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Affinity Photo vs APP vs PI

Software Astrophotography Beginner
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#1 CFK

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 12:46 PM

Hi, I’m sure the APP vs PI have been discussed a million times, but Affinity Photo now stacks and has many Macros from James Ritson. So has anybody on here compared AP vs APP or AP vs PI ?

 

I’m a beginner who uses MAC, was never great with Photoshop / Affinity but I’m working on it. I haven’t done a full edit using the AP Macros but any shot I’ve tried to put together always has gradients even after using calibration frames and the Background removal tool. I’ve been following James Ritson’s Narrowband Hubble palette tutorial but my results aren’t ideal.

Wish I didn’t already waste my APP trial when I didn’t have enough data or time to really test it and PI really sounds scary and not very user friendly……..

 

Any insight would be much appreciated, thanks in advance ! 🍻

Reid



#2 DeepSky Di

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 01:48 PM

Mac user here - I was already using APP and Photoshop when I got Affinity so I haven't started over with it. What I do like about Affinity is that it's 32 bit through the whole workflow. No need to step down to 16 bit as you have to do with Photoshop. 

 

APP has subscriptions (60 Euro for a year) as well as long term purchase options, so that may be an option to get started with it again. When the year is up, it just stops working, so you get to decide whether and when to pay another year, switch to "forever" license or use something else.

 

Siril is free and works on Mac

 

Here's my experience with PI. I wanted to explore PI after feeling that my existing workflow had a lot of "playing with sliders"; APP has good light pollution and star removal tools, is great for mosaics, can pick apart duoband images into Ha and Oiii and can export stretched stacked images; however I found the stretched images noisy and stretching in Photoshop takes time and may be error prone.

 

I think the notorious learning curve for PI is more about learning the workflows and knowing what to do when. As well as that, it has multiple ways of doing certain things in the user interface. And despite having a fairly standard operating system interface on Mac, with normal menus, it has some extra window decorations which are new and different although easy to learn. 

 

I tried various ways of learning PI, but what worked for me was Lukomatico's new tutorial series. The tutorials start with already stacked images, which for now I am continuing to do in APP. This has opened the gates for me to be able to follow other tutorials with variations on the same workflows and pixelmath recipes. https://youtu.be/UKd0pUBSZ6o

And pixelmath - what's not to like, it's magic.

 

I use NoiseXterminator and StarXterminator plugins; one license works for both PI and Photoshop; I heard that Affinity can use the Photoshop plugins as well.


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#3 CFK

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 02:14 PM

Mac user here - I was already using APP and Photoshop when I got Affinity so I haven't started over with it. What I do like about Affinity is that it's 32 bit through the whole workflow. No need to step down to 16 bit as you have to do with Photoshop. 

 

So basically you’ve used APP pretty extensively but are “movin on up” to PI ? 
 

Sounds like all roads do lead to PI eventually for most serious astrophotographers. Thanks for the insight, you should really try the AP with macros and see how it compares with you’re previous workflow ! https://www.jamesrit...aphy-macros.pdf


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#4 Digitaliz.se

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Posted 19 September 2022 - 03:45 AM

My roads are more or less going towards Photoshop and non destructive workflow. AP is more or less same as PS, right?

My workflow is APP + PS.

 

/Stefan

 

...
 

Sounds like all roads do lead to PI eventually for most serious astrophotographers. Thanks for the insight, you should really try the AP with macros and see how it compares with you’re previous workflow ! https://www.jamesrit...aphy-macros.pdf



#5 CFK

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Posted 19 September 2022 - 10:09 AM

Exactly, it’s a Ps replacement without a subscription and combines stacking plus can use “Macros” / Ps plug-ins

But I couldn’t get the plug ins to work, probably a me sucking at computers problem though……

I’m gonna assume APP has quite a few more features already instead of buying a bunch of plug-ins for AP though.

#6 rollomonk

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Posted 19 September 2022 - 01:38 PM

Hi, I’m sure the APP vs PI have been discussed a million times, but Affinity Photo now stacks and has many Macros from James Ritson. So has anybody on here compared AP vs APP or AP vs PI ?

 

I’m a beginner who uses MAC, was never great with Photoshop / Affinity but I’m working on it. I haven’t done a full edit using the AP Macros but any shot I’ve tried to put together always has gradients even after using calibration frames and the Background removal tool. I’ve been following James Ritson’s Narrowband Hubble palette tutorial but my results aren’t ideal.

Wish I didn’t already waste my APP trial when I didn’t have enough data or time to really test it and PI really sounds scary and not very user friendly……..

