OTTAWA, ON – March 15, 2016 – Introducing CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite X8, Corel’s new flagship graphics solution that makes professional design, web graphics and image editing workflows faster and simpler, all while offering more control. The new suite enables designers, artists and business users to transform creative energy into artwork that creates lasting impressions across any medium. 
New functionality speeds and streamlines the creative process – especially when working with fonts, images and objects. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 is the optimal environment for anyone creating graphics on Windows 10, in addition to offering exceptional experiences on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Whether you’re a new user or have relied on CorelDRAW for years, take advantage of a wide range of learning tools and a customizable environment to get started quickly and make the app uniquely your own. 

A new, open upgrade policy makes it highly affordable to move up to CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 from any previous version. 
“With the new X8, we’ve taken away many of the pain points graphics pros face daily by offering a powerful design environment that’s faster and smarter than ever. From big additions, like the all-new Corel Font Manager, to the dramatically evolved Knife tool, the entire suite makes it easier for users to get the professional look and output their clients demand,” said Gérard Métrailler, Vice President of Products, Graphics and Productivity, Corel. 

“Professionals and aspiring professionals can save time and dramatically increase productivity with simplified processes and reduced steps they’ll quickly find they can’t live without. And with ultra-high resolution monitors and extensive pen and touch support, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 is ready for the latest generation of Windows 10 devices. Whether you own X7 or go all the way back to version 1.0, this impressive list of new features comes together with our new open upgrade policy to make the move to X8 an obvious choice,” said Cécile Brosius, Director of Product Marketing, CorelDRAW. 

Save time and create stunning designs and images with the extensive updates and new features in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8:

• New compatibility and support: With full optimization for Windows 10, take advantage of new resolution independent multi-monitor viewing, 4K and higher displays support, and work with Windows Real-Time Stylus pen-compatible tablets, such as the Microsoft Surface, in addition to Wacom tablets and devices.

• New Corel Font Manager™: Finally take control of your ever-expanding font collection and make the most of the fonts you already own! Explore, handle, and organize your fonts and typefaces quickly. Ideal for professions that use fonts daily, from graphic design, illustration and publishing, to package design, sign making, advertising and website creation.
Enhanced Font filtering and search: Quickly find a specific font without spending time searching in multiple folders. For example, search for “script fonts” or a specific character-set and the font list will show all the fonts on your machine that match the request. 

• Enhanced Knife Tool: Split any object or group of objects − vector, text and bitmaps – along straight, freehand or Bézier lines. Overlap objects or create a gap between the new objects after splitting them. Choose an outline option, or let the application automatically select the option that best preserves the outline appearance. 

• New design features requested by users: Manage complex projects with ease with the new Hide and Show Objects. Copy, paste, or duplicate pieces of existing curves with Copy Curve and explore the Gaussian Blur to adjust the degree to which the drop shadow feathers at its edges. 

• New and enhanced photo-editing features: Remove imperfections with the Healing Clone tool and use the enhanced Straighten Image to correct perspective distortions. 

• New workspace customization: Be productive immediately with a workspace that matches your workflow. Alter the desktop and window borders color, select a dark or light UI that suits the way you work, customize the size of text and icons, and open desktop windows within a floating window. 

• New learning tools:  Get up and running quickly with a welcoming environment that provides easy setup, in-product learning resources, an improved Hints docker and more. See what’s new with either the complete Startup tour, or special product tour for existing power users of previous versions of CorelDRAW, Corel® PHOTO-PAINT® or other graphics applications. 

• Enhanced support for sharing and output: Rely on a collection of the latest industry-standard file formats and design features to create, prepare and deliver your finished product. Take advantage of expanded compatibility with formats like AI, PSD, PDF, JPG, PNG, SVG, DWG, DXF, EPS, TIFF, DOCX and PPT. The new Border and Grommet dialog box lets you create a banner from a page or selected objects. Whether you work on small-scale projects, such as logos and web graphics, or larger pieces, such as banners and car wraps, CorelDRAW delivers the output you need. 

• New CorelDRAW SDK & Developer Community: Create your own automation tools with support from the new CorelDRAW SDK & Developer Community site: 

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 Includes: 

• CorelDRAW X8: Intuitive vector-illustration and page-layout application

• Corel® PHOTO-PAINT® X8: Professional image-editing application

• Corel Font Manager™: Powerful font management

• Corel® PowerTRACE® X8: Bitmap-to-vector tracing utility (included in CorelDRAW X8) 

• Corel® CONNECT™ X8: Access digital content in the Content Exchange and on a local computer

• Corel® Website Creator™: Website-design application

• Corel® CAPTURE™ X8: One-click screen capture utility

• PhotoZoom Pro 4: Plug-in to export and enlarge digital images from Corel PHOTO-PAINT CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 also includes 10,000 clipart and digital images; 2,000 high-resolution digital photos; 1,000 OpenType fonts; 350 professionally designed templates; 2,000 vehicle templates; more than 1000 fills, frames and patterns; more than five hours of enhanced training videos; and much more.

