Say hello to Affinity

The cute sketch of Jasper I posted yesterday turned out to be the last project I will (probably) ever do in Photoshop. It’s a long story but the short version is that when I updated my Mac operating system a couple of weeks ago, my first update in six years, I lost the ability to use my Adobe software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). I had read somewhere that my software wouldn’t work properly if I didn’t uninstall and reinstall it and so that’s what I did. Silly me. Down the rabbit hole I went. Reinstalling them didn’t work. Backups didn’t work. My software was no longer recognised and all was lost. It was really quite upsetting but not entirely unexpected.

Now I’m not telling you this because I’m looking for sympathy. I’m also not looking for solutions or workarounds. I’m not even going to contact Adobe to try and sort it out. Really? Yep. It’s a done deal — I’ve been on borrowed time with my CS5 software for years. I knew this day was coming and, now that it’s here, I’ve decided to embrace change.

The short-term pain of losing CS5 has given way to the discovery of Affinity’s award-winning graphic design and photo editing software. Check out their product videos — they’re really impressive. I have now jumped ship and am learning how to navigate Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. Thankfully, it’s fairly intuitive, the GUI looks and feels familiar, and there are lots of online video tutorials. I don’t have a replacement for InDesign yet but I am eagerly awaiting Affinity’s release of Publisher later this year. The Affinity software is also very reasonably priced (no subscription, which helped to seal the deal for me) and they are offering free updates.

If you’re a Mac user (sorry, it is Mac only*), I recommend having a look at Affinity. I think it’s awesome. I love that I can import my old psd, ai, and pdf files. I also love that I’m now using creative software that is current and not six years old (that’s the equivalent of about half a century in software years).

So I’m saying goodbye, Adobe. There will be no more tears. I have no regrets. It was fun while it lasted.

* Affinity have announced that they plan to launch Designer and Photo on Windows later in the year.

Bird on a wire

Bird on a wire — digital painting, 2016
Bird on a Wire — digital painting, 2016

I’ve had a bit of fun using Photoshop’s ‘smudge’ and ‘brush’ tools to transform a slightly blurry photograph of a little kingfisher (see below) into a digital painting. It’s an interesting way of working because the photograph provides the colour palette and basic composition, but you still have to know what you’re doing to turn it into a painting (if you have you ever tried using those artistic filters, you will know they’re very frustrating and no substitute for being able to draw). And the best thing about painting in the digital world: no mess and no need to clean up afterwards.

What colour is a blackbird?

Flinders Street Railway Station, Melbourne — ink and digital colour, 2016
Flinders Street Railway Station, Melbourne — ink and digital colour, 2016

“Drawing makes you look at the world more closely. It helps you to see what you’re looking at more clearly. Did you know that?”
I said nothing.
“What colour’s a blackbird?” she said.

David Almond

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On the road again, WIP/underpainting – acrylic on canvas
On the road again, WIP underpainting — acrylic on canvas

“The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist.” David Hockney

I’m not sure I agree with Mr Hockney on this point but I do like the quote… and I did ‘cheat’ a little with this composition by removing the car in the background and changing the colours (see photographs below). I hope to have another WIP ready to show you later in the week.

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“I invent nothing, I rediscover.” Auguste Rodin

Dandelion study — ink on paper, digitally edited, 2015
Dandelion study — ink on paper, digitally edited, 2015

Dandelion reference photograph, 2014
Dandelion reference photograph, 2014

Dandelion sketch — ink on paper, 2015
Dandelion sketch — ink on paper, 2015