5 Cool Things You Didn’t Know You Can Do With Affinity Photo

If you’re looking for a powerful photo editing software that can do more than just basic edits and costs a fraction of what leading software companies charge, then Affinity Photo is the program for you. It offers a wide range of features and allows users to create stunning photos, digital art, and graphic designs with ease.

In this article, we will cover five cool things people can do with Affinity Photo that are on par, if not superior, to other popular options, like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. As you read, you’ll find brief descriptions of each impressive features and how you can use them to improve in program efficiency and create crips, professional-looking photos.

1. Embedded Documents Feature

Starting off our list of cool things you can do with Affinity Photo is the use of its unique embedded documents feature.

In essence, the embedded document feature allows users to place vector, image or text documents inside of their Affinity Photo project as Smart Objects. These embedded document objects can be freely transformed, edited, and even exported out as standard assets.

To do this, you’ll need to have a main document already set up before opening the “File” menu and selecting the “Place” option. Next, open the desired document and either place it in its default size or drag it onto the page and set a customized size and position.

One of the best things about this feature is that it gives users the ability to work on multiple projects and layers at the same time without having to constantly save and close each document. Instead, you can edit your embedded document and see these alterations appear in real time on the main document.

This is an exceptional time saver for photographers and graphic designers and works exceptionally well for mockups.

2. Frankentoon Design

When it comes to digital design, there are two overarching disciplines: raster and vector design. Each has its own pros and cons that cause photographers, digital artists, and graphic designers to often lean towards one or the other depending on their task and desired outcome.

While many people would find it beneficial to have access to both raster and vector tools for the same design, programs rarely allow this combination. Thanks to Affinity Photo’s Frankentoon design feature it is one of few exceptions.

The Frankentoon design feature in Affinity Photo, also referred to as the Vector/Pixel Personas combo, allows users to mix vector and raster graphics within the same document.

Again, this is a huge convenience boost and time saver because it ensures you don’t need to hop between different applications or software for your vector vs. raster tasks. Simply open the associated Persona menu and select the tools you need.

If you’re new to digital design and aren’t sure when to use raster versus vector tools in Affinity Photo, here are our recommendations of under what circumstances each is most beneficial to use.

Best uses of Vector ToolsBest uses of Raster Tools
Fine, precise line work and drawing
Use of scalable shapes
Use of solid colors (especially for large fills)
Illustration aesthetic
Smooth and clean gradients
Photo-centered works
Realistic textures
Freestyle drawing (no constraints)
Complex shading

3. Use Photoshop Brushes

We mentioned previously how a huge benefit of using Affinity Photo is its budget-friendly cost compared to popular alternatives, like Photoshop. While there are many features unique to Photoshop you won’t have access to, a game-changing feature of Affinity Photo is that it allows you to access Photoshop’s renowned brushes.

To use Photoshop brushes in Affinity Photo, follow the steps listed below:

  1. Join “Envato Elements
  2. Download your desired brush file
  3. Open the “Pixel Persona” menu
  4. Open the “Brushes” panel
  5. Click the top-right corner to open the menu
  6. Select the “Import Brushes” option
  7. Browse for and select your brush files
  8. Select “Open”

This might be a small feature, but it can do wonders for broadening your graphic design horizons and allowing you to create works of varying aesthetics that perfectly suit yours and any potential client’s needs.

4. Create Color Palettes with the Color Chord Feature

The process of creating the prefect color palette can be extensive and tedious, but Affinity Photo makes short work of it for you with its Color Chord feature.

With Color Chord, all you need is one color to get you started. To use this feature, follow the steps listed below:

  1. Open the “Swatches” panel
  2. Select the “Add current file to palette”
  3. Add your base color swatch
  4. Right click the base color swatch layer and select “Create Color Chord”
  5. Select the type of color harmony you want from the list. Most commonly used options include
    • Complementary
    • Split complimentary
    • Analogous
    • Accented analogic
    • Triadic
    • Tetradic
    • Square

This process will allow you to add one color at a time to build a stunning color palette with as little input from you as possible. If you don’t like one of the colors Color Chord provides, you can easily delete it and try again.

5. History Branches

There is almost always a significant degree of trial and error when it comes to creating graphic art. One way that Affinity Photo tries to make this process as easy as possible for you while allowing you to express your creativity in infinite ways is with its history branches feature.

Under the “History” tab on Affinity Photo, you’ll see a list of additions and alterations you make to your design. Where this feature comes in handy is that it allows you to go back to previous steps and make changes that will become a completely separate branch from the original design.

This will allow you essentially create two different designs that you can switch back and forth between using their unique branches. You can then test out various color palettes, shapes, and visually see all off your potential options before deciding which you think is best.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, this is just a short list of some of Affinity Photo’s coolest features. There’s countless other tools and options you can utilize to get the ideal results you’re looking for. If you’re interested in trying out Affinity Photo for yourself, head over to their website and download the free trial. With a little practice, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is to use.