For a full list of everything included in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 and to download a free 15-day trial, please visit 

Customers can choose one of three flexible purchase options: 

• Perpetual License: Make a one-time payment and own the product license permanently; available as a box or download version
Subscription: Pay a monthly or annual fee to use the product; upgrade to the latest version as long as your subscription is active • Upgrade Program: If you buy a perpetual license of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8, pay one affordable yearly fee, and you’re assured of working with the latest design tools, file compatibility, and the most current technology. As long as your account is active, you’ll automatically receive the latest version when it’s released. Availability and Pricing CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 is now available in English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, Czech, Russian, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Turkish and Japanese. Download the software now at Shipping begins April 5, 2016. The full version is priced at $499 USD and the upgrade is $199 USD. Subscription is available for $29.95 USD per month or $198 USD per year. Upgrade Program is available for $99 USD per year. Commercial and educational volume licenses are also available.

AuthorRick Rodriguez

EDITOR'S NOTE: Justice Frangipane is one of the co-developers of Tablet Pro, formerly TabletPCMouse. That utility is currently in beta 35 and coming along really nicely. We'll have an updated post soon.


I had looked forward to this event for a full year, waiting, anxiously awaiting. Would the Surface Pro 4 work for me as an artist? I should state that I am not a journalist, which will likely become evident in the next few paragraphs. I’m a software developer for a tool that’s built to enhance the tablet drawing experience. I am a tablet art geek to the core. I can site in a matter of seconds 15 different components that are needed for the Surface Pro 4 to meet my expectations as an artist and as a developer. But frankly, most artists don’t freak out over specs. So let’s get to the “goods”.

How does it feel? The answer my friends is “goods, very goods”

I have been fortunate enough to try out both the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book as drawing tools. As tools for graphic artists, they are the exact same machine so I will only refer to the Surface Pro 4 from here forward with the notion that both work the same for artists. The differences start to vary more when you consider the needs of motion/video graphics, and 3d modelers. How do they compare to the Wacom Standard or the standard set last generation with the Surface Pro 3? Initially, during my first use of the Surface Pro 4, I was immediately in love, head over heels,. If I could have snuck away on a romantic honeymoon with either device I would have. The friction of the pen to the screen was lovely, it has just the right amount of glide and traction to make it feel smooth and natural. The glassy pen feel of the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 2 are gone. Or at least that was my initial impression. 

Pen tips - Not what I was expecting

I was handed a set of pen tips by the manager of the Microsoft Store. The tips all had familiar names to me. 2H - H - HB - B. I knew what I expected to feel. Soft with the B, Harder tip with the 2H. What I experienced was kind of a shock to me. I also was looking for a different line on the screen to show up. Lighter with the 2H, darker and softer with the B. But the lines were exactly the same. Perhaps in a different program with different settings I may have experienced more of the intended user experience. But they ended up feeling like the term “hardness” was being swapped for “frictionless”... B had the most traction and grip on the screen, it felt identical to me to the standard tip in the Surface Pro 4 pen. HB and H were similar to the Surface Pro 3 pen or Surface Pro 2 pen. 2H was very glassy. So how does that affect my opinion on the device for artists? Not at all. The standard tip is likely the only one that I plan on using (at the moment), but time will tell. Do the tips come with the pen? Microsoft, I would love to be able to get a little more info on the final shipping product. Bought separately the tips cost $10. 

Screen Size and Thickness

The Surface Book screen is pretty large. 13.5 inches felt vast to me, especially coming from a Surface Pro 2. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as when it was detached it was very easy to hold. The combined weight of the keyboard and the tablet was more than most people will want to casually carry around. I’ve been told that the battery life of the Surface Book tablet (minus the keyboard) is around 3 hrs. While I haven’t been able to confirm this information it does sound reasonable and probable. 

The Surface Pro 4 has a smaller footprint than the Surface Book and one that is identical to the Surface Pro 3. Below is an image of the Surface pro 2 - 4 with the Surface Book in the bottom right and Surface Pro 4 directly above it. 

Tablet thickness can be seen below with the Surface Book being the closest in the shot. 

Tracking - How does the tip line up? 

The tracking on the device is one of the most stand out features. It was immaculate and accurate. Spot on. Corners we excellent and on point as well. It really does feel like a ball point pen on paper. This is not a surprise as the tracking on the Surface Pro 3 was also quite good. 

Eraser - Why not? 

Eraser users are a diminishing populace. This is I believe due to the extra time it takes to flip the pen around and use the eraser on the end, a feature which was missing on the Surface Pro 3. If you fancy an old school eraser feel... you are in luck. The eraser on the pen feels sticky and EXACTLY like you would expect. I kept looking for the little rubber eraser grunge that knocks off the end when you use a real eraser. If you are one of the few remaining eraser buffs on the planet you will likely be very satisfied. 

