Photoshop or Affinity Photo is better?

Photoshop’s biggest benefit is that it is the industry standard for image editing and manipulation, with an unparalleled feature set built up over decades and now even with AI. Although Affinity Photo has extensive features as well, Photoshop still edges it out when it comes to niche tools and overall capabilities.

Affinity Photo’s main advantage is that it offers most of the functionality of Photoshop including fantastic support for 32-bit images at more than 12,000 pixels wide at a much lower one-time cost, without any subscription fees. While Photoshop requires a monthly or yearly Creative Cloud subscription after paying for the initial software, Affinity Photo only charges for a single license purchase.

TALLBOX Opinion: When comparing the two side-by-side while acknowledging their key strengths, Photoshop leads in terms of the depth and breadth of its professional-grade tools, which have made it the go-to choice for image editors and artists over the years.

TALLBOX Opinion: But Affinity Photo has quickly become a viable alternative for budget-conscious users like hobbyists, offering an expansive feature set more closely matched to Photoshop than any other affordable photo editor, even if it lacks some of the higher-end capabilities.

Photoshop may still be worth the subscription costs for power users who need niche editing options, while casual users can save money through Affinity Photo without sacrificing much core functionality.

  • For Professionals: Pick Photoshop as Industry Standard and Extensive Ecosystem
  • For Casual Users: Stick with Affinity Photo it’s One-Time Purchase provides Value
  • For Learning Curve: Affinity Photo is User-Friendly and ideal for Beginners
  • For Advanced Features: Photoshop offers far superior Non-Destructive Editing, including 3D & Motion Graphics and AI
  • For Performance: Both Photoshop and Affinity can handle Complex Files larger than 2 GB on a decent laptop such as MSI Katana 15 or ASUS ROG Strix G16.
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George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

TL;DR:

In this article, we will explore the top photo editing and post-production software Photoshop and Affinity Photo and how they compare to each other.

Despite the large amount of photo editing software such as GIMP, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate, Corel Paintshop Pro, Capture One Pro, Luminar AI, Pixlr X, Krita, Photopea, and Paint.NET, Photoshop and Affinity Photo remain the most used with the largest market share.

Photoshop and Affinity Photo are two popular image editing software that have been in the market for a while now. Both software offer a range of features that are useful for photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists.

Choosing between the two can be a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the world of photo editing.

Photoshop has been the industry standard for photo editing for many years. It is a powerful software that offers a range of advanced features for professional photographers and designers. On the other hand, Affinity Photo is a relatively new software that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It offers a range of features that are similar to Photoshop, but at a much lower price point.

While both software have their advantages and disadvantages, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the type of work you do.

In the following sections, we will compare the two software in terms of features, ease of use, and pricing.

TALLBOX’s Perspective

From 2019 to 2022, Affinity Photo was a fierce competitor, stealing the spotlight with innovative and robust features that even surpassed Photoshop in some areas, which made us change 70% of our internal workflow for post-production and digital art. Affinity’s focus on performance, non-destructive editing, and live filters made it a compelling choice for many users including us.

Remember real-time liquify and live blend modes that left Photoshop users envious?

However, the tides have shifted somewhat in 2023-24. Photoshop’s embrace of AI has addressed some of its long-standing shortcomings and introduced entirely new capabilities. While Affinity Photo remains a strong contender with its Version 2 with features like Pixel Grid Overlay that enables easy pixel-level editing for tasks like pixel art, Photoshop’s recent integration of features like Generative Fill (Introduced in May 2023, this allows adding or removing content using natural language prompts, powered by the Firefly platform), one-click object selection (with AI-powered refinement capabilities for accurate selections around complex objects), AI-powered noise reduction, and intelligent sky replacement are noteworthy advancements, which shifted the scaled again.

So, which reigns supreme?

It depends! Affinity Photo still hold hearts with customer base of 3 million people, they have great customer support and continue expanding the capabilities of the software.

If you’re swayed by the power of AI-assisted editing and the vast ecosystem of Photoshop, 2024 might paint a different picture. Ultimately, the “better” choice comes down to your specific needs and priorities. Consider factors like budget, desired workflow, and the features you value most to make an informed decision.

Photoshop:

  • First created in 1987 by Thomas and John Knoll.
  • Initially called “Display” and focused on displaying grayscale images on monochrome displays.
  • Later developed further with image editing capabilities and renamed “Photoshop”.
  • Released commercially in 1989 by Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Affinity Photo:

  • Development began in 2009 by Serif as a raster graphics editor for macOS.
  • First public release as a beta test version in February 2015.
  • Officially launched as a stable version in July 2015.

