Corel R.A.V.E. Review

"Vector Animation Made Easy! "


Corel R.A.V.E. Features:

  • Familiar Interface: get up and running fast with the familiar and easy-to-use Corel Draw 10 interface;
  • Movie Menu: find most Corel R.A.V.E. commands here, including Timeline, Insert and Delete Keyframes, and Animation Playback;
  • Timeline Docker: access most of the animation controls from this central location, including Object Tweening, Keyframes and Audio Control;
  • Macromedia Flash Support: convert images to Macromedia Flash SWF format for compact vector graphics;
  • Audio Controls: add multiple sounds to your animations. Link WAV files, then export them as compressed WAV files encoded in the SwF export filter.
Familiar Interface
Corel R.A.V.E. has a user interface similar to the CorelDraw user interface, letting you work in a interfacefamiliar environment, but it has been streamlined to the specific task of vector animation. The image to the right shows a view of the interface. As you can see, it is similar to CorelDraw and Photo-Paint. The white area in the middle is the stage, which is your work area. There is a Menu bar along the top, with a Property Bar below it. The Toolbox is on the left. The Timeline is below the work area, and there is a Movie Control panel below the work area.
Movie Menu
The majority of the features in Corel R.A.V.E. can be accessed through the Movie menu. You can use the Movie menu to display the Timeline Docker window, insert keyframes, delete keyframes, create animation sequences from a blend, control animation playback, and attach animation to a path.
Timeline Docker
The Timeline Docker window holds the animation tools, including keyframe controls and tweening rolloverscontrols. It's similar to the Object Docker in CorelDraw and it is arranged in a hierarchical view that can be expanded or collapsed. You can use the rollovers feature to create animated interfaces for the World Wide Web. See image to the right for view of Timeline Docker window showing rollover states.
keyframesKeyframes are special controls that provide for more sophisticated animation creation. You can insert and delete keyframes from a timeline by using the Movie menu or by using the Insert Keyframe and Delete Keyframe buttons on the Timeline Docker window. The image to the left shows keyframes used in the tweening effects examples below.
Tweening lets you create and change an object's effects or properties over time. This tweeningfeature is controlled using keyframes, forcing the application to tween an object's properties or effects that are applied to it over time. Corel R.A.V.E. flash version of tweeningautomatically calculates how many steps are required to tween by using the number of frames that are between object states. In addition to tweening the same shape over time, you have the option of tweening two objects of different shapes. The image to the upper left shows an example of tweening. If you effectshave the Flash player installed on your computer, you can click on the tweening image to the upper right which will take you to a page that demonstrates tweening in a Flash flash effects versionversion. I changed the color and position of the word tweening. I then changed the color and size of the star and tweened it along a path. You can also use preset vector effects on your animations. The image to the bottom left shows various effects. Again, if you have the Flash player installed on your computer, you can click on the tweening image to the bottom right which will take you to a page that demonstrates vector effects in a Flash version.
blendsYou can create blends between two objects using the same Blend tool found in flash blendsCorelDraw. After you create a blend, you can create an animated sequence from the blend quickly and easily using the Move > Create Sequence From Blend command. You can create a moving blend--making a star change into a square as it moves down the stage. Or you can make a stationary blend--making a star change into a square as it remains in the same position on stage. The image to the left shows an example of each. The image to the right is a Flash version of blends.
Audio Controls
The Audio controls let you add sound to your animations. These controls are located in the Timeline Docker window to increase efficiency and accessibility for you. You can import .wav audio files, and edit and export them to the compressed WAV file format using the Macromedia Flash (SwF) export options. Multiple sounds can be added to an animation, and overlapped by cutting and pasting the sound file, with each new sound being applied over the current one.
Animated Rollovers
You can create animated interfaces for the World Wide Web using rollovers that react to mouse actions. The rollovers can be exported for use in Web pages.
Personal Comments
I really liked this program and highly recommend it. The addition of R.A.V.E. (Real Animated Vector Effects) in the Corel's Graphics Suite 10 was an excellent choice. R.A.V.E. is similar to Macromedia Flash and Adobe LiveMotion but is easier to use. It's straightforward, and easy to learn as the timeline interface looks and feels like a standard Corel application. The program provides good basic features such as drag-and-drop keyframe capabilities, plus animation tools that include onion skinning, object and motion tweening, and audio. Many of the tools from Draw and Photo-Paint are also available in R.A.V.E. One drawback is that although it does currently support SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), it lacks the ability to import Flash files, and dome of Corel's effects, such as conical fountain fills or gradient transparencies, do not translate into the Flash SwF file format. Also it does not include the advanced scripting abilities of Flash. Aside from this, the program is a great way for Corel users to quickly create basic Flash elements and other animations for the Web. It's easy to convert a R.A.V. E. project into HTML for publication on the Web or make a PDF file that can be accessed on any platform. The program's Publish to Web feature exports projects as Flash SwF files, complete with the necessary HTML code. And a nice feature is the ability to edit and preview your animations right in the program. Not every project demands the advanced features of Flash. For anyone wanting to create banners, logos, or rollovers and not have to wade through Flash, which is much harder to use and learn, R.A.V.E. is the answer. All of the demonstrations I used for this review were easily created using the tutorials in the program and could be created by any novice to animation.

Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0
Graphics: CorelDRAW Suite 10


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