design on the computer

Affinity V.S. Adobe

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign… These are our Industry Standard programs for design illustration, and layouts… but why? There are so many alternatives out there for cheaper, and that have better features. There are several companies that are constantly developing and improving their programs. So the question is: will Adobe be able to keep up and keep their users invested even with the high monthly or yearly fee? Or will they get ran over by competitors in the next ten years?

Adobe programs are taught in design and art schools for good reason. A very large portion of the creative media industry makes use of these programs everyday. There is a major discount for students and teachers which influences the continued use of it in schools. Adobe is professional, and has many good related services for licensing fonts, choosing the right color palette, and stock images. They’re all at the fingertips of anyone with a Creative Cloud subscription. But there are many downsides to Adobe.

Issues with Adobe:

If you’re using older versions of Photoshop, Adobe can sue according to an email many users with older versions received. I highly doubt they will sue every person, but nevertheless the intent is there. Let people use their ancient CD’s man.

Subscriptions partially make sense. They prevent piracy, makes getting updates for programs much easier, and lowers the price overall compared to their old box set says Adi Agashe. But what will they do when a competitor offers a one time purchase for every update? Affinity is around the corner, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Here’s why Affinity is charging in like a ox:

Within five years, Affinity has been catching up to Adobe’s tail, and excelling in some ways. The price point is a huge deal. All of Affinity’s programs are a one time cost of $69.99 for each. They only have 3 programs out at the moment; Affinity Photo, Designer, and the newest one, Publisher. These three are all comparable with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign.

Affinity Designer Interface

Most of the IMA students are aware of the great capabilities of the Adobe programs, but there are many great things in Affinity’s software as well.

A few features Affinity has over Adobe from the help of Photography-Raw, and Affinity Revolution:

  • Affinity has the feature that saves your undo history even after the app is closed, so you can go back to a version if need be
  • Live brush preview; so when you hover your brush over something, you can see the changes it will make
  • Live previews for blend modes and gradients
  • More customizable interface
  • Cheaper

Affinity is constantly improving, but Adobe is still a powerhouse. Both are great in their own ways. I think Adobe needed this competition to hopefully push them further, but I hope to see Affinity take the crown some day.

What are your thoughts on emerging programs in our creative field?

logo design for self

IMA Beginning Experience

The Interactive Media Arts program is different than what I imagined in a lot of ways. There is a lot more writing, coding, and frustration than I had expected. If you come from a background of taking design or art classes in high school, a thought that might come up is should I be here? The first month was mostly for me was review for design principles, colour theory, and learning Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. It felt like a waste of time, and I was an angsty teen in high school. But I am glad all of our projects quickly kicked up, and honestly kicked my butt at the end of the semester. 

Coding requires a lot of effort. Luckily our teacher Malena had patience with us. It’s a lot of problem-solving. I see how it can easily irritate people when you try and fix something, and it just spirals, but it’s quite cool to create imagery from text to communicate with the computer. Figuring out a problem feels like a great achievement. It is quite a cool process that can be fun once you understand things.

Design is mostly what I came into the Interactive Media Arts program for. On top of the things I knew before I entered this program, I have gained so much more knowledge. From little bits in Adobe programs, to appreciating photography.  Taking photography for a design project and producing everything yourself makes it feel like much more of an extra accomplishment than grabbing royalty-free images. By taking the images yourself, you can capture the exact direction you want to go in. Not that there’s anything wrong with using free images, but it just adds to the project a lot more from what I’ve found; and it’s instantly more personal to the creator. One of the pieces I’ve created so far with photography, was a project creating a postcard with a picture taken of my cat for Halloween.

Halloween Postcard I photographed and edited for Derek Ford’s class, semester 1.

After Effects and Premiere Pro were two completely new programs to me. Once you grasp the concept of one, it’s easy to see how some elements are similar, and make understanding the other one easier. They’re both programs you learn in the IMA program that make it easier to create video content. Even though it is not what I came here for, I am glad to have learned Premiere Pro because it has already opened new direction I can go in with projects.

I have gained so much good experience so far and I find myself excited to learn when I show up. All of the teachers know how to make this program as enjoyable as can be and work hard to achieve that while still producing results in their students. That is why I decided to stick with it.