Key Points:

  • Photoshop holds the title of being significantly older, established over 30 years ago.
  • Affinity Photo is a more recent player, emerging in the market over 7 years later.
  • Despite its younger age, Affinity Photo has quickly gained traction and offers competitive features.

Overview of Photoshop and Affinity Photo

Photoshop and Affinity Photo are two of the most popular photo editing software available in the market. Photoshop is a product of Adobe, which has been around for over 30 years and has become the industry standard for photo editing. On the other hand, Affinity Photo is a relatively new software that was launched in 2015 by Serif, a UK-based company.

Photoshop is a powerful tool that has a wide range of features, including layers, masks, filters, and effects. It is used by professionals in various industries, including graphic design, photography, and web design. Photoshop uses a subscription model that makes it significantly more expensive than Affinity Photo, which offers a perpetual license.

Affinity Photo, on the other hand, is a more affordable option that offers many of the same features as Photoshop. It has a clean and intuitive interface that is easy to navigate, making it a great option for beginners. Affinity Photo also offers a one-time payment option, which makes it more accessible to users who don’t want to commit to a subscription model.

Both Photoshop and Affinity Photo have their strengths and weaknesses. Photoshop is known for its extensive range of features and its ability to handle large files, while Affinity Photo is known for its speed and efficiency. Affinity Photo is also more lightweight than Photoshop, which makes it a great option for users who don’t want to use a lot of system resources.

Who uses Affinity?

Professionals:

  • Photographers: From hobbyists to established professionals, Affinity Photo’s affordable one-time purchase and comprehensive editing tools attract many photographers.
  • Graphic Designers: Designers appreciate Affinity Designer’s vector graphics capabilities and user-friendly interface for various design projects.
  • Publishers: Affinity Publisher caters to professionals creating magazines, brochures, and other publications with its layout and typography tools.
  • Content Creators: YouTubers, social media influencers, and other content creators utilize Affinity tools for editing photos, graphics, and even creating thumbnails.

Individuals:

  • Students: The budget-friendly pricing and strong feature set make Affinity attractive for students learning graphic design or photo editing.
  • Casual Users: Those who want powerful editing tools without a subscription find Affinity Photo and Designer appealing alternatives to Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Small Businesses: Startups and small businesses can benefit from Affinity’s one-time purchase model and its ability to handle various creative needs.
  • Home-Based Entrepreneurs: Individuals managing personal brands or small businesses utilize Affinity for creating marketing materials and visuals.

Pros and Cons

Photoshop Pros and Cons

Photoshop is one of the most popular photo editing software programs in the world. It has been around for many years and has a wide range of features that make it an excellent choice for professionals and amateurs alike. Some of the pros of using Photoshop include:

  • Extensive feature set: Photoshop has a wide range of features that allow users to edit images in a variety of ways. From basic adjustments such as brightness and contrast to more advanced techniques like layer masks and filters, Photoshop has it all.
  • Industry-standard: Photoshop is the industry-standard photo editing software used by professionals all over the world. This means that if you want to work in the creative industry, you need to know how to use it.
  • Integration with other Adobe products: Photoshop integrates seamlessly with other Adobe products such as Lightroom and Illustrator, making it easy to switch between programs and work on multiple projects at once.
  • Customizable: Photoshop allows users to customize the interface and create their own shortcuts, making it a highly personalized experience.

However, there are also some cons to using Photoshop, such as:

  • Expensive: Photoshop is a subscription-based software, which means that users need to pay a monthly fee to use it. This can be quite expensive for those on a tight budget.
  • Steep learning curve: Photoshop has a lot of features, which can make it overwhelming for beginners. It takes time and practice to learn how to use it effectively.
  • Resource-intensive: Photoshop requires a lot of processing power and memory to run smoothly. This means that users with older computers may experience lag or slow performance.

However, there are also some cons to using Photoshop, such as:

  • Expensive: Photoshop is a subscription-based software, which means that users need to pay a monthly fee to use it. This can be quite expensive for those on a tight budget.
  • Steep learning curve: Photoshop has a lot of features, which can make it overwhelming for beginners. It takes time and practice to learn how to use it effectively.
  • Resource-intensive: Photoshop requires a lot of processing power and memory to run smoothly. This means that users with older computers may experience lag or slow performance.