Pressure sensitivity - Is 1024 levels enough to compete with the Wacom Cintiq professional standard? 

This is a tricky topic as there is a few ways to address this issue as an artist. I’ve had tablets (about 8 in total) where I’ve had 256 levels of pressure sensitivity and it worked great. I’ve also had other tablets with more that worked far worse for a number of different reasons. Pressure sensitivity has not been a “make or break” aspect in my experience. Do I like that the new Surface Pro 4 has 1024? Yes. In testing have I been able to notice or use those levels? No. 

While testing the two machines I was not able to test pressure sensitivity in photoshop. Different drawing programs use different api’s that handle pen tip pressure in different ways. I saw great range in line thickness in artrage, while corel painter 2016 (which was preinstalled on the Surface Pro 4) I was unable to see that variation likely due to my ignorance of that program. 

Bugs and Buttons - Is it ready for primetime?

Not yet, during my tests on about 5 Surface Pro 4 and 1 Surface Book I found the majority to suffer from a pen issue that kept the pen tip down even while the tip was off the screen. This resulted in one line unintentionally being connected to next line and “drips” from the tip while drawing. 

Does that concern me or alter my decision to buy one (most likely the Surface Book to allow for the addition of more intensive gaming)?

No. Microsoft has proven that they can get the N-trig tech to work on the Surface Pro 3. The machines I tested were pre release units that didn’t contain the full system specs of the final product. (the Surface Pro 4’s I tested had 4gb ram, 128 gb ssd and an i5 6300u processor, while the Surface Book I tested had 8gb of ram, 512gb ssd and also had an i5 6300u processor) neither option is available online. 

The Surface Pro 4 pen does come with a side button, which may not be visible to most people. It is a single button (not two buttons like the Surface Pro 3). 

I couldn’t find any way to customize the pen side button (a process I’m familiar with), this would be a welcome addition if it isn’t there yet. As most of us know, the pen does require a battery, it requires pairing to the device (extremely easy to do) and the battery is supposed to last 1 year. 

Final thoughts?

If you are on the fence about getting a Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book for digital art, go for it. Microsoft’s track record has improved year over year. They have bug fixed the units before and I believe that they will do so again. If you are needing a machine to work perfectly as soon as you open the box, this may not be the safest bet just yet. 

Microsoft, my hat is off to you, stellar product, a few things to fix yet, but I can’t wait to get my Surface Book. 

for more watch the video

NOTE: I stopped updating this post in October, 2013. However, much of what runs on the Surface Pro 2 should also work with the original Surface Pro. Applications that have had compatibility issues with display drivers such as Autodesk Mudbox will likely break if you attempt to update the SP1.

One of the principal objectives of this blog is to help take the guesswork out of making your purchasing decision. I'm taking the time to install and determine whether these creative applications run so you won't have to. 

Here's what I've installed and tested so far: 



ArtRage 4 - runs, recommended


  •  3DS Max 2014, 2013 - runs
  • Maya 2014, 2013  - runs
  • Maya LT 2014 - runs
  • Mudbox 2014, 2013  - incompatible, requires discrete graphics
  • Mudbox 2010 x64 - runs
  • Sketchbook Designer 2014, 2103  - runs, pressure sensitivity corrected with Wacom Feel driver update
  • Sketchbook Pro 6.2.3  - runs, recommended
  • Softimage 2014, 2013  - runs

Blender  2.68 - runs, not recommended: interface tool small, not scaleable, scaling reacts to pen movement


  • Clip Studio Paint 1.2.7 - runs, recommended (Japanese language)
  • Clip Studio Modeler Beta 0.9.0 - runs (Japanese language)


  • Corel Draw x6 - runs
  • Corel Painter x3 -runs


Gimp 2.8.6 - runs 

Lumion Keyshot 4.1.35 - runs



Luxology/Foundry Modo 701601 SP5 - runs, set input device to tablet 

Maxon Cinema 4D Studio R14 - TBD

Newtek Lightwave 11.5 - runs, with pen control issues

Pilgway 3D-Coat 4.0.03 - runs  



61 Solutions Mischief 1.08 - runs

Smith Micro

  • Anime Studio Pro 9.5 - runs
  • Manga Studio 5, 5 EX - runs, recommended (update to 5.0.3)
  • Motion Artist 1.1 - runs
  • Poser Pro 2010 - runs




Speedy Painter 3.0.7 - runs

TeamUP (Lagoa) MultiOptics - runs, Chrome only

Toonboom Animate Pro 3 - runs

Trimble Sketchup 2013 - runs 

Triple Squid Software Design Moments of Inspiration 2.0 (Moi3D) - runs  

Unity Pro 4.3.0b5 - runs, touch response unreliable. Works with mouse, capacitive stylus.

Would you like me to test any other programs? Please leave a comment below.