Paintshop Pro vs Affinity Photo: Which Software is Better

By Eva Williams 11 days ago, Software Reviews

While comparing PaintShop Pro vs Affinity Photo in order to define the best option for specific needs, it is important to pay attention to the features of each program. Both products have a good set of tools for creating graphic design projects, editing images, and adding various effects to photos.

PaintShop Pro is excellent editing software for graphic design and photos, which you can use to create complex photo compositions, artistic images, and design projects. The selling point of the program is the presence of advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Almost all technologies used in the editor are tied to it.

Affinity Photo is a great tool for photographers, who want to edit photos or combine graphics and text for cool designs. The program has a number of handy features, including red-eye removal, cropping, selection, drawing tools, and vector shape instruments.

What Is PaintShop Pro?

paintsop pro logo

PaintShop Pro (PSP) is vector graphics software designed specifically for Windows users. It is one of the most demanded Photoshop alternatives, appealing to users with advanced image editing tools – geometric transformation, lens correction, color, contrast and white balance adjustments, layers and masks, selective editing, and support for RAW and HDR processing.

In addition, it has instruments for creating illustrations and artistic compositions, as well as templates for collages, social media images, and web design. This extensive pack of features is described in detail in the PhotoImpact vs PaintshopPro overview. PaintShop Pro is a wonderful example of a program that is easy to use, while offering advanced features (available via the Essentials panel). There is a special mode for beginners, but if you need more profound tools, simply switch the mode. This option makes it easier for beginners to master PaintShop Pro at a convenient tempo.

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    PaintShop Pro: Pros and Cons

    RAW conversion and file pre-processing. By clicking on the "Settings" tab, you’ll see the interface reminiscent of that typically available in an advanced RAW file converter. In most cases, people use Adobe Lightroom or the camera’s integrated editor for quick conversion, but PSP can also perfectly cope with such tasks.

    There is a special module, which is quite functional and fast, and you can instantly switch from view mode and back whenever needed. The list of supported cameras is really large; you will see there all the latest models.

    Excellent set of editing tools. Most photo editing features are located on the “Edit” tab. I’ve already mentioned in the PaintShop Pro vs Photoshop review that the interface of this module resembles that of Photoshop, which is convenient if you are familiar with Ps. The left panel contains the main tools (crop, brush, eyedropper, fill, and others). There are also functions for quick horizon straightening and perspective correction. When a tool is selected, its parameters are displayed in the upper part of the window.

    The thing that is unique and will undoubtedly attract your attention is the last panel. It has something in common with the other product of this manufacturer, namely, Corel Painter, and allows you to simulate various graphic and pictorial materials - oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil, etc. There is also a palette that makes it possible to get different shades by mixing strokes. You can complement the finished work with picturesque elements, which may be a decisive point for some people comparing PaintShop Pro vs Affinity Photo.

    AI HDR Studio plugin. This is a special plugin that adds HDR-style effects to single-exposure images, so there is no need to combine bracketed exposure and tonemap. However, the feature is available in the full workspace. AI HDR Studio plugin includes several different styles that can be applied in a single click. The intensity of effects is adjusted with a slider.

    Sea-to-Sky workspace. It was designed to meet the needs of aerial and underwater photography enthusiasts. There are four categories of effects designed specifically for underwater and drone photos. You can apply effects in one click to improve images, without performing time-consuming adjustments. These effects are ideal for beginners who lack the skills and knowledge to achieve the same result on their own.

    Color Changer Tool. The Color Changer tool works very accurately and almost without errors. For example, altering the color of the sunset in Corel PaintShop Pro is a breeze. Of course, you can try doing the same changes in other programs, but the process will be less intuitive. I’ve provided more details in the Capture One Pro vs PaintShop Pro comparison. With the help of Color Changer, you can even retouch pictures, but that requires a thorough understanding of the intricacies of the procedure.

    Allows creating an interactive travel map. In the editor by Corel, you can create an interactive travel map, which is rarely available in other programs. On the map, you can indicate places you have visited and where you’ve taken photos. Thanks to this feature, the program received additional points in the CorelDRAW vs PaintShop Pro stand-off. Moreover, with the help of Facebook and Dropbox, you can upload images and share them with your followers on social networks.

    Limited device support. The program is designed for Windows computers only.

    What Is Affinity Photo?

    affinity photo logo

    Affinity Photo serves as wonderful photo editing software for beginners and average photographers. The program is divided into five persons with each of them being aimed at fulfilling a specific task. For example, the Photo Persona is responsible for photo editing and there you can perform such actions as cropping, cleaning, retouching, erasing, and more. The Liquify Persona allows distorting areas of an image at the pixel level, providing warping and fine retouching.

