CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 in Review
Staff Writer By: Nick Sorbin (nickcharles)
In March of this year, Corel released CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 (with the 'X8' meaning it is now in its 18th version). The CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 is an outstanding toolset that includes: CorelDRAW X8 (vector graphics and page layout application), Corel PHOTO-PAINT (for image editing), Corel Font Manager, Corel CONNECT (for finding content), Corel CAPTURE, Corel Power Trace (a really fantastic and powerful bitmap to vector conversion app), and the Corel Website Creator. In addition to these tools, you get access to a ton of content, including: clipart and digital images, professional digital photos, fonts, professionally designed templates, fills, frames and patterns to use with your projects.
CorelDRAW X8 itself is a fantastic vector graphics program, and as for its page layout functionality, it is also really incredible. You can create up to a 999-page document right within CorelDRAW. But, the suite as a whole is really an incredible bargain, and the new and enhanced features this time around should make a lot of heads turn.
New and Enhanced Right From Startup
There are a lot of improvements in both CorelDRAW X8 and PHOTO-PAINT X8, as well as some really exciting new features. For starters, if you are new to CorelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT, you can ease right into these programs with new interactive startup tours, where you can learn your way around the interface, as well as some of the new features if you are a returning user. While the tours can get you up and running pretty quickly, you also have a choice of preset workspaces right from the start that are geared to what you want to do, and a workspace specifically for those coming from other software. Plus, for added comfort, and you can now change the interface to a darker mode, which I absolutely love.
The enhanced Hints docker is also fantastic for new users, as you get context-sensitive information on any selected tool. While this was available previously, you now also get links to further information and tutorials, so you are never in the dark. And, speaking of the additional info, you have easy access to in-suite video help, and you can link right to Corel's Discovery Center for tons of content in video and written tutorials. If that's not enough, you also have easy access to additional plug-ins and extensions to expand your creative toolset. All of this can be accessed right from within CorelDRAW X8 and Corel PHOTO-PAINT X8.
The CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 fully supports those newer high-res monitors, so the interface scales properly and won't look tiny. It is also fully Windows 10 compatible and now supports Windows Real-Time Stylus, so if you are using a Surface Book, for example, you have full stroke control.
My absolute favorite new feature in the CorelDRAW X8 Suite is the Font Manager, which allows you to explore and organize fonts. It's a beautiful thing to be able to manage all the fonts on your computer, view and use fonts without installing them, find fonts by category, and even create your own font collections folders. Also, font filtering and search has been enhanced wonderfully with the Font list box readily available to you as you work in corelDRAW and PHOTO-PAINT. If you work a lot with type, you will absolutely love this.
While there were some exceptional changes in the overall appearance and user experience of the main tools of the suite, there are a number of great surprises in both CorelDRAW X8 and PHOTO-PAINT X8, individually. In CorelDRAW X8, I must first mention the completely redesigned knife tool, which is fantastic. You can split text, vector objects, and bitmaps using straight, freehand, or bezier lines, and have the resulting cut form a gap or overlap. Also, you can now copy, or cut and paste curve segments as objects - really cool. Drop shadows also got better, in that you can use Gaussian Blur feathering for a much better, natural look. And, working on large projects has been made much easier with the ability to hide objects and groups.
Corel PHOTO-PAINT X8, likewise, gets its share of new and enhanced features. One of them is the new Gaussian Blur Lens, which allows for non-destructive blur effects. Just add a lens, choose Gaussian Blur, and then you can even erase parts of the blur effect without affecting the underlying image. There is also a new Healing Clone tool, which allows you to remove unwanted bits from images, or cover blemishes by painting over with cloned pixels. Another great new feature is the Straighten Image dialog that allows you to correct perspective distortions in images.
I've just touched on some of the biggest new features and enhancements, but I invite you to check out the full list of what's new here.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 - Video Tour
I really found the new CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 to be a very comfortable work environment. It is very easy getting to know the interface, easy to customize the layout, and there is such an abundance of help. And, as a suite, you are really getting quite the deal - pretty much everything you could need is here. Plus, you get such a huge amount of content available to you in time-saving templates, clip-art and stock photo selections. I Highly recommend checking out the free trial to see if the new CorelDRAW X8 Suite is right for you. I think you may be more than pleasantly surprised.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 is available for $499.00 (USD), or $199.00, if you are upgrading. There is a subscription plan, which is $16.50 monthly, if you would rather go that route. I really love that Corel gives you the option to choose what works best for you. I should also note that it is Windows only.