A Corel Companion

This was orignally written to introduce a new version of Corel Draw, for the now largely gone-away Corel Magazine. I can't remember if the then-new owner of the magazine ever paid for it.... This is the version that they edited; I include my notes (which may explain why this gig proved a Procrustean bed; that, and they were all in Texas).

Getting Up to Speed

This article and those accompanying it on pages xx and xx are intended to serve as a short primer to help CorelDraw 4.0[DJ1] get up to speed. Together, they take up some issues that are not in the CorelDraw manual and are dealt with only summarily in the host of third-party books that have or will appear. The focus is on potential trouble-spots and features likely to escape immediate notice.

The CorelDraw illustration system is made up of modules. The Draw module is the heart of the system, and [DJ2]in my opinion, represents the standard against which competing products are measured. The Photo-Paint program, introduced in CorelDraw 3.0, has matured dramatically in the intervening year. The implementation included with CorelDraw 4.0 stands up well against all but the most sophisticated image editing and paint programs. Much the same is true for the other modules included with CorelDraw 4.0: Show, Move, Chart, and Mosaic. These programs are now more tightly integrated to the basic drawing module, making for greater speed and agility, among other things.

This primer has been developed[DJ3] using both beta and shipping versions of CorelDraw 4.0 on 386 and 486 platforms in a variety of configurations. Through it, you will discover both CorelDraw 4.0’s main strengths and the most worrisome problems.[DJ4]

Installing CorelDraw 4.0

You can install CorelDraw 4.0 to run from the hard disk, or you can run it from the CD-ROM drive. Or you can run parts from one place and parts from the other. Each option has advantages.

To install to the hard disk, either start with the first diskette, giving you a program, but not access to all the clip art and fonts, or the CD-ROM, giving you faster installation and access to all the goodies.

Either way, you begin by using the FILE/RUN command from the Program Manager. Use the line “X:\SETUP” where X is the drive letter (either diskette drive or CD-ROM drive) for the Corel installation disk. Press ENTER. After the usual sign-on, you are asked for your name and serial number (found on a slip in the envelope with the diskettes—usually stuck in the second diskette’s slot cover, so check carefully).

Next, you have the option of a “full installation” or a “custom installation.” You will probably want a custom installation. The options are more or less the same as those used for CorelDraw 3.0, so this should be no great puzzle.

You already know [DJ5]that running from the hard disk is faster than running from the fastest CD-ROM drive. But CorelDraw 4.0 fully installed uses lots of hard disk space—well over 30Mb. By comparison, if you elect to run everything from the CD-ROM, you will use only a few megabytes of hard disk space for configuration and data files.

If you decide to run from the CD-ROM, begin by using SETUP2 in the FILE/RUN dialog box. After the sign-on and registration, you are given a couple options; for instance, which fonts to be installed and scanners to be supported. Otherwise, full installation is automatic.

[the main article continues after the tips and sidebars--i left it this way so you could see the way the original article was structured]

[TIP--253 words] For folks who want to minimize the hit on their hard disks but want all the options available, can try another option. Although it’s not documented in the 4.0 installation guide, it has been tested successfully here: Perform both installations.

Do the run-from-CD installation first. Then run the install-to-hard-disk installation from the CD-ROM, and use the custom installation option to install only those parts of the software you use often and want to run optimally. This will likely include Draw and possibly Photo-Paint. It’s also a good idea to install Mosaic to run from the hard disk, because otherwise image thumbnails are not available. Trace, on the other hand, runs nicely from the CD-ROM, as do Move and Show. Chart is a toss-up; it runs well from CD-ROM, but it runs better from the hard disk. Make a choice based on your estimated frequency of use. You can always change your mind later, and do the hard disk installation of any of these elements.

There is a gotcha in the installation: Some users have reported that the Corel installer will refuse to do its job, reporting insufficient disk space before aborting. According to Corel, this problem seems to be limited to people with a single floppy drive, a single hard drive partition, and a CD-ROM. The quick fix seems to be to create a small RAM drive—512K should be more than enough—between the fixed disk and CD-ROM drive.

[BUG--316 words] A reader reported another installation problem: Corel would not install from the CD-ROM nor from the floppies. I was able to duplicate the problem and decided to remove the software and reinstall it clean. First I tried reinstalling it from CD-ROM. I made my custom choices, and the installer proceeded to copy files. But it failed to copy some—notably, the OLE registration file for CorelShow. When the installer tried to run that executable file, it didn't find it where it should have been, and the program came to an abrupt halt.

Using the Control-Alt-Delete sequence to close, Windows reported that _MSTEST.EXE, a program that checks file copies, had failed. Closing that in turn irrepairably crashed Windows and brought the whole system to a halt. I did this 10 times in succession; it really is a bug; and Corel’s tech support team said they hadn’t heard about it before.

