Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, two of the best creative-minded applications available on the Mac, are receiving major updates today to increase performance and add new features.

The apps, which are beloved by creative designers due to their no-compromise feature set and subscription-free pricing model, both receive performance improvements, which include a Metal 2 accelerated view and macOS High Sierra optimization. There’s also a new light UI option for users to select from.

For a limited time until November 16th, app developer Serif is providing buyers with bonus content for both apps, which include new textures for Affinity Photo, and a pro brush pack for Affinity Designer.

Both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer have been updated to version 1.6.6/1.6. Along with performance improvements and free content bundles, there are additional enhancements and changes:

  • New light UI option
  • New stroke stabilizer for all pencil and brush tools
  • Metal 2 accelerated view optimised for macOS High Sierra
  • Improved view pan/zoom performance
  • Improved performance with large documents
  • New font chooser drop down menu with recently  used fonts and favourites
  • New Glyph browser
  • Align to key items
  • Text frame vertical alignment options
  • Fit frame to text
  • Many PDF export improvements including vector export of multi-stop gradients
  • Numerous bug fixes and other improvements

Affinity Photo 1.6.6 also receives a few exclusive new features as well, including:

  • New “Edit In” integration with Apple Photos
  • Custom brush wet edges
  • Outlier stacking mode
  • Improved Photoshop Plugin support
  • Improved Live Filters performance
  • 360 image roll correction

Free content bundles include the following:

Affinity Photo

  • Dirk Wüstenhagen Fine Art Texture Collection: containing 99 beautifully crafted, high-resolution textures
  • Uplift Epic Skies Overlays: a versatile collection of 50 striking cloud overlays
  • Macro Pack: a stunning set of image styles, light leaks and distortions

Affinity Designer

  • Frankentoon Texturizer Pro Brush Pack: containing 70+ high-quality brushes created exclusively for Affinity Designer
  • Tom Chalky Handcrafted Fonts & Textures: a valuable bundle of stylish fonts and more than 80 high-resolution textures
  • Grade UI Kit: Including more than 1000 fully-customizable elements, icons, panels and buttons

For existing customers, version 1.6 of both apps comes as a free update, and existing users can also claim the free content bundles up until November 16 by following the in-app instructions after updating.

Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, both $49.99 apps on the Mac App Store can, for many users, replace the need for Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. For Affinity Photo users, there’s also the benefit of having a full-featured iPad app that works seamlessly with the desktop version. Users should expect an iPad version of Affinity Designer in the future as well.

If you can’t tell, I’m extremely bullish on both of these apps. The fact that there’s no subscription is a huge win for users whose workflow needs can be met by what Serif’s apps offer. Of course not every Adobe user will be up to make the switch, but there are free trials of both Designer and Photo on Serif’s website, allowing anyone to test the waters to see if the apps meet their creative needs.

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Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.