After recently downloading and playing around with Affinity Designer, a vector drawing package by the generous people at Serif, I guess I just got hooked, making Affinity Designer a definite purchase and recommendation for graphic artists and illustrators.
The following is just some of the artwork examples I created using either, or both, Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo.
Now, what you’ll find about using both programs is that they play quite nicely together. Allowing you to easily copy and paste you vector drawn work from Affinity Designer, into Affinity Photo.
You can then use Affinity Photo for creating more organic tonal images as shown in the example below:
There is one thing to watch out for though, and that is how hungry for disk space these applications can be. So, getting hold of an external hard drive, at least a few terabytes worth, might be a good idea.
Speaking of external hard-drives, and therefore equipment. Most digital artists and illustrators use pen tablets and other tools that help make the drawing or painting process a more natural experience.
However, if you do not have the luxury of such tools and you at least have a decent desktop, or laptop, you can always use your mouse.
Painting with a Brick
Yes, I know, it is kind of like painting with a brick, and a little redundant, but with some practice and patience you can get there. Think of it as an initiation towards perfecting your skills and knowledge using the software.
A round-up of 5 of my favourite Software apps I currently use for; building website pages, creating social media and promotional assets, (CD) record covers and more.
1.WordPress.com / WordPress.org
Well, it goes without saying, WordPress has long been a favourite solution for building both full-blown websites and accompanying custom single page layouts, including landing pages.
Of course, without all the clever plugins available, WordPress may still offer a lot of milage in what you can do. However, it’s the WordPress plugins that really make WordPress such the powerful platform it is known as.
A typical first time encounter with WordPress often leads to the question; What’s the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?
In brief, WordPress.org is the option often chosen by designers, developers and businesses requiring specific website hosting needs, and web server access. This option has been known as Self-hosted.
Meanwhile, WordPress.com is a Managed-hosting solution. Which mostly means that you do not need to worry about all the technical webs server side of things.
2.WordPress Theme & Web Page Builders
Now, this is what really gets me excited, the Website Page Builders. And now there are even theme builders. Which allow you absolute control over how your website pages look.
Of course, there is always the problem of building a website that works across different formats and devices. So maybe some compromise…?
No, not really. There is a WordPress Website Page Builder that will deal with that issue for you. The easiest and most powerful WordPress Website Page Builder to get started with is perhaps Elementor. Which, now also provides full-site-editing capability.
As for exploring an all new Theme Builder, that is currently attracting a fair amount of interest, you’ll need to join the community with a membership account first.
3. Luminar 4
Well, I do bang on a bit regarding Luminar, but that’s only because I find it to be so handy. And it’s really good and achieving satisfying results fast.
However, as I always say, don’t over do it. There is a tendency for both experienced and inexperienced photo-editors to push their photo editing treatments a little too far.
You can even use Luminar 4 as a plugin (or extension) with Adobe Photoshop or Photos for MacOs. So, if you feel Photos for MacOs is a little “Wack” then boost your photo editing artillery with Luminar 4, you’ll be amazed by the results you can achieve in less time than usual.
For me, Affinity Photo is the definitive Photoshop alternative. It allows me to do most of the things I would use Adobe Photoshop for. Although, I have to say that once you’ve used Photoshop anything else is a step backwards.
Fortunately, the compromises aren’t that great for the majority of tasks, and if you are already familiar with Photoshop, you’ll pick-up Affinity Photo pretty fast.
Okay, so to complete the list, I thought perhaps something that will help you pull together all your beautiful art into one place. So you can prepare, manage and ensure that your creative assets are shared and promoted consistently on Social Media and Adverting platforms. Vital for brands…
Now, Easil may remind you of Canva. However, I find that Easil’s approach and direction straight out the gate show an understanding of what creators really want from a Design-it-Yourself solution.
Design-It-Yourself – Social Media Content Creation Tool
Another useful piece of software you may find interesting, is Easil.
Easil is a new, well intended online content creation software that provides team and individual users access to 1000s of social media templates for creating many of the different social media formats, such as for Facebook ads, Pinterest or Instagram stories.
What’s more, you can upload and selectively share your brand assets, including logo, fonts, colours, images and other graphics and brand elements with your team members.
One of the things I really like about the Photo-editing app, Luminar, is how simple it is to use, both as a standalone app or as a plugin extension. The interface is pretty minimalistic and doesn’t take too long in becoming familiar with.
This is especially useful if, like the majority of creators, you perform most of your editing or retouching tasks using Adobe Photoshop. For me, Luminar is like the digital music mastering tool you might use in order to polish the final production of a track.
Providing your Mac is up-to-date and sufficiently endowed, Luminar works fine for most cases. You can learn more at Software Folder.
Presently, I have been using Luminar for Mac OS as a standalone app. And have yet to explore the layers feature. However, with the aid of Affinity Photo or Adobe Photoshop, I think I’d be more inclined to perform most of the more manipulative and tricky tasks in either of these two programs.
What do you use in your photo-editing workflow and for finalising your artwork pieces?
Photo-Artist will just love what you can do with the Luminar 4 app. Easily create photographic styles, or rather, Looks, from your settings. This is a great way of maintaining consistency across a range of photos.
What I really like though, is how you can achieve a near to “illustration” or stylised painterly appearance. And what’s even more beautiful, is how you can save, package, and share your settings as Looks (presets).
Photos Taken With A Nikon D80. But I Have My Eyes Set On A Nikon D850.
They Say That The Best Camera Is The One (Phone) You Have On You. But Is That Always Ideal? I Don’t Know – What Do You Think?
The Pitons, Soufriere, Saint Lucia.
If you happen to travel to the Caribbean Island of S.Lucia and looking for picturesque landmarks to take photos. The Pitons is a very obvious option, so you can just imagine how many photos have been taken of this popular piece of evidence of the earths majestic beauty.
Sugar Cane Mill, Victoria, Saint Lucia.
Located in Victoria, St.Lucia, this old sugar cane mill tower overlooks the Caribbean Sea from where the Island of St.Vincent can also be seen in the distance. [tips and more photos]
One of the things I have been enjoying lately is the power and flexibility of Skylum Software. If you are not familiar with Skylum, then please allow me to introduce you.
Skylum, formerly Macphun, are a creative and innovative software business that provide Pro and hobbyist apps that are very easy to use and equally as powerful.
If you were to ask me who is it for? My answer would quite sincerely be anyone. And here is why.
To begin with, there is Photolemur, which is a drop-dead simple photo enhancer for all the family. Photolemur allows you to enhance your photo with no to very little manual editing.
Then you have the “Big Boys n Gals” software, in Luminar and Aurora HDR. Luminar comes in a few shades including; Luminar Flex, the plugin and extension for most users wanting instant gratification with the different Looks available as well as use with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
And finally, there is Luminar ‘standalone,’ if I can call it that, especially as the current versions I have been using are all available as standalone as well as plugin/extension apps. The latest Luminar, version 4+ is super cool with the enhanced AI Sky Replacement feature.
The Plus for mac Users
It’s a joy how Luminar works with Photos for macOS. It kinda gives Photos for macOS more value. And especially with iCloud working in the background. Check out my related posts below for more.