 

Any insight would be much appreciated, thanks in advance !

Reid

One thing to keep in mind is that astrophotography image processing is complex and challenging. There's no way to make it simple and easy if you want good results on a consistent basis. There's a whole lot to learn and skills to develop regardless of which programs you use.

 

The reason that PI appears not very user friendly and yet is used by so many astrophotographers is because it addresses the complexities head-on in a way that multi-purpose programs like AP and Photoshop cannot. As you learn its tools, you can achieve better photos. Yes, AP has added some astrophotography-specific features which are great to see but try using them on less-than-ideal subs and you may better understand the preference for PI.

 

So I recommend that you try out PI and watch lots of youtube videos. It will take time.

 

As good as PI is, programs like AP and APP have a lot to offer astrophotographers. Many use a combination of programs. Personally, I use PI for image calibration and initial processing and then switch over to Affinity Photo for final processing -- they work together well and are both great values.


Edited by rollomonk, 19 September 2022 - 11:49 PM.

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#7 CFK

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Posted 19 September 2022 - 01:58 PM

One thing to keep in mind is that astrophotography image processing is complex and challenging. There's no way to make it simple and easy if you want good results on a consistent basis. There's a whole lot to learn and skills to develop regardless of which programs you use.

 

The reason that PI appears not very user friendly and yet is used by so many astrophotographers is because it addresses the complexities head-on in a way that multi-purpose programs like AP and APP cannot. As you learn its tools, you can achieve better photos. Yes, AP has added some astrophotography-specific features which are great to see but try using them on less-than-ideal subs and you may better understand the preference for PI.

 

So I recommend that you try out PI and watch lots of youtube videos. It will take time.

 

As good as PI is, programs like AP and APP have a lot to offer astrophotographers. Many use a combination of programs. Personally, I use PI for image calibration and initial processing and then switch over to Affinity Photo for final processing -- they work together well and are both great values.

You make a great point. Ok I’ll give PI a try then ! YouTube will guide me through, got a long cloudy winter ahead anyhow…..
 

thanks 


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#8 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 19 September 2022 - 11:00 PM

I'm using both APP and Affinity, just started last year. The two programs actually work together quite will. After light pollution removal in APP, generally time to move the work over to Affinity.

 

PixInsight is on my To Do list, hopefully this fall. As much from curiosity as anything else.

 

I'll probably end up using all three lol.gif


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#9 airscottdenning

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 09:08 AM

If you do photography (as well as astro-imaging) you MUST become proficient in a general-purpose image editing/processing app like photoshop, affinity, pixelmator, etc. It's just part of the toolkit.

 

If you ALSO do astro-imaging in a serious way you will almost certainly continue to use those tools in the cosmic hobby too. But that does NOT mean you won't benefit from using dedicated astro-imaging software like PixInsight, APP, Siril, etc. Again, these are part of the required toolkit. 

Speaking for myself I am completely uninterested in dropping PixInsight and going back to endless point-and-click in photoshop. I use PI to process subs and darks and flats and then do my processing on a nice Mac up to a nearly-final image that looks great. Then I pull it into PixelMator Pro for final tweaks.

 

It's not "either/or." It's "both/and."


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#10 CFK

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 09:52 AM

Gotcha, Sounds like people like certain features in each and use multiple. I will have to start watching the Pixinsight tutorials.

 

and clearly APP still has many more features than affinity photo at the moment so still could be worth purchasing.

 

thanks everybody ! bow.gif



#11 psandelle

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 10:32 AM


It's not "either/or." It's "both/and."

Preach! I stack in APP, bring it over to PI, do final tweaks in PS. Voila! (They're still crappy, but that's human error. grin.gif) I started with PS with macros like Astronomy Tools & Annie's Astro Actions (actually, I started in MaxIM DL...but that's a long time ago), then moved on.

Paul



#12 DeepSky Di

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Posted 21 September 2022 - 09:25 PM

So basically you’ve used APP pretty extensively but are “movin on up” to PI ? 
 

Sounds like all roads do lead to PI eventually for most serious astrophotographers. Thanks for the insight, you should really try the AP with macros and see how it compares with you’re previous workflow ! https://www.jamesrit...aphy-macros.pdf

I really should! I was really impressed with the AP YouTube series. I have speed test project that I used to compare my M1 MBP with my previous Intel MBP, I may try to rerun it with AP.


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#13 ngatel

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Posted 23 September 2022 - 02:22 AM

I think the notorious learning curve for PI is more about learning the workflows and knowing what to do when. As well as that, it has multiple ways of doing certain things in the user interface. And despite having a fairly standard operating system interface on Mac, with normal menus, it has some extra window decorations which are new and different although easy to learn. 

