CorelDraw X3

With 40 new and enhanced features, CorelDraw X3 is a substantial update. Would coming out and calling CorelDraw X3 “CorelDRAW 13” have jinxed it? I don’t think so…the new features speak for themselves.

CorelDraw Graphics Suite X3
http://www.corel.com

4 stars

CorelDraw X3

I’ve been using CorelDraw off and on since version 7. Somewhere in my piles of CDs, I have versions 7, 9, 11, 12 and now X3, which is really 13, but I admit, X3 does sound jazzier, whatever Corel’s reasons for skipping the ominous version number. With the new enhancements and the stability and speed I’m seeing on the two machines I tested it on, a Windows XP Pro laptop with 1gb of RAM and a Windows XP Pro desktop with 2GB of RAM, I am seeing a substantial speed and stability increase from version 12.

The first thing I noticed when I ripped open the package from the good old UPS guy was the Digital Content Manual with images of the clipart, fonts, and photo objects included with CorelDraw Suite. Not only is the digital content manual also included in the box for upgrade customers, it is spiral bound! Also included is a very good 400+ page manual for the programs themselves.

There are some new or enhanced features that are in both CorelDRAW X3 and Corel PHOTO-PAINT X3, and we’ll look at those first.

Highlight What’s New Command

It’s not hard to spot what’s new in CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT. The Highlight What’s New Command highlights new tools and features from previous versions of CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT; users can choose to highlight the features that were new since versions 9, 10, 11, or 12. Choose Help > Highlight What’s New to see it in action. Turn off the highlighting from Help > Highlight What’s New > No Highlight.

What's New?

The new Hints docker dishes up context sensitive help as you work.

HInts Docker

Image Adjustment Lab

The Image Adjustment Lab is available from both CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT, and lets you edit photos or other bitmaps with ease, giving convenient access to photo editing tools such as temperature, saturation, and highlights and shadows. See the results as you work with a before and after or split screen preview.

Image Adjustment Lab

Corel PHOTO-PAINT

Besides the Image Lab on the Adjust Image menu. PHOTO-PAINT also has Auto Adjust, a one-click photo fix that analyzes the photo and tries to correct it, but I had much better luck using the tools on the Adjust menu and the Image Lab.

PHOTO-PAINT has several other improvements, like the new Character Docker to help format your text quickly and accurately. New Spot Color Channels can be created for any image with the new Spot Color Channel button at the bottom of the Channels docker. New brush options on the property bar make choosing brush shapes and sizes quick and easy.

The PHOTO-PAINT Cutout Lab

The Cutout Lab is built on the power of Corel KnockOut and is enhanced with new controls to simplify removing objects from their backgrounds.

Open the image in PHOTO-PAINT.

Open an Image

Go to Image > Cutout Lab. Choose the Highlighter tool and in the preview window draw a line around the part of the photo you want to remove from the background. Click the Inside Fill tool to fill the cutout area with color, then click Preview so you can see if you need to do any fine-tuning of the cutout. Using Add Details and Remove Details lets you clean up the cutout. From Cutout Results, choose one of the three options:

  • Cutout discards the original photo and retains the cutout
  • Cutout and OriginalRetains the cutout and the original photo
  • Cutout as Clip Maskcreates a clip mask that is attached to the original photo

When you’re happy with the result, click OK. The cutout will open in PHOTO-PAINT for further editing.

Cutout

CorelDRAW

Improvements in CorelDRAW are many, including improved node editing and better text handling.

Node Editing is Improved

CorelDraw’s new control handles are larger and easier to see, making them easier to select and manipulate. The new Selection mode lets you choose a rectangular or freehand selection marquee for lassoing hard to select nodes. For freehand-drawn shapes, extra nodes are often a problem. Now you can reduce the number of nodes instantly. Reduce Nodes button or the manual Reduce Nodes slider on the properties bar.

edit handles

Stacking Order on the Arrange menu has undergone some changes, too. Now you can move an object to the front or back of the page with the new Front of Page and Back of Page commands that work across layers.

New Step and Repeat Docker

With the new Step and Repeat docker, (Edit > Step and Repeat) creating and precisely placing a series of objects is a snap. Set horizontal and vertical offset preferences when repeating objects.

step and repeat

Better Text Handling

The new Character and Paragraph formatting dockers puts text controls a mouse-click away. Open these dockers from the Text menu.

better text handling

The Insert Formatting Code command on the Text menu lets you easily control the flow of text. Preview the available fonts from the Enhanced Font list when choosing fonts for your document.

Insert Formatting Code

With the enhanced Interactive Fit Text to Path tool, it’s much easier to adjust how your text flows along the path.

Fit Text to Path

New Tools

New tools like the Star Tool and Complex Star tool are a welcome addition. The new Bevel effect adds a new dimension to CorelDRAW illustrations, and you can quickly and easily crop any image, bitmap or vector, with the new crop tool. Try the new Fillet, Scallop, and Chamfer docker to put decorative edges on shapes.

New Tools

Smart Fill Tool

The new Smart Fill tool lets you apply fills to any enclosed area. Other fill tools only fill objects, but the Smart Fill tool detects the edges of an area and closes the path so the area can be filled. The overlapping rectangles below became three distinct shapes when filled with the Smart Fill Tool.

Smart Fill tool

Corel PowerTRACE X3

CorelTRACE has evolved into a new, faster, more advanced tracing tool that is now integrated with CorelDRAW. Open a bitmap in DRAW and go to Bitmaps > Trace Bitmap. Choose Quick Trace (which is similar to Logo) or choose one of the other options to open the Corel PowerTRACE interface if you want more control over the tracing process, and to be able to quickly try each version.

The original photo was traced in CorelTRACE 12 with the Advanced Outline setting. Which resulted in 173 objects.

CorelTrace

The same photo traced in Corel PowerTRACE X3 using the similar clipart setting has 183 curves and is much smoother.

PowerTRACE X3

Pixmantic RawShooter Essentials

Pixmantex’s RawShooter Essentials lets you open and edit camera RAW files. They can then be saved as TIFF or JPEG files and grought into CorelDRAW or Corel PHOTO-PAINT for editing. You can access RawShooter Essentials from the Windows Start Menu.

All in all, I feel this is a very good upgrade. There are enough new features to warrant an upgrade, but not enough to be overwhelming so users will be working faster and more efficiently right after they install the upgrade, and check out the new features.

What’s in the Box

Main Applications:
CorelDRAW X3
Corel PHOTO-PAINT X3

Supporting Applications
Corel CAPTURE X3
Corel PowerTRACE X3 (NEW)
Pixmantec RawShooter essentials

Extras:
10,000 Clipart and Digital Images
1,000 Open Type Fonts and 35 Windows Glyph List 4 (WGL4) Fonts
100 Creative Templates

New! CorelDRAW® Handbook – Insight from the Experts: This new book provides insights from CorelDRAW experts and showcases practical, real-world examples of accomplished designs. By deconstructing designs and sharing their wisdom and best practices, experts from a variety of industries demonstrate the power of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X3

Spiral Bound Digital Content Guide
Training videos by lynda.com included on CD
Quick Reference Card

Minimum System Requirements

Windows® 2000 with latest SP, Windows XP Tablet PC, Windows XP with latest SP, Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Media Edition, or Windows XP 64-bit version
256 MB of RAM,
200 MB of hard disk space
Pentium® III, 600MHz processor
1,024 × 768 or better monitor resolution
CD-ROM
Mouse or tablet