On the Mac, the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a newcomer, but the application suite has been around for many years on the Windows platform. The Mac version is a successful port in terms of feature set, but it probably won’t dethrone Adobe apps, nor kill the Affinity Photo and Designer apps. Corel has waited a bit too long and hasn’t fit out the Corel apps with a streamlined enough interface for that to happen, in my opinion.
I have a hobby that may surprise people and simultaneously make them think I’m bonkers… I love dabbling in astrology. I know, most people will say it’s rubbish, but I’ve erected enough astrology charts to think Hamlet was right when he said: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” I used to be a Kairon user, software developed by an Austrian astrologer/programmer who stopped updating the macOS application a few years ago. Then I started using iPhemeris on the iPad by Clifford Ribaudo, but that software gets updated very occasionally and you Ribaudo hides behind an alleged Apple bug in iOS that prevents users from exporting complete charts and tables. But in the week between Christmas and New Year I’ve found a macOS/iOS/Android software that might be the astrology app Mac users have been craving for a long time. It’s Astro Gold and it’s been developed by the same people who made Solar Fire the industry standard on Windows PCs. So, although it’s off-topic, here’s a review of Astro Gold.
Affinity Designer for iPad is the much anticipated competitor of Adobe Illustrator on the iPad. It’s a well-designed port from Designer on the Mac in terms of power and capabilities, and of integration with the iOS environment.
SketchBook Pro users enjoy a whole year of improvements and new features even, for a price of about €30/year. A few months ago, Autodesk’s sketch app was upgraded to version 8, which comes with textured brushes, a new predictive stroke and direct access to brush libraries created by leading professionals. I checked out if the new stuff is worth the subscription money.
Wacom’s new Intuos Pro graphics tablet is the thinnest since the company started selling graphics tablets many years ago. Wacom sells its professional line of tablets most often to graphics designers and photographers, but I managed to put it to good use with mocha Pro and Motion as well. The experience led me to try to use the newest Intuos Pro with Final Cut Pro X, my goal being to use it as a poor man’s control surface. For my tests, Wacom kindly sent me a large Paper Edition model.
British thermal label specialist Peninsula Group develops one of the few barcode apps available for Mac users. It’s called Barcode X and you can create most of the currently existing barcodes with it — 170 different types to be exact — without risking to make errors. I had the opportunity to test the latest version.
Palette, a smal Australian company of enthusiasts, develops the Cube Portable Color Digitizer, a small, white cube-shaped scanner that stores up to 20 colours in its internal memory and helps designers and artists find matching colours. A smartphone/tablet app and/or macOS/Windows desktop app complete the offering.
OmniGraffle has been and is for creating precise graphics such as website wireframes, electrical systems, family trees, presentation diagrams and maps of software classes. Everyone from professional artists and designers to casual data mappers and beginning diagrammers will find something gratifyingly new in OmniGraffle 7. I had the opportunity to review the Pro version.
Corel has added more features to Painter 2017 without turning the app into bloatware. The interface has been improved as well. Most Painter artists will want to check out the new version as it has much appeal.
Creating 3D models can be quite challenging. Applications like Cinema 4D and Maya are all-round 3D apps. They allow you to create 3D worlds and animations that can be used just as effectively in a game as in a presentation or blockbuster movie. Strata Design 3D CX 8.1.0, the Winter 2015-2016 release I got to review, is more focused on presenting 3D model design — objects, products, architecture, interior design… — in the most realistic and efficient way. The app has a learning curve, but it sure isn’t as steep as Maya’s or Cinema 4D’s.