Corel X7

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Corel produces a suite of graphic editing software. The primary program is CorelDRAW, a vector art program, but it also comes with Corel PHOTO-PAINT to edit raster images. These are analogous to Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, but weaker and more expensive. I grew up on Corel, so even though the product is considerably inferior, I'm more comfortable with the interface and prefer Corel's non-intrusive approach. Corel's other product is Corel Painter, which is best suited for tablet drawing and receives high accolades, even above Photoshop, but I've not used it much.

Review

Good

  • Corel doesn't try to take over your entire computer the way Adobe does.
  • Despite not having as many features as Adobe, Corel is more than capable to do pretty much an amateur and even intermediate graphic artist would need to do.
  • I prefer the default zoom of Corel over the useless default zoom of Adobe.

Bad

  • Despite being weaker than its Adobe counterparts, it's slightly more expensive.
  • The default color palette is atrocious, and it doesn't come with any decent ones. See how to replace it.
  • Back in version 12 and prior, you could permanently disable the distracting grid which is displayed at and above 800% zoom. Ever since version X3, this functionality has been removed. You now have to disable the grid every single time you open an image, and it still displays at 1600% regardless of whether it's turned off.
  • Photo-Paint is poorly suited for pixel art. 2D primitives like line, circles, and boxes aren't easy to switch between, and the line never draws the last pixel.
  • In X6 and prior, a gradient fill in Photo-Paint, would result in a nice clean color change, even in small areas. In X7, the gradient will now leave noticeable color bands, often several pixels wide, when using the flood fill. While this isn't perceptible in large swaths, it is very obvious in small areas rendering the flood fill useless for pixel artists. The gradient behaves like normal when used as the fill of a shape, but not for flood fill.
  • The default zoom in Corel Photo-Paint behaves exactly as you'd expect when you use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out, but the Corel Draw zoom is different and non-intuitive. To set it to behave more like Photo-Paint (though still not perfect), see below.
  • It only has limited support for formats like ICO and CUR, and doesn't support some of the more exotic formats like PPM.
  • Resizing images sometimes cuts off the right and top most pixels. This is less common with X7, but it happened all the time in X6 and prior.

Ugly

  • X7, and pretty much every version of Corel that has ever been made, will randomly crash for no apparent reason. There is an auto-save feature which will automatically save backups in the user's Temp folder, but this is set to 20-minute gaps by default, making a random crash especially painful.

Tricks

Fix CorelDraw's Zoom

  1. Open Corel Draw.
  2. In the menu, click on Tools.
  3. Click on Options.
  4. Expand Workspace.
  5. Expand Toolbox.
  6. Click on Zoom, Pin Tool.
  7. Check Center mouse when zooming with the mouse wheel.
  8. Click OK.

Replacing Default Palette

Corel ships with a horrible default color palette which you'll want to replace. Although Corel allows you to set a custom palette as default, it doesn't always take your palette into consideration when you use secondary color pickers like in the floodfill tool. To permanently replace Corel's default palette copy your custom palette into this folder:

C:\Program Files\Corel\CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7\Color\Palettes

Rename the existing defrgb.xml to defrgb.bak, then rename your custom palette to defrgb.xml. Restart Corel, and your custom palette will now be the default palette everywhere. This won't work 100% of the time, as Corel often randomly picks a new palette for no apparent reason.

Links