by Alan Zisman
(c) 1995. First
published in Our Computer Player, September, 1995
For the past few years, PC users could tell when it
was Spring... not
by the weather warming or flowers, or anything so cliched... instead,
knew-- if there was a new version of Corel Draw being announced, it
But this year, their time sense was thrown out of
whack-- Ottawa's Corel
Corporation announced that they were waiting for the release of Windows
95 before releasing the next version, Version 6 of their graphics
There was a mix of disappointment and hopefulness--
the delay, of course, but hope that the multithreaded 32-bit Windows 95
environment could provide graphics users with an extra hit of speed,
and reliability. As well, many users hoped that the added time would
Corel to get it right the first time-- for several years, many users
felt that they were paying for the privilege of beta testing Corel's
products-- as version 4.0, for example, was replaced by free bug fixes
to 4.0a then 4.0b.
It looks like Corel will be releasing version 6.0 at
more or less the
same time as Microsoft's Windows 95 release, in late August. I got to
with a late beta copy-- while it still had some of the inevitable beta
bugs and omissions, it gave me a good sense of where the next
of this product is headed.
The first thing that current Corel users will notice
is that there have
been some changes in the lineup in this big graphics suite. Where's
they may ask... while Ventura Publisher was included (belatedly) in
5.0, it's nowhere to be seen in the new version. Instead, Corel is
to release Ventura 6 around November, but only in a stand-alone
Corel promises full SGML capabilities, so Ventura can be used for Web
CD-ROMs, hypertext books, and the
In exchange for losing Ventura, Corel Draw 6.0 users
gain two new programs.
Corel PRESENTS is a full-featured presentation graphics program,
with products like Microsoft PowerPoint, Lotus FreeLance, or Harvard
It brings together features that were previously found in Corel Chart
Corel Move along with Wizards to help users easily create
A Runtime Player is included so presentations can be distributed and
by users who don't have Corel 6.
The other new addition is CorelDREAM 3D, adapted from
Ray Dream Designer program. Users build 3D objects, starting from basic
shapes such as cones and cubes. These objects are shaded, textured, and
lit. Finally, the 3D scene is rendered into a 2D image, which can be
in another application.
A WHOLE BUNCH OF MINI-APPS
As always, Corel also includes a variety of smaller
of which have also metamorphasized from what were shipped with earlier
versions of the product. These include:
-- CorelDEPTH, a utility for creating 3D logos and
text. Wizards walk
users through the process of quickly creating a 3D object from text, or
-- Corel MOTION 3D can be used to create custom 3D
flying TV-style animated logos from CorelDRAW objects. It allows
fog, and other special effects.
-- Corel MULTIMEDIA MANAGER is sort of MOSAIC (a name
that has taken
on a life independent of Corel) that's grown up. Like the older
it creates albums for quick access of graphics. It adds Mini-Editors,
drag-and-drop OLE capabilities, scanner support, and can be used for
printing or simple slide-show presentations.
-- Corel OCR-TRACE adds optical character recognition
to the bitmap
tracing found in the older Corel Trace. In addition to the older
or center tracing, it adds woodcut and silhouette traces. It makes use
of Win95 multi-threading for more efficiency.
-- Corel CAPTURE seems more or less carried over from
adding more capability to Windows' basic screen capture functions.
-- Corel FONT MASTER is a True Type font manager
(Corel 6 will ship
with about 1000 True Type fonts). Fonts can be previewed, assembled
groups for particular projects, and installed or removed on the fly.
-- CorelSCRIPT and DIALOG Editor enable the creation
scripts, drawing on the CorelDRAW API.
-- As always, Corel packs in lots of added extras...
1000 fonts, in
both True Type and Postscript Type 1 formats, over 1000 photos from the
Corel Professional Photo collections, 25,000 clipart images and
260 video or animation clips, 90 chart types, 300 presentation
WHAT ABOUT WINDOWS 95?
Corel 6 can only be run under Windows 95 or NT...
Windows 3 users are
out of luck. As fully 32-bit applications, the applications in this
will be pre-emptorily multitasked for increased stability. As well,
claims that its programs will be faster and more accurate, as a result
of working in the 32-bit environment. The 3D modeling and animation
would have been more difficult to implement under old, 16-bit Windows.
As true Win95 applications, the programs in this suite
file names and have uninstall capability from the Win95 Control Panel.
OLE 2 support is built-in, across the board. Wizards and Tutor Notes
included in the four main modules. Corel has tried to give all the
a more consistent interface, consistent with the new Win95 standards.
other Win95 applications, there's right mouse button context menus,
sheets, and tabbed dialogue boxes. Bubble hints pop up when your mouse
rests over a toolbar icon.
