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
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.