The following procedure solved the problem for me: First, clean off all the files the aborted installation left on the hard disk. This includes a temporary directory (which on my machine was called ~COREL.~T~), all the files and directories for Corel 4.0, a two-line listing in your WIN.INI file (headed “[CorelGraphics4]”) and about 20 files in your SYSTEM directory—turn on file attributes in the File Manager listing and the ones you want to delete will be the ones marked “a.”

Now install to run from CD-ROM, using SETUP2. This installation worked properly and consistently in our tests. If it works for you, do a second installation, this time installing to the fixed disk using the routine called SETUP. Choose your custom options as you want. The installer should now work properly, overwriting where appropriate, updating the .INI files, and so on. Since the OLE registration has already been done, the failure encountered previously won’t come up.

[TIP--127 words] For advanced users: CorelDraw 4.0 uses a more complex suite of .INI files to manage things. David Brickley (P.O. Box 549, Moss Beach, Calif. 94038; 415-728-3104) has produced a 4.0-compatible version of his SetDraw shareware tool. SetDraw can tell you about your Corel .INI files and can do many of the modifications you may want to make. It checks to make sure all your Corel ducks are in the right row. In the initial release tested, some problems remain. For example, the change-drive option in some dialog boxes failed to work properly, so that one drive was selected in that list, while another was actually being looked at. Still, for $25, this is a worthwhile addition to your setup.

News on Fonts [this could be a sidebar--262 pages]

The short story on CorelDraw 4.0 fonts is that there’s lots of ’em. In fact, there are probably too many of them for most folks. On the other hand, the professional designers in the Corel family, and they are legion, will be able to flesh out their already-substantial libraries.

A couple considerations: Corel supplies all 750 fonts in TrueType format. I like TrueType, and so does my LaserMaster laser typesetter. But many service bureaus choke on them—they need PostScript fonts. Since the differences between TrueType and PostScript fonts can wreak havoc with a layout if not accounted for, you may want to use ATM and PostScript type faces with CorelDraw. With this is mind, Corel has supplied all the fonts in PostScript format as well. On the CD-ROM in the FONTS directory, the ATM subdirectory contains all fonts in alphabetized subdirectories.

Another option is to convert Corel-supplied TrueType to PostScript. Corel claims the output is Adobe Type 1; historically, the output has actually been Type 3. The AT1 export filter is not an updated WFNBOSS, and is really intended for designing custom typefaces, one letter at a time; [DJ6]this is (need to ask DJ about this incomplete sentence)

One more thing: Corel usually supplies[DJ7] two different versions of a given typeface—the normal version, and the professional version, which has some kerned pairs or specially ligatured pairs and the like. If you are used to the latter, probably in PostScript format, then you may use the normal fonts less—strictly as fill-ins for the odd job.

Test Bench Notes [this could also be a sidebar--545 words]

I’d like to share some of the challenges I encountered in my test of 4.0 and some possible solutions.

Corel Corp. isn't entirely responsible for one of the problems I have seen on the test bench, namely the unstable condition of OLE2 as it shipped with the late-May release. The OLE2 files are not release-grade, according to Microsoft technical support and Corel Corp.'s development chief. When Microsoft releases the final version, expect Corel Corp. to provide it to registered users at no additional charge. This doesn’t seem to causing users to have difficulties with OLE2—Corel’s technical support is not logging many calls that trace to OLE2.

On the other hand, one of our systems developed a disturbing tendency to crash, and so far as I could tell, the problem traced to OLE2. The problem caused many applications—not just Corel modules—to terminate inexplicably, with errors showing up in low memory pages. In many instances, Windows itself became unstable, requiring an emergency shutdown—not something to be done lightly. On several occasions, I received EMM386 exception errors—an uncommon event I'd heard about but had never seen before. The problem went away when I removed CorelDraw and all its associated files; the only ones of these that would have been universal were the OLE2 files.

Taking a hint from the EMM386 exception error, I have more rigorously examined the memory map (with Checkit), and have “manually” excluded some memory areas that had not previously been “automatically” excluded by Windows. Knock on wood—so far it seems to have worked although it shouldn’t have.

Another difficulty that could prove troublesome surfaced in initial tests run by Bruce Wasserman. Wasserman was working in Corel 4.0 and attempting to save a complex file in 3.0 format. CorelDraw reported insufficient space to do the job, although he had well over 80Mb of hard disk space available at the time. Granted, the file in question (a keyboard template for CorelDraw 4.0) is more complex than anything most of us will do—lots of text in a very involved layout, a huge number of objects. But it was certainly not a file the size of which would exceed 80Mb.

This awkward problem will come about in shops where folks have both versions running (Corel Corp. apparently intends to continue to sell Corel 3.0 as a “light” version at a lower price), and there is a need to share files between the two versions. On the other hand, files of normal complexity do not seem to present this problem.

