CorelDRAW had its 20th anniversary just recently. If a software can stand for 20 years it couldn't be that bad, right? But yes, it looks awkward and many people simply ignore it, since it is not "cool" enough. Its designer community isn't large and the software itself has some disadvantages, which make it look a bit awkward. Let's reviews some advantages and disadvantages of using this software.
Why is that only people already addicted to CorelDRAW use it? Maybe they know something we don't. In this article, I'll review some of the issues with CorelDRAW. I think the developers of this software have created a sharp program, but not so user friendly.
CorelDRAW is very precise and reliable. All the tools give maximum control, but you must fight your way through to learn them. It's definitely not the software that you can take for a quick spin and easily create great artwork.
The good news is that when you get used to its feature set, it becomes part of your thinking and can be a strong tool for creating astounding artwork. Let's review a few pros and cons of CorelDRAW.
Er...How Do I Navigate?
First of all forget about the Space Bar equals Pan thesis. CorelDRAW has a navigator board but I must admit it's not the real thing and most people don't even know where it is (small box at the lower-right corner of the interface).
The easiest way to navigate is to zoom in and out to the pointer area with your mouse. This can be tricky sometimes if your mouse isn't smooth enough. Sounds strange but once accustomed to this navigation technique you will get addicted to it. If you still feel lost grab the Hand Tool (H) to pan, and press spacebar to change back to the previous tool.
What About Freehand Brushes?
This is a real pain. CorelDraw's freehand tools are only a concept but are nearly impossible to use them. Just try to do a quick hatching with the the freehand tool. You will end up with a mess, since you will continuously select the previously drawn lines.
It's OK though, as this is not primarily freehand painting or sketching software. There are some other industry standard tools on the Corel palette (for example Painter) which excel in this field. But once again this is a week point since the core concept of the software is not to painting.
The World's Best and Easiest Curves/Nodes Management
When you get down to the details you will be amazed how easy is to use the bezier tool and how precise its curve management is. If you are after vectorization then Corel Draw is great. Corel Draw is excellent software when it comes to vector tools. You have all the control over the nodes and curves with mathematical precision.
The right-click context menu makes vectorization so precise that technical illustration is easy to create. I take a deep bow in front of the team who developed this. This part is the strength of CorelDRAW from the dawn of vector software.
Super Fine Gradient Mesh
You need photo-realistic vectors? Just grab the super easy gradient mesh tool and you will make unbelievable vector portraits in no time. The Corel company has bundled photo-realistic art already in the version 8 clip art, and don't forget the Hedy Lamar illustration on the cover of version 8. If you check the Corel community galleries you will find some gorgeous photo-realistic portraits, though the galleries are sometimes awkward and the community isn't very exciting.
Highly Controllable Boolean Operations
I simply love this part of CorelDRAW. When you need to cut, weld, trim or intersect just open up the shaping docker and you have maximum control over the Boolean operations and the resulting shapes. Actually, you can base your style on these fine set of tools. Check them out for yourself.
Strange and Useful Effects
The effect palette is also a strength of CorelDRAW. I use these tools most of the time, especially the contour tool. Try some of this for extra options.
Color Separation and Prepress Goodness
If you're working in the DTP business, CorelDRAW is your humble servant. It corrects your mistakes silently and makes color separation and prepress work as easy as it can be. The main concept of this software, the precision, has its word in the printing menu.
If you want to spare yourself from getting upset, then don't forget to press Command + W often to refresh the screen. CorelDRAW tends to forget to do this for you, which can be quite annoying sometimes.
CorelDRAW has top notch tracing software integrated. It is quick, highly-customizable, and precise. Even if you don't like other parts of the software, trying Corel Draw's trace is a must. As a plus they have included a font recognition routine in the X4 version, which uses What the font! to find out what font was used on your scan. Nice idea!
Who uses CorelDraw Anyway?
Some really great artists from all around the world use CorelDRAW. Here is a short list to demonstrate.
AtixVector (Santiago, Chile)
machine56 (Bandung, Indonesia)
Igor Tkac (igortshirts)
trojza (Alexander Poslykhalin)
GruberJan (Tatsyana Prokofieva)
Alexxx1 (Alexey Oglushevich)
RookeMare (Denvah, Colorado)
Bmart333 (Pittsburgh, PA)
CorelDRAW can be awkward, especially to new users, but powerful in the hands of a seasoned user. You must decide the right vector software for you.
If you are a fan of South Park, choose Corel Draw because all the characters, scenery, and props are drawn using this vector package, as wikipedia states.
Finally, below is some artwork from renowned vectorist Roberlan, which showcase the choosing a vector software platform controversy.
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