesigner Posts: 41
    edited March 26
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    The future development of Affinity will show whether this is good or bad news for professional designers.
    https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/press/newsroom/canva-statement/
  • Jasper de Waard
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    Actually doesn't look like a bad idea to me. If you want to compete with Adobe you are going to need some serious funding. It should be doable to send some of the more serious Canva users on to Affinity over time. I might be wrong, but I have a feeling that Canva is not Monotype. We will see.
  • k.l.
    k.l. Posts: 109
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    Figma asleep?
  • John J. Blair
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    I see this as VERY BAD news for hobbyist users like myself. The introduction to their announcement reads "Canva Acquires Design Platform Affinity to Bring Professional Design Tools to Every Organization" Individual users are out of luck. I see Affinity going to a subscription only model within a year or so. No way am I going to Adobe.

  • John Savard
    John Savard Posts: 1,108
    edited March 27
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    Given what I've read here about Canva - it charges by the fonts you use with it, so you can only buy fonts through them - if they apply any of their bright ideas about business models to Affinity, instead of sticking with its existing business model, yes, that could be a disaster. But given what I've seen about Affinity in this thread - it's a commercial product, not freeware or open source, but it lacks essential features for serious use - I'm tempted to see this as a small loss.
    But that is not true if there are not better alternatives to the Adobe software in question out there.
    It isn't as if there is, say, a BSD-licensed equivalent to Libre Office that Affinity could eat to get non-Latin support.
    What, if anything, is the secondary competitor to Adobe's Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop for professional graphic designers? And the ternary one? That's the question that this thread made me cry out to ask. Possibly Wikipedia has a list...

    Well, I looked around.

    This site, https://www.creativebloq.com/features/indesign-alternatives gives alternatives to Adobe InDesign:
    Affinity Publisher is #1 on their list; then there's VivaDesigner, QuarkXPress, Scribus, SwiftPublisher, and Marq.
    QuarkXPress is expensive; VivaDesigner's only fault they identified is that it's complicated for ordinary users. Scribus is free; Marq is browser based.

    gives these alternatives for Adobe Illustrator:
    Inkscape, BoxySVG, Vecteezy, Vectr, SVG-Edit
    Inkscape is claimed to be a full alternative; BoxySVG and Vecteezy are both in-browser.

    As for Photoshop... GIMP? An old copy of Micrografx Picture Publisher? PC Mag gives the "usual suspects"  which aren't comparable in my opinion; Creative Bloq heads their list with Affinity Photo. But the rest of the items they name seem to be special-purpose tools, not alternatives to Photoshop.

    I suppose the adage "you get what you pay for" applies, which is why Adobe can get away with charging high prices for their software, because that software's primary users are big companies that can afford those prices. Everyone else just has to find some workaround.

  • Mike Wenzloff
    Mike Wenzloff Posts: 106
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    Viva Designer isn't any more complicated than InDesign or QuarkXPress. I've had customers for years through various versions of it. VD is Win, Mac, Linux and browser (which has limitations vs. the desktop versions). While there is a modest upfront cost--which can be lessened with competitive upgrades--the every 2 years or so new version runs about $80 or so. 

    As for vector-based designing, VectorStyler is a viable alternative. Win & Mac.

    For image editing, I've long used Photoline. Win & Mac.
  • Mike Wenzloff
    Mike Wenzloff Posts: 106
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    Serif has updated their commitment to the future of the Affinity products:

    https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/press/newsroom/affinity-and-canva-pledge/