Developing a raw image

Develop Persona is a dedicated environment used for processing raw images captured using a digital camera.

Working in Develop Persona

If a supported raw file format is opened in Affinity Photo, it will automatically display in Develop Persona. You can then process the image using the dedicated adjustments, panels and tools.

Develop Persona gives you access to the following:

At any point while working with an image or any selected pixel layer, you can switch to Develop Persona to make use of its unique features.

Choosing between RAW engines

The Develop Assistant provides a choice between Apple (Core Image RAW) and Serif Labs engines for processing RAW images.

Apple's engine provides the benefits of predetermined behaviors for demosaicing, lens correction, noise reduction, cropping and more.

Serif Labs' engine allows for greater manual configuration. You can specify luma and chroma noise reduction separately or disable noise reduction altogether, override lens correction, and benefit from superior demosaicing.

Apple's engine crops to whatever aspect ratio was selected in camera and so was written into the image's metadata, even if the camera sensor's aspect ratio is different. Data outside of the crop area may be removed during RAW processing. The Serif Labs engine doesn't destructively crop images, so all sensor data remains available.

Split view options

There are a variety of split view options available in Develop Persona which give you the opportunity of seeing how your processed image compares to the original raw data.


While applying adjustments, you can update the 'Before' and 'After' view to give you a more focused representation of the applied changes. Rather than comparing the processed image with the original raw data, you can sync the views so 'Before' adopts the current applied adjustments. The 'After' view continues to update as more adjustments are made.

Show Clipping

An incorrect level of exposure within an image can lead to pixels 'falling out' of the viewable intensity range. This results in the loss of detail in areas of shadow, highlights, or midtones and is known as clipping.

In Develop Persona, you have the ability to display Clipped Shadows, Clipped Highlights and/or Clipped Tones directly on the image. This can help you identify areas which need correcting as well as preventing overenthusiastic modifications which result in clipping. The Develop Persona remembers your choices for these options from the last time you used it, even when editing a different photo.

Develop Persona To work in Develop Persona:
  1. Do one of the following:
    • Open a raw image. Develop Persona will analyze the data and pre-process it, ready for editing.*
    • Select a pixel layer and then, from the Persona toolbar, click Develop Persona.
  2. Activate your preferred view mode.
  3. Adjust the image using the various panel options and tools.
  4. (Optional) Sync applied settings within the view and repeat the above step.
  5. On the context toolbar, select Develop.

    The photo or layer will adopt all the settings as displayed in the 'None' or 'After' view. The 'Before' view is for comparison purposes only.

Normal view mode Split view mode Mirror view mode To activate view modes:

On the Toolbar, do one of the following:

Sync Before Sync After Swap To synchronize applied settings in view modes:

On the Toolbar, do one of the following:

Show Clipped Highlights Show Clipped Shadows Show Clipped Midtones To show clipping:

On the Toolbar, do one of the following:

Rotate Counter-clockwise Rotate Clockwise To rotate your raw image:

On the Toolbar, do one of the following:

Assistant Options To change initial develop settings:

On the Toolbar, do the following:

  1. Click the Develop Assistant to open its settings dialog.
  2. Choose from the following settings:
    • RAW Engine: Provides a choice of RAW processing engines for you to use—Affinity's own Serif Labs engine (used by default) or Apple's Core Image RAW engine.
    • Lens corrections: Enable or disable automatic lens correction for supported camera lens profiles. Lens profiles are installed with the app. If a camera is not included (perhaps a new model), you can include it by adding its profile—a downloaded Lensfun XML file or Adobe Lens Correction Profile (LCP)—to the database by using Preferences>General.
    • Noise reduction: Automatically enables either color noise reduction, color and luminance noise reduction, or disables any initial noise reduction. Color noise reduction is recommended for the vast majority of camera raw images.
    • RAW output format: Choose between RGB (16 bit) or RGB (32 bit HDR) output when developing a raw image. Choosing RGB (32 bit HDR) allows you to maintain a full 32-bit float environment from initial raw development to export and take advantage of extra precision.
    • Tone curve: If the default 'Apply tone curve' option is active, your raw image is adjusted using a suggested tone curve. The 'Take no action' option makes no tonal correction; the image can be altered within the Basic panel later.
    • Alert when assistant takes an action: When checked, a pop-up message appears on loading the RAW image to indicate that adjustments have been applied automatically.
    • Exposure bias: Choose whether to apply exposure bias value if stored in the raw image's EXIF data. Like Histogram stretch, both 'default' and 'initial' give the same results but reports zeroed or actual values, respectively. The 'Take no action' option ignores the exposure bias value.
    • Map default region: Sets the map that displays in the Location panel to a chosen region, if the raw image contains no GPS location data in its EXIF data.