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I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Corel PhotoPaint 9. Not
that there was anything particularly wrong with version 8, it was very
good. We received a review copy of Corel Draw 9 suite for our user group
courtesy of Corel in Canada (Thanks Corel !). The product shipped on
the usual 3 disks plus one extra containing a demonstration of Corel
Studio. The 1st disk contains all the program files, the
2nd contains lots of clip art, and the 3rd contains
photos, objects, image sprayer lists etc. Corel provides their users
with an excellent starting point by supplying quality images, libraries
of brushes, nibs, maps, scripts and much more. Corel Draw 9 is no exception
but exceeds previous versions by providing hot links directly to the
Corel site for updates and extras, as well as to the Designer.com site
for professional ideas, templates and help.
An apology is in order. I
started this review in July but due to many things was unable to finish
it until October. Many readers may now already have bought Draw 9 suite
and thus will not need all of the descriptions in this review. However,
on reviewing my initial script I realised that the improved Object Blend
feature needed much further investigation and explanation, and so was
expanded from a single page to four. Those of you who already know much
about what's new in PP9 may be interested in going straight to the Blends
section of this document to learn more about this quite incredible feature.
Thanks for you patience. BTW, the next tutorial is already started and
will be an in-depth look at masks!.
I installed Corel 9 easily and without problems. Choosing a Custom installation
allows the user to select additional fonts, programs, file associations
etc. However in version 9 it also allows for the installation of the
new IXLA digital camera image acquisition interface and Microsoft's
Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a new macro/scripting feature in
Corel products. I initially chose to install both of these extras as
I have a Canon A5 digital camera and was eager to see the MS VBA tools.
On starting PP9 for the first time, I immediately noticed a significantly
longer load time - about 18 seconds compared to 8 seconds for PP8 on
the same computer. Later, I reinstalled the entire suite without including
the VBA and discovered that all of the version 9 programs now only took
marginally longer to load than those from version 8. Therefore, my advice
would be that if you are not going to use the VBA feature then don't
install it - you can always add it later if you wish.
On first glance PP9 looks much the same as PP8. However it didn't take
long to find some major differences and so began a period of adjustment.
The Online help files and the improved pop up
help balloons were a major help in finding answers to some of my
questions. In total, there are probably several hundred changes or new
It would be impossible to
cover all of them here so I'll stick to those that I found the most
important in terms of either using the program, a new feature or a major
change from a previous feature. As I mainly use PP for web and multimedia
development, these are the areas I know best so please forgive my lack
of decent coverage for print issues.
The following sections review
some of the major changes.