CorelDraw Graphics Suite 11.0 review:

CorelDraw Graphics Suite 11.0

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Includes CorelDraw; ships with useful ancillary utilities, including a bar-code creator; bundles a wide selection of high-quality clip art, fonts, and images; a bargain for the bundle.

The Bad Photo-Paint takes too long to perform simple actions; RAVE delivers bare-bones animation features.

The Bottom Line Any suite that contains CorelDraw gets our vote, and the other apps in this package only add to CorelDraw's appeal. Even though Adobe Photoshop is the top image editor in its class, you won't find another suite deal like this one.

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9.0 Overall

Looking to establish a digital-graphics studio? Consider an all-in-one graphics solution. CorelDraw Graphics Suite 11.0 has applications for professional-level illustration, image editing, and Web graphics. CorelDraw 11.0 serves as the main course of Corel Graphics Suite 11.0, but the side dishes are certainly worth a look. Photo-Paint (image editing) and RAVE (Web graphics animation) pack enough features to satisfy most home users who want to edit digital photos or create simple flash animation. Best of all, you get these apps for just $529--a great bargain for an all-around, well-integrated solution. (Adobe's Design and Web collections cost nearly $1,000 apiece.) However, for top-of-the-line image editing and animation, professional graphic designers should shell out the extra cash for Photoshop and LiveMotion. Looking to establish a digital-graphics studio? Consider an all-in-one graphics solution. CorelDraw Graphics Suite 11.0 has applications for professional-level illustration, image editing, and Web graphics. CorelDraw 11.0 serves as the main course of Corel Graphics Suite 11.0, but the side dishes are certainly worth a look. Photo-Paint (image editing) and RAVE (Web graphics animation) pack enough features to satisfy most home users who want to edit digital photos or create simple flash animation. Best of all, you get these apps for just $529--a great bargain for an all-around, well-integrated solution. (Adobe's Design and Web collections cost nearly $1,000 apiece.) However, for top-of-the-line image editing and animation, professional graphic designers should shell out the extra cash for Photoshop and LiveMotion.

CorelDraw 11.0
Of all the technical drawing tools currently available, CorelDraw is our runaway favorite (read our full review here). Its easy-to-master interface and exhaustive feature set, which includes pressure-sensitive brushes and myriad filter effects, provides designers with the tools and muscle they need to create complex, professional vector illustrations. At last, CorelDraw 11.0 supports symbols, which are pieces of artwork that you can save to a central library, then drag and drop into any document. Symbols are faster and less resource intensive than copying and pasting objects, and you can change all instances of an object simply by editing the master symbol. Best of all, CorelDraw's cross-platform support makes it an ideal app for integrated offices that house both Macs and PCs.

Corel Photo-Paint 11.0
As a freebie adjunct to CorelDraw, Photo-Paint has a lot to like. But as a direct competitor to Adobe Photoshop 7.0, it leaves much to be desired. Although Photo-Paint and Photoshop offer roughly equivalent tools for selecting and editing images, the two are miles apart in both feel and performance. Where Photoshop is streamlined and speedy, for instance, in applying paint to canvas, Photo-Paint is clunky and hesitant. Although Photo-Paint complements and supplements the CorelDraw suite as a whole, it won't suffice as a high-performance, feature-filled image editor.

Making life simpler
Photo-Paint does, however, have most of the basics covered. At first glance, Photo-Paint's brushes, pencils, and other implements deliver professional-caliber image editing. For example, you can add trendy special effects to your images using Photo-Paint's filters, lighting, natural media paintbrushes, and image sprayer, which squirts single or multiple objects onto the canvas randomly or in a sequential pattern. Photo-Paint can even make common tasks a little easier to perform. For example, the new Cutout masking dialog box lets you easily isolate and remove sections of a picture so that they can be edited or used elsewhere. In our tests, we were generally pleased with the results, but Photoshop's similar Extract command provides more control for selecting images with subtle edges, such as hair.

If you want to generate Web graphics, Photo-Paint now easily creates rollover images, such as buttons or graphics, that change appearance depending on the position of the cursor. And the new slicing tool lets you divide an image into smaller pieces so that it will load more efficiently in a surfer's browser.

Tools need sharpening
Sadly, Photo-Paint suffers from jerky scrolling and an all-too-perceptible delay between applying your paintbrush and seeing the stroke appear on the canvas. Worse, it took Photo-Paint 78 seconds to load a 118MB file into the main screen, using a 1.2MHz PC with 512MB of RAM. Photoshop accomplished this task in 6 seconds with the same setup. We consider Photo-Paint virtually useless for files larger than about 50MB, especially in a production environment where time is money.

For photographers, Photo-Paint offers slightly brighter news. Version 11.0 now contains a red-eye-removal tool, as well as a stitching feature that can piece multiple photographs together into a single image.

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The handy Cutout function lets you isolate specific areas of an image and turn them into objects.

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