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Affinity Photo's upcoming version 1.5 could give Photoshop a run for its money

Adobe might rule the roost in the world of creative applications, but Serif has made its name known and continues to put out impressive features with each new update to its Affinity suite of creative apps. And according to its latest announcement, Serif is only getting started.

In an email sent out yesterday to Affinity customers, Serif said its photo editing program Affinity Photo will receive an extensive update later this year that will add a handful of new features, including the ability to merge HDR images, edit 360 degree images, focus stack photos, batch edit, record macros, and more.

According to the demonstration video, the beta should be available within the next month, with the final version of Affinity Photo 1.5 due out by early October.

Below, we’ll break down a few of the new features shown off in the video.

First up is HDR import/merge. Now, when you capture a series of photographs for an HDR images, you can bring them directly into Affinity Photo, where they will be merged into a single 32-bit linear color space image. The resulting image will be very flat, but this is done so that you can get the most information out of every pixel in the image using Affinity Photo’s new tone mapping workspace.

A look at the new 360 degree photo editing features in Affinity Photo 1.5

A look at the new 360 degree photo editing features in Affinity Photo 1.5

Next up is the new 360 degree support. As virtual reality cameras become more ubiquitous than ever, more 360-degree photos will be captured. In Affinity Photo 1.5, you will be able to go in and edit a 360-degree photo as you would any other image, all while panning around the image as it would be seen in a dedicated viewing app.

Third on the list is focus stacking. When capturing macro photographs, there are many times when you need to get more in focus than a single exposure would allow. Now, much like the HDR merging, Affinity Photo will be able to automatically sort through a collection of images and stack the focus so your depth of field is exactly as you want it.

A look at the new HDR merge and tone mapping workflow features in Affinity Photo 1.5

A look at the new HDR merge and tone mapping workflow features in Affinity Photo 1.5

Related: Affinity teases its impressive Photoshop competitor running on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro

To wrap it all up, Serif has also added the ability to batch edit photographs and record macros — the latter of which is synonymous to creating actions in Photoshop.

Overall, Affinity Photo 1.5 appears to be a massive update to an already impressive application. Between the HDR merging, focus stacking capabilities and 360-degree editing features, it seems as though Serif is making it a point to bring any and all features into a single application.

It hasn’t been easy going up against the Adobe giant, but if Serif continues to impress and improve, there’s little doubt it’ll make its dent in the market. Especially with photographers who weren’t happy about Adobe’s switch to a subscription platform.

If you’re interested in trying out Affinity Photo, it’s 20 percent off through tomorrow, bringing the price down to 30 pounds ($40). The update will be free when it rolls out later this year.