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Old 12-28-2005, 03:47 AM   #1
imatt
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As a long (ish) time user of CorelDraw and now a user of Ill CS2, I must say I always found CD more useable and straightforward than Illustrator pre CS.

CD is still easier to use in terms of things like editing points and gradients. However, the gap has narrowed a hell of a lot and I find Ill CS/CS2 a lot easier to handle. I'd put Ill up there with CD in terms of raw features though. And Ill hndles type better than CD in my view. more in line with a true DTP app.

Xara is a fun app which is very fast and resource light. I was tempted to go down the Xara road, but decided I still needed a heavyweight DTP app, hence Pagemaker and then the Adobe CS range.

I was also, several years ago, tempted by Canvas. However, the odd interface (though I'd have gotten used to it by now i guess), and the lack of a british based support centre a la Corel, MS and Adobe put me off. At the time, canvas was being touted as a jack of all trades, drawing, DTP and photo editing.

Whilst the drawing capabilities of canvas could compete with CorelDraw and Freehand, the DTP was weak compared to PageMaker or QuarkXpress. The fact that hardly anyone in Britain used it or even heard of it was another turn off as there were precoius few books on the program.
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Old 12-28-2005, 10:49 AM   #2
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I have Canvas, and I bought it specifically for its ability to apply bitmap effects to vectors, while still retaining the vector's flexibility. It is very good at this, but I was unable to develop any looks I liked. I don't think this is so much a failure of Canvas as it is my lack of good judgement.

As for support forums for Canvas, there are only a few. And they seem to be struggling to get other Canvas users involved. But in case this helps, here are some bookmarks for Canvas.

http://www.deneba.com/community/howto/default.html
http://www.deneba.com/community/default.html
http://www.sketchpad.net/canvas.htm
http://www.wizaerd.com/index.php?p=t

There is also Canvangelist. But his url seems to have expired. I found it as a page under another site he has. But I'm not sure if all the old resources are there. http://www.plugsnpixels.com/canvangelist/
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:26 AM   #3
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Hi all,
Andrew contacted me off-forum and introduced himself.

I'm the guy who published the Canvas-centric ezine called "The Canvangelist" from 2001-2004 (now archived in its entirety at www.plugsnpixels.com/canvangelist). I now publish the free Plugs 'N Pixels ezine, which has a wider focus on Photoshop and other digital imaging applications, but also some DTP and web design (www.plugsnpixels.com). The Canvangelist URL just expired and I have chosen to let it go at this point.

I create the ezine in Canvas, using images from Photoshop and native text, then export to PDF which I further optimize using Acrobat Pro 7. I have access to about every software title imaginable (as you can see from my site), but I find Canvas the easiest to use and most flexible. In education we use the Adobe CS2 suite, but I find InDesign much less than friendly for creating publications, believe it or not.

imatt brings up some good points about Canvas, mentioning sad realities that vex faithful Canvas users: There are no Canvas books, no seminars, no clubs, no organizations, no third-party commercial training materials, etc. Aside from the tutorials at the ACD website (http://www.acdamerica.com/support-ca...tutorials.html) and a couple of other stray tutorials on the web, there is only my ezine, which I no longer publish (but the current issue of P&P has a Canvas tutorial as the cover story). Canvas users are faithful but often reluctant to join in and advance the cause.

At the same time, Canvas users can't understand the relative invisibility of Canvas in professional circles, after being around as long as Photoshop. ACD, the owners of Canvas (as of a couple years ago), don't seem to have pushed the app as much as they promote ACDSee, for instance. And to this day no other developer has as fully integrated bitmap and vector editing as Canvas has offered for many years, so you thi nk it would be m ore popular to those on a budget. This integrated environment is the one thing that keep me using Canvas as my graphics hub, along with Photoshop, mainly.

I'd be interested in hearing more of your comments about this situation!
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Old 12-29-2005, 02:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plugsnpixels
I'd be interested in hearing more of your comments about this situation!
I think you summed up a lot of it. Very little training material. The Wizaerd forums seems pretty active, but the ACD one never really got going. Another problem is the standing community is made up of designers, and now Canvas is trying to move in another direction.

As for ACDSystems promotion, I would say they are using very aggressive methods of getting new customers. They got me to buy it by offering a deep discount on the outgoing version, and I had known about Canvas for a few versions before this. Other offers too. And now free copies of an earlier version included in some computer magazines. I wish I could remember which ones. But I'm surprised to see how long it is taking them to solve their server problems. Right now they have a dead sales portal with an apology and a phone number. And a forum that won't load.

But I also don't know if there is a way to get Canvas to sell as well as the big guns. I is certainly an able program, but if people are doing just fine with their current way of doing things, they have no real reason to switch.
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:44 PM   #5
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The ACD forum is mainly for kvetching about bugs; at Wiz' the discussions are more relaxed in nature--his forum being an independent, non-corporate effort. And that's it, folks--2 Canvas forums in the whole world!

I'm glad to see ACD offering Canvas 8 for free on the cover CDs for Macworld (http://www.macworld.co.uk/magazine/) and Digit (http://www.digitmag.co.uk/magazine/cd.cfm). And a 90-day version of Canvas X! So I guess someone is alive in Marketing after all. This type of offer comes around regularly. If you don't have Canvas, jump all over this opportunity.