Affinity Photo Pros and Cons

Affinity Photo is a newer photo editing software program that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is a more affordable alternative to Photoshop and has many of the same features. Some of the pros of using Affinity Photo include:

  • Affordable: Affinity Photo has a one-time cost that is much cheaper than a yearly subscription to Photoshop. This makes it a great option for those on a budget.
  • Easy to use: Affinity Photo has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. This makes it a great option for beginners who are just starting out with photo editing.
  • Fast performance: Affinity Photo is optimized for speed and has fast performance even on older computers.
  • Non-destructive editing: Affinity Photo allows users to edit images non-destructively, which means that the original image is preserved and can be reverted back to at any time.

However, there are also some cons to using Affinity Photo, such as:

  • Less support: Affinity Photo has less support than Photoshop in terms of output and compatibility. This means that users may have trouble exporting files in certain formats or using the software with other programs.
  • Limited features: While Affinity Photo has many of the same features as Photoshop, it does have some limitations. For example, it does not have as many filters or advanced editing tools.
  • Less established: Affinity Photo is a newer software program and is not as established as Photoshop. This means that there are fewer resources and tutorials available online.

Where Photoshop fails but Affinity does not?

  1. Photoshop requires a continuous subscription, making it costly for casual users. Affinity Photo’s one-time purchase makes it a more affordable option.
  2. Photoshop’s extensive features come with a learning curve, which can be daunting for beginners. Affinity Photo’s streamlined interface offers a smoother learning experience.
  3. Photoshop’s non-destructive editing ensures flexibility but may involve slower previews. Affinity Photo’s live filters provide instant visual feedback, speeding up your workflow.
  4. Photoshop has tools for 3D and motion graphics, but these features aren’t its core focus. Affinity Photo excels in traditional photo editing and offers competitive tools.
  5. Photoshop benefits from its industry dominance, boasting a wealth of third-party plugins and resources. Affinity Photo’s ecosystem is growing, but still lags behind.

Software Interface

Photoshop Interface

Photoshop has a complex interface that can be overwhelming for beginners. However, it offers a lot of customization options and a plethora of tools and features. The interface can be arranged according to the user’s preference, and the tools can be accessed through the toolbar on the left side of the screen. The top menu bar contains options for file management, editing, and other functions. Photoshop also offers keyboard shortcuts that can speed up the workflow for experienced users.

Interface of Photoshop
Interface of Photoshop

Affinity Photo Interface

Affinity Photo has a more streamlined and intuitive interface compared to Photoshop. The interface is designed to be user-friendly, with tools and options easily accessible through the toolbar on the left side of the screen. The top menu bar contains options for file management, editing, and other functions. Affinity Photo also offers customizable keyboard shortcuts that can speed up the workflow for experienced users. The interface is designed to be consistent across all devices, making it easy to switch between desktop and iPad versions.

Interface of Affinity Photo
Interface of Affinity Photo

Photoshop Features

Photoshop is the industry standard for photo editing and graphic design software. It has a wide range of features and tools that make it a versatile program for professionals. Some of its most notable features include:

  • Layers: Photoshop allows users to work with multiple layers, enabling them to edit individual elements of an image without affecting the others. This feature is particularly useful for graphic designers and photographers who need to make precise adjustments to their images.

  • Filters and Effects: Photoshop has a vast library of filters and effects that can be applied to images, including blur, sharpen, and distort. These tools can be used to create unique and eye-catching effects.

  • Retouching Tools: Photoshop has a range of retouching tools that can be used to remove blemishes, wrinkles, and other imperfections from images. These tools can be used to create flawless portraits and product images.

  • Selection Tools: Photoshop has a range of selection tools that allow users to select specific areas of an image. These tools can be used to make precise edits and adjustments to specific parts of an image.

Affinity Photo Features

Affinity Photo is a relatively new photo editing software that has gained popularity among photographers and graphic designers. It offers a range of features and tools that make it a viable alternative to Photoshop. Some of its most notable features include:

  • Non-Destructive Editing: Affinity Photo allows users to make non-destructive edits to their images. This means that any changes made to an image can be undone or modified at any time.

  • RAW Editing: Affinity Photo has a powerful RAW editing engine that allows users to make precise adjustments to their RAW files. This feature is particularly useful for photographers who shoot in RAW format.

