With the graphics software world being synonymous with Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw is pumping out excellent alternatives that can stand on their own. While initially ignored by most users, by time when version 8th was out, everybody was aware about it and by version 10, it screamed attention. Brace yourself, as Corel has released Corel Draw 12 with incremental additions and more feature sets for its users.
The latest and best addition to Corel Draw 12 is the Smart Drawing tool. The tool recognizes any free hand drawn shape such as square or circle and replaces the free hand drawing with the exact shape. This will greatly benefit users when using touch based input panel or stylus. Further, rough zigzags are smoothened out as curves by the tool. While the range of shape it can recognize is limited at best, it can even recognize hastily sketched 5-point star. Dynamic Guides is another great addition that features on-screen guides to alignments, snap-to points, intersections, etc. when editing illustrations. This feature is similar to Smart Guides in Adobe Illustrator and features information about the nearest point being manipulated.
There are plenty of improvements for Corel Draw 12 in this version. On-screen text rendering has improved with support for OpenType fonts and Unicode character sets. The text editing options have been augmented with Character dicker window which is similar to a glyph browser though it can’t automate type options such as ligatures and is thus inferior to Adobe Illustrator’s options. Other improvements include more control over snapp-able bits and a Virtual Segment tool to simplify complex paths. Further fonts can now be embedded within CorelDraw documents making them portable.
Playing With Others
Since people and their choices vary, how CorelDraw deals with various file formats also dictates its usage patterns. Importing options have been improved with support for HPGL 2, CGM 4, Microsoft Vision 2000/2002 and improvement in support for DXF/DWG, CGM 1 and CGM 2 formats. The exporting option is a headache as it increases file size by a huge manifold when exporting to BMP or EPS formats or even Illustrator formats. A new addition is the exporting to SVG format for the web.
The Big Picture
CorelDraw 12 does not come alone but with Corel suite which contains other software like Photo Paint (an alternative to Photoshop), Corel RAVE 3 (a vector based animator in line with Flash) and other utilities like a huge collection of clip arts. The software requires a minimum of Pentium II, 256 MB RAM, 250 MB hard disk space, Windows 2000/XP and a CD-ROM.
CorelDraw 12 in itself is a worthy replacement to Adobe’s offering with minor hiccups and features also identical tooling with certain extra features thrown in to the mix. So, for existing CorelDraw 10 and 11 users, version 12 is absolutely a worthy upgrade!