Serif DrawPlus X8

Serif DrawPlus X8
Developed by: Serif
Ranked: 2nd
Overall rating:
Best price: $119.99
Purchase:

Stephen
Qualtrough

Reviewer

Technology should make our lives easier

 
Review

Review summary

Good points Serif DrawPlus X8 review good points

• Powerful vector editing tools

• Wide variety of brushes

• Precise drawing with excellent line control

• Easily print to desktop and PDF

• Simple and fun to use

Bad points Serif DrawPlus X8 review bad points

• Minimal photo editing features

Our verdict

Serif DrawPlus X8 is a comprehensive yet easy to use package filled with high-end features to produce professional looking designs. You’ve got everything you need here to design logos, paint, draw, and put together presentations – all at a fraction of what you would pay for Adobe Photoshop.




Full review

Serif has been around long enough to know exactly what it’s doing when it comes to images and design creation. Serif DrawPlus X8 also boasts an easy to use interface. The powerful vector editing tool is just what you need when you are creating images and logos on screen. We looked closely at what Serif has to offer the designer or illustrator working at home, for a small business, or for a charity organization.

Editing features

When creating and editing your design with DrawPlus, use the layout templates that make for a more effective placement of images, text, and page objects. You can also resize and crop elements to scale and use perspective editing to add increased dimension to the design. Serif DrawPlus X8 is effective at getting rid of unwanted elements in the design and adding details to existing shapes and images.

In terms of photo editing features, Serif DrawPlus PhotoLab offers noise removal, color correction, red eye removal, resizing, cropping, and filters, as well as light and shadow adjustment on photographs. DrawPlus does not have the most extensive set of photo editing features available, but there are enough to ensure you can effectively work with photos in your design. You can convert drawings to photos, or vice versa, when you import them into DrawPlus, and you have a good degree of control over the finer settings you need to do really close work on a picture or photo.

Serif DrawPlus also includes presentation-creation tools and you can put together slideshows more easily using the templates and set of effects including zoom and pan, transitions, and image gallery. The Smart Sizing feature makes it easier to change the size of a specific object, such as an item in a flowchart or pie chart, without disrupting the layout of losing the position of other objects.

Printing features

It is quick and easy to print to a desktop printer with DrawPlus. The print preview mode allows you to see the design without any guides or rulers, and it also gives you different options for print style including folded booklets, greetings cards, thumbnails, and more. Or set up the document to print to PDF using the same print preview features – a necessity when you are using professional printers. Use Pantone colors to ensure you get the same vibrant output when printing as you can see on the screen.

Vector graphics

Serif DrawPlus X8 excels in quality vector drawing tools. Practically any illustration you want to create can be achieved with the extensive range of pens, brushes, fonts, and fills.

You will probably use the pen tool most often out of the set of tools available, which allows you to create curved and shaped designs with a few simple clicks. The new drawing tool in X8 is called B-Splines and you click on each point of the line in order to individually manipulate the curves to produce precise designs. If you don’t want to create a shape or line from scratch you can use the QuickShapes feature that gives you a head start.

The brush tools are useful and extensive, with a set of different effects including charcoal, watercolors, sponge, and pastel. You can also create your own brushes if you can’t find exactly what you need. A Flood Fill tool is the quick solution for filling in shapes or collections of lines, and there is also the option to use a pattern fill – ideal for technical drawings, maps, etc. Custom fills add texture and unique detail to your drawings.

A variety of fonts gives you customizable typography options that you can then adjust to create the type of image you need.

Importing & exporting

Import PDF documents into DrawPlus so you can edit and manipulate the images and text. You can also import SVG files, SMF, and RAW. You can export as picture, which is particularly useful when you are designing graphics for the internet. You can even export a region of the picture, and not just the whole thing. Export as CMYK, TIFF, PNG, or JPEG, and you can also create GIF exports.

Ease of use

The DrawPlus package is easy to learn, which makes it ideal for beginners and for designers with no experience of graphic design on a computer. The easy-to-use package includes a start-up assistant designed to get you moving quickly and without stress. Most of the tools are simple to use once you have tried them a few times. The range of different things you can do with the program means this is no basic software, but after a short time of playing around with the tools you will get the hang of it.

Help & support

The best source of help and support comes from the Serif CommunityPlus section of the Serif website. CommunityPlus provides a forum specifically for DrawPlus, as well as a range of help files, tutorials, and articles. The forums are not hugely active, but there are lots of tutorials to look at, and FAQs answered, if you need help while waiting for a forum answer. The DrawPlus X8 manual is comprehensive, and there are a variety of in-program help topics to assist you when you are designing. Serif has a customer support option (phone or support ticket online) but it is best to use the online resources first if you have technical or design issues to solve.

Overview

In all, this is a superior package designed to appeal to those that like the features of Photoshop yet don’t want to spend the money on Photoshop, or the time to learn it. You certainly don’t need to be an artist or professional designer to create stunning images using this software. Serif DrawPlus X8 is a well-packaged program for all kinds of home and business graphic design.



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Ratings breakdown

Overall
 received a rating of 4 for Overall
Editing features
 received a rating of 5 for Editing features
Printing features
 received a rating of 4 for Printing features
Vector graphics
 received a rating of 5 for Vector graphics
Importing & exporting
 received a rating of 3 for Importing & exporting
Ease of use
 received a rating of 3 for Ease of use
Help & support
 received a rating of 4 for Help & support