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Serif CraftArtist Platinum Edition review

Julian Prokaza
20 Mar 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
40
inc VAT

A well-integrated package to help unleash your creative side, whatever your skill level.

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Specifications

Serif CraftArtist Platinum Edition is geared towards hobbyists who are more familiar with scissors and glue than the cascading style sheets of the web. This five-CD set caters for the creation of just about any paper-based project, from gift bags to cake decorations.

Serif 1

CraftArtist’s interface shares a great deal in common with Serif’s budget DTP application, PagePlus. Although experienced users are ably catered for when it comes to creating projects from scratch, most people will have an easier time using one of the many templates as a starting point. These appear in the New Project wizard when the application is first launched and are presented as a series of thumbnail previews that give a very clear idea of what the finished article will look like. The templates are grouped into broad categories and further options appear once one is selected. Choose a greetings card, for example, and the extensive list of designs can then be further filtered by type (from anniversary to wedding invitation, with everything in between), style (cartoon, contemporary, traditional, and so on) and even colour. Alternatively, cards can be browsed by theme, so it’s easy to make 2011 the year of the robot when it comes to printed communication.

Serif 2

Most templates can be used as is, with little or no additional editing, but the whole point of using an application like this, rather than popping down to Clintons, is personalisation. CraftArtist makes it straightforward to change such things as the position, orientation and fill colour of anything that’s already editable on a template-based project, but not all templates are so equipped — some are little more than a background image, for example. Even so, each template does come with its own set of clipart for drag-and-drop use, ranging from small ‘embellishments’ to text styles and fill textures. Better still, these are all thematically consistent for the current template, so while it’s easy to add an LED-style age to a birthday card, for example, adding an incongruous Easter bunny is not. DTP newbies are also well-served by the on-screen tips that appear when certain tools are deployed. Drag a stencil onto the page, for example, and a suggestion to flow up with the spray brush tool appears, while dropping a clipart photo frame on to a page prompts an invitation to check out the Photos option for something to fill it with.

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