VINE VOICEon 1 November 2012
The tools in CorelDRAW Suite X6 are very extensive. I couldn't possibly describe them all, but I will say that they are worth exploring if you have the time. I will stick with my first impressions and allow you to explore all the features.
The Suite includes DRAW which equates to an illustrator application and PhotoPaint which is more akin to PhotoShop. However, I would say that Adobe devotees are likely to find this a little 'thin'. You will need to be flexible in your thinking to switch from Adobe to Corel as so many tools are different.
I used a very old version of CorelDRAW when I had my first computer. I was sad to find that, when I updated my PC, that version no longer worked, but in the meantime, life moved on. Since then, for various jobs and tasks, I have used PhotoShop, Illustrator and PaintShop Pro (now owned by Corel). My first impression of the CorelDRAW Suite X6 was remarkably favourable. By default, a 'Quick Start' welcome screen is loaded in front of the application with a number of useful features for the newcomer (you can turn this off or opt for an alternative if preferred). A list and preview of recent documents is displayed with an option to create a new blank document or a new document from a template (accessing professional layouts). In addition, there are tabs for 'What's New', 'Learning Tools', 'Gallery' and 'Updates'. As I had skipped many many versions, the 'What's New' tab was less useful as it assumed more recent knowledge, but each link still proved useful in describing the latest new features, including some useful vector refining tools. The links flip through pages with information, but arrows are displayed bottom right to allow you to move back and forward through these pages. An option to Highlight what's new since versions X3, X4 or X5 is also available from the Help menu. The 'Learning Tools' were also useful and include video tutorials or short hints for those in a hurry (also accessible from the Help menu). The 'Gallery' is a collection of professionally produced artwork which could inspire or dismay, depending on your own level of artistry. If you close the Welcome screen or choose to recall it at any time, you can do so via the Help menu. Other panels can be 'docked' on the right from the Window > Dockers menu and when active, each of these has a close button.
Note that there is a selection of options including default display in the Tools menu.
In the main application window, hint topics and videos are easily accessible from a panel on the right although this panel can be closed or minimised to increase available working space. These features are also accessible from the Help menu. A second default tab on the right hand panel provides access to the Object Manager. This includes three areas of use, Show Object Properties, Edit Across Layers and Layer Manager View, all of which are very useful.
The panels area can be docked or floated by double clicking its title bar. Individual panels can be dragged off and located elsewhere as preferred, but this takes some practice (very similar to Adobe applications). The same applies to toolbars, also accessible through the Window menu, but by default these are locked. If you want to reposition them, you must unlock them first (right click a toolbar or select from Window > Toobars.
The colour palette appears by default as a strip down the right of the window. Left clicking selects the fill colour and right clicking selects the border colour. Click the arrow in a circle at the top to access features for the palette (for example alternative palettes or customising the number of columns of colours displayed).
There is so much to describe, I feel this is just a racing start, but I am confident that, with practice, most people would be happy to use this as a drawing application worthy of the name. For the novice, I also noted that there are a number of easy to use tools. In Adobe applications, users are expected to understand how to do this the hard way, so the quick tools must be a boon if you don't have either the knowledge or the time. I'm looking forward to learning more about it and using it for artwork.
If I have a criticism it is that the online help loads as HTML pages only in the browser that Corel prefers, Internet Explorer. This is stated clearly on the requirements for installation, but as someone who never normally uses IE, this is a minor irritation. The help is well constructed otherwise.
For a good price, you have everything you might need for artwork and/or photo editing with added screen capture tools.