Programs now support multiple-documents within a
single program window...
ironically, a feature that Microsoft has moved away from in Windows 95
in general. Windows 95 permits faxing and e-mail from within the
Greater print support is built in-- Windows 95
features faster printing
in general, and now all Corel apps have better Postscript level 2
and more control over screen angle and frequency and halftoning. Users
can choose to print odd or even numbered pages, and can produce colour
separations with trapping.
The minimum recommended machine is a 486-DX66 with at
least 8 megs of
ram (16 megs is recommended), 800x600 video with at least 256 colours,
and a CD-ROM player... users will find the program frustrating to use
a less well-equipped machine. A full installation requires 78 megs of
space-- it can be run off the CD-ROM disk, in that case requiring a
20 megs of drive space.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO COREL DRAW?
Careful readers may have noticed that I haven't
mentioned the actual Corel Draw program... but it hasn't been
in the upgraded suite
that carries its name.
Corel Draw is a vector-illustration program.
While many professional
artists and designers prefer other programs such as Adobe Illustrator
use Postscript as the native file format, Corel Draw has more
text handling than most of its competitors, making it a good choice for
logo creation, and with the multiple page capability added in version
almost a mini-DTP program.
This version adds precision-- drawings claim to be
accurate to 0.1 micron
(!) and a new maximum page size of 45 meters length and width. (It's
popular with sign-makers).
There are new tools, such as a polygon for creating
a spiral tool, a graph paper tools, and knife and eraser tools to slice
objects apart. Users can now open and edit Postscript and EPS files
and to preview Postscript fill patterns. At last, custom dotted and
line styles can be created. Angled dimension lines make more
Text tools give this graphics program the power to
work with large blocks
of text-- users can change case, set leader tabs, or force justify
for example. There are search and replace, thesaurus, and spell check
(But when will OLE allow us to use a single spell checker or thesaurus
with all applications?) As in a true DTP application, the
text can be flowed around graphics.
A bar code generator supports 7 standards and comes
with 79 fonts.
Imported bitmaps can have colors masked, or be cropped in
As with every version of this program, there remain a
huge number of
features... this version adds to the feature-set without seeming to add
complexity, while taking advantage of the 32-bit environment to seem a
bit faster (at least on a machine with the recommended 16 megs ram).
PHOTO-PAINT TAKES ON PHOTOSHOP
The final 'big application' is Corel PHOTO-PAINT.
While Corel Draw is
a vector illustration program, PHOTO-PAINT is a bitmap paint and
program... sort of a vastly improved Windows Paintbrush. Vector
make a circle by storing a math formula-- it's easily resized and
Bitmap programs, by contrast, would store a circle as a collection of
this makes it harder to perform operations like resizing, but give a
deal of power over things like individual colour tones. It would be
difficult to create a realistic-looking face in a vector program, while
powerful bitmap editors really come into their own working with scanned
Photo-Paint started life as Z-Soft's PhotoFinish, a
low-cost photo editor.
Corel purchased rights to it, and added features, while adapting its
to fit in with the rest of the Corel Draw suite.
In each new version, it has added power and features,
and more of a competitor to the industry-standard-- Adobe PhotoShop.
Masking is a key feature in all of these sorts of
programs-- masks let
users select irregularly-shaped items, so that they can precisely cut
killer whale out of the aquarium picture and add to the shot of Lake
for that 'not-in-real-life' computer-enhanced picture.
Photo-Paint adds to its existing masking features,
with an improved
Color Mask Roll-up and new feathering options. Masks can be painted on,
while a Command Recorder lets users record and edit macros for later
Multiple objects can be selected, ordered, merged, and aligned. Objects
can be saved independent of the background, for later use.
Another important PhotoShop feature has been the use
of plug-in filters.
Photo-Paint accepts industry-standard PhotoShop plug-ins, and includes
new plug-ins such s zig-zag, colour balance, desaturate, 3D
and water colour. Natural media brushes and paper textures, a feature
programs such as Fractal Design Painter, have been expanded... and
brushes can be saved, and easily accessed. An Undo list makes it easier
to experiment, knowing you can always undo to the previous version.
Photo-Paint 6 adds support for video (AVI) and
animation (FLC) formats...
now these files can be opened, and individual frames can be edited and
saved as a movie.
THE CURSE OF VERSION X.0
Corel has done a good job of moving its product to the
new Windows 95
environment-- the many modules of the Corel Draw 6 suite present a
and streamlined interface that work well together, while using the
The programs should benefit from the increased power
and stability due
to preemptive multitasking and multithreading.
The 3D modeling, rendering, and animation features are
a welcome addition,
as is the full-featured presentation package. At the same time, the
applications, Corel Draw and Corel Photo-Paint have gained
Still, it will take some time in the hands of users to see whether
has broken the curse of version X.0... to see whether they've gotten it
right the first time around, without causing frustrated users to demand
a series of bug-fixes.