Friday, 5 June 2015

CorelDraw drawing and image-editing software - an alternative to Adobe?

Corel is probably the best alternative to Adobe software, although not designed to be the same. It has apps with similar functions to Photoshop (image editing), Illustrator (drawing), Acrobat (handling PDF) and others. It is site-licensed and free to use on campus and for staff at home. If the Adobe apps are not essential, have a look at Corel. It is available for Windows only.

The Corel software collection has been around for a long time, but is not as well-known as Adobe. The University has a site-licence, so the software is free to use on campus and for staff at home, via the CiCS download service. It will soon be available to students to purchase via CiCS at £30. 

Corel software has for several years been provided on all (1500) staff and student computers in the faculty of Medicine. Their IT manager said: 

"For many years Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have been the de facto image and vector graphics editing applications for those working in both research and design environments. While both applications have comprehensive functionality it can be quite daunting for the new user when getting started. Additionally, licencing for Adobe products has recently become both costly and complicated for use on department owned unmanaged desktop and laptop PCs. 

However, there are alternative products available to the University; Corel Draw Suite is an excellent vector graphics tool that can be used for compiling figures for publication and presentation, while Paint shop Pro is a very capable photo / image processing tool. Importantly, Paint Shop Pro allows the use of many of the same industry standard plugins that are designed for Adobe Photoshop. Many of these are free and provide a diverse range of filters and macros that are equally useful for removing noise and artifact from microscopy images to touching up your holiday snapshots. 

For beginners, both Paint Shop Pro and Core Draw Suite have a great Quick Start guide which includes example based Learning Tools and handy hints."

Full information about the Corel set of software is available here. 

The items available under the site-licence are

CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 - including: 
  • CorelDraw - vector illustration with scaling and page layout 
  • Photo-paint - Image editing linked to CorelDraw and other tools such as screen capture and bitmap-to-vector conversion (tracing)
  • PaintShop Pro - powerful photo and image editing with industry-standard (Photoshop-compatible) components 
  • PDF Fusion - create (from a wide range of formats), assemble and edit PDF files
  • Corel Painter - Digital painting - an alternative to the artist's brush 
The Graphics Suite and PaintShop Pro are available on the software download service; the last two items will become available during 8-12 June 2015.

CorelDraw itself is a powerful vector drawing tool with similar functions to Illustrator.

You may notice that there are three image-editing tools with 'paint' in their names. Painter is a sophisticated simulated painting tool for artists, Photo-Paint is an image editor that integrates with the main Draw program and PaintShop Pro is a powerful photo and image editor with a good level of compatibility with Photoshop and the ability to handle a wide variety of file formats.

There are many websites giving comparisons between Corel and Adobe products. Some of Corel's comparison material is on these pages and files.

Broad comparison of the applications:

Promotion vs Adobe:

Helping move from Illustrator: