Affinity to put a lid on Adobe's Cloud based Photoshop


This year marks the 25th anniversary of Adobe Photoshop. If you have been using Adobe's wildly successful Photoshop since version 1.0, you'd know that this software was responsible for changing the way photographers work with  digital photos. Adobe's photo editing tool is so popular, even ISIS terrorist use it to create propaganda.

ISIS Photoshop Image

ISIS photoshop image

Adobe's Photoshop was born in the age of analogue photography, where photos had to be scanned onto disk and manipulated. This allowed unlimited possibilities for photographers to improve on their images, and this alone does not mean enhancing the color curves. You can mask and take out objects that get in the way, change the color of clothing and blend in still subjects as requested by your client.

In my DTP years, I found Photoshop indispensable for creating wild and beautiful imagery for use in print and later websites.

Fast forward to the new century and the move to the Creative Cloud. Adobe says that it gives good reason for them to move to cloud based software as it gives them the chance to update the software quickly and address your needs efficiently. This was all bullshit of course, as Adobe had no means to control their software from being pirated and had to do something about it. Several attempts were made including the use of activated keys and regular updates via a live Internet connection. That didn't work. So what next? Why not try having an always online software?

Adobe's Epic Fail and Fall from Grace

When people talk about Cloud Computing, it's really about programs that connect you to a higher consciousness with greater processing power than your desktop PC. In the case of Google's Cloud strategy, your stuff exist in the cloud via Google Chrome, a PC device which has bare basic processors and just about enough RAM to run your CPU. The idea behind it was to allow you to carry a machine that let's the Cloud do your heavy lifting.

Not so for Adobe, Photoshop has evolved into a behemoth of code.  You can't possibly move your work to the cloud all at one so the CC badge was just added to confuse you. Relaunched as a subscription only cloud verified program for desktop PCs, Photoshop CC was meant to keep the pirates at bay while reaping the rewards of the digital imaging age.

Let's be reasonable, no photographer is desk bound all the time, you can't have digital uploads of your images unless you have hyper fast internet access. This means storing your client images online would require you to park yourself and computer at a Starbucks Cafe and let it chew through the web traffic. If you live in a city, getting high speed internet isn't a problem but not all photographers have such access.

Then you have the annual cost, for which they promise you regular feature updates. Seriously, when you move to the cloud, how often did you have to wait for new features? Did it come every month? Week? Let me tell you a secret, a program that needs to be updated regularly is one that is badly the point they are fixing it as it goes live. No program is totally bug free when released but there is a critical testing period in which to sort out the pressing bugs. If this bug hunting isn't done correctly, then the process will continue into your living room after you have bought it.

Adobe has found many creative ways to enhance the Photoshop experience...the the point it gets almost too cluttered with features. This is where Lightroom comes in. It simplifies the process for digital image editing without the heavy loaded features found in the full version of Photoshop. Pro photogs are advised to get both, so that one can function as a full service image editing tool while the other slimmed down version is more for photo management.

Welcome to Affinity

When Adobe bought out Macromedia, it was a designated anti-monopoly move that no one cared about. Since then there has been no real challenger to Adobe's Photoshop but on the Mac, Affinity hopes to change that perspective.

Affinity Photo is a stand alone Photoshop rival that is now in Beta. It is a wonderful alternative to Adobe's offering and though not really ready for prime time, it could pose a serious challenge.

What Adobe has done so far has been to build on the core of Photoshop over the years and this has made it very heavy on hardware resource. Affinity Photo on the other hand was built from the ground up so there isn't any legacy code to worry about. Affinity previously had a hit with Affinity Designer, a Adobe illustrator killer app that runs only on the Mac.

Affinity Photo Beta Has Landed from MacAffinity on Vimeo.

You can sign on for the free beta right now by heading to the their website. The other thing I like about Affinity is that it isn't cloud based. You can take it with you. No problems there when you travel anywhere with an assignment in tow. The features are very powerful as can be seen in the video so for the professional, this is a God send.

And now for the's 50 bucks...USD, only from the Mac Appstore when it launches. And how much were you paying for your copy of Photoshop CC to do the same thing?

One of the underlying reasons that people all over the world have been totally taken with Photoshop is that it has become mainstream. Geeks, amateurs, professionals and even casual hobbyist have taken to it like ducks to water.

Adobe has never had it so good. But in order to monetize, they will need people to pay for the full version. Piracy was one of the reasons they switch to the cloud. But they could have just made it cheaper if they wanted people to buy more of it.

Affinity sees this as a way to muscle in, but only on the Mac for now. This makes sense as it concentrates its resource on building a stable alternative to Photoshop before embarking on world domination.