I’ve almost forgiven Corel for ceasing development of WordPerfect for the Mac, since they’ve brought their entire procreate line to Mac OS X. Painter 7 is a fine program, as is Corel Graphics Suite 10, even if it is a bit rough around the edges.
The first graphics suite to run on Mac OS X, Corel Graphics Suite 10 sports a cool (if slightly flawed) Aqua interface, support for ColorSync and QuickTime, and a variety of customization options. The suite is comprised of three main programs — CorelDraw 10 (for vector illustration), Photo-Paint 10 (for image editing and painting) and R.A.V.E. (for live vector animation) — plus a collection of media files and utilities. The first two are successful applications on their own; the third is a new, and very promising, program.
Overall, the suite is very easy to use thanks to context-sensitive property bars and the aforementioned customization, as well as intuitive shortcut keys and commands. However, the dialog boxes and palettes, though consistent across all three programs, seem too big. And the Aqua interface, though gorgeous, is a little glitchy and occasionally sluggish.
On the plus side, Corel knows that they face some formidable competition in the graphics market. So they’ve included extensive support for such popular graphics file formats as Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter 7, FreeHand, PDF (Portable Document Format), Flash, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), and EPS (Encapsulated PostScript). What’s more, there are new prepress options for adding crop marks, calibration bars, file information, densitometer scales, and registration marks to PDF files. And Corel Graphics Suite 10 adds Adobe Acrobat 5.0 transparency support, which lets users publish transparent objects to PDF from CorelDraw 10 as native PDF objects. No more rendering ’em as bitmaps.
Another plus is the support for ICC (International Color Consortium) standard color profiles and the ability to embed ’em in a range if graphic file formats. You can make use of three predefined color management styles (for the Web, desktop printing, or professional output) or create and save your own color management profiles. You can embed an ICC color profile, author, and any type of file into a PDF file.
New color sliders have been added to the color palette. They work with all the standard color models, as well as with “Web-safe” colors. There’s a new browse feature for color palettes that makes it simpler to find and choose color swatches. A live fill or outline update lets you update the chosen object’s fill or outline color automatically as you choose different colors. By choosing ColorSync Workflow in the color management dialog box, you can link Corel’s color management directly to the ColorSync control panel. Update your ColorSync profile, and Corel’s color profiles will also be updated simultaneously. Sweet.
Corel Graphics Suite 10 offers support for true HTML export. This means you can publish your designs to the Web with a high degree of accuracy. Plus, CorelDraw 10 and Corel Photo-Paint 10 support standard Web graphics formats, including JPEG, GIF, PNG (Portable Network Graphics), Flash, and SVG. Heck, you can even preview your Web graphics in a “Web Image Optimizer,” viewing four live previews of an image, so you can choose the file format you deem the best before posting to the Web.
CorelDraw is the central application of the graphics suite. A collection of tools for vector illustration, page layout, and graphic design, it can fairly be compared to Illustrator and FreeHand. In fact, since also supports PDF version 1.4 transparency (something the Windows version doesn’t) and multi-page capability, CorelDraw is a better PDF creation solution than Illustrator.
CorelDraw 10 sports a new, integrated preflight engine that offers preflight warnings and the ability to save preflight styles for common workflows. You’re warned of potential problems specific to the type of output you’re producing and can fix these flubs before producing your document. Plus, you can access the preflight info from the Preflight tab found in the Print and Publish to PDF dialog boxes in both CorelDraw and Photo-Paint, and in the Flash Export, SVG Export, and Publish as HTMl dialog boxes in CorelDraw. With all these features and more, CorelDraw makes for a topnotch application for business graphics. You can use it to tackle jobs such as live contours and drop shadows, and gradient transparency. In fact, it has what’s arguably the best texture fill effects around. You can even extrude a 2D graphic into a 3D object, then drop color fills onto its surfaces. And the graphic brush feature, which lets you “paint” with calligraphic shapes or vector objects is comparable to FreeHand’s (no surprise since this is the company behind the excellent Painter application).
Corel Photo-Paint is an image editing and painting program that boasts a wide range of image enhancing and specific effects filters to spiff up scanned images. A fine photo retouching tool, it lets you create a virtually unlimited number of artistic effects using a variety of brushes. A new Channel Mixer lets you blend color channels by percentages and offering support for RGB, CYMK, and LAB. You can customize the internal RGB space where colors are managed, which helps improve color consistency between Photo-Paint and third party apps. There is support for a large number of file formats for importing/exporting. And Photo-Paint supports Photoshop-compatible plug-ins and comes with some KPT5 samples. Photo-Paint 10 can display multiple color palettes. Plus, you can view more than one color palette by using the Color Palette Browser window or the Color Palettes menu in the Windows menu and enabling the checkbox beside the palettes you want to view. Palettes can be unchecked at any time. You can also set the default palette as you wish.
Though the introduction of vector and text layers make Photo-Paint more of a challenger for Photoshop, there still isn’t any good knock-out or matte functions. On the other hand, Photo-Paint is here for Mac OS X. And Photoshop ain’t.
Corel R.A.V.E. is a new vector animation tool akin to Adobe’s LiveMotion. The majority of its features can be accessed through the Movie menu. A Timeline Palette window contains the animation tools, including keyframe controls and tweening controls. From this location, you can access several animation features, such as Object Tweening, Keyframes, and Audio Control. Speaking of the Movie menu, you can use it to insert keyframes, delete keyframes, create animation sequences from a blend, control animation playback, attach an animation to a path, and more.
What’s more, you can use the rollover feature to create animated Web interfaces — graphics that respond to mouse actions. You can apply different states — Normal, Down, and Over — to specify how the rollovers will respond to mouse movements. Rollover images can be previewed in R.A.V.E., then exported for use on Web sites. Or you can export rollovers to Macromedia Flash SWF formats and embed them as objects within a Web page. Audio controls let you add sound to your animations. You can import audio files, and edit and export ’em to the Flash format. Multiple sounds can be added to an animation, and overlapped by cutting and pasting from the sound file. Each new sound is applied over the current one. R.A.V.E. isn’t as powerful and encompassing a tool as Macromedia Flash, but it’s easier to learn for common tasks such as rollovers, intro movies and interactive Web elements.
Corel Graphics Suite 10 also includes CorelTrace 10 (a tool for converting bitmap images into vector illustrations), Font Reserve (a font management tool), Acrobat Reader 5.0 (for opening and viewing PDF files), QuickTime 5, the Desktop LE release of Canto Cumulus 5.0 (for building media asset libraries, 2000 clip art graphics, 500-plus photos, and 2000 fonts. Corel’s update of the product offers some serious bang for the buck. If you’re into any of the chores the product suite is designed to tackle, certainly check it out. If you already own a previous version of Corel Graphics Suite, definitely update. The inclusion of R.A.V.E. alone makes the upgrade cost worth it.
System requirements are a Power Mac G3 or higher, Mac OS 8.6-9.x (with the CarbonLib extensions installed) or Mac OS X, 64 MB of RAM (with virtual memory enabled for Mac OS 8.6 to 9.2) or 128 MB for Mac OS X, 250 MB of available hard disk space, a CD-ROM drive, and an 800×600 color display for Mac OS 8.6-9.x or 1024×768 for Mac OS X.
Corel Graphics Suite 10 for Macintosh has a suggested retail price of US$569. The upgrade price for users of CorelDraw 6 and CorelDraw 8 for Macintosh is $249. Users of competing products such as Illustrator, Photoshop, FreeHand, and Deneba’s Canvas can received a mail-in rebate of $100 on the full version price.