  • Live Filters and Effects: Affinity Photo has a range of live filters and effects that can be applied to images in real-time. This allows users to see the effects of their edits as they make them.

  • Advanced Brush Engine: Affinity Photo has an advanced brush engine that allows users to create custom brushes and strokes. This feature is particularly useful for digital artists who need to create unique and intricate designs.

Both Photoshop and Affinity Photo offer a range of features and tools that make them powerful photo editing software. While Photoshop is the industry standard, Affinity Photo is a viable alternative that offers many of the same features at a lower price point.

Performance and Speed

Photoshop Performance

Photoshop is optimized to handle large files and complex operations with ease. Photoshop utilizes the GPU to accelerate tasks such as image processing and not so much of 3D rendering and video editing (yes, photoshop can render video too). It also supports multi-core processors, which allows for faster processing of multiple tasks simultaneously. Photoshop has a robust caching system that stores frequently used data in memory, which helps to reduce load times and improve performance.

Affinity Photo Performance

Affinity Photo is also optimized for performance and speed. It is designed to take advantage of modern hardware, including multi-core processors and GPUs. Affinity Photo uses hardware acceleration to speed up tasks such as image processing and rendering. It also has a sophisticated caching system that stores frequently used data in memory, which helps to reduce load times and improve performance. Affinity Photo is known for its fast and responsive user interface, which makes it easy to work with even large files.

Both Photoshop and Affinity Photo are highly optimized and capable of handling complex tasks. While Photoshop has a longer history and more resources to draw from, Affinity Photo has been designed from the ground up to take advantage of modern hardware and software. Ultimately, the choice between these two programs will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the user.

File Compatibility and Integration

When it comes to file compatibility and integration, both Photoshop and Affinity Photo are powerful image editing software that can handle a wide range of file formats. They both support popular file formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and PSD.

Photoshop File Compatibility

Photoshop has been around for a long time, and as such, it has established itself as the industry standard for image editing software. It has a wide range of file compatibility, including the ability to open and edit RAW files from most digital cameras. Photoshop also supports the Adobe Creative Cloud, which allows for seamless integration with other Adobe products such as Illustrator and InDesign.

One of the standout features of Photoshop is its ability to handle layered files. This allows users to create complex compositions and make precise adjustments to individual layers. Photoshop’s Smart Objects feature also allows for non-destructive editing, making it easier to make changes to a file without losing any data.

Affinity Photo File Compatibility

Affinity Photo is a newer image editing software that has gained popularity in recent years. It has a similar range of file compatibility to Photoshop, including support for RAW files and popular image formats such as JPEG and PNG. Affinity Photo also supports the PSD format, making it easy to import and export files to and from Photoshop.

One of the standout features of Affinity Photo is its ability to handle large files with ease. It uses a non-destructive editing model, which means that changes can be made to a file without affecting the original data. Affinity Photo also offers seamless integration with other Affinity products such as Designer and Publisher.

Both Photoshop and Affinity Photo are powerful image editing software that offer a wide range of file compatibility and integration options. While Photoshop has been the industry standard for many years, Affinity Photo offers a viable alternative for those who are looking for a more affordable option. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on the specific needs of the user and the type of work they are doing.

Pricing and Subscription Model

Photoshop Pricing

Photoshop offers a subscription-based pricing model, which means that users have to pay a monthly or annual fee to use the software.

The pricing plans include a Photography plan, a Single App plan, and an All Apps plan. The Photography plan costs $19.99 per month and includes Photoshop, Lightroom, and 1TB of cloud storage. 

The Single App plan costs $22.99 per month and includes only Photoshop with 100GB of cloud storage without Lightroom. The All Apps plan costs $59.99 per month and includes all Adobe Creative Cloud apps, including Photoshop with 100GB of cloud storage.

Affinity Photo Pricing

Affinity Photo V2 offers a one-time payment pricing model, which means that users only have to pay once to use the software. The current price for Affinity Photo for Individuals is a $159.99 one-off payment for the desktop version, and the iPad version, and the license is called universal.

For a single desktop app, Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher cost $67.99 as one of the payments.

For businesses where you are required to buy a minimum of two universal licenses, the price is $151.99 per license, including the iPad version.

For those upgrading from V1 to V2, Serif offers a 25% discount, which means the V2 will cost $119.99.

All payments are one-time and give users access to all the features and updates of the software without any additional costs. 

It is important to mention that prior to V2, Affinity had a much lower initial price; with the arrival of V2, the company increased the cost to cover the expenses of developing and improving the software further, yet the price remains fully justified.

