Affinity Photo

The JixiPix extravaganza of plugins

While experimenting with Affinity Photo and Designer, I wanted to create some effects for backgrounds and buttons. These would be something for desktop wallpaper, and messing around with images for Slack and email. As well as unique login images for each of my Macs.

This lead to a slew of tutorials on adding effects using Photoshop. While most everything translates right over, I ended up discovering something a hundred times better and it integrates right into Affinity.

A company called JixiPix, has taken all the work out of building effects by hand by developing a slew of plugin tools.

JixiPix has tools for creating effects that look like watercolors, oil painting, chalk drawings, cartoons, pastels, crayon, colored pencil and dozens of other styles. They also have plugins for adding rain effects, snow, grunge, tint and many more.

There is an amazing variety of choices and they are all extremely well priced. They can run as a stand alone app, or integrate within Affinity or Photoshop. Even Corel PaintShop Pro is supported by many of them.

I have downloaded the trial version for several, including the Portrait Painter. That is the filter used for the Star Wars image I posted.

There is another filter called Spektral, that is incredibly fun to play around with. It’s hard to describe exactly what it’s doing, it’s best to look at the pictures. In some cases it gives them a wild neon like effect. In other cases it makes them dark and almost rotting. For other effects it sort of makes them look like stained glass. It’s an amazing filter that produces some wonderful.

JixiPix has plenty of examples, and even some galleries dedicated to specific filters, so you can get an idea of what they do.

And within each filter, you can either pick a preset that gives some great results, set it to use random values, or grab the dials and change every setting to see what you can come up with.

I’m trying out multiple combinations, but I will absolutely get Portrait Painter and Spektral. I’m not entirely sure I won’t just buy the entire bundle with all the plugins they have.

I don’t have a commercial or marketing need for these plugins, although I can easily see their use there. Even just for fun, I see plenty of ways these can be used. They make stunning effects and give a unique look to images. There is much fun to be had.

www.jixipix.com

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Getting (mildly) creative with the Affinity Suite

After watching the excellent Lockdown series by Affinity, I have taken up the digital paintbrush and have been playing around with Affinity Photo. Getting a behind the scenes look at how professionals use the product was just what I needed.

I am no artist, and no expert. But after seeing some examples, dozens of pieces came together and I understood how to approach a couple of simple tasks. My use of masks and layers was slightly incorrect and seeing the different tools in action was eyeopening.

It has been an extremely fun learning process. I am still only doing simple things, but things make so much more sense now. Having a tool is one thing, seeing the right way to use it is another. Once you see the proper way to outline an object, or use a gradient, or combine layers, dozens of possibilities open up.

Not only do I recommend watching their tutorial series, I also recommend picking up a copy of the entire Affinity suite. Adobe charges $50 a month for their Cloud Suite. You can get all the Affinity apps for $75. That’s a one time price, not monthly.

That aside, the Lockdown series by Affinity is a great way to learn how the products work, and how professionals from different disciplines apply their own style and process.

I have always been intrigued by how people create art, whether it’s touching up a photo or illustrating a poster, or laying out a book. It’s very satisfying to see people show off their craft and give real examples of how the process is done and the tools they use. We literally get to look over their shoulder and see how the process is done.

I applaud Affinity for putting this series together. I truly believe it’s beneficial to everyone involved.

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