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Serif’s Creative Cloud alternative will save you cash – and brings Publisher to iPad

To Affinity and beyond

affinity-lead

Subscriptions are the bane of people who buy apps. Instead of making one-off payments, you ‘rent’ software. In the creative space, that can stymie experimentation and access, which has a disproportionate effect on indies and folks just starting out. With its Affinity suite, Serif has for years offered an alternative to Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscriptions – and the V2 update takes things much further.

There are three big changes. The first is the V2 bit. Every Affinity app – Photo (photo editing; raster painting), Designer (vector design and illustration) and Publisher (page layout) – has been updated across Windows, Mac and iPad. Secondly, that means Publisher has come to iPad, bringing desktop-grade page layout creation and desktop publishing to Apple’s tablet for the first time. And thirdly, there’s a new payment model – one that won’t make your wallet scowl. 

Feature rich

Affinity Publisher
Boing! Warp your work like a 1980s Eastern European animation.

Whichever Affinity tool you favour, there are plenty of new features to get stuck into. Designer has new tools for building and hacking away at shapes, measuring areas and distances to scale, and applying non-destructive warps to artwork. Photo also lets you get your warp on, with a new live mesh feature. Alongside that, compound mask layers, saved layer states and a non-destructive RAW develop feature will make photo editors squee.

Publisher opens up scope on desktop for collaboration, by allowing users to combine separate documents into a single long publication. It also adds footnotes/endnotes/sidenotes and a snazzy auto-flow feature. But the big news for Publisher is its existence on iPad, in touch-friendly form. “There’s genuinely never been anything like this before,” said Serif MD Ashley Hewson. “Our work to put desktop-quality creative software on to iPad has set new industry standards for what users should expect – and now Affinity Publisher 2 allows you to take page design and layout out of the office and into whatever space brings you most inspiration.”

Serif has also aligned with Apple’s efforts to make iPad more desktop-like in iPadOS 16, by taking advantage of the extra memory in iPad Pros. However, the Affinity V2 apps don’t forget they’re running on a tablet, and provide new controllers for fast access to common modifiers and clipboard options, along with a new compact mode that minimises panels and maximises your usable canvas.

The price is right

Affinity Designer
Well, not actually free. But very affordable.

So that third thing, then. That’s Affinity Universal Licence – an all-in ownership tier that nets you Affinity Photo 2, Affinity Designer 2 and Affinity Publisher 2, across Windows, Mac and iPad, for a single payment of £144.99/$169.99. But in recognising there are no upgrade options on App Stores, Serif’s offering a whopping 40% launch discount too, which brings the entire V2 suite down to £89.99/$99.99. 

It’ll still be possible to buy the apps individually, note – and when doing so, you’ll still get that 40% discount. If you’re keeping score, it’s worth adding that these prices are forever – not bad when even the post-discount one is less than a few months of Creative Cloud equivalents.