[This is being posted to Mac, Windows and app forums as it relates to both - apologies for the duplication]
When Corel announced that CorelDRAW was returning to macOS, I was personally super-excited to see this for several key reasons (which I wrote about in this article: CorelDRAW is gracing macOS again - and why this is important).
This is not an advert, but I feel it's an important brief background. Astute Graphics is known in the Adobe Illustrator world, since 2006, as developers of plugins for professional users. Many of the world's largest brands rely on us as well as many, many freelance designers and everyone inbetween. We serve varied sectors including branding, architecture, fashion, sign making, gaming and more.
The tools we currently produce for Adobe Illustrator allow users to gain very high-level control of Bezier profile (drawing and editing), positioning, effects, stroke variable widths and more.
Some of this functionality will already be in CorelDRAW. But what core drawing and editing functionality are Corel customers seeking that they feel would be suitable via a 3rd party option. And yes, I acknowledge everything should be there natively in the single purchased core product, but reality doesn't always allow this.
Finally, in Astui, we now also have the building blocks that allow us to produce much more advanced tools and functions. These include Boolean (add, subtract, divide vector shapes), Offset Paths, Variable Stroke Widths and many more. Even though well-developed technologies such as Boolean and Offset are within Corel - hence it being the key competitor to Illustrator - it's essential to have full access to these underlying technologies in order to build exciting tools such as Long Shadow, Path Reshape and more.
Excitingly, Astui can be deployed as a web API allowing online tools such as CorelDRAW.app to benefit. Equally, having this toolbox allows Astute Graphics to build new tools quicker and based on 7+ years of technical development.
So - are extensions applicable to a wide range of users welcome to Corel users as they are in Adobe's world?
I'd love to understand what you think,
Oooh, where to start.
No, plugins aren't that ubiquitous. There are some that do very highly specialised things, but not expanding the core functionality of Draw like what Astute does for Illy . There are quite a few plugins that would be very useful for my work, the mirroring and symmetry tools for example.
Vector graphics are so unnatural for an artist (not claiming I am one) because you draw with lines, not closed shapes, you create the closed shapes manually by various means. All my design work starts as lineart, which then has to be converted to filled objects in order to colour in the enclosed regions. I have this workflow , which is very efficient speed and accuracy wise, which requires me to export to high res mono bitmap and outline trace in Corel Trace (v12 as it happens, its very efficient and accurate, PowerTrace is less so so gets ignored by me).
Corel has the tools to manually convert vector lines of varying widths into enclosed shapes by virtue of the various welding alogrithms, but it becomes very difficult to achieve quickly because some things (like blends, master/clones, symbols, symmettries etc etc) have to be broken down into base objects before the Convert Outline To Object > Weld > Break Apart can function. A one click solution would be great (with the proviso that it operates on a copy of the original objects, ideally to a new layer)
I can remember a very long discussion, possibly 20 years ago, on the public forum about vector tracing and the late great K.N Pepper coined an acronym, CCCFER (create closed curves from enclosed regions). it fell on deaf ears at Corel but I do believe Adobe implemented something similar and possibly more basic. The idea at the time was that a 'supertool' would allow for enclosed regions to be live and have fill properties, and would dynamically update as the bounding curves were edited.
Bitmap Fills, Textures
Corel wrecked this a few versions back. We used to be ably to use any bitmap as a fill and have it instantly available if we first converted it to a PhotoPaint file and then stuck it in the correct folder within the Draw installation. Instant access to 2-300 bitmap fills that I used to use regularly. Now you have to manually create a special format .fill , one at a time. Not going to happen, too tedious.
Tom Knight (Advanced Artist on here) makes a cool plugin that allows for easy application of bitmap fills and textures to objects. Problem is its the bitmaps he supplies rather than the users own. A plugin that could all a user to use and apply any bitmap as a fill or as a bump map texture would be cool.
Thanks hywelharris for your feedback!
