CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12
Complete graphics editing and designing application
By Jon Deragon,
Friday, March 5, 2004; 4:00pm EST
Corel's latest release of their CorelDRAW Graphics Suite product further
refines the major improvements that were found in the previous Version
11 release. Version 11 was critical in improvement to the interface,
feature set and overall application stability. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12
takes this sound foundation and adds a number of convenience and
design time saving features.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 is distributed on four CD's, which contain the install
files, a vast font library counted in the hundreds, clip art, sample
photos, and 120 minutes of training video. Installation is a breeze,
and future updates are performed through the inclusion of a scheduled
updater within the application. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is now
specifically optimized to take advantage of Windows XP.
The single install takes care of installing the complete suite of
applications and tools including CorelDRAW 12, Corel Photo-Paint 12,
RAVE 3 and a number of small tools such as an image
tracer, image capturer, fonts manager and printing duplexer.
CorelDRAW is an artistic design and publishing tool used for
everything from designing letterheads to marketing materials; RAVE is
a vector based illustration and animation tool that exports to the
popular Macromedia Flash format used the world over; and finally
Photo-Paint is a complete image editing tool used for photo editing and web
graphics design. Needless to say, this suite really packs a lot into a
relatively inexpensive price when you consider all of your business
and personal graphics
needs will be taken care with a single package. Price wise it
competes favorably to its direct competitors that offer less bang for
This review will primarily focus on the Photo-Paint application as a
majority of our readers will most likely want this suite for its web
Loading Photo-Paint is generally as quick as previous versions, if not
marginally slower on first time runs than subsequent runs during that
same use of the computer. Its interface design is virtually identical to
the previous Version 11 interface. For users new to Photo-Paint,
standard drop down menus and tool icons line the top of the interface, editing tools
are to the left, palette and dockers to the right of the
screen and program status lining the bottom. The beauty of the
product is its incredibly flexible interface that allows you to
change each and every element of how it is arranged. Version 12
extends this with XML-based workspace support. As every career
designer knows, having an environment exactly how you want it is
critical - Corel delivers this right down to the pixel.
New to its lengthy list of tools and features for Version 12 is a
touch up brush that makes quick work of cleaning up defects in images
at the level of restoration you choose. The decision to make this a
dedicated tool is commendable, and makes sense for users regularly
cleaning up images and photographs after they are taken.
exporting of file formats have also been improved in this version. You
can now load and save in literally every possible format you could
imagine. You are now able to export to Microsoft Office format in
addition to the typical formats such as JPG, GIF, JPG2000, PNG, BMP,
TIF and PDF. Import and export Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; open
AutoCAD files; open and work with QuickTime movie files; the list goes
on and on. This is great for multiplatform graphics houses that need
to interchange graphics files of varying formats regularly. Digital
camera users in particular will appreciate the ability to maintain and
view EXIF data stored in their image files.
When saving your work
to a compressed format, your control over compression, transparency
and other factors is very well executed. A side-by-side original and
"zoomable" preview gives you live feedback on image quality resulting
from the selected compression ratio, and any selected transparency
support is also new, increasing portability of your completed work, and
allowing multiple languages on your workstation.
The image adjustment
tools and effects really are a joy to work with, giving instant
feedback on the changes being made to the image. Slider controls,
manual number entry and other means are effectively used to make it
very easy to make precise changes to your image. A bulk of the effects
and adjustment tools available are highly flexible and can be
customized to exactly the way you want them to behave. Palette
management has remained the same as prior versions, and offers
excellent control over your colour usage. Text support is typically a
pleasure to use and allows direct typing onto the image. Text
rendering appears to be slightly cleaner in this version. Wanting better text-path support in this version is our only gripe about
the text handling.
Image slicing, which
was introduced in the previous version, is a timesaving way of
dividing images into segments and saving those segments individually
for use in web pages. We found the implementation of the actual
slicing tool in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 to be well implemented.
However, we would have liked to have more control over the saving
process, by selecting our own exact compression ratios and other
criteria - rather than selecting from a list of preset configurations.
The red-eye removal tool works sufficiently providing care is taken to
avoid surrounding areas of the eye.
As with previous
versions of the software, although vastly improved, it still has a
small number of bugs that crop up on occasion, specifically around
specific image adjustment and text features. Keeping in mind however,
that these bugs rarely occur and only under very particular
circumstances. Users of versions 10 and below
will find the stability of Version 12 to be a quantum leap better.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite
12 is now exclusively for the Windows platform, and no longer offers
Mac support. The recommended hardware requirements include Windows
2000 or XP operating system; Pentium II 200MHz processor or greater
(we would recommend a base Pentium 4 to be truly productive, as with
any high-end graphics tools); 256MB memory (again, 512MB or 1GB would
be recommended for regular users; 250MB drive space and 1024x768
screen resolution. We were pleasantly surprised to discover all this
added functionality comes at a cheaper price - in the order of
$270.00CND less than the previous version. The recommended retail
price for the full license is $399USD / $529CND; upgrade license is
$179USD / $249CND.
We recommend users of
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 10 and older versions to consider upgrading,
while users of version 11 may find it difficult to justify the upgrade
cost unless specific features are of importance to them. We have
always recommended users of competing graphics packages to evaluate
Corel as an upgrade, this version is certainly no exception. Users
deciding on their first graphics package are very much recommended to
place Corel at the top of their short list. Overall CorelDRAW Graphics
Suite 12 offers a pleasant collection of enhancements to an already
excellent graphics suite.
PROS - Clean,
highly customizable workspace; dedicated touch-up brush; highly
competitive low price; excellent image adjustment and effects tools
with instant feedback; incredible file format handling.
CONS - Still a small number of bugs; better text-path handling
would have been nice.
About The Author
Jon Deragon is president and founder of Visca Consulting, a firm
specializing in web site design, development and usability for
businesses of all sizes. His many years in the technology industry has
enabled him to write quality, in-depth product reviews to assist
businesses make more informed technology purchases. He welcomes any
questions or comments you may have regarding his company's services,
this review or interest in having your company's products reviewed.