On the other hand, even after I had stabilized our test-bench systems, I found that CorelDraw would “stick” every so often. Notably, when copying fairly complex sets of objects to the Windows clipboard, the system would sometimes stop. If I changed my mind in the middle of a process and hit a CANCEL button, things almost always stopped. This kind of sticking means you have to terminate the program with a Control-Alt-Delete sequence. Windows allows you to use this to terminate a stuck program or to abort and end Windows itself if things are really bad—this is a last-resort.

Optimizing Memory Can Help [could be a sidebar--subject might be a bit far out--266 words]

EMM386 is the memory manager that comes with DOS. It does several things, among them controlling the block of memory addresses that are used by hardware such as display adaptors and network interface cards to talk to the system. These addresses fall between the upper end of the DOS base memory (the old 640K) and the top of the first megabyte.

Normally, DOS 6.0 does a good job of finding things there—especially display adaptors—and locks out those areas. Unused addresses can be recovered for some kinds of programs. However, when EMM386 fails to lock out an address, things go wrong and you get strange errors. Using a memory mapper (such as the one in CheckIt, a program popular with system integrators, or Microsoft Diagnostics (MSD.EXE), which comes with Windows 3.1 and DOS 6.0), you can check to see what memory has been locked out.

If you want to reserve addresses for an adaptor, add [DJ8]this exclusion statement to the EMM386 line in your CONFIG.SYS file:

DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE NOEMS HIGHSCAN X=D800-DFFF

Here, NOEMS tells DOS not to reserve expanded memory, but to scan for hardware connections in high memory and to specifically exclude the address range (in hexadecimal notation) for my machine’s network interface card, which is regularly missed in the HIGHSCAN process. You may have several such X= statements. If this seems very mysterious and overly “techy,” get a friend who knows DOS to help. This can be a bit tricky, and it does need to be done right.

[main article continues]

Draw Features and Tips

Corel Corp. has been nothing if not innovative in making Draw easier to use. First it popularized “fly-outs,” the facility that gives you all kinds of tools without cluttering up the screen with all their symbols at one time. When Corel found other competing products had gone a step further with a floating toolbar with fly-outs (such as Micrografx’s Picture Publisher), Corel adopted the principle. The Draw DISPLAY menu now offers a floating toolbox option—implement it or not according to your needs.

Then came “roll-ups.” Again, other companies have offered small movable, even expandable windows with specialized tool subsets; Corel has made them better. Open a roll-up to do a job, place it where you need it for detail work or whatever, and then roll it up when it is not in use. It’s still handier than if you had to open it again from the menu bar. CorelDraw 4.0 has more roll-ups than ever—a dozen of them so far and still counting— and they all float to where you want them.

The only problem with roll-ups is that when switching virtual screens with TopDesk, all the roll-ups tend to gather in a corner of the active screen, whether Draw is there or not. Fortunately, this is only mildly disconcerting.

The latest Corel wrinkle is drag-and-drop capability for symbols. According to Corel chief Michael Cowpland, the Corel development team did a variant on an idea first popularized in Shapeware’s Visio because of the ease and practicality of this way of choosing and placing pre-drawn symbols.

To access the drag-and-drop symbol roll-up, click and drag on the text fly-out to select symbols. Select the symbol set from the list at the top of the roll-up, pick a symbol, and drag it. If you know you are going to be adjusting the symbol, you might want to keep the roll-up on screen, but change from the symbol cursor (a small cross-hair) to the regular pointer or the shape tool. You can still drag and drop symbols and be immediately ready to edit as need be.

Another new wrinkle shows up on the PowerLines roll-up. PowerLines is supposed to emulate the thick and thin lines various artist's tools produce—tools such as pens with chisel nibs, brushes that produce varied line weights as they move, and so on. It is intended to support the genuine article: Pressure-sensitive drawing tools such as the tablets from CalComp and Wacom. Unfortunately, in our tests, we were unable to get this to work.

But for folks who don’t have pressure-sensitive drawing tools [DJ9]anyway, Draw now lets you create editable line segments with the same effect. Using the PowerLines roll-up, select a generic line shape and draw the line. A list of shapes and nibs are shown in a preview box. The line can be edited, including its thickness, using the node-edit tool. These lines can also be filled and edged like other Draw objects.

Drawing and Editing Enhancements

How many times have you created a group of objects and then decided the group needed to be edited? Ungroup, edit, then regroup—right? No longer: CorelDraw objects that have been grouped can be edited without ungrouping. Control/left-click on the particular item in the group you need to change and small circular handles appear, indicating you are editing a group-member. A second click on the selected group-member gives you the usual CorelDraw skew and rotate handles. Click outside the object group and things are back to normal, with the edits incorporated into the group.

