A powerful high-end suite with a lot of potential. Make sure you have a high-end system to run it as the listed system requirements are
very optimistic. CorelDRAW was long considered the standard when it came to professional graphics creation, but in the last couple of years it has had to fight fiercely for its market share against many other well-priced and powerful competitors, such as Adobes Illustrator. With the release of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11, Corel is trying to win back some of the ground it lost with a host of new features, a redesigned interface and a suite of products that are more user-friendly.
CorelDRAW, the core component of the Graphics Suite has been made more accessible thanks to a completely redesigned interface. This interface is now common between all of the CorelDRAW products in the package and makes switching between applications easier. This cleans the workspace of docker windows for all the various functions of the program, and the interface can also be customised for personal use. Less common tools are hidden with the more common tools being within easy reach. The overall look is very clean and well thought out.
CorelDRAW 11 now supports symbols, which allow a user to define an area of an object once and reuse them many times over. This could be best demonstrated on an area such as a border where the graphic pattern is repeated, resulting in a smaller overall image file size. Symbols can be used when exporting to SWF, SVG and PDF files.
For the graphics professional using a drawing tablet for input, CorelDRAW 11 now includes pressure sensitive Smudge and Roughen brushes which are also tilt and bearing sensitive.
Enhanced text features make CorelDRAW 11 a more suitable option for publishing and printing. You are no longer confined to a dialog box for text entry, and font formatting can be either kept or discarded when imported from another application. Text can also be manipulated with artistic effects, such as applying a curve, while maintaining paragraph formatting.
There are plenty of new pens, tools and shaping functions as well. Tutorials are available and range from simple to advanced tasks that only graphics professionals should attempt. What is worrying though is that CorelDRAW 11 is very resource intensive even when testing on a system with 512MB of RAM we experienced a few instances of waiting for the program to respond.
PHOTO-PAINT 11 is the suites image editing package. The new interface, shared with CorelDRAW, puts the most common tools on the toolbox, and once again can be customised for personal use. For people working on photographs, the new Red-Eye removal tool works just like a brush, and by just brushing over the affected area, the red hue is toned down, but greyscales are left intact. The Cutout tool has also received an upgrade. Simply draw around the part of the image you want cut out, then fill it and the cut out mask is complete you can also preview the mask before committing to achieve perfect results.
For people who like the look of panoramic images, PHOTO-PAINT 11 has an advanced image stitching utility. It also allows you to specify angle rotation and placement, and the program can actually sense when the images have been successfully stitched together.
Not to be left out, Corel R.A.V.E. 2 is the utility for creating interactive rollovers plus Web and Macromedia Flash animations. For the Web Graphics professional, R.A.V.E. 2 signifies a dramatic leap forward from its predecessor, both in terms of usability and overall features.
The Timeline Docker window has received an update, and you can now insert, delete and change frames directly on the timeline. A fuller range of behaviours is available, and includes Play, Stop, Go To, Load/Unload Movie and many more. Exporting to Macromedia Flash format has been enhanced, and includes pre-flight warnings as well as Symbol support.
It would be impossible to list all of the new features and enhancements on CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 11, as there are several thousand. As it stands, it is a well rounded suite of applications, with more than enough power and functionality for the professional. Wait for our full comprehensive review, coming soon.
This Review appeared in the September, 2002 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine