CorelDRAW Graph­ics Suite X7

OK COREL We find out if Corel’s lat­est up­date to its vec­tor draw­ing soft­ware brings it up to Pho­to­shop and Il­lus­tra­tor’s level

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

Back in the late-90s, CorelDRAW was the go-to soft­ware for il­lus­tra­tors and dig­i­tal artists. It was – and still is – a vec­tor-based draw­ing pack­age, which tapped into a new kind of clean, shiny dig­i­tal art based on solid curves and grad­u­ated fills. It also in­cluded a host of other fea­tures, in­clud­ing PHOTO-PAINT for ma­nip­u­lat­ing im­ages, and bit­map-tovec­tor scan­ning tools.

Fif­teen years later and lit­tle has changed about the soft­ware, but Adobe’s Il­lus­tra­tor and Pho­to­shop are far more pop­u­lar. Tellingly, both CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT have in­cor­po­rated Il­lus­tra­tor- and Pho­to­shop-style workspace lay­outs, to as­sist mi­gra­tion from Adobe’s might­ily sim­i­lar mar­ket lead­ers.

CorelDRAW is still good for cre­at­ing very par­tic­u­lar kinds of im­ages. Text can be bro­ken apart into its con­stituent shapes so char­ac­ters can be ma­nip­u­lated like ob­jects. Draw a squig­gle and you can ex­trude it to give it per­spec­tive, then ro­tate it and turn it into some­thing in­ter­est­ing. It’s great for cre­at­ing posters, or 3D text to plop atop a build­ing, but it’s less use­ful for fluid and or­ganic works.

New ad­di­tions in X7 in­clude tai­lor­made workspaces, bet­ter foun­tain fills and a neat ‘font play­ground’, which shows a piece of text in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent fonts. PHOTO-PAINT in­cludes pres­sure-sen­si­tive tools and im­proved cam­era ef­fects. These are all good fea­tures that aren’t on the scale of Pho­to­shop’s han­dling of 3D ob­jects.

CorelDRAW hasn’t moved on a great deal from the 90s, while Adobe has ad­vanced in leaps and bounds. It’s still a ro­bust vec­tor edi­tor, but Il­lus­tra­tor and Pho­to­shop have more fea­tures.

The pro­gram’s bet­ter for de­sign­ing char­ac­ter’s T-shirts than it is de­sign­ing the char­ac­ters them­selves. CorelDRAW does, at least, in­clude a wide ar­ray of tu­to­ri­als and help videos so you can get your head around the soft­ware.

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