Another new feature lets you create an object with a complex shape. You could draw it freehand, or you could build it from a number of easier-to-make standard geometric shapes. To take this route, create the shapes, position them as needed, and then weld them using the Arrange/Weld menu command. All the shapes are fitted as one object with a single outline that can be fine-tuned using the node-edit tool.

Yet another new addition makes it easier to create the kind of elegant realism Barry Meyer treated us to in the June ’93 issue of Corel Magazine, with a chocolate good enough to eat (page 36). Part of what Meyer did involved blends to create lighting effects. CorelDraw 4.0 makes that simpler with the Contour roll-up. First draw the shape for the highlight, and fill it with the background color. In the Contour roll-up, fill in the number of steps, select the foreground color, and set parameters for interior contouring. Apply it, and you’ll see the highlight. If outlines are showing, simply turn them off in the usual way from the pen fly-out or roll-up.

The best part of the way Corel Corp.'s developers have developed these conveniences is that they are extensions of the functions we already know from early interations of the program. For example, contouring is an extension of blended fills. This makes the learning curve is short, meaning you can use new features quickly and easily. Roll-ups present new features in a consisent way, on screen where you need them, at any degree of magnification.

Desktop Publishing

Now that 4.0 supports multiple pages, allowing you to insert as many as 998 after the first page—999 pages in all, and has improved paragraph text support, allowing as many as 4,000 characters in a paragraph and as many paragraphs as you need in a “frame” of text, CorelDraw has become a capable desktop publishing tool.

Draw is still not a replacement for a sophisticated page-composition system such as Aldus PageMaker, Quark Express, or Ventura Publisher. These programs offer do-it-all features specially tuned to publishing—CorelDraw has some of these, but not all. For example, those page composition programs know how to put in a row of dots in a directory listing between a left-justified heading and a right-justified page number or name. So far as I can see, CorelDraw doesn't automate this yet. But a large part of DTP jobs—brochures, booklets, and the like—are well within the scope of CorelDraw.

The key here is the expanded paragraph text capability. CorelDraw reads standard text files—including those saved in Microsoft’s Rich Text Format (.RTF) that carries with it font and some layout attributes. This text comes in to Draw in an editable frame controlled from the Text roll-up. The Paragraph button on the same roll-up controls elements such as intercharacter and interlinear spacing (not quite kerning and leading). Text that needs to flow across multiple pages can be manually placed or can be flowed automatically, with Draw adding pages as needed. The “feel” of this capability is more similar to PageMaker than Ventura Publisher—in fact, that PageMaker feel is consistent in Draw's DTP features.

Draw will even do rudimentary page imposition. Again, this high-end capability is more powerfully implemented in programs such as PageMaker 5.0. But for a simple job, such as two-up pages on standard-size stock for duplex offset printing or xeroxing to be either folded together or saddle-stitched, Draw's booklet page layout will handle the job nicely. Note that the manual seems to recommend the book layout, but this does not correctly impose the pages. Specify the stock size and select “Booklet” under Page Layout in the Page Setup dialog box. Select letter/landscape for 5.5"x8.5" portrait pages, or legal/landscape for 7"x8.5" portrait pages, for example. You will work on your pages in normal order, but at print time, the Print preview box shows you correctly imposed pages and prints them that way.

It will be a bit confusing because the preview will show you each sheet twice. That is, it will show you the same sheet once for pages 1 and 8, and a second time for pages 8 and 1, even though they print on the same sheet. Unfortunately, the dialog status line reports page numbers, not sheet numbers for imposed pages. If you've ever had to manually impose pages for two-up offset, you will kill for this feature.



[DJ1]You took out a very precise statement of target audience; that is probably unwise; it is certainly SOP to have such a statement.

[DJ2]It is not just my opinion; it is based on substantial sales and a lot of other things.

[DJ3]That is not what I said. I said I spent time with beta; I did not say I wrote the book from the beta; in fact I wrote the book entirely from the shipping version -- which is one of the reasons it was such a bear to do the job.

[DJ4]All things considered, you'd do better to drop the stuff you have in this intro, and use the intro I wrote to the Corel Draw section -- under Basics. Or put that bit you re-wrote as a sidebar near the opening of the story. And drop the good news/bad news stuff at the peril of being thought a division of Corel Corp....

[DJ5]Careful -- the "you already know that" line is a very questionable assumption about some readers.

[DJ6]Just drop the stuff after the semicolon; I was apparently about to begin something, but I can't remember what, and it is clearly not important.

[DJ7]NO! Corel does not supply both versions. Two versions exist, and Corel only supplies the normal version. Use my original text.

[DJ8]NO! That is not what I said. This is an example line, and applies to the case where a particular address needs to be excluded. You must not add definites where I have not put them in; you run the risk of very misleading errors.

[DJ9]Delete?



