Monash University’s 100 per cent Online Data Science Single Units are designed to provide the foundation for professionals to capitalise on all of these key trends in data science.
Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite X3
- Ease of use, Accuracy, Speed
- No Page layout program, Lacks features seen in competitors
CorelDraw Graphics Suite X3 is neither as complete nor as powerful as Adobe's Creative Suite 2.0, but graphic designers on a budget who don't need web design or layout applications would do well to consider this. X3 is a realistic option for professionals, but its real value remains as an easy-to-use application for business users. As such, it's certainly worth the asking price.
Price$ 749.00 (AUD)
CorelDraw Graphics Suite has spent the past few years overshadowed by more fashionable alternatives. But the design landscape changes quickly. With Adobe swallowing Macromedia, the oddly named Graphics Suite X3 has suddenly become the only serious alternative to Adobe's Creative Suite 2.0. The good news is that X3 more than lives up to its new responsibilities. Its main components remain the venerable CorelDraw, a line-drawing application, and Photo-Paint, a bitmap editor. Surprisingly, a third application, CorelRave, which created Flash-compatible animations in version 12.0, has vanished completely. Dockers strike Both Draw and Photo-Paint are simple enough for inexperienced users to get to grips with, thanks in part to a logical, uncluttered interface. Easily accessible palettes, called 'dockers', populate a thin bar at the side of the screen, using the space intelligently. Corel's selection of bundled clip art, templates and fonts is equally useful in helping designers with limited experience quickly create professional-looking illustrations.
Ease of use is further enhanced in X3 through a contextual Hints docker that displays information about the currently selected tool. For example, if you have Draw's Pick tool active, the Hints pane explains how to move, scale and stretch objects. It's both unobtrusive and helpful. The program - which is now 20 years old - has long featured powerful but unheralded functions, among them a criminally underrated barcode-creation tool. X3 adds capabilities that address some of the program's weak points.
The biggest of these is a much-improved bitmap-to-vector conversion tool (see Tracing Draw's future, below), which is at least on a par with the equivalent feature in rival program Illustrator. Other missing features make a welcome appearance: at long last Draw has a rudimentary bevel tool, while a Fillet/Scalpel/Chamfer tool that rounds and adjusts corners will appeal to technical illustrators.
There's also a handy docker that allows you to create multiple instances of an object, while changing its horizontal and vertical offset. Dockers are an efficient way of storing palettes, but they have one weakness: no real-time preview of their effects. As it stands, you have to click Apply to see changes, which is awkward if you're repeating changes.
Another, clever arrival is Smart Fill, which lets you apply colour fills directly to overlapping areas of objects. Draw detects the edges and creates a closed path so that it treats the overlap as a single object.
Although Corel owns the capable Ventura, it doesn't include a page-layout program with this suite. But Draw and Photo-Paint have both vastly improved the way they work with text. Some are simple enhancements, including better handling of text on paths and the ability to add formatting code, such as a non-breaking space, to text.
More significant is the way the Paragraph Formatting docker allows you to align and add drop-caps to text, while the Character Formatting tool, available in both programs, lets you kern and add character effects, such as uppercase and underline. Hopefully the next version will combine these two dockers, but at least Draw - which, unlike Illustrator, supports multiple-page layouts - now offers a feasible way to create text-heavy documents.
The Image Adjustment Lab, also available in CorelDraw, looks less impressive to begin with. Its main window provides a single place to correct colour and tone. What sets it apart is the way you can create snapshots of adjustments and store them as thumbnails at the bottom of the window, then switch between them for comparison purposes.
Aside from clip-art and fonts, the suite's bundled extras are of variable quality. Capture X3 is a workmanlike but no longer cutting-edge screen-capture utility. The welcome inclusion of Pixmantec RawShooter Essentials, an application to import and process RAW images, is tempered by one question: why isn't the ability to open RAW files better integrated?
PowerTrace, which replaces the standalone Corel Trace which appeared in version 12.0 of the Graphics Suite, works inside CorelDraw. It's fast, customisable and capable of producing markedly better results than its predecessor.
From the Trace Bitmap menu option you can choose a variety of conversion options, from a low-accuracy quick scan to a high-quality image if the source material is good enough.
As the bitmap is traced, the application builds a colour palette for the resulting vector illustration. Because PowerTrace makes it easy to reduce the number of colours in the palette or change those colours, you can produce dramatic vector images from otherwise ordinary bitmaps. Fortunately, PowerTrace's features don't come at the expense of speed. Scanning and converting a high-res image took only a few seconds on a mid-range PC, yet produced results that at first glance lost nothing of the original's detail.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel 3a review: Less is more
- 2 Huawei P30 Pro review: A photography powerhouse that leans into and elevates its natural strengths
- 3 Samsung Galaxy S10 review: Messy decisions mar smart evolutions
- 4 Dell G7 review: Growing pains
- 5 Nokia 8.1 review: The more things change, the more they stay the same
Latest News Articles
- Apple Music is now streaming on Alexa in Australia & New Zealand
- Windows Lite: what it is and when it might be released
- CBA capitulates, will support Apple Pay next year
- Intel unveils the Intel Neural Compute Stick 2
- Fetch TV expands with Aussie Broadband
PCW Evaluation Team
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
- Huawei P30 Pro: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic Lumix S1 review
- Google Pixel 3a review: Less is more
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?