CorelDraw Graphics Suite 12.0 is a stable and flexible suite of three programs--CorelDraw, Corel Photo-Paint, and Corel RAVE--for editing all types of graphics, including vector, bitmap, and simple Web animation. CorelDraw itself has incredible muscle. It can handle complex illustration and multipage desktop publishing, and it's tightly integrated with the suite's powerful image editor, Corel Photo-Paint. All of the applications are easy to master, thanks to a wonderful interface and tutorial CD. Plus, the suite is dirt-cheap compared to similar Adobe design programs; and with its ability to import/export to Adobe apps, CorelDraw Graphics Suite 12.0 is a complete graphics package suitable for anyone. However, with only minimal enhancements to Corel Photo-Paint and Corel RAVE and the expensive upgrade price, current users may want to think twice before switching versions.
Year after year, CorelDraw Graphics Suite returns to compete and hold its own against the major players in the field, Adobe'sand . And no wonder; the award-winning suite is a superstar graphics package with a brilliantly designed interface. Version 12.0 is no different. All three of its apps--illustration (CorelDraw), image editing (Corel Photo-Paint), and animation (Corel RAVE)--sport highly usable, totally configurable interfaces. For example, you can create separate work spaces and toolbars for specific tasks such as brochures or creative illustration, then save the entire setup to reuse later. As a result, the whole package lends itself to increased productivity.
CorelDraw's work space is totally configurable, allowing you to create your own toolbars, dock palettes, and keep multiple color palettes open simultaneously.
The suite ships on four CDs, with the three major apps contained on the first CD. High-quality clip art, photos, templates, fonts, and training material fill up the other three CDs to round out the package. It's a terrific value at a fraction of the price you would pay for similar Adobe applications ($399 vs. $1,148 for the Photoshop/Illustrator combo). However, although the full-package price is reasonable for what you get, we do think the $179 upgrade price is a bit steep.
CorelDraw, Corel Photo-Paint, and Corel RAVE cover the entire gamut of graphics tools--enough to complete whatever task you have at hand. Corel has added some powerful drawing tool additions and a handful of suitewide tweaks since its last version, such as better font control (easy Unicode character access) and import/export support (export to Microsoft and WordPerfect Office, enhanced SVG AutoCAD, Visio, and HPGL filters). The suite also retains its import/export capabilities for Adobe file formats, such as EPS and PSD.
Integration among the three major apps is very good. For example, if you have a brochure with a bitmap image, you can double-click the image in CorelDraw to launch Corel Photo-Paint and make necessary edits. Once you return to CorelDraw, the updated image will already be there. Similarly, you can drag the image to Corel RAVE and add animation effects.
The new Dynamic Guides provide temporary guides to give you more control over object creation and placement.
The new features in the CorelDraw suite center on ease of use. For starters, CorelDraw now includes the Smart Drawing tool, which tries to resolve sketched input into common shapes. For example, if you draw a lopsided, wiggly circle with the mouse, the Smart Drawing tool uses its built-in knowledge to recognize the shape and transform it into a perfect circle. The tool works best when sketching circles and rectangles, but in our tests, it did a decent job with more complex shapes such as arrows. It didn't do such a great job with polygons, but it's handy for quickly sketching organizational charts or presentation templates.