    The Develop Persona is perfect for raw processing and for HDR development, while the Tone Mapping Persona allows affecting individual non-HDR images. If you need to export files in JPEG, PNG, PSD and other common formats, you should go to the Export Persona. Affinity Photo works well on Windows and macOS, even in the iPad version, which can make it a more appealing option in the PaintShop Pro vs Affinity Photo comparison.

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      Affinity Photo: Pros and Cons

      Straightforward work with RAW files. Every photographer should definitely know how to shoot in RAW. Besides, it is necessary to understand how to edit such files. You can open the selected RAW file in the program and the “Development” mode will appear automatically. From here, you can adjust exposure, restore highlights and shadows, and even create split toning effects.

      You can take advantage of the curve adjustments for fine-tuning, a clever noise reduction component, and a lens correction module to get rid of distortion. As you can see, the program has a fairly large pack of tools, which makes it a serious player in the Affinity Photo vs Pixelmator competition.

      Professional skin retouching. While comparing Affinity Photo vs Photoshop, I found out that the former can stay on par with its rival when it comes to skin retouching. You need to switch to “Photo” mode and click Filters > Frequency Separation. Next, you can set the intensity of Gaussian blur in real time, press “Apply” and the program will split your image into two layers, one with color and one with details. From here, you can remove blemishes, add your own dodges, darken, and polish colors.

      Layer support. Similar to other photo editing software for PC and Mac, Affinity Photo allows you to work with layers. You can create mask layers, rearrange layers, and choose between vector or raster layers.

      Lighting Effects Tool. This is a real finding for people interested in creative photo tweaks. I have tested numerous programs, compared Affinity Photo vs GIMP, conducted meticulous research, and can confidently say that there is no other software that can offer something of this kind.

      Photographers, who frequently use different types of shooting gear, like this tool immensely, as it allows mimicking different studio lighting conditions. Moreover, you can adjust any light effect in accordance with your vision, add a new one, and combine lights. It is possible to edit the fixture type (spot, point and directional) and a dozen other parameters.

      Simple work with different shapes. Drawing various geometric shapes in this photo editing app is a real pleasure. In addition to the rectangle, you receive 20 different shapes, each of which can be customized to your taste after it is drawn. Even Illustrator lacks such functionality.

      When the drawing part is over, you can select the Node Tool and drag the red dots along the semi-transparent line, editing the geometry of the shape the way you want. You can do the same in the dialog box, specifying the number of teeth, the corner radius, etc.

      Alternatively, you can indicate a number or pull the slider to the left and right. Of course, you can apply a layer effect to any shape and turn it into curves. However, in this case, it is impossible to perform "smart" editing or change a shape like a regular vector object by dragging the anchor points.

      No plugin support. At the moment, the program doesn’t support plugins, so you won’t see any official list of available plugins. In general, the software doesn’t work with plugins for Photoshop, but there are some rare exceptions.

      PaintShop Pro vs Affinity Photo: Price

      paintshop pro vs affinity photo price

      You can test the capabilities of PaintShop Pro without spending a cent, using a trial version valid for 30 days. The full version is paid and you can find it on the official website. Corel PaintShop Pro 2022 costs $79.99 or $99.99 for the Ultimate version, which includes many other features such as Painter Essentials 8 and the Sea-to-Sky workspace, as well as the possibility to use Multicam Capture Lite for creating video and screen recording.

      As for Affinity Photo, the free version of the program is only available for Mac and Windows. The iPad app doesn't have a free trial, while the paid mobile version costs $21.99. The paid version for Mac and Windows costs $54.99.

      Paintshop Pro vs Affinity Photo: Who Wins?

      PaintShop Pro is a program with many options that allows you to automatically adjust photo settings, apply multiple effects, view EXIF data, and manage images. With PaintShop Pro, you can either create a new project from scratch or use one of the many ready-made templates for your creative tasks.

      Affinity Photo is a powerful and affordable image editor that can compete with Photoshop, satisfying both average and professional users. It has a well-designed, customizable interface and performs most editing tasks quickly, thanks to hardware-accelerated features.

      Free Bonus Tools

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      Using Affinity Photo presets, you can improve your photos in a few clicks. These presets are great for both indoor and outdoor images. Filters from this collection brighten colors, improve skin tone, instantly fix contrast issues, remove inky shadows, and adjust white balance. All presets for Affinity Photo work flawlessly in all versions of the program.