CorelDraw 11 vs. Illustrator CS

Submitted by Hannes Schmidt on Mon, 06/07/2004 - 13:29.

For my web comps I usually use Adobe Illustrator CS and I am quite pleased with it. Recently, I had the chance to review CorelDraw 11. The first time I ever used CorelDraw was more than 10 years ago and it must have been ancient version 2. The most recent version is 12. I reviewed version 11. For a client, I had to update a document created in CorelDraw 7, import it into version 11, apply a few modifications to it and do some streamlining. I was able to do the job, but it wasn't a very pleasant experience. Here's a list of nuisances.

  • The node editing tool (direct edit (A) tool in Illustrator) can only select and edit nodes that belong to a single object. Some may think that this is a feature but it sucks. The only way to modify the nodes of multiple objects simultaneously is to combine the objects. Tedious.
  • CDR doesn't support nested templates. By templating I mean the process of putting common content into layers on a master page. These master layers will automatically appear on every normal page. In CorelDraw these templates can't be nested, i.e. a master page cannot be based on another master page - all normal pages are based on a single master page. That's a severe limitation. Coming from a programming background, I tend to organize everything in such a way that no redundant copies are necessary - be it copies of program code or in this case copies of vector graphics objects. But with non-nested templates, this can't be done. Illustrator doesn't have multiple pages, so the need for templates doesn't arise. What Illustrator calls template layers is something completely different. OTOH, I can easily simulate multiple pages in Illustrator by using variables and nested layers. This will be featured in another tutorial on this site. Adobe InDesign's templating is far more advanced. It has styles (format templates for characters and paragraphs)and master pages. Both concepts are recursive, i.e. nestable. Styles can be based on other styles. Master pages can be applied to normal pages as well as other master pages. The process of applying master pages is pretty intuitive (drag and drop).
  • Corel thinks it's smart to switch the keyboard layout depending on what language the current paragraph in a text object is. But this is stupid. For example, when you take the text tool and click into an English paragraph, the keyboard layout switches to EN. Mind you, that I don't have an English keyboard. My keyboard is German. To make things worse, the layout stays English, even after having left the paragraph. Oh no! One of the differences between the German and English keyboard is that the Y and Z keys are swapped. Now, when I type Strg-Z (undo) but the computer interprets it as Strg-Y (toggle snap to grid). Dammit!
  • Even with SP2 installed, CorelDraw crashed on me a couple of times during the day.

But Illustrator isn't perfect either.

  • One of the reasons why I prefer Illustrator CS to Photoshop CS for designing web comps, is that Illustrator's anti-aliasing of text looks better than Photoshop's. The downside is that Illustrator can't do mouse-overs for slices. Illustrator has another annoying feature slash bug that every beginner must stumble over. The page looks great in pixel preview but when using Save For Web, the text anti-aliasing looks very bad. It took me days to discover that when I applied the Rasterize filter with anti-aliasing set to "Hinted" to a text-object, the generated GIFs would match the pixel-preview.
  • Also Adobe gets this year's award for the ugliest online support forum on this planet. Ever been there? It's worth a trip!
  • Another award goes to Adobe's Illustrator team for the most ignorant programmer team of the past 10 years. Look at this page to find out why: Stopdesign | Underline Text in Adobe Illustrator
( categories: Geek )