Corel Corp. will roll out a new version of its CorelDRAW Graphics Suite this summer, less than a year after the last major update to the software was made for the Macintosh. Corel recently met with MacCentral to talk about some of the changes in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11.
First and foremost, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11 will be a simultaneous release for both Mac and PC, according to Corel spokesperson Meredith Dundas. The collection of graphics utilities will be a hybrid CD-ROM release, as well.
Each component of the suite has been dramatically revamped, according to CorelDRAW Graphics Suite lead program manager Tony Severenuk. He said the year since the last major version of Graphics Suite shipped has taught the development team a lot about how applications work on the Mac and how they should work on the Mac. Some of the interface idiosyncrasies reviewers noted in the previous release have been corrected, for example.
CorelDRAW gains new features
Many new features have been added to CorelDRAW, the vector-based illustration program. Symbols support is now enable, providing the ability to use symbols in place of unique objects, creating smaller file sizes. A new Library Docker palette enables users to manage symbols.
Pressure-sensitive Smudge and Roughen brushes have also been added. Severenuk told MacCentral that the brushes are also sensitive to tilt and bearing, making it possible to add realistic effects when CorelDRAW is used in conjunction with a stylus and tablet.
Three point drawing tools have been added as well: 3-Point Ellipse, 3-Point Rectangle and 3-Point Curve tools now enable users to create and position angled or slanted shapes using just two clicks. Shapes are created by clicking and dragging across centerlines or baselines, then clicking again to define height. New polyline and pen tools also simplify the process of drawing curved and straight lines too.
Text has also been enhanced — users can now convert paragraph text to curves, although Severenuk cautioned against doing so to documents that are too text-heavy, to help keep file sizes reasonable.
Shaping has been greatly enhanced in CorelDRAW 11, with new menu items including Simplify, Front Minus Back, and Back Minus Front joining Weld, Trim and Intersect. Each of the tools helps you exercise more control over the shape and placement of objects in your document.
Line segments can also be closed more easily, according to Severenuk. Four different options enable you to create a single closed path from multiple paths with either straight lines or curves, helping to preserve the appearance of objects while creating them quickly.
PHOTO-PAINT 11 sports interface enhancements, Cutout tool, more
Corel’s bitmap graphics application PHOTO-PAINT 11 also gains major new changes in this release. The software features a streamlined user interface that Corel said is more intuitive, with color indicators and menu items reorganized, and a more simplified context-sensitive property bar with an advanced mode that helps prevent the interface from getting cluttered.
Red-eye removal is now automatic using a new tool. You can test tolerances and simply brush over the subject’s eyes to change them from red to a more natural color while maintaining the same grayscale values.
A new cutout masking tool is included. It doesn’t quite have the same sophistication as Corel’s companion KnockOut 2 product, according to Severenuk, but it gets you part of the way there. Rather than having to create and apply masks, you simply draw a line around the section of the image you want to mask and then fill the selection. You can preview the results before applying them permanently, as well.
PHOTO-PAINT 11 also gains many new features designed to simplify the process of using its images on the Web. A new Slicing feature enables users to subdivide a larger image into smaller ones to increase the speed at which it’ll load as a Web page. Users can create new rollover actions and can optimize images from within PHOTO-PAINT 11. JPEG 2000 format is now supported, as well.
Image stitching enables users to piece together individual scanned images or pictures imported from a digital camera together in a panoramic scene. As anyone who has tried to create a panoramic image without specialized and expensive mounting hardware can attest, it’s easier said than done: minor changes in the position of the camera and even the way the image interacts with the camera’s lens can lead to significant distortion within the final panorama.
Corel has provided users with fine-tuning features that enable you to adjust angle rotation. You can also preview the overlap between individual images in the panorama easily using a black overlap feature that shows when images are completely stitched.
Drop shadows have been enhanced, spot filter effects have been added and lighting effects now allow you to control location, color, angle and aperture. A new bevel effect has been added, lens flare has been improved and dust and scratch removal effects have been enhanced too.
R.A.V.E. 2 gains commonality with CorelDRAW
Corel’s Real Animated Vector Effects package, R.A.V.E., is suitable for producing simple animations in Macromedia Flash format, and is also capable of producing animations and rollovers for the Web. The new version of R.A.V.E. now gains a common interface with CorelDRAW, including drawing and editing tools that will be familiar to experienced CorelDRAW users.
As with CorelDRAW, R.A.V.E. 2 sports support for symbols, helping to reduce file sizes on animations that use repeated examples of the same object. Sprites are now supported — animated symbols with timelines independent of the main animation timeline.
A fuller range of behavior types is supported in R.A.V.E. 2 also. Play, Stop, Go To, Load/Unload Movie, Toggle High Quality and other new functions have been incorporated.
Tweening has been reworked, as well. Users can now create advanced text transitions and effects by animating text on a path. Various properties can be tweened — distance from path, orientation, curve changes, text kerning, and more. You can also tween Perfect Shapes and their properties — size, position, fill, outline and rotation. New 3D vector extrusions have been added, too.
R.A.V.E. 2 sports enhanced Macromedia Flash export, too. It produces smaller file sizes than its previous incarnation and also has enhanced preflight warnings.
System requirements for the new CorelDRAW Graphics Suite II call for a G3-equipped Mac or better with 128MB RAM, Mac OS X 10.1 or higher, 1024 x 768 resolution, 250MB hard disk space and a CD-ROM drive. The full retail release will cost US$529 when it’s released late in July. Upgrading from the previous version will cost $249. Competitive upgrades are also available.