CorelDraw Graph­ics Suite X8

Al­ter­na­tive art Corel re­leases a new ver­sion of its vec­tor draw­ing pack­age, for those not keen on sign­ing up to Adobe’s sub­scrip­tion plans

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Corel’s pro­grams have picked up pop­u­lar­ity in the past few years, by pro­vid­ing a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to Adobe’s sub­scrip­tion-only soft­ware. Corel takes pride in of­fer­ing sin­gle pay­ment op­tions for its pro­grams ev­ery two years, which many users pre­fer. So it’s a shame there’s still no Mac ver­sion of CorelDraw.

Other than that, the soft­ware is very wel­com­ing to a new user and doesn’t as­sume fa­mil­iar­ity (there’s even a ded­i­cated workspace fash­ioned af­ter Adobe Il­lus­tra­tor) and fea­tures new in­ter­ac­tive StartUp tours.

CorelDraw X8 is a vec­tor-based pro­gram, good for cre­at­ing and edit­ing graph­ics, page lay­outs and de­sign­ing web­sites (for more ded­i­cated paint­ing soft­ware, check out sis­ter ap­pli­ca­tion Corel Photo-Paint). You’re of­fered ac­cess to a huge se­lec­tion of tem­plate files, com­plete with ac­cess to thou­sands of fonts, to save you a lot of set-up time.

Tools are in­tu­itive and af­ter the guided in­tro you’re able to start guess­ing the be­hav­iours and op­tions avail­able to you. There’s also a Hints dock, which dy­nam­i­cally re­sponds to the tool se­lected, of­fer­ing ac­cess to more hints, videos and tu­to­ri­als.

Pow­erTrace, the bit­map-to-vec­tor con­verter, is in­cor­po­rated. It’s a great choice if you need to turn raster art­work you’ve cre­ated into vec­tors for a large poster. Pow­erTrace does a fine job of con­vert­ing even very tex­tured art­work and re­tain­ing the orig­i­nal look, leav­ing you to have fun refining the line-work with the free­hand Pen tool.

CorelDraw’s tools are pleas­ingly ver­sa­tile. The Knife tool has been en­hanced, en­abling you to split vec­tor ob­jects, text and bit­maps along straight, free­hand or Bézier lines. It can au­to­mat­i­cally choose the op­tion that best pre­serves out­line ap­pear­ance.

CorelDraw doesn’t knock Il­lus­tra­tor off its perch. But If you do lots of graphic de­sign work and are look­ing for an al­ter­na­tive to Il­lus­tra­tor, or you’re af­ter an Il­lus­tra­tor and InDe­sign hy­brid, CorelDraw X8 is a strong op­tion.

In­ter­ac­tive StartUp tours help you ac­cli­ma­tise to X8 quickly. The Hint

docker also of­fers use­ful ad­vice.

The Pow­erTrace Be­fore and Af­ter screen means you can com­pare and choose lev­els of de­tail.

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