Corel Modules Keep Up With Draw

by Donald Jenner

[main article is 3047 words]

CorelDraw 4.0 is impressive for what it offers as extensions to an already able product. The four other modules in the Corel illustration family also have substantial enhancements.

Photo-Paint

Photo-Paint is remarkable because it finally works! The pixel-pusher sent out with Draw 3.0 was not up to the mark—it was slow, feature-poor, and couldn’t even do the basic image-capture job. The new Photo-Paint is substantially faster than the old version, it has lots of features, and it scans like a champ. In short, it's a contender.

Scanning

First, Corel Photo-Paint is TWAIN-compliant, a feature it shares with CorelTrace. If you use a scanner and have not made a serious effort to secure a TWAIN-compliant scanner driver, you have missed out on an important move in the industry.

Second, some scanners are directly supported by Corel’s own TWAIN controller; some are not. Corel sends along some TWAIN drivers for scanners not directly handled by its own controller; they are not as good as the ones you can get from your scanner maker. For example, the Epson scanner driver supplied by Corel is older and substantially less able than the one readily secured from Epson.

Image Editing

There are two classes of pixel-pushers: Those intended for creation from scratch and those primarily intended for editing. For example, Fractal Painter is almost entirely at the creation end of the scale. It is clearly a paint program written by painters. CA-Cricket Paint is more or less in that category too, though it is perhaps a bit more “computer literate” than painterly in its feel.

Photo-Paint is at the image-editing end of the scale. with tools intended for refining bitmaps. Tools are presented on typical Corel fly-outs, and the toolbox is adjustable in several ways. Click on its control menu (this requires a mouse; it will not respond to keyboard commands), turn the default upper-left location off (click on it so it becomes un-checked), and move it about on the screen wherever you want it. This is the Photo-Paint equivalent of telling Draw you want a floating toolbox.

In addition, the tool bar can also be shaped differently; the layout submenu in the toolbox control menu lets you check off different numbers of rows and columns. This works fairly well—and the ability to change the shape of the toolbox means that you can fit it where you want, even on a screen where there are lots of other things happening.

Most of the other painting elements, such as textured “papers,” brush sizes, color palettes, are located on roll-ups. These are fairly straightforward, though the palette control may prove a bit of a puzzle going in.

The palette roll-up has three areas and a sub-menu. Normally, only two of the areas are displayed: the current-selection shows a box with background, outline and fill, and the color values of the selected item. Of these three, the most important is the outline color, which is the color you are actually painting with when using the various brushes.

The second area shows an active basic palette and a color mixing area. You can pick up colors and mix them, or use the preselected mixes provided by Corel. You can save your own blends. As you move into this area, an eye-dropper tool shows that you are picking colors. When you click, the currently selected item—background, outline or fill—changes to match.

Press the button marked “edit” and the eye-dropper tool is available in the palette, but changes to a brush in the mixing area. Pick a cyan and put it down in mixing area; pick up magenta from the palette and blend just a dab with the cyan. A light touch is called for here, as the colors are layed down on top of each other with only limited transparency.

Control the mixing process to some extent by making the paintbrush your current tool on the tool bar, then adjusting the tool settings for brush to a soft edge and a goodly amount of transparency (about 25 percent to 35 percent). These settings also carry across to the brush used in the palette and makes it possible to control the amount of a second color being mixed in.

The third area of the color selection roll-up is normally hidden; click on the down arrow by the pick/edit button in the palette area. What drops down is a more complete color picker. Using the right-facing arrow in the top area to access the sub-menu, you choose what this bottom area displays. You can see a default palette, or the image palette, containing the colors actually in the image being edited, or you can specify a color model: RGB, HSB, or CMYK. I prefer the HSB option, [DJ1]although the others are equally innovative. Both RGB and CMYK models are displayed as 3D areas. You click in the vector-defined spaces, then adjust to get the precise hue desired. For all three models, an intensity bar lets you control the amount of black being added in.

Photo-Paint proved satisfactory in our test for image editing needs and adequate [DJ2]was for some painting needs. It is slower than competing products but performs well enough on 486 machines. It will also run on 386 boxes—not well, but still better than the previous version, which really would not function at all. The main drawback and what keeps this from being a proper paint program proper is the need to go through several steps to change active colors and tools. All the tools are there, however, so users with limited painting needs will probably find Photo-Paint adequate.

CorelChart

In some ways, Chart is more impressive than Draw. As a charting program, it is strictly an accessory. But the 3D effects in Chart are more elegant than their equivalents in Draw, and one could wish that Corel Corp. would make this the next across-the-board feature.

As charting programs go, CorelChart sits in the middle of the pack. It lacks some of the more specialized chart types (for example polar charts), but these [DJ3]are specialty items. If you need that kind of chart, you need something like Delta Graph.

