Adobe Illustrator used to be the gold standard for graphic design for years, but due to an increasingly expensive subscription model, many users are moving away from it. Here's our list of our favorite vector-based design software.
Affinity Designer is an incredibly accurate vector illustrator that feels fast and at home in the hands of creative professionals. It intuitively combines rock solid and crisp vector art with flexible layer management and an impressive range of high quality raster tools for finishing. Apr 28, 2020 If you operate cross platform and don't want to use the Mac App Store for your purchase, you can also get the discount on Serif's site or B&H. Affinity apps are available for Mac. Together with Affinity Designer (vector graphic) and Affinity Publisher (desktop publisher), it is part of a promising ecosystem. Serif did an impressive job. Those who cannot invest anymore in the Adobe CC suite can step down easily and embrace Affinity Photo, as. Mar 25, 2019 Affinity Photo, which has desktop and tablet versions available, is a professional photo editing tool. It has all the features – from raw editing to digital painting to batch processing to multi-layered compositions – that you would expect. This is not some lame web app. Affinity Photo is a.
It's no surprise that many people have been migrating away from Adobe products over the last several years. Adobe has moved to a subscription model that averages $56-$80 a month if a user needs to use more than one Adobe product at a time, something likely untenable for the average hobbyist. With a flood of pay once, use forever software hitting the market, users have no short supply of programs to choose from, especially when looking to replace Illustrator.
Affinity Designer (iOS - $20, currently on sale for $16, macOS - $50, currently on sale for $40)
Affinity Designer is far and away the most polished and feature-packed app on this list, especially considering you can get it as a mobile app as well. Sure, the desktop Mac and PC apps are good, but the iPad app is an extremely powerful program that gives users the chance to design on the go.
Designer functions almost exactly like Illustrator, making it the best one-to-one swap on our list. Our only major critique of Affinity Designer is that, as of the current version, there is still no feature that is analogous to Illustrator's image trace, which we find to be one of the most useful features of the program.
If you are familiar with Illustrator, you'll be able to navigate Designer, though you'll have to work through a certain amount of muscle memory that won't transfer over directly. Artists new to vector design may find Affinity a little daunting due to the rather dense UI.
If you are new to vector design programs or if you're working with a decade or two of Adobe muscle memory, you may want to pick up the Affinity Designer workbook. We have a copy and find it to be extremely helpful in teaching the basics of both Designer as well as vector design.
As of June 5th, the desktop version of Affinity Designer has been revamped to work even better with macOS. The iOS version has also seen some performance and UI updates as well.
Graphic is one of the more beginner-friendly vector programs we've run across. Its UI is hands down the easiest to navigate out of our list, and thus our pick for anyone who is new to vector graphic design.
There are also plenty of user guides for Graphic, which help users both understand the program, as well as vector design itself.
Graphic has made extra accommodations for those who are using the program for technical drawings. One step dimensional and arrow-head lines are a breeze, allowing designers to quickly mark up their designs for technical projects.
The iOS version of Graphic is also highly optimized for the Apple Pencil, and users can create dynamic brushes to meet their specific illustration needs. It also supports Smart Keyboard shortcuts, which instantly makes the program feel quite a bit more like a full desktop program. Mac messages app sync messages.
Graphic also allows users to import and export PSD, PDF, and SVG files, create their own vector-based brushes, and supports unlimited layers.
Amadine falls somewhere between Affinity Designer and Graphic in complexity, and may very well be the best for intermediate users.
The UI is quite a bit more pared down from Affinity Designer or Illustrator. We found it easy to pick up the program without much effort. Amadine has also created a series of tutorials for users new to the program.
Most of the mainstay tools you'll find in Illustrator you'll also find in Amadine, including the ability to put text to paths, layer effects, and stroke pressure sensitivity for those using external graphics tablets. Amadine also allows users to import and export work as JPEG, TIFF, PNG, EPS or PDF file formats.
Amadine does not currently have an iOS app, but says that one is in development.
