Setting up Affinity

Setting up Affinity. The first thing I always recommend when jumping into a new program is to set up your interface and settings. This simple first step will instantly make your initial first steps feel a lot more comfortable. You can access the preferences by clicking on the Gear icon found in the upper right-hand corner of the Affinity Photo app.

  • First, you have your Undo Limit, which maxes out at a crazy 2,000 undos. I recommend keeping it around 25-50 for the sake of performance.
  • Next up, how often you’d like things to Autosave. I find autosave incredibly useful because for some unknown reason I forget to save stuff on my ipad all the time! I guess the lack of ‘Apple-S’ just throws me off…
  • Next set your Language and your Default Save Location. I highly recommend Dropbox. If you want to know why, check out this video. But at this moment in time you can’t set the default location to Dropbox. You can select ‘On My iPad, Icloud, or Google OneDrive. Hopefully Dropbox will be available in future.
  • For now, I simply save to my iPad and then move the file to my Dropbox. Then I ‘open from cloud’ to work on it. Its an extra couple of steps but it gives me back the benefits of my existing workflow.
  • In Interface, you will find your Background Gray Level. I personally find that a darker background allows me to focus on the artwork. Set it however you prefer it.
  • And finally, you will also find Left Handed Mode. I am left handed but for this tutorial I’ll be using the interface in right handed mode for your benefit.

Creating a Document

Press the + icon found in the upper right-hand corner of the Affinity Photo app’s splash screen to access new document options.

Step 1

From here, you can choose from several options, including:
  • Create a whole New Document, which will bring up your typical options of SizeColor, and some document presets.
  • You can also import New From Clipboard or From Photos saved to your iPad.
  • You can also select my preferred option Open From Cloud. 

Cloud Workflow Example

  • I create a new document and name it with the clients name.
  • I save it to the iPad
  • Then I move it from my iPad to my ‘tattoos’ folder in my dropbox
  • This folder is organised by year/weekNumbers/clientName
  • Then I go back to Affinity and ‘Open from Cloud’
This keeps all my artwork organised and backed up online in Dropbox. Which is my preferred cloud sync service.
If your using iCloud or Google Onedrive you can set your default save location to one of these and shorten the steps.

Document setup and target resolution

When you set your document you’ll want to take a few things into consideration. Document size, resolution and colour space.
  • Create a new document to  bring up the options
  • I set my document size to A3 (297 x 420mm) This allows me to create the artwork a little bigger than I’ll need it and to use a blank body part to layout my artwork on. I think this just helps me get a better idea of how it will fit.
    It also means that should I ever need to print the artwork larger (on a banner for instance) it will look a bit better when I scale it up.
  • Next I select 300dpi as the resolution. It is very important that the resolution of the document matches the resolution of the target device. The target device in this case is either the printer in your studio or your brother stencil machine. Both of these devices print 300dpi. If you set your resolution lower than 300dpi your artwork will print blurred and it’ll make a terrible stencil.
  • Finally I select RGB/16 – Adobe RGB(1998) for the colour space. If you work in Black and Grey select Grey/16  – GreyD50.

The Interface

The Affinty user interface is 95% identical to Photoshop, so if you’re migrating you’ll quickly feel at home with with Affinity Photo
The logic behind Affinity Photo is just the same as Photoshop, however, you might have to look for a few things in other places, even though 95% of the features and menu items will be in the same spot in the top menu.
The right side panels are also very much like those you find in Photoshop. You have the layers panel, history panel, adjustments panel and all the other things you already know from Photoshop. Working with masks and selections is also almost the same as in photoshop
One of the major differences is that Affinity Photos workspace is divided into personas that are accessible through buttons at the top bar.

The different personas group related features together. This makes the interface slightly less cluttered and a little more user friendly than Photoshop.

Ipad Gestures

The familiar hand tool that we’re used to using for interacting with documents on desktop versions is massively upgraded when it meets the iPad. Moving, scaling, zooming and rotating are all done intuitively with your fingers. 
You can also hold one or two fingers on the screen as a modifier for controls such as Shift and Alt.

How to Zoom in Affinity Photo

You zoom in and out by placing two fingers on the screen and then pinching. If you pinch outwards, you will zoom in, and if you pinch inward, you will zoom out.
You can also adjust the Zoom by going into the Navigator found on the right-hand side of the screen.

How to move in Affinity Photo

To move the document, simply take one finger, touch, and drag. Make sure the View tool is selected. If you have another tool selected, like the Paintbrush tool, you will want to use two fingers instead of one, so that you won’t apply the tool.

How to Rotate in Affinity Photo

To rotate, you will first have to go into the Navigator, as Rotate is turned off by default. Once it’s turned on, you can rotate by using the rotation dial within the Navigator or by making a pinch and swivel motion.
To reset your canvas’s angle, click the rotation dial, input 0, and hit OK.

How to Redo and Undo in Affinity Photo

Redo and Undo are also controlled using gestures. You can Undo by doing a two-finger tap on the canvas.
Redo by doing a three-finger tap on the canvas.

How to Duplicate, Delete, Cut, and Copy in Affinity Photo

If you hold down on the canvas with one finger, a quick context menu will open up containing theDuplicate, Delete, Cut, and Copy options.
Selections and Layer Masks in Affinity Photo