Affinity has updated its entire suite of photo editing tools, which includes Publisher, Designer, and Photo to version 1.9. The new features include a contour tool in Designer and the ability to add non-destructive liquefy layers, path text, and linked layers in Photo. Plus, all three get a bump in hardware acceleration for Windows 10, and macOS and iPad versions are optimized for Apple M1 chips. 

If you're unfamiliar with Affinity, the software is a fantastic alternative to programs offered by Adobe. You can look at Publisher, Designer, and Photo as Affinity's version of InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Plus, it's substantially cheaper than Adobe Creative Cloud programs since it's subscription-free. A perpetual license for each program is only $25 right now (normally $50), and you own it for life. 

One of the more notable features is the integration with Apple's New M1 chips. We were impressed by the speed of Apple's new Silicon, and as more programs become optimized for the chipset, creators should see a significant bump in workflow speed. Both the macOS and iPad have been taking advantage of hardware acceleration. Now, Windows users will see a performance boost with up to 10x faster performance on pixel-based tasks. Affinity mentions that Windows 10 with a Direct3D feature level 12.0 capable card is required to take advantage of the faster speeds. 

Affinity_macCredit: Affinity

Also with version 1.9, all three programs can now flag your imported PDFs for PDF passthrough. This makes sure that your file is the correct representation of the original file during export. It's a similar function to InDesign's Preflight Check, but works regardless of whether you have the embedded fonts installed or not. This feature is only available on desktop versions. 

Designer gets the same feature, where you can select the same attributes such as fill color, stroke color, stroke weight, transparency, blend mode, or shape type by selecting all objects in your document. Besides being an obvious timesaver, it's going to make sure you didn't miss anything when working on complex designs. 

Other new features include Photo adding the SerifLabs RAW engine to iPad for improved consistency between how RAW files are created on desktop and iPad. A new data merge feature in Publisher that allows you easily integrate text and image links from external sources. Currently, Text/CSV, JSON, and Excel files are supported. And a new divide blend mode is available on all three programs, which opens up creative and practical techniques like correcting color casts, enhancing infrared imagery, and augmenting live filters.

Along with the feature updates, Affinity has added new free content, including print-ready templates, texture packs, and overlay packs across its software. You can find out all the details over on the Affinity website

Do you use Affinity? Let us know what you like about it in the comments below.