But the dead web server is bogus. There's no reason for that. Huge ACD/Canada owns the former Deneba of Miami; they can simply host the files in Victoria to ensure continuity while Miami changes offices (or so I heard). Better, host them permanently. I know the Miami webmaster left the company a year or so ago to return to school and doesn't seem to have been replaced (?).

I'm very curious about where Canvas is going under its new ownership. Since ACD is a DIGITAL IMAGING company, one would think Canvas' image editing capabilities would improve. And Canvas still lacks an image browser--it's the perfect place for an ACDSee lite. We expected more of Canvas X under the new ownership, but it is a lot like 9. Not bad by any means, but longtime users know where the gaps are and where its potential is not being fulfilled.

I've beta tested Canvas since version 7. Maybe Canvas 11 is in the works; I have no clue. (I also beta tested for Corel, DRAW 9-10, until they dropped Mac support.)

BTW, Marlene, don't be afraid of the Mac! If you can do Windows, you can do Mac. Where do you think Windows came from? ;-) And Google for screenshots of the upcoming Windows Vista. Looks familiar-!

I run Windows XP Pro on my Macs using Virtual PC (to do screenshots of Windows-only plug-ins) and I find Windows a very constrictive environment. But out of respect for my new friends here I will say no more...
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Old 12-29-2005, 07:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
I'm glad to see ACD offering Canvas 8 for free on the cover CDs
This will get some people to try it, and hopefully upgrade. It shows that they are trying. And there are probably other things they can do. But it is possible that it's just a difficult sell.

Quote:
But the dead web server is bogus. There's no reason for that. Huge ACD/Canada owns the former Deneba of Miami; they can simply host the files in Victoria to ensure continuity while Miami changes offices (or so I heard). Better, host them permanently. I know the Miami webmaster left the company a year or so ago to return to school and doesn't seem to have been replaced (?).
Well, the ACDSee forum went down during the weather problems in Miami, so they are probably sharing things between the locations, and not clear on how to do it. And the failing URL for the Canvas forum reveals ultimatebb.cgi. If memory serves me, they were using YABB before. So they are not only having server issues, they are also mucking around with the forum.

Quote:
I'm very curious about where Canvas is going under its new ownership. Since ACD is a DIGITAL IMAGING company, one would think Canvas' image editing capabilities would improve.
I was surprised when ACD bought Canvas. ACD has not exactly been a pro tool kind of company. I would have expected them continued going after the mass market. All of a sudden they buy Canvas, which can hardly be a companion for their other imaging programs, and not exactly a market they are used to selling or developing in. But maybe they saw it as a chance to grow, and thought they could use their public exposure to sell Canvas. But I have no sense of how this is going.
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Old 12-29-2005, 08:40 PM   #7
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Canvas 9 was in development during the acquisition; we expected Canvas X to be the big shift. Alas. But time will tell! I think it's been a couple of years now, though, since X was introduced.

It's a shame that this is a hard sell, what with all Canvas can do in one shot, for a reasonable price. The software marketplace is a strange one, I guess. Then again, look at Corel PhotoPAINT. The closest Photoshop contender (aside from the GIMP, perhaps) and it couldn't gain serious traction against Adobe. The layered image files are interchangable too.

At any rate, Canvas, once quite innovative, has some catch-up to play, and some technical issues to conquer once and for all (read the Wiz' forum and you'll see what I mean).

Sometimes I'm tempted to write the CEO of ACD and see what he has to say about Canvas' position and future in their product line. I wonder if Mac support is ever going bye-bye?

It just dawned on me to check and see if ACD/Canada has product forums for their lesser products. They do (http://acdsystems.com/support/forums), BUT they're dead as well-!! Oh my, this is not good. Everybody has a forum; they can be bought precoded and are not rocket science to keep running. So I wonder how ACD's other products fare in public discussion? Maybe the forums are down on purpose?

Canvas has so much potential; I hate to see this sort of bumbling about.
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Old 12-29-2005, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
I find Canvas the easiest to use and most flexible
I first used Canvas 3.0, then 3.5, then got 5.0 (which didn't run worth a damn on my then current mac. It got a little better with an upgrde, but I was never able to get much use out of any 5.x version, regardless of the hype and my desire. Later Macs and OS's made my trusty 3.5 unstable. I'm now so far behind that an upgrade would cost me too much at this point, I'm afraid. Unless you know something different ?

   
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plugsnpixels
Canvas 9 was in development during the acquisition; we expected Canvas X to be the big shift. Alas. But time will tell! I think it's been a couple of years now, though, since X was introduced.
It looks to me like ACD is trying like crazy to sell Canvas, but not doing much in terms of development. I also took a look awhile back at their employment offerings and they were looking for a project manager for Canvas. This person would guide development and identify markets. I hope whoever they get does well.

Quote:
It just dawned on me to check and see if ACD/Canada has product forums for their lesser products. They do
Well, yes. I mentioned that in my previous post.

Quote:
So I wonder how ACD's other products fare in public discussion?
You happened to be speaking with a disgruntled ACDSee customer. I think my experience is worse than most customers, though. We are chatting about it (and other things) here: http://www.desktoppublishingforum.co...ead.php?t=1358

...Andrew
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daudio
I'm now so far behind that an upgrade would cost me too much at this point, I'm afraid. Unless you know something different ?
Upgrade from Canvas V5, Canvas V6, Canvas V7, or Canvas V8 (either Windows or Macintosh) is $199.99
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