 

I didn't find it hard at all to learn, although to learn every single tool (process or script) would be a daunting task.

 

I would have gotten it sooner but so many "learning curve" comments caused me to not even try the free trial. On the other hand, a year or so with APP and StarTools really helped me understand PI. I'm still doing integration with APP as it is about 4 times faster and the results appear nearly identical to me vs PI WBPP.


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#14 CFK

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Posted 23 September 2022 - 11:29 AM

I didn't find it hard at all to learn, although to learn every single tool (process or script) would be a daunting task.

 

I would have gotten it sooner but so many "learning curve" comments caused me to not even try the free trial. On the other hand, a year or so with APP and StarTools really helped me understand PI. I'm still doing integration with APP as it is about 4 times faster and the results appear nearly identical to me vs PI WBPP.

Good to hear ! (Googles WBPP lol.gif )

 

i’m going to buy APP and then do a trial of PI, watch some YT videos and I’m sure eventually get it…..



#15 ngatel

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Posted 23 September 2022 - 12:00 PM

Good to hear ! (Googles WBPP lol.gif )

 

i’m going to buy APP and then do a trial of PI, watch some YT videos and I’m sure eventually get it…..

I suggest starting with APP. It is fairly easy to use. Integration is my the numbers (6 steps). Processing is a little more difficult as there isn't a lot of documentation on the post-processing tools, but the author has made some detailed videos.

 

I wouldn't get the free trial of PI until you get APP down. On the other hand, some people jump right into PI at the beginning and do just fine. 


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#16 lphilpot

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Posted 25 September 2022 - 04:56 PM

Exactly, it’s a Ps replacement without a subscription and combines stacking plus can use “Macros” / Ps plug-ins

I bought AP for use with for my photography, albeit not (yet?) astrophotography -- I'm in learning mode now. Last time I was in Photoshop was v3.... a while back to say the least.  :D

 

AP's macro facility is basically a recorder / playback module with the ability to take user input in some circumstances. It's not a macro language (ECMscript, Python, etc.) and "editing" a macro lets you to delete steps but not much more, at least currently.

 

I've already discovered that while AP generally supports Adobe-style "8bf" plugins, it doesn't support them all. Some have dependencies, APIs and whatnot that AP doesn't provide. For example, I tried to download and use Tony Kuyper's free TK-Lum-Mask plugin but it uses Adobe's UXP which I don't believe is supported by AP. At any rate, I never got it installed and working. It does work with the Nik Collection, G'MIC, Topaz, etc. Just don't assume across the board every PS plugin will work.

 

AP is a young product and I'm pleased with it so far. I don't think it's gonna knock Adobe off their perch but it'll be a viable PS alternative if it can keep developing.


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#17 HxPI

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 01:28 PM

I have PI and it’s too complicated, I use APP now and enjoy the images it produces. Very easy to take the output and do quick post processing.


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#18 CFK

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 02:06 PM

I bought AP for use with for my photography, albeit not (yet?) astrophotography -- I'm in learning mode now. Last time I was in Photoshop was v3.... a while back to say the least.  laugh.gif

 

AP's macro facility is basically a recorder / playback module with the ability to take user input in some circumstances. It's not a macro language (ECMscript, Python, etc.) and "editing" a macro lets you to delete steps but not much more, at least currently.

 

I've already discovered that while AP generally supports Adobe-style "8bf" plugins, it doesn't support them all. Some have dependencies, APIs and whatnot that AP doesn't provide. For example, I tried to download and use Tony Kuyper's free TK-Lum-Mask plugin but it uses Adobe's UXP which I don't believe is supported by AP. At any rate, I never got it installed and working. It does work with the Nik Collection, G'MIC, Topaz, etc. Just don't assume across the board every PS plugin will work.

 

AP is a young product and I'm pleased with it so far. I don't think it's gonna knock Adobe off their perch but it'll be a viable PS alternative if it can keep developing.

Good to know, I couldn’t get RC Xterminator to work but I think it’s me. I’ll take your word for it since I didn’t get into Ps either. Only a tiny bit for Infrared channel swaps. The basics. Haven’t got Nik Collection yet either but I do use DXO5 as my main general photography editing. 
 

I definitely like AP for other aspects. Focus stacking, Pano’s etc.

 

thanks for the info ! 



#19 CFK

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 02:22 PM

I have PI and it’s too complicated, I use APP now and enjoy the images it produces. Very easy to take the output and do quick post processing.

I’ll probably be in the same boat, but only time will tell…….

 

 

 




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