Affinity Photo and Designer now support HDR monitors, improvements for Surface Pen, Dial

What you need to know

  • Both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are getting bumped up to version 1.7 today.
  • The updates bring a bunch of improvements, including HDR monitor support, performance increases, and additional ways to use the Surface Dial and Surface Pen.
  • The launch also comes with a deep 20 percent discount on both Photo and Designer, bringing them down to $40.

Serif today is launched two major updates to its suite of creative apps across Windows, Mac, and iPad. Bringing both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer up to version 1.7, the updates include a range of big features, including support for HDR monitors and more ways to use the Surface Dial and Surface Pen.

This update marks the launch of GPU hardware excelleration on the Mac version, but it isn't quite ready yet for the Windows version (though it's in the works). Instead, Serif says is has introduced a new memory management system that should result in an up to four-times speed increase across many tasks on Windows. That's in addition to "upgraded" Surface Dial and Pen support, bringing new ways to interact with Affinity Photo and Designer.

HDR is also a big area of focus in this update, and Serif has included support for HDR and EDR monitors. This allows users to author content with HDR in mind, which is particularly important as it becomes more prevalent.

Of course, there are several other big improvements coming to each app. Here's a look at what's new:

Affinity Photo

  • Much improved RAW processing engine offering significantly faster loading of files, a new demosaicing algorithm, more effective noise reduction, hot pixel removal and wide colour space development.
  • Rewritten brush engine adding all-new multi-brushes, a symmetry mode (up to 32-way) and on-the-fly nozzle rotation with shortcut keys.
  • Batch processing is improved, a new assets panel is available for quick drag and drop of commonly used elements, and the layers panel has had a complete overhaul allowing the resizing of thumbnails and colour tagging.

Affinity Designer

  • New isometric controls allowing you to work directly on any isometric plane - or fit existing elements to a plane with a single click.
  • Vector shapes can now possess an unlimited number of strokes and fills, with complete freedom to interleave different attributes and control how they are blended together. Arrowheads have been added to the stroke panel too.
  • Improvements to almost all vector tools, including lasso selection of nodes, the pencil tool adding a sculpt mode, a new point transform tool as well as huge improvements to guides, grids and snapping.

The 1.7 update for both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer is available starting today. There's no charge for current users, who can grab the update immediately. If you're interested in checking out Serif's apps, you can grab them through July 3 at a 20 percent discount, dropping the desktop versions down to $40.

Cheap PC accessories we love

Take a gander at these awesome PC accessories, all of which will enhance your Windows experience.

Anker 4 port USB 3.0 hub ($10 at Amazon)

Whether on a desktop or laptop PC, you always need more ports to connect things to. This hub gives you an additional four USB 3.0 Type A ports.

Ikea Fixa Cable Management System ($11 at Amazon)

This IKEA cable management kit is your ticket to a clean setup. It's simple and functional.

NZXT Puck ($20 at Amazon)

This clever little accessory has powerful magnets on the rear to make it stick to any of the metal panels on your PC case or anything else. It's great for hanging accessories like headsets.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl