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Save Time with Multiuse Content

If you have been around the graphics business for even a short time, you already know the benefit of vector artwork is that it can be resized and reused. The number of outlets for artwork is constantly growing, making it increasingly important to create designs that can be adapted easily. The following tips will make it easier for you to create reusable artwork in CorelDRAW.

Save Time with Multiuse Content

Smart Corel Workflows Improve Graphics

By Foster D. Coburn III, CorelDRAW Unleashed

(Originally printed in the March 2016 issue of Insights.)

If you have been around the graphics business for even a short time, you already know the benefit of vector artwork is that it can be resized and reused. The number of outlets for artwork is constantly growing, making it increasingly important to create designs that can be adapted easily. The following tips will make it easier for you to create reusable artwork in CorelDRAW.

Use Current Software

In talking to thousands of CorelDRAW users, I know many users stick with older versions of the software for many years. If you are using anything older than CorelDRAW X5 (which is 6 years old), you need to upgrade. No excuses, get current! Features added in newer versions are very helpful in designing for online outlets, a task which is becoming more and more prevalent. Look carefully at the calendar of CorelDRAW releases shown here. You can probably guess that a new version is likely to be released soon.

CorelDRAW Release Schedule
CorelDRAW X3—February 2006
CorelDRAW X4—February 2008
CorelDRAW X5—February 2010
CorelDRAW X6—February 2012
CorelDRAW X7—February 2014

Color Mode

The changes made to color management in CorelDRAW X5 are among the reasons it is important to have a newer version of CorelDRAW. When creating files, it is important to set them up using the RGB color model unless, the only use for the file is offset printing. Even in those cases, I still use RGB because CorelDRAW will handle the conversion to CMYK when the file is output. FIGURE 1 shows the settings I recommend for your default color management. While these are recommended, your output device may require modifications. Ask your device manufacturer.

FIGURE 1: Recommended settings for default color management in CorelDRAW X5 and higher.

Preparing Photos and Bitmaps

Ideally, all production files would be composed of only vector objects. That way they would easily scale to whatever size is needed for a project. In the real world, photos and other bitmaps are often used, and these can’t be replicated in a vector format.

Many users import bitmaps (photos) into CorelDRAW and then use the Edit Bitmap button to launch the photo in Corel PHOTO-PAINT for editing.

If this is your workflow, I’m going to recommend that you break the habit. Open the bitmap (photo) directly in Corel PHOTO-PAINT (FIGURE 2). If you prefer Adobe Photoshop, use it instead of PHOTO-PAINT. Make all necessary edits so the image is exactly what you desire. Save the edited file as a PNG in the native pixel count of the original image. Hope for a very high pixel count. With photos that originated in a digital camera, you will likely see several thousand pixels in each dimension.

FIGURE 2: Avoid using the Edit Bitmap button in Corel-DRAW. Instead, open bitmaps directly in Corel PHOTO-PAINT for editing.

Once you have the high-resolution version of your image, there are two directions you can take. The easiest method is to import that image into CorelDRAW and use it in all projects that require the image. When you output/export the CorelDRAW graphic, the image can be resized as needed. While the images will look good, they will not get “sharpened” after resizing. In most cases, sharpening makes images look better, but the automated resizing that occurs when exporting from CorelDRAW doesn’t sharpen.

The alternative method requires a couple of extra steps. Open the master image, resample it to the exact size needed, and apply the Unsharp Mask effect before saving to a new name.

This new file would then be imported into a specific CorelDRAW project. You’ll have better looking results with this method, but it does require a little extra processing to create the new sizes each time a different size of the image is needed. I use this method on almost all of my projects.

Page Size

I don’t think users take advantage of page size as often as they should. While I may start with “Letter”-sized files, I often change the page size to the exact size at which the file will be output. Because I do a lot of graphics for online outlets, this means changing the page size to an exact number of pixels (FIGURE 3). Make it a point to change the page size on your projects to accurately reflect how the file will be used. Also keep in mind that you can have different individual page sizes within a single multipage file.

FIGURE 3: A custom CorelDRAW page size in pixels.

There are times when some element of the artwork will not fit within the page boundaries. It could even be something invisible that doesn’t fit. For example, sometimes there are elements of a fountain fill or an effect that are outside of the page even though it isn’t visible. This can create problems when exporting. In those cases, I create a rectangle the size of the page (just double-click on the Rectangle tool) and then PowerClip all elements into the rectangle. The result is a perfectly sized graphic.

I should note that you need to remove the outline of the page-sized rectangle or it could be too large by a very small amount. If the graphic is headed for the Web, make sure to select Edit|Object Hinting as this will also help it to be sized perfectly.

Resave and Modify

When a new project comes up and you need to modify the artwork for the new output destination, you can either do it on a new page in an existing file or save the file with a new name and modify. Change the page size of the new page (or file) to the appropriate size and modify the artwork as needed.

Modifying vector elements is typically simple. Just move and resize them as needed. New bitmap elements may need to be created from the master file created earlier in Corel PHOTO-PAINT. This is why it is so important to have all bitmaps saved as separate files at their highest resolution.

It’s Worth It

While the bulk of the artwork you create is likely directly tied to the personalized products you create, being able to repurpose that artwork can help you deliver extra value to your customers and extra revenue to your bottom line. Enacting these minor changes in your workflow will make it easy for you to modify artwork for almost any type of output. Even if your equipment doesn’t require a specific file type, you could make extra money by providing artwork for others.

Foster D. Coburn III is the author of 13 books on CorelDRAW, the latest being CorelDRAW X6 Unleashed. He writes the free Graphics Unleashed Blog and provides fonts, artwork, and add-ons of interest to CorelDRAW users through the CorelDRAW Unleashed site. Connect with Graphics Unleashed on Facebook and follow Foster on Twitter @fostercoburn and Instagram @fostercoburn.

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