Other paid and free photo editing tools similar to Photoshop and Affinity Photo

If Photoshop or Affinity are not within your budget, there are other free and paid photo-editing applications.

Free:

  • Pixlr X: This web-based photo editor is a good choice for basic editing tasks.
  • Krita: This free and open-source software is a powerful painting and digital art program that can also be used for photo editing.
  • Photopea: This web-based photo editor is a clone of Photoshop, so it has a similar interface and features. However, it may not be as powerful as the real thing.
  • Paint.NET: This free and open-source software is a basic photo editor that is good for simple tasks.

Paid:

  • GIMP: This free and open-source software is a powerful alternative to Photoshop, but it can have a steeper learning curve.
  • ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: This software offers a good balance of features and ease of use, making it a good choice for both beginners and experienced users.
  • Corel Paintshop Pro: This software is a more affordable alternative to Photoshop, but it lacks some of the more advanced features.
  • Capture One Pro: This software is specifically designed for working with RAW files, and it offers some unique features that are not available in other programs.
  • Luminar AI: This software uses artificial intelligence to automate many common photo editing tasks, making it a good choice for beginners or those who want to edit photos quickly and easily.
  • ON1 Photo RAW: Fast performance, advanced editing tools, non-destructive editing. Less user-friendly interface compared to Affinity Photo, higher price than Affinity Photo, and focuses more on AI features.

Support and Community

Photoshop Support

Photoshop is a widely used image editing software with a large community of users. The Adobe website provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and forums. Users can also contact Adobe support for assistance with technical issues. Adobe offers a range of support options, including phone, email, and live chat.

Affinity Photo Support

Affinity Photo also has a community of users, though it is not as large as Photoshop’s. The Affinity website offers tutorials, forums, and FAQs. Users can also contact Affinity support for technical assistance. Affinity offers support through email and forums, but not through phone or live chat.

Both Photoshop and Affinity Photo offer extensive documentation and tutorials for users to learn how to use the software. Photoshop has a larger community of users, which means there are more resources available for users to seek help and advice. However, Affinity Photo’s support is still comprehensive and should be sufficient for most users.

In terms of customer support, Photoshop offers more options for users to contact support, including phone, email, and live chat. Affinity Photo only offers email support and forums. However, both companies offer comprehensive documentation and tutorials, which should be able to answer most questions and address most issues that users may encounter.

Are both tools compatible?

While not directly compatible but partially compatible, there is no direct integration but workarounds exist to transfer files and information between Photoshop and Affinity Photo.

Opening Files:

  • Affinity Photo can open PSD files (Photoshop’s native format) to a large extent, though some advanced features and effects might not translate perfectly.
  • Photoshop cannot open Affinity Photo’s native AFPHOTO files.

Saving Files:

  • Affinity Photo can save files in various formats, including PSD. However, certain Photoshop-specific features might not be preserved when saving in PSD from Affinity Photo.
  • Saving in Affinity Photo’s AFPHOTO format offers the most features and functionality within the software itself.

Direct Integration:

  • They cannot communicate directly or perform actions on each other’s files.
  • You cannot use plugins or tools intended for one software in the other.

Workflow Integration:

  • Exporting files in compatible formats (PSD, TIFF, etc.) allows exchanging work between them.
  • Leveraging online tools or third-party software for format conversion might further enhance compatibility.

Next Steps for Further Research:

What file formats can Affinity open that Photoshop can't?

File Formats Both Can Open:

  • Raster Formats: Both softwares can open common raster formats like JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and PSD (though with some limitations as mentioned before).
  • Vector Formats: Both handle vector formats like EPS, AI (partially), and SVG.

Where Affinity Photo Has an Edge:

  • RAW Formats: Affinity Photo supports a wider range of RAW camera formats directly, offering more flexibility for photographers using specific camera models. While Photoshop requires additional plugins for some RAW formats, Affinity Photo often supports them natively.
  • PSD (with Limitations): While both can open PSD files, Affinity Photo might not perfectly translate complex layer effects or advanced features specific to Photoshop. However, for basic PSD files, compatibility is decent.
  • Image Files on Mobile Devices: While both softwares can import HEIC files from iPhones, Affinity Photo offers more seamless integration with iOS for importing photos directly from your device.

