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I also use Serif DrawPlus. It's a great program for drawing because it has really good brushes. It also has a surprising set of vector tools for the price. Then again, they're now celebrating 25 years in the business so it's not an upstart. Can't beat Serif DrawPlus for under $100.00.
 

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If your main printing is spot color work, I prefer Corel Draw. You can find older versions on ebay with a reasonable price. We still use Corel Draw 12. It works fine...... I see no need to upgrade.
 

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Two words in one CorelDRAW.. That is if you are screen printing well anything else for that matter. Sure you will hear this and that and I know Adobe and all the others like back of my hand at the same time.

But in this business you have minutes not hours. CD gives you the speed edge and ease of use you will not find in any other application.

Get the free trial here

www.corel.com

Get started on youtube with training for free here

CorelDRAW X6 for Beginners - YouTube
 

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In my opinion, photoshop, but that may be because I am so used to using it. A lot of people prefer a vector based program though.
Photoshop is unbeatable in the raster category. Actually, it has no competition at all. I always say, if I could only have a single program, it would be photoshop because it covers so much ground and there's no other software that can do what Photoshop does. Not a single one. Of course, it's not a complete replacement for a vector program. They both have their place. Vector is more forgiving in terms of making art without quality and printability problems for novice users, but once you learn how to use it, you can avoid the pitfalls of quality problems of working with resolution dependent software.
 

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You know it’s strange I walk into a multimillion dollar shop as the new Art Director. A room full of MACs and Illy users. I go to the owner’s office and tell him we have to convert everything to Windows and Corel he gasps… the Apple dudes freak. So I say just convert my station.

A few days later the Illy dudes are saying we feel like handicapped people watching this Corel guy bang out the work flawlessly. A month later all the MACs were gone.. Production errors were a thing of the past. Consider it!
 

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Thanks for all of the beneficial posts. The design topic to a beginner like me, gets a bit confusing I must admit.
When beginning my business, I will be focusing on rhinestone designs ( I was told Signlabs OObling) would be a good choice, I was also informed that I could design with it also. I will also be doing some vinyl transfer designs, some my own creations (which I will have to learn the software) and others that I am using the clip art and adding word phrases, etc.
I hear vector program mentioned alot, which I am not 100% clear on what that is.
My question is, do I just go with the rhinestone software to do kill a few birds with one stone, or should I also have a back up program like Corel, Photoshop, AI, Draw Plus?
One of my main areas I want to promote is also getting businesses logos printed up onto tshirts in rhinestones or if requested vinyl also. So just want to make sure I have all of my bases covered, and not have to pay out extra money when not necessary, also to take into consideration that I will be learning these programs as I go.

Thanks for your input.
 

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You know it’s strange I walk into a multimillion dollar shop as the new Art Director. A room full of MACs and Illy users. I go to the owner’s office and tell him we have to convert everything to Windows and Corel he gasps… the Apple dudes freak. So I say just convert my station.

A few days later the Illy dudes are saying we feel like handicapped people watching this Corel guy bang out the work flawlessly. A month later all the MACs were gone.. Production errors were a thing of the past. Consider it!
Ya know, as much as we bump heads on this forum, believe it or not I actually do respect your work. My "way of the ninja" dictates that real respect must go to anyone who does something which I can't do, regardless of other factors. It's like in those old kung fu movies where the one guy uses a great technique to kill the other guy and the dying guy gurgles through blood, "Yourrrr techhh..nique....issssss....mag..nifcent.......". LOL Not saying that anyone is being killed in our battles, but I am done with the battles all the same.
 

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I personally use the adobe creative suite, as i've been using them for years. But i have a friend who use corel and re swears its the best thing since sliced bread. I think its really down to personal preference and how much time you are willing to spend learning how to use the software.
 

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I think its really down to personal preference and how much time you are willing to spend learning how to use the software.
Therein lies the secret. Learn the software you choose you must. Being able to quickly, and almost expertly manipulate images is the true secret. Using the software to create effects that look great on a t shirt is what will set you apart from the competition. So you must pick a software you can use with a Ninja's Precision.
 

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Personally, I really like Photoshop, but that may be because I've been using it for years in school and now in my work. For most forms of technology, the more you use it, the more you will like and prefer it. If you're thinking about using a new software, you may want to consider taking some classes to learn how to use it effectively. If you need help finding a place to take these graphic design classes, check out my website.
 

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If you ar just starting out, I'd reccomend you check out GIMP, a free program that in many ways is cmparable to photoshop for raster based illustration work, and Inkscape for Vectorbased illustration. I've been working with these two pograms for about six months now, and so far I've been impressed with them both. You can downlad both programs for free, and they are free to use. May not have all the bells and whistles that the adobe Photoshop and Illustrator programs have, but will perform most of the tasks needed. Not to mention a pretty far collection of plugins that you can get, such as for making color separations and such. Also there are a fair amount of tutorial videos available. They work great for just learning the techniques you will need to learn, and then if you decide to go for the best programs mentioned above, then go for it. Just my two cents worth. Hope this helps. Goodluck.
 
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