Converting image-based artwork to vector is an age-old issue. Whereas AG as tracing tech, as Corel and Illustrator have these natively, there's no need to reinvent that wheel. Where 3rd party tools can come in handy is speeding up the manual tracing or auto-traced results refinement process.
For example, a Smart Point Removal brush is highly effective along with the ability to extend, retract and quickly trim/join intersecting lines. These are all very slick tools we offer.
Howevr, I think you request something that's native in Illustrator - a Shape Builder-like tool. This is effectively live boolean operations working on a selection of vectors (open and closed paths). We do have the tech to produce a tool of this type, but also improved on the deficiencies I personally see in the Adobe implementation, but wouldn't be worth creating a patch for in Illustrator as it's not a massive step forward on its own.
Bitmap fills and textures
It's another area we have great experience of with a plugin called Texturino. We cater natively for PNGs and embedded images. But much more importantly, I feel, is the tool's ability to apply and manipulate textures so easily, including Wacom / stylus-based inputs allowing feathering and even the brushing of live opacity to any object.
Perhaps take a look at our YouTube videos on Texturino to see it in action...Astute Graphics Texturino plugin YouTube playlist
I am really trying to not publicise commercial tools for the sake of advertising (they are for Illustrator at present, so not relevant in that respect). However, references to existing Astute Graphics solutions can hopefully demonstrate a method to solve a workflow bottleneck.
Hopefully it's a bit like being in a sweetshop with a whole world of options that can be investigated.
Obviously, there's currently no research undertaken at this stage as to whether these can be transplanted in a similar fashion in CorelDRAW. It's very likely difference will be required, some perhaps more restrictive, but hopefully improvemets too!
If you want details for extremely useful tools please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The fist thing to understand is that those who make direct comparison between Illustrator and CorelDraw or Affinity and CorelDRAW most likely will come up really short. Those concepts are 1990 concepts.
For the 21st century, graphic packages that provide a stable platform for the following uses are the future of professional graphics. Web creation, transparency in all color models, traditional print, wide and grand format output, digital print as well as cutting, bending and large scale projects, as of now it's up to 150' x 150' and that's where a designer who wants to be creative and profitable into 2100 needs to be.
Let's leave Affinity off the table because in the real world of production except for tiny RGB/CMYK color print and web it's a joke. Illustrator just falls flat because of size limitations, lack of real multi-page capabilities and the fact that in large scale files even with and I7 and 64 GB of RAM it chokes itself because it fails to control the environment.
I'm talking a market for low cost ($10 to $20) as well as high quality professional plugins that can cost more than Affinity itself for use in architectural and engineering for signage. A user could buy the base plugin that does web and presentation or the professional level that does high resolution, large scale, RGB,CMYK and device N color in transparency.
Thinking first! Plugins need to be aimed at the proper market, work in RGB, CMYK and device N color. On the professional end they need to compensate for limitations of file formats, systems resources and have the controls scaled for resolution dependance.
I give you 3 examples of requested features that are great ideas but need thoughtful programming to be successful.
1. Transparent layers, a good idea however in a multi-page multi-layer application with full color model support in a 150" x 150' page requires INTELLIGENT programming to control resources and to provide a good user experience.
2. Nondestructive effects, great idea however in a 150' x 150' full color model with transparency support requires significant thought.
3. Pixel perfect work, it should be simple, perfect alignment in a low resolution, RGB environment but Corel needs it badly.
Here's a great example of a professional level plugin I use for Photo-PAINT, AKVIS Smart Mask. It provides a professional level masking tool, what Corel Knockout used to provide in a 64 bit environment. Yes I know that I spent $70 for it but so what I make allot more with it than I do without it.
Controlling system resources and providing good a user experience is key to a successful marketing concept of any application or plugin.
Thanks David Milisock for the details!
I'll look into these more.
Out of interest, I have been aware for years that one of CorelDRAW's USPs over Illustrator is its larger dimension work area. This, as I understand, has ensured the continued loyal following in the signmaking market.
