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.
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.
ScreenFlow 8 is a paid upgrade and it’s a big upgrade. Telestream has made ScreenFlow a more professional video editing tool with a detachable timeline and track thumbnails. It’s faster and has time-saving templates and styles that resemble Photoshop more than it does a NLE. And it comes with a subscription-based royalty-free stock media library that has video clips, backgrounds and audio tracks.
Animation for anything from presentations to games and goofy Youtube movies is possible with CrazyTalk Animator 3. This, the developer says, is the world’s easiest 2D animation software that enables all levels of users to create professional animations with the least amount of effort, and I agree – up to a point.
Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as Affinity Designer and Photo, allow you to create patterns that you can use and reuse as backgrounds, desktop or real-world wallpaper, etc. They all require you to start from a vector or bitmap image and then work out how to make it seamlessly repeating. Patternodes has found a simpler, more user-friendly way to do it.
Sometimes you come across a product that you didn’t know you needed until you see it, try it and are amazed you never thought of it before. ScreenFloat is such a utility, available for macOS only. It’s compatible with High Sierra and you get a 15-day trial period without the watermark nonsense some other vendors insist on.
To manage your fonts on a macOS system, there’s no better tool than Suitcase Fusion. Apple’s own FontBook is a bit on the skinny side and other font managers all fail in some areas. Suitcase Fusion has proven its robustness and value for managing thousands of fonts, supporting your legal duties towards licensing and your design needs.
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.