Where Photoshop Might Be Ahead (Partially):

  • Proprietary Formats: Photoshop can open its own proprietary formats like PSD (with full feature support) and PSB (for extremely large files), which Affinity Photo cannot.
  • Specialized Formats: Depending on specific plugins or versions, Photoshop might offer limited support for niche or uncommon file formats not natively supported by Affinity Photo.

Neither software currently supports AVIF format images, which is a newer, more efficient web image format gaining traction. However, both softwares might add support for AVIF in future updates.

Can Affinity Photo denoise images well?

Yes, Affinity Photo has very good capabilities for denoising both JPEG and RAW images. Some key aspects that make it quite effective are:

  1. Raw Develop Persona: The separate develop persona optimized for RAW processing has controls to reduce chroma and luminance noise with minimal detail loss.
  2. Luminance and Color Denoise Filters: The two dedicated denoising filters use sophisticated algorithms to selectively reduce luminance noise and color noise.
  3. Frequency Separation capability: This allows separating color/tone from detail layers to selectively reduce noise in one without harming the other.
  4. Noise Removal in Inpainting: The Inpainting Brush and Inpainting tool have options to remove noise along edges/borders during inpainting.
  5. Filters such as Dust & Scratches and Median can also act as effective denoisers by smoothing noise patterns.

In tests, Affinity Photo tends to achieve excellent balance between noise removal and retention of textures. The user has a lot of control and can employ multiple filters on tonal, detail and color information separately. This level of selective denoising can give great results not always possible in traditional noise removal tools.

Can photoshop denoise images well?

Yes, Photoshop has very effective noise reduction and denoising capabilities for images. Some of the main denoising tools and features in Photoshop include:

  • Noise Reduction filter: This filter can significantly reduce noise in an image while preserving details. It has advanced options to control the strength, preserve details, reduce color noise, and more.
  • Reduce Noise slider in Camera Raw: The Camera Raw dialog in Photoshop has a “Reduce Noise” slider allowing you to reduce luminance and color noise. It’s useful for cleaning up digital camera images.
  • Additive Gaussian noise filter: While normally used to add noise for creative effects, this filter does have a “revert” option allowing you to selectively remove noise in the filtered region.
  • Blurring effects: Tools like the Blur and Average blur filters can act as effective denoising filters in many cases, smoothing out noise while retaining some edge detail and sharpness.
  • Third party plugins: There are dedicated third party denoising plugins available such as Noiseware Pro that integrate with Photoshop and use advanced algorithms to remove noise while maintaining detail and fidelity.

Photoshop leverages the power of AI with the Sensei technology in tools like the noise reduction filter for continuous improvement. Expert selection and masking also makes it easy to selectively denoise specific regions without affecting the entire image.

What are better denoising tools than Photoshop?

Here are some of the top image denoising tools that are considered better than or competitive with Photoshop:

  1. DxO PureRAW: This dedicated RAW image denoising software is very highly rated for noise reduction quality and retaining detail. It uses deep prime technology and trained AI models.
  2. DxO PhotoLab: Another DxO product, PhotoLab has DeepPRIME AI powered denoising with great results for high ISO shots from digital cameras.
  3. ON1 NoNoise AI: Leverages machine learning for removing noise. Many tests show it outperforms Lightroom and rivals more advanced software.
  4. Neat Image: A dedicated third party denoising plugin available as standalone software or plugin for Lightroom/ACR. Uses advanced noise profiling and reduction algorithms.
  5. Topaz DeNoise AI: Based on artificial intelligence, Topaz DeNoise gets excellent reviews, removing noise while maintaining sharpness.
  6. Capture One: Has precision noise reduction tailored for RAW processing with color and detail preservation. Comparable to ACR.
  7. GIMP: The open source image editor has a collection of good denoising tools including wavelet denoise and non-local means denoise using state of the art algorithms.

While Photoshop is very capable, these specialized tools using leading AI and noise reduction algorithms tend to produce better detail retention and noise clearing for difficult photos shot at high ISOs or underexposed. But results still depend on the specific image and user requirements.

What tools Affinity Has that Photoshop Does not?