However, I'm curious how many Corel users make use of the large area to design on?
There are old schoolers who still use scale but almost all wide and grand format users I know design to size. The evolution of design that has the old schoolers using scale and in reality actually only providing CONCEPT design is fading away. I do concept design that when approved is actually the manufacturing file. The issue for effects to scale is that it's irrelevant because the effect still has to be in the original CDR file at a high enough resolution to scale up. I.E. a 17 foot design at 100 dpi to be scaled to 51 foot has to be at 300 DPI at 17 foot to produce high quality at 51 foot. Which we do on occasion. We do the large Sprinter vans which are 22 foot. I did an entire 400 foot strip mall signage two years ago as 4, 100 foot pages. People use Adobe the way they do because they were taught to do it that way and now have developed the workflow they are used to and Adobe has them stuck there. Corel's failure is that they have features that kick everyones ass but they don't teach the user how to use it that way, if they did they'd have users developing their workflow in ways that no other application could come close to duplicating and they'd have their users using Corel workflows. I did the 400 foot mall signage, we went through reduced but scaled sized PDF proofs, (which is a plugin opportunity for you). Unlike the Adobe concept designer who had to produce real manufacturer drawings after approval, inducing mistakes for me the CorelDRAW user once approved the job was finished. I simply clicked the sign and exported it to PDF.
Very interesting, David Milisock.
When producing a wide format print job or other major signage which is designed to be viewed from at least a few feet away, what resolution do you go for? Surely 300dpi would be an overkill?
(But I concede that excessively low res is unsightly.)
Have you come across a pixel limit (ie. maximum horizontal or vertical size) to any image embedded in CD artwork?
Great question, there is no one answer. The answer depends on what type a output provider you are. Are you down and dirty quick and cheap, then you're sought out because you're quick and cheap. Or are you reasonably priced and high quality, and you're sought out because of the service and quality of the product you manufacturer?
REALITY CHECK! If you're using CorelDRAW you can be in the top 3% in terms of quality at zero increased cost over down and dirty, cheap and easy players!
Resolution is set by the desired viewing distance, output device, it's media profile and the specific media used. Understand that RIP media color profiles produce the best quality within a resolution parameter of the output resolution and when images are placed in the document within a parameter that was used during the profile creation. TEST all your media profiles with various image resolutions, some can work as low as 80 DPI others require 200 DPI.
You have maximum resolution limits based on RIP architecture, a 32 bit RIP handles smaller files than a 64 bit RIP. File formats have size limitations, yes that means Illustrator, Photoshop, as well as Corel file formats.
So to make it above the 3% range there will be some increased thought and that is something you can charge for once you develop the reputation for that level of work.
CorelDRAW has significantly larger document pages so scaling is rarely an issue but you do have to consider the maximum limits of the RIP and file formats.
So you may have to tile print high resolution display work. So you ask what advantage CorelDRAW has then since you have to tile print? Well you can skip the conceptual design, skip an error inducing process completely, design for output send low res PDF proofs and when approved power clip content, export, tag and bag it and send the bill!
Quality service: We did a TED X show a while back and they wanted a 40 foot x 4 foot photographic quality display at a 5 foot viewing distance. The material they chose was based on the quality of the image it could reproduce and required 200 DPI printing. Due to the design required I managed to get it out without tiling.
Down and dirty cheap and quick: All large scale Adobe work is done this way. To start. the end result of the calculation for resolution has to be multiplied by the upscale factor. If the output is 75 foot required at 150 DPI, there is the hard thing and the smart thing. The hard thing is to use a fractional scale of the final size like 3.9 or something the smart thing is a direct multiple.
So 75 foot divided by 5 is 15 foot, so the creation file and the exported output format (PDF) has to be 15 foot at (150 DPI required at output) multiplied by 5 which is 750 DPI resolution in the application and the exported file. So a custom PDF preset is required, sometimes the limit can be reached.
Oh horse hockey! Just create the file at 75 foot place the goodies at 150 DPI and export it.