You’ll find that data entry hasn’t changed much in the upgrade. CorelChart has a fairly powerful spreadsheet-like data handler, and it can take data from standard spreadsheets like Excel or Lotus1-2-3. If you need more data handling capability, then you need a more advanced program. For most business needs, even most scientific needs, CorelChart is more than adequate. If you are a designer with clients to serve, CorelChart gives you tools to keep them happy.

If you're not an old chart-making hand, let CorelChart do most of the work. Open a new chart with sample data. Click on the data-grid tool (at the top of the fixed-position toolbar), and edit the sample data to fit your needs. Click the same spot on the toolbar again, and you are back to your chart.

More adventurous chart makers, or those who have to use data from client-supplied spreadsheets, will like the Autoscan feature. Switch to the data grid as before, import the data and select the area you want to chart. Click the Autoscan button at the top of the screen, and Chart attempts to determine the data range and so on. If that doesn't work, the task can be done manually: Mark the various areas, and use the pull-down list adjacent to the Autoscan button to tell Chart what’s what.

What‘s really fun in Chart, though, is the range of special effects. Go easy on these—you wouldn't want the images to be so riveting that people don’t hear the presentation, especially if you are the presenter. But do try the various 3D options. A bar chart, presented powerfully in three dimensions can make a case. It can even make miserable data look appealing. It is, in short, sheer sizzle. Three dimensional effects are controlled from a single roll-up. Rotation and depth, position, size and perspective are all controlled from pushbutton choices. The changes are previewed on the fly using a wireframe. Press the Redraw button in the roll-up and the chart segment is rendered to screen. You’ll be surprised by how fast the rendering takes place.

Color choices are pretty straightforward. The entire available palette is displayed on-screen at the bottom of the Chart window. All you need to do is pick a chart element to change, pick the color you want, and the job is done.

About the only thing that is not lovable about this chartmaker is its pie charts. I like pie charts and use them often in my own presentations. Unfortunately, CorelChart simply doesn't make pie charts I like. These pie charts have none of the elegance of the other 3D charts. Chart values are stuck on “whiskers,” and only limited modification is permitted. Pie segments can be exploded only within the limits of the dialog’s “small/medium/large” approach, and segments cannot be “grown.”

In short, this is not an elegant pie chart maker, and that is surprising because the rest of the program works well, unlike its 3.0 predecessor, which had a disturbing habit of dying.

Corel Move

Corel Move is a simple animation program. You first use CorelDraw and Photo-Paint to produce “actors” and “props,” or you use the ones in the libraries provided. You can also incorporate sound, video, and animation in standard formats. In short, Move lets you make fairly sophisticated shows that run on standard Windows machines—that’s what Move is about. It is also a lot of fun.

Corel bought this program from Motion Works International, and it looks as if it needs a bit more work. It’s nicely conceived but without being fully thought through. Move should work well if your system is pretty close to generic. The more your system shifts from that lowest common denominator, the less likely it is you will be able to use Move.

If you do find you can use Move, make sure you install it to the fixed disk or add a second CD-ROM drive to your system. You will want to access the substantial library of props and actors that the clip art library represents. If you do choose to run Move from the CD-ROM while other programs are located on the fixed disk, you will need to use David Brickley's SetDraw 4.0 to adjust path statements in various .INI files (he calls this “fluffing”). Otherwise, Move may have problems finding its filters (not the same as the ones used for Draw) will not import props and actors except through OLE2.

[Animation tips sidebar--341 words]

The trick to any animation program is careful planning. Start with a story board: You might use CorelDraw to create the basics, with Mosaic as a way to see the whole series as thumbnails. It’s a bit cumbersome and there are better ways, but the idea remains: Plan the story.

Next, create bitmap images to serve as backgrounds. You could create a background in CorelDraw and export it, or use Photo-Paint, or use a scanned image. Then add objects (in Move parlance, “actors”) imported from CorelDraw or Photo-Paint. Move is an OLE client, which means you can open either of these from within. Preexisting objects from AutoDesk’s Animator or video in Windows .AVI format can be used as well.

Set up a path for the objects using the Path tool (this looks like the CorelDraw node-edit tool so it might be a bit confusing). As you insert each step in the path, the object you are moving follows the path. Play the animation and watch the object(s) move along the path or appear depending on the frame they are entered in. Note that the animation controls follow the VCR convention—strange, since this convention is admittedly not accessible to many people.

Move can also do cel animation. The Actor editor can accept multiple cels, and can provide an “onion skin” image against which to compare the steps in the developing movement. For example, create a crow with wings at the top of the cycle, then use the cel animator to create a series of images with the wings in different points of the flight cycle. The more cels, the smoother the movement but also the longer the time to show the cycle.

