CorelDRAW 12 Has a New Version: Download Your Trial Free Now
Terminally thin upgrade to the long-standing graphics all-rounder. However, over the years Corel lost its graphics focus and allowed DRAW’s rivals to make up lost ground. With Corel’s recent forced sale to venture capitalists, DRAW’s loyal users want to know whether the suite still has a future.
Corel DRAW 12 Free Download
Terminally thin upgrade to the long-standing graphics all-rounder. However, over the years Corel lost its graphics focus and allowed DRAW’s rivals to make up lost ground.
With Corel’s recent forced sale to venture capitalists, DRAW’s loyal users want to know whether the suite still has a future. The emphasis in this latest release is on making DRAW a more intelligent and more helpful drawing environment. As such, top of the new features list is the new Smart Drawing tool.
This intelligently guesses the shapes you are trying to create such as circles, triangles and arrows, and automatically straightens sketched lines and smooths curves. From the way that Corel is hyping this, you’d think that the Smart Drawing tool replaces all others and is now the only one you need to produce your designs. In practice though the program can’t really second guess what you want to achieve and in most cases correcting its attempts takes far longer than using the existing tools.
Corel is hyping the new “intelligent” Smart Drawing tool, but it’s certainly not foolproof. Much more helpful are Draw’s new snapping features. You can now choose to have the mouse snap to existing nodes, intersections, midpoints, quadrants, tangents, perpendiculars, the edge or centres of objects, the baselines of text and the printable area and these snap points are all now highlighted as tooltips as you mouse over them.
The new snapping doesn’t just work with the drawing tools, it also works with the Import Cursor which makes it easier to position imported bitmaps especially as the cursor gives feedback on both the original and current image size.
DRAW’s enhanced snapping is great if the new object you want to add overlaps or touches an existing one, but often you want to align separate objects. That’s where the new Dynamic Guides come in. Switch these on and you can drag out temporary guidelines from any existing snap point so that you can precisely move, align and draw objects relative to others. The constant feedback with snap points and dynamic guides flashing on and off as you move your mouse over the image can be disconcerting, but it really does help you get things right first time as you draw.
Dynamic guides and new snapping features aid technical drawing. Other features that help boost efficiency and productivity include the revamped Eyedropper tool. This can now be used to pick up properties, transformations and effects as well as colours and can also now sample colours not just from your image but from the wider desktop.
Completely new is the Virtual Segment Delete tool which works across objects so that you can remove implied segments where lines overlap. Quickly draw a noughts and crosses grid, for example, and you can then delete the ends of lines to leave the central rectangle. This is particularly useful when you are manually tracing existing artwork.
Another tool that has been enhanced is the Text tool. DRAW’s text handling and multi-page DTP-style layouts have long been one of the program’s major strengths, but the capabilities haven’t been seriously touched for years. As such I was especially interested to see talk of “enhanced text layout flexibility” in the launch press release.
What this boils down to in practice is a new option in the Align and Distribute dialog to align text objects based on their bounding box or first or last baseline. It’s hardly going to set the world on fire. Much more useful when it comes to handling text is Draw’s new Unicode support which means that you can now use up to 65, unique characters in your projects.
This is especially useful when working with foreign languages such as Japanese, Chinese and Greek and to reinforce its new multilingual capabilities, CorelDRAW now lets you install multiple languages on one system and set the language for the user interface and Help files. The new Unicode support is also useful with the Insert Character docker window as this now lets you access all the extended characters and symbols in extended OpenType fonts.
Another docker window that has been enhanced is the former Library palette now renamed the Symbol Manager. This is used for storing items that are regularly repeated in your drawings and has now been redesigned to make it possible to store symbols locally within each drawing and externally to be shared between drawings and users. It’s also now easier to edit your symbols and to tell when you’re working with them as the selection handles are now coloured blue.
As well as being more convenient, symbol-based handling helps ensure consistency, enables single edits to update multiple objects and drawings and, when exporting to Flash SWF format, can cut file sizes dramatically.
Import and export capabilities have always been one of CorelDRAW’s biggest strengths and again this has been enhanced. For non-technical users Corel is heavily promoting two new export capabilities. The first is the enhanced support for the round-tripping of web-oriented XML-based SVG images with better text embedding and support for symbols and bitmaps. The second is the new Export for Office command.
This is a large dialog built around a central preview in which you make a few simple choices: In practice the command is just a front end to guide the user to one of three formats – WPG, EMF or, nine times out of ten, PNG – and to then set the bitmap resolution depending on the desired output.
In fact in its heyday the suite also provided separate applications to handle bitmap editing, business presentation, charting, animation, 3D and professional DTP along with a whole host of supporting utilities.
Indeed at one point with pioneering features such as its multiple undo, artistic brushes, vector-based text and movie features, it could even claim to outclass Photoshop. Disappointingly however, Corel allowed the program to languish and these days its professional aspirations are long gone, though it remains a capable consumer product. So what new power is on offer? Otherwise they should drop it from the box and cut the price accordingly. So on to the new release of Corel R. This module which is dedicated to the production of efficient and eye-catching Flash SWF animations was introduced with much fanfare back in version 10 as it seemed to answer the criticism that the DRAW suite was weak when it came to producing Web graphics.
And by grafting on a keyframe-based Timeline docker window, it certainly makes it easy to set up striking movies as you can quickly animate even advanced effects such as distortions, envelopes and extrusions.
The Flash format offers much more than just animation however, and Corel’s attempts to graft on simple behaviours in R. So what more does version 3 have to offer? Well to begin with, there’s the Smart Draw tool, Unicode support, revamped Symbol Manager and enhanced snapping capabilities and dynamic guides that we saw in the DRAW module. With no new dedicated web vector power to speak of, it’s clear that Corel has given up on R.
DRAW’s new symbol management makes especial sense in R. In fact, standing back from this release, you have to ask just how much work has actually gone into it.
And of the little that’s left, many features such as the Save for Office dialog and enhanced Eyedropper tool are actually just different ways of getting at existing power and so hardly a programming challenge. No wonder Corel is hyping the SmartDrawing tool. Of course one bad release, or even the current series of disappointing releases, doesn’t mean that CorelDRAW has become a bad program.
The range of power it offers is no longer up-to-date but it’s still generally impressive. Sadly though, apart from a free training CD, there are no new goodies in the box in fact the range of clipart is diminishing so no-one could argue that existing users are getting a bargain. In fact for existing users the update is so thin that, apart from the new snapping features which many upgraders will choose to disable, most will probably never notice the difference.
For a number of releases CorelDRAW freewheeled, then idled; now it looks like it’s dying on its feet.
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