Corel has announced a new version of its do-it-all graphics package, CorelDRAW X3. In any sensible world, it would be CorelDRAW 13, but instead of fronting up to fate and launching it last week, on Friday the 13th, Corel attempted a karmic wiggle with the 'X3' moniker and a Tuesday announcement at London Zoo.
CorelDRAW has a new mascot, Carlos the Chameleon, so the centrepiece of the event was supposed to be a meet-and-greet with the zoo's chameleon, Christopher... but sadly he died the day before the launch. Amid speculation about stage fright and rumours of foul play from rival programs, the assembled journalists turned away from the presentation and raised their glasses to the chameleon who'd changed colour for the last time. Crave offers our condolences to his keepers, but we can't help feeling that however you write it, X3 is an unlucky number.
Can CorelDRAW X3 recover from this unfortunate start? Crave thinks it has a chance, thanks to a solid mixture of new features and improved usability. Highlights include an Image Adjustment Lab that makes it easy to correct photographs and a Hints docker that provides context-sensitive advice when you select a tool. The Bevel effect docker helps you create 3D text and the new Crop tool works on both bitmaps and vector graphics. Corel has concentrated on reducing the number of clicks required to complete a task, enabling you to create logos, flyers, brochures and signs more quickly.
As always, Corel has stuffed the box with applications and extras. The suite includes CorelDRAW X3 for illustration and page layout, Corel PHOTO-PAINT for photo editing, Pixmantec RawShooter Essentials for processing images from digital cameras and Corel CAPTURE for grabbing images from your screen. You also get 10,000 clip-art images, 1,000 fonts, 100 templates, a handbook, a guide to the digital content, training videos and a quick-reference card. If Christopher could see the size of his memorial, he'd be turning pink with pleasure.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X3 goes on sale on 8 February, priced at £387 for the full version and £175 for the upgrade. Corel also announced a new version of its business suite, WordPerfect Office X3. -ML