CorelDraw 2019 comes back to the Mac and onto the web
After almost 20 years, Corel takes another stab at luring Mac users to its CorelDraw Graphics Suite 2019.
Lori GruninSenior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
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Corel surrendered to the inevitable and dropped its Mac version of the CorelDraw products in 2001. 18 years on, the company is bringing it back simultaneously with the release of its latest Windows update, CorelDraw Graphics Suite 2019, and its debut into the web app world. The difference this time is the Mac version isn't a warmed-over Windows application. Instead it's built from a separate and newly developed code base.
Based on the system requirements, it should run on systems as low-end as the late-model
(it requires at least four logical cores, which rules out the old models using the Intel Core 2 Duo).
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The CorelDraw web app comprises a subset of the larger application's features, with documents saved to Corel's proprietary cloud service. But it's not a standalone product: Access comes as part of the Suite and it's intended for collaboration or quick-and-dirty creations, though it does support multipage layouts. There will be a paid-for subscription upgrade dubbed CorelDraw Pro.app.
You won't yet be able to use the web app offline or share documents in the cloud via a link. Those features are scheduled for a little later this year.
Either Suite runs $500 (£600 or about AU$700) for the perpetual license. Note that it's not a "dual SKU," so the Windows and Mac versions are considered separate products. Windows owners can upgrade for $200 (£300) and there's also a subscription option for $198 (£200) per year with perennial upgrades as long as you're paying.
The Suite comes with the main illustration application, Photo-Paint and AfterShot (raw and HDR editor), plus a few utilities such as a font manager. And, as any long-time CorelDraw follower will expect, tons of clipart and fonts.
The two most notable new features in the main CorelDraw application are an Objects Docker (called the "Objects Inspector" on Mac OS, it's basically the object hierarchy of the document), non-destructive effects and editable effect stacks on bitmaps. The latter means that if, for example, you apply effects to an image with a clipping path attached, you can still edit the effect settings without painfully unbundling everything (or worse).
There's also beefed-up GPU acceleration and a more robust Windows tablet mode which takes extensive advantage of the Microsoft Dial. This is analagous to the Touch Bar integration on the MacBook Pro.
It might be too late for Corel to stage a comeback on the Mac, although stranger things have happened. Corel owns one of the original killer applications that helped launch the Mac as a graphics powerhouse -- Corel Painter, nee Fractal Design Painter, which Corel bought from Metacreations in 2000 -- and has managed to retain its fan base. It also owns Parallels, bought in December 2018, which is one of the most popular Mac virtual machine programs. But despite bulking up of its Mac products through those acquisitions, the bulk of its portfolio has been in Windows for almost two decades.
Growing pains are inevitable with a brand-new application. I tried to run it simply to create a screenshot but the app was sluggish and crashed twice before I gave up. On a Mac Pro.
Times have changed, too. There's a lot of competition on the Mac, and I'm not just talking about Adobe Illustrator. Software such as Affinity Designer and Pixelmator Pro have justifiably devoted fans. So it remains to be seen if there's room for Corel to elbow its way in.
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