Graphics: Either vector (geometrically-defined
scalable) illustrations or bitmaps (pixel-based
Suite: A collection of tools to create
and manipulate graphics
Corel: Local software developer that's
been refining these toys and tools for over 10 years
Back in the day...
Back in the dark days of orange- or green-screen
word processors and boring spreadsheets (late 80's-early 90's) I worked
at OCRI* and ex-Mitel bigwig Mike Cowpland sent us a beta-copy of CorelDraw
1.0 for evaluation. Because I was responsible for churning out seminar
and newsletters, the set of 5.25" diskettes
landed on my desk.
Wow! You could actually draw stuff on a
PC! This actually made working on computers kinda fun. Even back then,
the capabilities were in the software to draw almost anything and do some
very funky things to mundane text.
Every year thereafter Corel offered upgrades
and it was very encouraging to realize that the many suggestions to their
free support hotline were seriously considered and (gasp!) implemented.
Kudos to the teams of Corel engineers and developers over the past decade
who have brought real drawing power to the PC. Over the years, Corel has
improved their flagship drawing application and augmented it regularly
with related applications (Photo-Paint, Ventura page layout, etc.) and
an abundance of free quality clipart and fonts.
The matured suite
Ten years later, Corel's graphics suite
still offers superb value and more importantly, a powerful and flexible
total graphics solution for novices and professional users.
The core vector graphics app, CorelDraw
10, sees some new features and an improved interface. New features include
sophisticated gradient transparencies, easy-to-change PerfectShapes, and
most of the special effects tools are now live and interactive rather than
palette controlled. I
still find Draw has better capabilities
than any of its competitors.
Corel Photo-Paint remains on par with its
biggest image editing competitor, Adobe Photoshop. Both are first-rate
image retouching applications which support layers, multiple import/export
filters and extensive colour, image and retouching tools. So, you could
pay $900 for Photoshop or pay nothing for Corel Photo-Paint which is right
there in the graphics suite.
rollovers and optimize Web graphics with side-by-side previews. Speaking
R.A.V.E. is the new kid on the block at
Corel; it lets you create sequential "movies" out of vector or bitmap objects
and then save your files in popular web formats like Flash. With the ever-increasing
demand for more sophisticated web graphics, this is a welcome addition
and the fact that it has a familiar Corel feel is a bonus.
||When Corel presented
this suite at the OPCUG General Meeting a few months ago, I was pleased
with how easy it was to create an animation. My biggest difficulty was
using the laptop touchpad - the software was easy to use and seemed logical.
Rounding up the goodies in the box are
several useful utilities and the traditional cornucopia of clip art and
In general, the suite seems to be somewhat
better integrated than previous collections and the performance seems a
little snappier - must be all that rewritten code.
and Photo-Paint programs share new colour management tools; a welcome addition
although not everybody will feel a need to calibrate their system for rendering
accurate colours. The CMS interface makes it easy to select the type of
device you are using (proofer, offset printer, monitor, and scanner) and
simply specify what the devices' brand name is.
However, this falls apart if users don't
have existing profiles for their equipment and have to settle for a "generic"
CorelDraw's best new feature is PerfectShapes
which let users quickly draw 77 customizable shapes and by using the control
glyphs further adjust the shapes while retaining their general form. The
shapes are divided into five categories: Basic, Arrow, Flowchart,
Star, and Callout shapes. I particularly like the callout shapes for quick-
drawing thought ballons, speech ballons and other comic- style callouts.
PerfectShapes are fully editable as with
most Draw objects; letting you change outline, fill, size, position, scale,
The Pan Tool (part of the Zoom set) has
improved functionality - as you pan around the page you can left- or right-click
your mouse to zoom in or out. This beats using scrollbars any day and doubles
as a zoom tool.
Corel R.A.V.E., comes equipped with the
usual complement of animation functions - layers, timeline window, animation
objects along a path, blending objects over time (tweening) and adding
sound bites to movies. Finished documents may be exported to Flash (SWF),
GIF, AVI (Video for Windows) or MOV (QuickTime) format.
Corel Graphics Suite 10 recommended
Hard disk space required: ~ 300Mb
Practical Application of Corel Graphics
Suite 10: OPCUG logo animation project
To put the Corel Graphics Suite 10 through
its paces, I thought it would be nice to manipulate the OPCUG logo in Draw
and use the shapes to create an animation with R.A.V.E. Horizontally scaling
the computer part of the logo should be a fair test of the animation. Maybe
I'll add a little flash (pun intended) at the end too.
I started by opening the OPCUG logo in
CorelDraw 10. I converted all text to curves (to avoid font substitutions)
and grouped the text objects. I also combined all the computer lines into
one object. Draw 10 behaves much like its previous versions, yet the revised
interface and better access to object properties makes it easier to work
fast. I used the Transform Docker to perform incremental scaling to multiple
copies of the graphic, which were OK to test, but unneccessary in the end
because R.A.V.E. let me use the identical Transform tool. The computer
logo was exported from Draw in Corel's native CMX format.
R.A.V.E., comes equipped with the usual complement of animation functions
- layers, timeline window, animation objects along a path, blending objects
over time (tweening) and adding sound bites to movies. Finished documents
may be exported to Flash (SWF), GIF, AVI (Video for Windows) or MOV (QuickTime)
I've uploaded the resultant Flash SWF
file to Pub II if anyone would like to see it in motion.
Note that if you have an older browser,
you may want to either upgrade it or download a Flash plug-in for your
I like the "big ten". It still represents
a terrific value for anyone looking to get into computer graphics of any
kind. The core apps (Draw, Paint, R.A.V.E.) are at the top of their class
in the industry and the utilities are worth the price of the whole box.
However, if you already have version 8 or 9 and a vector web animation
app doesn't excite you, you may want to hold off the upgrade.
Corel Draw 10
Originally published: May, 2001