Now paste the cel back into the main animation. Set up the path in the usual way, and as the actor moves along the path, the cels are flipped at each point. The more points the more natural the movement. [end of sidebar]

[main story continues]

In our tests the animation tools worked well, within limits. The sound capabilities proved a problem. We use MuLaw-compressed .WAV files and until Move, we had not encountered any entry-level Windows multimedia tool that could not use these files. Move simply will not read these files, which suggests that Motion Works decided to do things its way, rather than using the standard Windows utilities.

Move is adequate for creating rolling demos and shows. Move lacks some of the elegant capabilities of AutoDesk Animator (for example a whole range of glass effects and motion capabilities). It is not intended to produce animations at that level of complexity. But what it does, it does reasonably well. And what it produces can be used in a larger Windows multimedia scenario. Use the Export-to-Movie command to create a .AVI format version which can be played on any Windows-based system that has the advanced Windows media viewer.

Corel Show

Corel Show has come of age in the version supplied with CorelDraw 4.0. Where Move does animations, Show makes and runs computer-based slide shows.

Show itself is really a collection point and management program. Actual images—charts, word slides, sounds, and so on—are created in the other CorelDraw modules. These main creativity tools are accessed from the Show toolbar or from the Insert menu.

The toolbar is a floater with two areas: The top four buttons control the object pointer, the Show object menu (also accessed using the right mouse button), zooming and background selection; the boxes below the blank button call the other Corel creative modules and also the OLE2 insertion function.

Unfortunately, a problem comes up with OLE. Though Show reports that it will embed objects from all programs listed in the Insertion fly-out (represented by a variation on the old Windows logo), this is not the case. In our tests, only programs compliant with OLE2 actually opened. In the one case where it was possible to force the issue and we got a non-OLE2 object to insert (an .AVI file, using the enhanced Windows Media viewer), the clip would not play.

Moreover, there is an advantage to calling the insertion process from the menu rather than from the toolbar: The menu call opens a dialog box, from which it is possible to specify a file already created in the program being called. Thus, if a company logo already exists in CorelDraw format (3.0 or 4.0), it can be called and embedded. This is distinctly preferable to doing any kind of extensive creation in a called program.

Slide shows created in Corel Show can be saved and played elsewhere using the SHOWRUN runtime program. Put your show file and the runtime program on a disk and ship it around, or run it from a notebook computer (only if its a fairly powerful one). The only downside we encountered at playback was an unpleasant inability to show the graded backgrounds effectively. This seems to be an artifact of the way Corel handles taking over the display at runtime, in which case it will vary with the display system. It looks as if the available palette is greatly constricted—possibly to VGA levels. In short, test your system. If there is a problem, reducing the number of colors to be shown at any one time should improve matters.

CorelTrace and Mosaic

Two key utilities—Corel Trace and Mosaic—have been greatly enhanced from their 3.0 incarnations and round out the Corel 4.0 package.

CorelTrace is a full-featured program for scanning and tracing. The upgraded version is easier to use than the 3.0 version. Scanning requires a TWAIN-compliant scanning facility—either the one Corel supplies or if your scanner is not supported by Corel, your vendor’s TWAIN driver.

Once you have scaned an image, you can make any modifications to the acquired bitmap using Photo-Paint, which is called directly from within Trace with no noticeable degradation on high-end systems as you make image changes.

Tracing is straightforward; the options on the toolbar let you mark the area to be traced with a “magic wand” and buttons across the top let you choose the most usual tracing options. More detailed image control for each of these is available from dialog boxes called from the menu bar.

In keeping with CorelDraw’s desktop publishing capabilities, Trace is also an optical character recognition (OCR) program. OCR is never perfect, but it can turn a major keyboarding chore into a more manageable editing chore. This OCR component proved adequate most of the time when dealing with 200 dots-per-inch (high resolution) faxes, as well as scanned text pages. Sometimes it proved a bit rocky, and a couple times it crashed. The crashes were not fatal to Windows, which suggests erratic behavior likely to be easily corrected in the forthcoming maintenance release.

Mosaic is the Corel graphics archive utility. Corel has made life simpler, and designed the new Mosaic to be a general-purpose graphics tool. Open any directory, and Mosaic reports what is in it, with thumbnails of images whose formats it understands. Images or files which it does not understand are represented by the icon of the application with which they are associated. Thus, a directory containing media clips would show those files with the Microsoft media viewer in the thumbnail box. On the other hand, a .BMP file posts its image in the thumbnail box. Double-clicking on the box launches the associated application, whether it is a Corel application or not. If you use a bitmap editor other than Photo-Paint, and Windows knows about it, that bitmap editor will be opened.

In addition to this, Mosaic builds libraries and archives graphics files in compressed form just as it always has, but now you can use it for all kinds of files. In short, Mosaic is no longer just a Corel-specific shell for LHARC.