Affinity Photo, while not quite having the decades of development as Adobe Photoshop, has some very innovative and unique features that Photoshop notably lacks or can’t entirely replicate:

  1. Parametric adjustment layers: Affinity allows you to add non-destructive adjustment layers that can be tweaked any time, even with the ability to apply subsets of layers in a group.
  2. Bitmap layer-based persona workflows: The unique way Affinity handles images and layers in specialized modes like Develop or Liquify gives tremendous flexibility and non-destructiveness that Photoshop can struggle to match.
  3. True end-to-end GPU acceleration: Affinity taps into the full power of the GPU for nearly all filters and adjustments, meaning much faster and smoother performance, where Photoshop still relies heavily on CPU even for GPU accelerated effects.
  4. Instant project switch: The ability to instantly switch the same document between Photo, Designer, and Publisher modules to apply graphics and layout capabilities as well can prove invaluable compared to having to export/import pieces between separate Adobe programs.
  5. Unlimited Free Transform: The transformed pixels can be unconstrained instead of being locked into a bounding box, providing finer control.

Other key features that make Affinity Photo excellent for processing astrophotography and planetary images:

  1. Specialized Astrophotography Tools: Affinity has dedicated tools like the Develop Astronomy extension and the Deep Space Noise Reduction filter specifically designed to process images from astrophotography gear like telescopes and CCDs. These provide capabilities tailored to the unique needs of astronomical data.
  2. Powerful Star Image Enhancement: The Deconvolution filter, Star Sigmoid, and other adjustments allow bringing out more detail in stars and other celestial objects in images captured through a telescope.
  3. Support for 32-bit Images: Astrophotography requires handling extraordinarily expansive dynamic ranges beyond what 8-bit or 16-bit images can store. Affinity ably handles massive 32-bit images with advanced processing capability.
  4. Detail Enhancement for Planetary Data: For sharpening fine details when processing images of planetary bodies, Affinity allows easy capture of reference frames to apply the best sharpening without inducing artifacts.
  5. OpenCL Support: Affinity taps into GPU/hardware acceleration for all its processing, critical for handling the massive data files from ast

Can Affinity handle RAW files better than Ps?

In some ways, yes, Affinity Photo has demonstrated better handling and processing of RAW image files compared to Adobe Photoshop:

  1. Specialized RAW Persona: Affinity has a dedicated RAW Processing persona optimized for developing RAW files with more advanced controls fine-tuned for high-bit depth data.
  2. Better noise reduction and sharpening: Affinity’s noise reduction tends to show better preservation of textures and details than Adobe Camera Raw, while also allowing incredibly fine sharpening control.
  3. Retain more highlight and shadow details: The raw engine can rescue and retain finer gradations in blown out highlights or crushed blacks better than ACR in high contrast scenes.
  4. Compatibility with more camera formats: Affinity supports latest RAW formats right on launch and has better ability to handle proprietary RAW extensions than Adobe apps relying on DNG converter.
  5. Powerful local adjustments: Using Affinity’s layers and masks, local editing flexibly done in the RAW persona itself beats having to do brush adjustments later in Photoshop.
  6. Superior lens correction capabilities: Affinity utilizes precise lens data to correct distortion and vignetting extraordinarily well, even on esoteric cinema lenses better than Camera Raw.

On the opposite, Photoshop still leads in advanced features like pano/HDR merging, focus stacking, non-destructive smart objects, and 3D/multi-shot compositing. But for key aspects of pure RAW developing, Affinity Photo knocks it out of the park, hence making major inroads among pro photographers.

Can Photoshop or Affinity do Virtual Staging?

No, neither Photoshop nor Affinity Photo have the capability to do full virtual home staging on their own. Both tool can be used in the virtual staging workflow for the postproduction stage.

Here is a more detailed explanation:

Photoshop and Affinity Photo are primarily 2D raster graphics editors for manipulating photos. While they have some basic 3D manipulation tools, they lack robust 3D modeling and rendering engines required for realistic virtual home staging.

Key limitations include:

  • No dedicated tools for constructing 3D room and furniture models needed in staging. Modeling would have to done externally.
  • Lighting, materials and camera controls are very limited and not geared for architectural visualization. Realistic lighting and shadows are difficult.
  • Rendering output resolution is constrained and optimization for fast test renders is lacking.
  • Integration with external rendering engines is missing or very limited.

That being said, both Photoshop and Affinity can be used in the overall staging workflow for compositing 2D photos with rendered 3D staging visuals generated from dedicated 3D software like 3ds Max, Cinema 4D or Blender. But the actual virtual staging process requires more full-featured architectural visualization tools.

For the best virtual staging results, programs focused on 3D modeling, physically-based rendering and post-processing should be used together with raster editors like Photoshop or Affinity primarily for final touch ups vs doing the complete end-to-end staging task.