Dr. Mac: Yes, Photoshop can be replaced

“In a February Rants & Raves column I explained my dilemma with Photoshop’s subscription pricing: ‘I like Photoshop a lot and have become proficient. I’ve used nothing else for my image editing needs for as long as I can remember. That being said, I’ve begun a search for a reasonably-priced image editing app I can buy (not lease). Put another way, I’m looking for an app that can serve all of my image-editing needs, but without monthly payments,'” Bob LeVitus writes for The Mac Observer.

“After months testing five contenders — Affinity Photo, Acorn, GraphicConverter, Photoshop Elements, and Pixelmator Pro — I’ve made the decision to terminate my Photoshop subscription, and save $119.88 a year,” LeVitus writes. “The competition was tough. I could probably replace Photoshop with any of the five contenders and be relatively happy. But, after trying them all, I’ve decided the app that best suits my needs is Affinity Photo.”

“It was close… For a while, I was favoring Pixelmator Pro, which is an awesome graphics app that has all the features I need, a slick user interface, a great online community, and plenty of tutorials,” LeVitus writes. “Then I tried Affinity Photo, which has all that and more.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with either Pixelmator Pro (which we use) or Affinity Photo (which we’ve tested and liked).

AppleInsider: Pixelmator Pro 1.1.2 on the Mac is superb even if it still isn’t Photoshop – August 3, 2018
Affinity Photo brings professional photo editing to iPad – June 5, 2017


  1. He makes it very clear in the piece that he isn’t in need if powerful features, that his needs are modest. For most content creators, no, there is no equal to Photoshop. I don’t love Adobe’s direction of late, but to this day, nothing comes close, alas. Photoshop is easily my most used piece of software on a day to day basis.

  2. Love Affinity EXCEPT for one foolish decision: In Designer, they have deliberately left out the feature to flow text around an object. According to a Forum post, they did this so as to not cannibalize sales from the now beta version of Publisher. For people who use Designer for flyers, business cards, etc, that is a crazy choice — and one apparently made for just to force people into buying another product. That has never been a good strategy for any company. Designer is a daily driver for many of us and replaces Corel Draw on the Mac. I don’t think they would lose one sale of Publisher by having this needed feature in Designer. Rethink it boys. Otherwise, glad to have the suite.

  3. For me the anchor is Lightroom and I get Photoshop for “free”. I use Photoshop too but to manage my more than 50,000 pictures I just gotta have Lightroom (which STILL is not a complete replacement for Aperture – Damn you Apple!). I too love pixelmator and still use it if I just need to do a quick edit to a graphic (not a picture). Photoshop is just such a pig that I hate to open it for simple things. I don’t see how an app could be simpler than Pixelmator.

  4. CMYK absence was the reason I hadn’t even bothered to look at Pixelmator, but I see that Affinity photo states “RGB, CMYK, LAB, Grayscale and true end-to-end CMYK. Also full ICC color management, and 32-bit per channel editing.”

    Thats important to me because I have several items I have professionally printed and those require CMYK color space.

    Unfortunately, I do not see a demo version of Affinity on their web site. They do have a Publisher “coming soon”, too: https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/publisher/

    1. That is old school. You used to have to convert everything to CMYK to ensure a controlled color shift from RGB to CMYK, that is no longer the case. Most modern RIPs can handle the conversion as graciously if not better the Photoshop. In a highly calibrated environment where color is critical, you no longer convert your images to CMYK, you allow the RIP to do it.

      1. Modern RIP workflows where I live in New York State are PDF based workflows… Acrobat Pro settings for our RIPS are Working CMYK Coated or Uncoated conversion. Set it and forget it… For me to use a non-adobe workflow in the NorthEast US is just not something i care to indulge in. I sleep well at night knowing my work is cruising through the press. For anyone who doesn’t like subscription platform.. your business should be making enough to afford $9 per month.. otherwise you in the wrong business!

        1. Certainly understand modern RIPS require appropriate software. But seriously, that is most likely the minority of printing today. Most RIPS in hundreds of clients I deal with are not new and most are very old and could be satisfied with PS7. Established companies are not likely to upgrade equipment until they breakdown and have no choice. It is unbelievable how many clients I deal with have decades old software and hardware that get the job done. In other words, smart business owners deliberately avoid the Adobe TAX …

    2. JB, thanks for the information. I’ve been reading a lot of good reports that Pixelmator is easy to use, yada, yada. No CMYK or Grayscale capability is an instant dealbreaker and won’t even consider it from now on. MDN always speaks highly of the program, but it makes sense for them if you only publish to the web, then RGB is all you will ever need …

  5. I stopped upgrading Adobe Full Suite at CS6. Been using PS since version one (late 1980s) it simply fills all my professional needs and can’t imagine a subscription would be worth the price offering anything groundbreaking. Actually PS Extended has more tools than I will ever use.

    As long as I have several upgradeable computers with an OSX that runs CS6 I should be good for 20 years. Decades ago gave up competing with the latest cool kids and keeping up with the Joneses …

  6. I wish someone resurrected GoLive type of website editor and simplicity. And made a Illustrator killer and I would walk from Adobe. I would be a fan of Apple acquiring Adobe and getting rid of the stupidity of the company and retain the talent.

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