I never realized how much I depend upon CorelDraw to dovetail into and out of so many other software packages. When working with PowerPoint, for example, CorelDraw turned out to be a perfect tool to feed custom graphics into my presentations. As it happens, it also works well in the Digital Asset Management tool arena.
I recently did a photo workshop in the Palouse region with an unlikely crew of photographers called the Turn-ups, or Turnips if you prefer. The jury is still out on the spelling. During the week-long session, I was privileged to present, to the group, a basic Lightroom capabilities seminar.
Lightroom has all these little nifty customizations that make your interface, slideshows, websites, printed material, etc look like it is specifically branded for you. Before leaving for the Palouse, I took the time to do a little customization for the trip to make any demos or presentations look a little more polished. As is my preference, I used CorelDraw X4 to make my graphics.
The interface has what is called an Identity Plate that can be ported to output for print, web and slideshow. The identity plate can be simple text or a graphic. When I needed a graphic, where did I turn? CorelDraw X4 of course. I could take my logo, already done in Draw and make an identity plate out of it and export it for use in Lightroom.
End panel marks appear at the bottom of the left and right panels in every module. Again, the artwork was originally created in Corel so Corel did the heavy lifting on creating the size and format graphic I needed.
I like to do my slideshows with title and ending slides. It is hard to do that in a digital camera. Lightroom gives you an option of a blank slide with an Identity Plate. Neither suited me. With Draw, I was able to create custom, themed title slides for use as start and finish bookends on my slide shows. I also use transition slides that fit the natural breaks of my presentations. Draw can make as many of these as I need, output them to JPG where they can be imported into a Lightroom collection.
Moving to the print module. I often like to finish off my printed images with a nice graphic with my name and website. Lightroom has rudimentary text features to do this but it is very limiting. Leveraging the ubiquitous Identity Plate, you can create custom pieces in CorelDraw to be used to augment your printed work.
You can see already a continuity forming around the FGI Stroke, Logo and trademarked slogan. All of a sudden, the software package looks like a custom piece of work that was made special for me. All of the output looks coherent. I have a brand. Whether I present to groups of photographers or just show images to a client, my work appears to be parts of a whole rather that patchwork. It helps the professional appearance of everything I do.
When my fellow photographers consider a software package to augment their DAM tool, consider Corel Draw. It has the ability to create some stunning complements to your other software and comes with PhotoPaint – a first-class pixel-level image editing package that dovetails nicely into Lightroom’s edit flow.
Rikk Flohr © 2009