In our tests, things worked fairly well as long as we stuck to directories and the program ran from the hard disk rather than the CD-ROM drive. On our big machines, Mosaic crashed regularly any time we wanted to do anything with a library archive: Try to delete an archive—crash; expand a file from an archive—crash. Only on a rare occasion, and never twice in a row, could we successfully perform any of the functions we needed with archived files. And if we tried to run from the CD-ROM, even CorelDraw images were represented by thumbnails. It looks as if Mosaic creates these on the fly, storing them in a temporary file on the disk from which it is running. It can't write to the CD-ROM, so it posts the available Draw program icon, instead of the thumbnail. Again, this is a candidate for the maintenance release. Until then, discretion suggests not using Mosaic's archive-building functions, without also keeping a copy of the file off-line.


[DJ1]" -- it has the best implementation of a color-wheel selector." Drop the bit about innovation altogether.

[DJ2]the word was does not fit...?

[DJ3]I had this marked for italics (in copy, I use the > < for that purpose), and the sentence makes no sense without that....

Corel 4.0 Plays Well With Others

by Donald Jenner

[838 words]

Most of us use a number of different tools for various kinds of work. The reasons are simple enough: In some cases, Corel's very broad selection of tools is still not sufficient. And in some cases, though the job could be done in Corel modules, it can be done easier in some other program, because we know the other program well and it just isn’t possible to master every variation on every theme in a growing universe of programs. Then too, there is the fact that personal computing should be a mix-and-match, ad lib affair—that is a large part of what Windows has been about from the beginning. As it happens, CorelDraw and its associated creative modules work fairly well with major players in most categories.

Compatibiity with Pagemaker 5.0

Since PageMaker 5.0 (PM5) has just been released, we hurriedly did some checking. PageMaker 5.0 supports OLE, and that means it should work well with CorelDraw, etc. CorelChart and Corel Photo-Paint work splendidly with PageMaker 5.0. If you need a spectacular chart in a PM5 document, CorelChart is perfection. Use the insert-object command; CorelChart signs on and asks what kind of chart you want to make. It feels like a native application.

The same is true for Photo-Paint—it’s like having a bitmap editor built into PM5. This is important, since the TWAIN module in Photo-Paint works splendidly, while we had no luck using the TWAIN acquisition feature in PageMaker 5.0. In short, Photo-Paint is a good way to add bitmaps to PM5.

With Draw, you have options: If you have already created a Draw 4.0 image, you can copy it to the clipboard and paste it into PM5. This pasted image can then be edited by double clicking on it to call Draw 4.0. (This will also work for CorelDraw 3.0.) Or you can open CorelDraw using the insert-objects menu command and then use Draw’s import command to add an already extent image to the embedded drawing.

Word Processing

Tests for linkage between the CorelDraw family and a word processor were conducted using Microsoft Word for Windows; other OLE-compliant wordprocessing programs should perform in like fashion.

The story is pretty much the same for linkage between word processing and Corel modules as it is for PM5—except that things work a bit better in the Draw module. We successfully opened CorelDraw 4.0 modules from within Word for Windows; we successfully edited embedded images. Use was as transparent and easy as OLE advocates at Microsoft promised it would be.

The star performer is CorelChart. In days gone by, I’ve used Excel to make charts for WinWord documents. No more! CorelChart now does this and with all the ease-of-use features one could want.

Painting and Bitmap Editing

The issue with paint and bitmap editing programs is image conversion. CorelDraw images are vector drawings; paint programs use bitmaps. You can use a bitmap in CorelDraw or you can use Trace on it and change it into a collection of Draw objects. Or you can change your drawing into a bitmap and finetune it in the bitmap editor or paint program. This makes the Corel image available to applications where vector drawings don’t play, such as in multimedia.

CorelDraw comes with a suite of export filters. The filters most likely to be useful for connecting to a paint program are Windows bitmaps (.BMP files), Targa bitmaps (.TGA files), and TIFFs (.TIF files). .BMPs and .TGAs are probably more interesting than .TIFs; they paint up on the screen faster, and they seem more native to most painting environments. .BMP files seem to store images in a somewhat cooler set of color values; .TGA seem to me to be a bit warmer. Try both and pick the variation that seems most appealing to you.

The problem with Corel's export filters is that they are slow. For those of us who have better things to do with our time than hang about the coffee urn, Zenographics SuperPrint offers a slick advantage. The off-the-shelf version includes a bitmap superdriver. It installs just like a Windows printer driver, and you print your CorelDraw vector drawing to your choice of standard bitmap formats. Use this with the print-to-file feature turned off because the bitmap superdriver is smart enough to ask you about the file name itself. Set the driver itself for a range of options, including file format, pixel resolution and anti-aliasing (this is important because it gets rid of the jaggies). The Zeno bitmap Superdriver is lots faster than the Corel bitmap export filters, and the images seem to me a bit cleaner.