Industry Standards

November 2, 2006

I often hear people talking about how something is an industry standard. Unfortunately they don’t always do a good job of backing up that statement. I’ll provide a few examples and then I hope you’ll post your thoughts. For this discussion, we’re going to limit our debate to comparing CorelDRAW with Adobe Illustrator and Corel PHOTO-PAINT with Adobe Photoshop. Maybe another day we can discuss other products.

We’ll start with CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator. This debate came up again in the Corel support newsgroups when one visitor was told by their printer that Illustrator was the industry standard and that CorelDRAW was not. Before we discuss the merits of the software, let’s talk about that statement. It is just plain stupid. Not that it is right or wrong in fact, but that the printer is automatically rejecting people who might bring them business.

Sometimes these debates are actually PC vs. Mac. While the commercials we see on TV with the two characters representing the platforms, these debates usually aren’t very amusing and the truth often has nothing to do with the debate. Adobe has released native versions of Illustrator on both PC and Mac. This leads to many Mac users automatically dismissing anything else. I’ve seen CorelDRAW running on the new Intel-based Macs and it works pretty darned well. In order for this to happen, a user has to install Parallels and a copy of Windows. With Parallels, CorelDRAW almost looks like it is a native Mac app and it runs beautifully.

On price, CorelDRAW has Adobe Illustrator beat by around $100 at street prices. Oh, and CorelDRAW throws in Corel PHOTO-PAINT along with fonts, clip art and more. CorelDRAW supports multiple page documents. Illustrator supports one page. CorelDRAW has built-in imposition tools. Illustrator has expensive plug-ins that do imposition. Almost any task can be completed with fewer clicks in CorelDRAW. Yes, there are features in Illustrator that aren’t in CorelDRAW. At best, the programs are equals in capabilities but that would be giving Illustrator a lot of latitude. Basically the reason some people consider Illustrator the industry standard is that they don’t truly know both products.

In the laser engraving industry, 90% of users use CorelDRAW. Wouldn’t that make CorelDRAW the industry standard? You’ll also find high percentages of CorelDRAW users in the embroidery, sublimation, screen printing, quilting and many more industries.

I’ll stick with CorelDRAW and I’ll let the Illustrator users stick with their choice. This just means I can do more in less time than them and that helps me to keep my clients happy.

Now let’s look at Corel PHOTO-PAINT vs. Adobe Photoshop. You can’t buy Corel PHOTO-PAINT as a standalone. It is bundled with CorelDRAW. Even if we consider the cost of CorelDRAW, it is still at least $200 less than Adobe Photoshop. Given that it comes with CorelDRAW, that’s a lot of power in the box for a price lower than either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop and much less than the two of them combined.

As with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop runs on both Mac and PC. And Corel PHOTO-PAINT can run on the Mac with Parallels. I won’t dispute that overall Adobe Photoshop has more power. I would venture an educated guess that Corel PHOTO-PAINT has at least 90% of the power of Adobe Photoshop. Many of the things it doesn’t have aren’t things of use to the majority of users. There is no doubt that some users choose Photoshop simply because it is considered the “cool” thing to use. I don’t want cool, I want productivity. Having used both, I know I can get a lot more done in a lot less time in Corel PHOTO-PAINT. And though Photoshop may have more features overall, I find a lot of very useful things that can only be found in Corel PHOTO-PAINT.

Last weekend I went to a class on digital photography. All of the speakers were using Macs and Adobe Photoshop. There is no doubt that Adobe Photoshop is the most used application in the digital photography world. Yet I really didn’t see anything all day that couldn’t be done in Corel PHOTO-PAINT. They were proud of the Actions they had created to automate tasks. Each of those tasks could also be a script or macro in Corel PHOTO-PAINT. And then I could easily add it to my menus or toolbars. In short, anything they can do, I can do quicker. I didn’t say anything to any of them as I was there to learn techniques and I most certainly did. Now I’ll quietly go back to work with my secret weapon, Corel PHOTO-PAINT.

So what do you think? Which apps do you prefer in these debates and why do you prefer them? I’m not interested in some rumor you’ve heard. I want factual information. Let’s hear it!

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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