CorelDRAW 9 Graphics Suite
"Corel Refines Its Already Solid Features"
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Corel has released its latest version of its comprehensive set of graphic applications: CorelDraw 9 Graphics Suite. The main applications include CorelDraw 9 (a vector illustration and page layout program) and Corel Photo-Paint 9 (a bitmap-based image composition, editing, and creation program). Several utilities are also included to provide support for file management, tracing, font management, screen capture, OLE scripting and more. There are more than 25,000 clipart images, over 1,000 TrueType and Type 1 fonts, hundreds of photos, theme sets, frames, objects, and fills. The bitmap editing program, Photo-Paint, can be purchased separately, and there is a Macintosh version of CorelDraw 9 Suite available. The preceding version of the program, introduced a slew of new tools and features (for a look at version 8 features and a discussion of vector and bitmap images, see our review of CorelDraw 8 Graphics Suite). Although version 9 presents some new tools (Mesh Fill Tool and Artistic Media Tool), it focuses primarily on developing and refining its already solid features and interface. Corel no longer includes the drawing program Dream 3D, but has included a new third-party cross-platform media management application, Canto Cumulus LE 4.0. Also attention has been placed on creating more robust versions of the image editor Photo-Paint and the bitmap conversion utility Trace. CorelDraw 9 Graphics Suite, with its new page layout and pre-press options, PostScript file support, color management, and Web tools and support, will be a solid and satisfying upgrade for existing CorelDraw users, as well as an excellent choice for professional designers and desktop publishers who need a powerful tool. For an overview of the items in the suite, click on the Suite Items button. For information on other Corel programs, see their Web site. Corel Corporation has an excellent site for information about their products. (http://www.corel.com) I mention other useful sites in the User Level section, also. The price of the Suite is $695 for the full package; $199 for the Upgrade, and the upgrade can be from a variety of Corel products, not just CorelDraw.
|Advanced Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced PC users.
The suite of programs are not difficult to use, but there are a multitude
of features and options so that it takes a while to learn. The suite is
suitable for professional production or for any individual who is working
in graphic design, Web page design or desktop publishing and wants to
go beyond a basic template driven application in order to explore their
artistic side. Anyone familiar with other paint programs or graphic programs
should have no problem with this suite. It is intuitive and user-friendly
but powerful, and does take some dedication to learning. Advanced Beginners
will appreciate the on-screen CorelTutor that has step-by-step instructions
on creating a variety of images or products. As the three main applications
share a similar interface, it would be appropriate for a user new to graphic
programs as they are not learning a variety of applications with different
interfaces, which can be confusing. Also all the programs are well-integrated
and work smoothly together. Advanced PC users will appreciate the customizability
of the program. The Web options have features that would help users new
to Web publishing, but also would aid Intermediate and Advanced users.
There is a variety of support for users new to the Suite. The User Guides for CorelDraw and Corel Photo-Paint are hefty volumes filled with information. And then there are numerous third-party books and sites on CorelDraw. Such books on CorelDraw and Corel Photo-Paint vary from "Sams Teach Yourself CorelDraw 9 in 24 Hours" by Macmillan (http://www.mcp.com), an excellent beginning book to "CorelDraw 9: The Official Guide or Corel Photo-Paint: The Official Guide," by Osborne/McGraw-Hill hefty books packed with everything you ever wanted to know about CorelDraw and Corel Photo-Paint, and they are easy to read (http://www.osborne.com). The Web site: http://www.unleash.com is an excellent source for products and companies that are useful to the CorelDraw and Corel Photo-Paint user.
New Features for CorelDRAW 9 Suite: For those individuals who are already familiar with the CorelDraw Graphics Suite and would just like to review a list of new and enhanced features specific to either CorelDraw or Photo-Paint, you can click on the appropriate button above. In this New Features section, I will elaborate on the major improvements common to both programs.
Layout of Review
Since CorelDraw 9 is a suite of tools, with two main applications, I am separating the review material. This specific Web page will describe information pertaining to the whole CorelDraw 9 Suite, unless otherwise indicated. Information on the individual programs, can be found by clicking the appropriate button below. Because the total package is called CorelDraw, as well as the illustration program, and there could be confusion about the two, in the text, I will use the word "CorelDraw Suite" or "Suite" to pertain to the suite and the word "CorelDraw" or "Photo-Paint" to pertain to just the specific applications.
Graphics in Review
As with the review of CorelDraw 8 Graphics suite, I will use a variety of graphics for this review, all made with one of the applications of CorelDraw. Let's face it, if you are a graphic designer, you can easily create the ultimate image. What I am trying to do is show what the average user or desktop publisher can do with the program, so all the images are very basic and can be created by beginners or professionals. I used the "Sams Teach Yourself CorelDraw 9 in 24 Hours" book, and the step-by-step tutorials for some of the images, as it is an excellent book for novices and shows what you can do with a little time and effort. This is a rather long review, but I really want to demonstrate what the program can do. Our PC Cafe logo was created with CorelDraw with somewhat more advanced techniques. Artistic text was used then the text was converted to curves. The text was then broken apart so each character could be edited, and placed behind or in front of the other.
The Section headings, Title heading, and blue/green cylinder buttons were made in CorelDraw 8, and I used them again for the review of version 9. For the headings, I drew a rectangle, filled it with a Full Color Pattern Fill of drops, then put another rectangle behind it with I filled with a Fountain Fill Preset to get the gradient color. The text was added last. Presets are useful to someone learning to use this type of program.
For the buttons, I used the Blend effect, which enables you to fill the space between two different objects with a set of new objects that change, step-by-step, from the first object to the second. Not only do the size and shape of blended images evolve from one object to another, but the color as well. I drew a circle, copied it, colored one blue and the other green, selected both, and then selected Effects/Blend from the menu bar, and entered 20 in the Number of Steps spin box. The text was added last. It was very easy and fun to do.
The installation of Version 9 seemed to be smoother and faster than with the previous version. It still requires a lot of space on your system if you want to install all the fonts and utilities. You can reduce this number significantly by using the "Run from CD" option, but doing so is slower.
There are hefty manuals for CorelDraw and Corel Photo-Paint in the Suite, plus a smaller guide for the Canto Cumulus Desktop LE application. There is also a color guide to clipart and font.
|The CorelDraw 8 Suite has certainly matured, and it delivers
quality as well as quantity. It is more powerful than before, and more
intuitive and intelligent, making it easier and quicker to accomplish
goals. Though the program is geared for professionals, it it still a good
program for any serious person working in graphic design. It is a feature-rich
suite for artistic and technical work for print or the Web.
Many individuals will shy away from a Suite such as this because they think it is too complicated for them. Not true. It is powerful and does take some time to learn thoroughly, but you will be amazed at how quickly you can create complex-looking images. The applications within the Suite share data and documents easily and use a similar interface which cuts the learning time. And most of your work can be done in just Draw, alone. The strong text tools, powerful Web tools, the expanded collection of bitmap creation and editing tools, and plug-in support in Draw 8 almost eliminates the need to leave the program for any art project. You don't have to learn a graphics program to create the graphics, then a word processing program for text, and then learn a page layout program for layout. CorelDRAW 9 Graphics Suite is packed with tools that would increase any user's productivity and creativity, and is a very solid upgrade.
|Processor: Pentium 133
Operating System: Windows 95/98 or NT 4.0
Memory: 32 MB RAM minimum (64 MB Ram recommended)
Hard Disk Space: minimum 100 MB
Graphics: SVGA monitor
CD-ROM: 2X CD-ROM drive
Web Page Editor: Macromedia