As the release numbers of Corel’s graphics suite CorelDRAW get higher and higher, it’s more difficult for Corel to keep introducing earth-shattering new features. Version X7 is more of a consolidation, though there are significant improvements, particularly in its compatibility with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files.
The company has overhauled colour management so it’s more like what you expect from Adobe products and it’s now profile-based, so you can set a document up for different paper types and see true colour representations on-screen. This may not appear that exciting, but it does improve the workflow of documents and ensure you have fewer surprises when you see a finished drawing printed out.
Drawing tool changes are relatively minor, though things like Visio-style fixed radii on the corners of rounded rectangles – and on bevelled and chamfered corners – are useful. The Mesh fill tool has also been greatly improved, with much better control of varying colour and transparency over the area of a fill.
There’s a new B-spline tool, a co-ordinate docker which can get nodes from different objects exactly aligned, and a join lines tool, to help ensure fewer fill ‘leaks’ in constructed objects. PowerTrace, for converting bitmaps to vector images, has also been revamped and offers better handling of corners, overlaps and image backgrounds. Corel Connect is a new media browser which can run independently or as a docker in DRAW or Photo-Paint. It enables easy browsing of the 10,000 clips and 1,000 images supplied on the DVD, but can also search your local drives for your own files. There was something similar in CorelDRAW X6, but it was dropped in X4 and this is a new applet from the ground up. A particularly useful feature is the ability to collect likely images in a tray at the bottom of the screen before making a final choice.
Photo-Paint X7 inherits the improved colour management and Connect media docker, but also offers improved colour to greyscale conversions, where you can tweak the greys for a zappier result. Extra support for Web graphics includes rewritten handling of PNG and JPG formats and the ability to display hex colour values, to make it easier to match colours to Web palettes.
If you’re a pro or semi-pro graphics designer, behind-the-scenes changes like support for 64-bit Windows and full support for multi-core processors means that, with the right hardware, you can handle bigger files with less system slow-down.
Corel Corporation – CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7 features – Verdict
While this is by no means a revolutionary release of CorelDraw, it has made important consolidations and improved compatibility with industry graphics standards; mostly Adobe graphics standards. The new approach to colour management is more consistent and the Connect browser makes clip and image management much easier.
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