CorelDRAW is Not 3D Software

May 12, 2011

Go ahead and read the post title again and again until the message is crystal clear. There are a lot of users and potential users who are unclear and that is the reason I am writing this post. Now that it is clear, you can create drawings that appear to be 3D. I’ll explain some things that can help you to create the appearance of 3D and I’ll also tell you of the limitations and workarounds.

In true 3D software, you define all dimensions of an object and you can rotate that object in 3D space however you please. Corel did release CorelCAD this week and it does have 3D capabilities. So if you want to stay within the Corel software family, you have an option. CorelCAD does have the ability to export files to either CDR (CorelDRAW) or DES (Corel DESIGNER) format. It does not have the ability to import files from either product. Even a 3D file exported to CDR format will not be 3D in CorelDRAW though it may appear to be in 3D. You will simply have a static view of the drawing.

An example of a 3D tool in CorelDRAW is Extrude. It does allow you to draw an object and give it depth. For some things, the results are great. You can rotate the object in 3D space however you please. I just don’t think I’d call the results realistic. 3D can also be simulated using the Perspective tool, though it may be a lot of work to get things to look just right. There are also add-ons like EZ Metrics that make it easy to take orthographic views (2D flat views) and turn them into something that appears 3D.

One of the most recent questions asked if a 2D vehicle wrap could be designed in CorelDRAW and then turned into 3D in CorelDRAW. The process is actually quite easy, but you can’t do the 3D rendering in CorelDRAW. Using the Car ‘n Truck Vehicle Outline Collection 3D, you can import a template into CorelDRAW and design the wrap perfectly. Once you have designed the artwork for the wrap, you have to bring it into software that comes with the template collection to make a 3D rendering. I just posted a free tutorial showing how to make a 3D Vehicle Rendering. With the 3D template collection, it only takes 5-10 minutes to create an amazing 3D rendering of the vehicle and you can even animate it! The key thing is that you aren’t doing the 3D rendering in CorelDRAW, you are creating the 2D artwork in CorelDRAW and using something else to render it.

CorelDRAW is an amazingly powerful tool and it can do some incredible things. It just isn’t 3D software.

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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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