COREL DRAWING PROGRAM: WHEN THEY SAY UPGRADE, THEY MEAN UPGRADE

COREL DRAWING PROGRAM: WHEN THEY SAY UPGRADE, THEY MEAN UPGRADE

A couple of years ago, the folks at Corel Corp. promised that there would be an extensive upgrade of their premier product - CorelDraw - every year, whether it needed it or not.

Enter CorelDraw 8 Suite ($695, or $295 for the upgrade), a muscle-bound drawing program that is to computer graphics what the Swiss army knife is to camping.Since its inception during the Dark Ages of computer graphics, Corel has always set the standard for ''vector-based'' computer art, creating a cult of zealots who preach the Gospel of Corel throughout the land. And with good reason.

A lot of software companies produce new versions of their software that turn out to be just minor upgrades or bug fixes, incorporating very few new features. But not Corel!

CAN PUBLISH

DOCUMENTS FOR THE WEB

This baby is loaded with new tools, pallets, ''roll-ups'' and a new doohickey called ''dockers.'' But the biggest new feature is the ability to publish documents for the World Wide Web.

You can create text in HTML format, add your images and upload them without having to use several programs. Of course, this was the next logical step since Corel owns WordPerfect.

Other nifty new features include:

* The ability to customize toolbars, hot keys, menus, the status bar, color pallettes and application defaults that can be saved in different work space configurations.

* An interactive distortion tool that lets you add a variety of contortions and other effects to objects. This includes a Zipper feature that applies texture changes to a line or curve.

* An interactive extrude tool that allows you to rotate an object in three dimensions.

* Interactive color mixing.

* The ability to fit text to frames.

* Embedded graphics that will allow you to insert graphics within paragraphs.

* Text can flow from a paragraph to any number of objects.

* The ability to undo changes even if they've been saved.

* The ability to duplicate objects with a drawing.

* All sorts of 3-D text effects.

Another good thing is that the program has stopped trying to be all things to all people.

When the company first purchased the Ventura desktop publishing program from Xerox, it had grandiose plans to incorporate it into Corel Draw.

This was a huge turn-off for a lot of graphics purists.

Now Ventura is a separate product.

GRAPHICS-RELATED

PROGRAMS JAM THE SUITE

But that hasn't stopped them from packing a lot of graphics-related programs into the suite, including: Corel Photo-Paint 8, Bitstream Font Navigator, Corel OCR-TRACE 8, Corel Texture, CorelSCAN, Corel Capture, Kodak Digital Science, Corel Script Editor, 40,000 clip-art symbols and images, 1,000 TrueType and Adobe Type 1 fonts, 1,000 photos, more than 450 CorelDraw and PaperDirect templates and scads of Web-related graphics including animated GIF files.

Of course, to run this program, you can't use your father's old 486 computer.

Corel recommends a Pentium 133 with 32 megabytes of RAM, 80 megabytes of hard drive space a super VGA monitor and a mouse or tablet.

You can get away with less, but be prepared for a lot of system crashes and bring a good book, because it's going to be slow!

ROLL UP, ROLL UP, ROLL UP

FOR TWO DEFINITIONS

What are roll-ups and dockers? Funny you should ask.

Roll-ups were featured in earlier versions of CorelDraw because users wanted toolbars that could be ''rolled up'' and tucked out of the way. It seems that the program had so many features that the toolbars were interfering with the creative process.

Dockers, known more affectionately as docker windows, are new.

This feature allows you to control the placement of windows by putting them anywhere in the application window.

Multiple windows can be grouped with tabbed pages for easy navigation.