Inkscape is a free, open-source GNU-based vector program, making it an attractive option for those who are just starting with vector image creation. It is a fairly straightforward take on Illustrator, with most, if not all of the same features available.
If you are familiar with Illustrator's UI, Inkscape can be hard to get used to. There are a plethora of Inkscape tutorials available, both at Inkscape's website and the internet at large. We highly suggest new users utilize them.
Fortunately, unlike most other Illustrator dupes, Inkscape does have an image trace feature called 'Trace Bitmap,' which we see as indispensable in a vector program.
If you want it to work with macOS, there is a bit of a caveat. Inkscape will not work out of the box, and must be installed via MacPorts, either as an X11 build or a native Quartz build. The developers of Inkscape highly recommend that any users stick with the X11 build for stability's sake.
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|Initial release||1 October 2014; 5 years ago|
1.8.3 / 3 April 2020; 3 months ago
|Operating system||macOS, Microsoft Windows, iOS|
|Available in||9 languages|
English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Russian
|Type||Vector graphics editor|
Affinity Designer is a vector graphics editor developed by Serif for macOS, iOS, and Microsoft Windows. It is part of the 'Affinity trinity' alongside Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher. Affinity Designer is available for purchase directly from the company website and in the Mac App Store, iOS App Store, and the Microsoft Store.
Affinity Designer serves as a successor to Serif's own DrawPlus software, which the company discontinued in August 2017 in order to focus on the Affinity product range. It has been described as an Adobe Illustrator alternative, and is compatible with common graphics file formats, including Adobe Illustrator (AI), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Adobe Photoshop (PSD), Portable Document Format (PDF), and Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) formats. The application can also import data from some Adobe FreeHand files (specifically versions 10 & MX).
Affinity Designer's core functions include vector pen and shape-drawing tools, support for custom vector and raster brushes (including the ability to import Adobe Photoshop (ABR) brushes), dynamic symbols, stroke stabilization, text style management, and vector/pixel export options.
Affinity Software For Mac
Affinity Designer provides non-destructive editing features across unlimited layers, with pan and zoom at 60fps, and real-time views for effects and transformations. It supports the RGB, RGB Hex, LAB, CMYK and Grayscale color models, along with PANTONE color swatches and an end-to-end CMYK workflow with ICC color management, and 16-bit per channel editing.
Affinity Designer began as a vector graphics editor solely for macOS. It was developed entirely from scratch for this operating system, allowing it to leverage core native technologies such as OpenGL, Grand Central Dispatch, and Core Graphics.
The first version was released in October 2014, making it the first of the Affinity apps to be released by Serif (and their first macOS release). At that time, Serif's vector graphics application for Windows was DrawPlus; however, following the release of Affinity Designer for Windows, this product has now been discontinued.
Version 1.2, released in April 2015, introduced new tools and features, such as a corner tool and a pixel-alignment mode for GUI design tasks. In December 2015, version 1.4 then introduced new features for managing artboards and printing. With version 1.5 in October 2016, the application received multiple new features, including symbols, constraints, asset management and text styles.
The application began branching out to other platforms in November 2016, when it first launched for Microsoft Windows.
Version 1.6 was released in November 2017, introducing performance improvements and alternative GUI display mode.
The first release of a separate iPad version of Affinity Designer took place in July 2018.
Version 1.7 was released in June 2019 adding some key features such as HDR support, unlimited strokes and fills to a single shape, new point transform tool, new transform mode in Node tool, Lasso selection of nodes, new sculpt mode added to pencil, and also some big performance improvements.  Version 1.8, released in February 2020, added the ability for users to define their own document templates and keyboard shortcuts, and a built-in panel for adding stock images.
Affinity Designer was selected as a runner-up in Apple's 'Best of 2014' list of Mac App Store and iTunes Store content in the macOS app category. It also was one of the winners of the 2015 Apple Design Award.
In 2018, the Windows version of Affinity Designer won 'Application Creator of the Year' at the Windows Developer Awards (part of Microsoft Build 2018).
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Affinity Designer Workbook. Nottingham: Serif Europe Ltd. 2016. ISBN9781909581036.