Affinity Photo 1.6 comes with a raft of performance tweaks

Serif has released an update to Affinity Photo, its professional photo-editing application. Affinity Photo 1.6 comes with a raft of performance enhancements, more advanced text options, a new 'light' user interface and clever new 'stabilized' brush tool for smoother paint effects.

Serif says Affinity Photo 1.6 is faster, smoother and more powerful before with enhanced panning and zooming, and improved Live Filters performance. Live Filters have long been a selling point of Affinity Photo, enabling photographers to see the effect of a filter directly on the image while making adjustments.

The new brush stabilizer works in 'rope' or 'window' mode. In rope mode it acts as if you're dragging the brush tip at the end of a small rope – it sounds crazy but it's immediately intuitive and smooths brushstrokes really effectively. It should prove useful to digital artists in particular, but also photographers who want to add 'glow' effects to images and object outlines.

New font chooser

For those who need to add text to their images, Affinity Photo 1.6 brings a new font chooser drop-down menu with tabs for All fonts, Recent, Used and Favorites and, amongst other enhancements, new vertical alignment options within text frames.

If you shoot 360-degree images you'll now be able to correct image roll, and Serif says it's improved support for Photoshop plugins, which can be used from within Affinity Photo once your plugin folders have been located and added in its Preferences window.

Mac owners using Apple Photos to organize their image collections can now open images directly in Affinity Photo 1.6 from within the program (while it was originally a Mac-only program, Affinity Photo is now also available in a Windows version).

Another major selling point is that Affinity Photo offers the power of Photoshop, but as a subscription-free purchase. It's also dramatically cheaper than Photoshop ever was when it was available on a 'perpetual' licence, costing just £48.99/$49.99.

Rod Lawton is Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography magazines, including Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus, Professional Photography, Photography Week and Practical Photoshop.