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FlexiPRO, SignLab or...?

Discussion in 'General Software' started by ChiknNutz, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. ChiknNutz

    ChiknNutz Major Contributor

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    I am on the verge of getting Flexi, but am not sure if I really NEED it. I feel that I am a pretty good CorelDraw user and like many things about it. Granted, every program has it's shortcomings, but I also don't want to spend a BUNCH of money on something that I don't really need. I have the ability to get Flexi-Pro for $1995 when I buy my 540v (not sure how long that "deal" is good for though). I am already planning on buying the Roland Edition of SoftRip as well. I know this is a HIGHLY subjective subject based on whatever you feel comfortable with, but what I am looking for is some pros and cons I guess.

    I've also demoed SignLab and wasn't overly impressed, although I do like it's bevel features. Beyond that, I can't say that I see $2100 there. However, it may be a very good program and I just don't know it yet.

    I guess what I'm asking is, if you were to spend about $2000 for design software, what would it be and why? Or, am I better off just sticking with Corel since I don't plan on using either SignLab OR Flexi for RIP? Thanks much!
     
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  2. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Flexi is a terrific product for autotracing (light years ahead of Corel), vector editing and semi-automatic cleanup. Excellent for bezier pen drawing as well.

    It has a WYSIWYG approach to most vector modifications and a workspace keyed around Design Central that is extremely powerful.

    Flexi also provides you the ability to apply Photoshop based filters right in the Flexi workspace. So, for example, you can enter your text in Flexi then apply a layer effect like an inner bevel and convert your text to your contour cutpath, then output to your printer and your cutter.

    Flexi pays licensing fees to Adobe for a true PostScript interpreter and color management which is as good and as accurate as it gets. They also have drivers for pretty much everything out there, a CD full of "Certified Profiles" and lots of happy customers outputting to their inkjets and plotters.

    Is it the only program you should have? No. Will it take time to make a dent in learning all its features and to be comfortable with it as both a design and a production application? Yes.

    Here's the good news. If you buy it and decide a month or a year from now that you don't want it, you will be able to sell it for pretty much what you will have paid for it.

    You're a pretty decent designer Chris. Take the time to learn Flexi and you'll wonder how you ever got along with just CorelDRAW. You'll be producing better designs than your already good ones in less time than it currently takes you.
     
  3. iSign

    iSign Verboten

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    Flexi has an excellent rip for the new inkjet you've been talking about... why are you saying you would get Roland's rip anyway? Are you getting a roland machine? Is their rip supposed to be better? Do you know if Flexi's rip would work? (I'm sure it would but making sure you know)

    I had Flexi sitting on a shelf for over 2 years because I was addicted to Casmate & although I saw ahead to the fact that someday I would just have to eliminate the W98 OS from my life... it took a while. 3 months ago I hired a full time assistent. He had 3 years signshop experience & he used Signlab. I told him if he sticks around long enough that I see his intention to stay, I would be happy to buy signlab if he thought his productivity would be dramatically improved based on his 3 years of using it. We loaded Flexi finally & eliminated Casmate after he had been here about 6 weeks. He (& I) picked up Flexi very quickly & I asked him a month later if he thought I should still look at getting him on Signlab. He doesn't see any advantage to Signlab to speak of & in fact sees many features he prefers in Flexi. He feels as though he is now proficient in Flexi enough to forget about going back.

    I think $2000 for software that you will use everyday should be evaluated based on if there are tools & capabilities that will save steps & time on regularly recurring little tasks you encounter every day. If so, based on your shop rate, when would you have wasted $2000 worth of time doing things the harder way if you don't buy the software?

    I think that if there is any chance you would gain enough hours in productivity to pay for the program in a year... I would get it, but if it really adds nothing except small convenience features & wouldn't pay for itself in a years time... then I would do without.
     
  4. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Flexi is a very good investment. We upgraded our three CASmate keys to Flexi a few years ago and it has worked out very well.

    There's lots of tools within Flexi that are very CAD-like and not featured within the standard version of Corel. I'm not sure what additional creative tools Co-Cut may add to Corel. But there are features I miss from the standard version as compared to Flexi. Flexi isn't going to have every creative tool that all the desktop drawing programs feature. But it is an arguably complete package.

    The text editing features in Flexi are far more oriented to sign making. With the stock versions of CorelDRAW, Illustrator and Freehand you can't accurately size copy in terms of inches. It's always at least a tiny bit off, if not a lot. If I design a pylon sign completely within Corel and want the letter sizing exact, I'll usually have to adjust the results after converting the text to curves. At least in Flexi you can work in full size, set the copy (and all other attributes) accurately in terms of inches, centimeters, etc. and set the copy as large as you want without any glitches. Overall it can save a lot of time.

    CorelDRAW's artboard is quite a bit larger than that of Illustrator and Freehand. Still, you max out at around 100' X 100'. For most people that is a huge artboard that will never be filled. But I do things like channel letter building sign designs and make mock ups of the building elevation to provide the customer a sense of scale. If you're working full size, some building sign designs may go outside the boundaries of the workspace. I've put together layouts within Flexi where a single file held numerous full size elevations of a bank building or something similar.

    I'm not sure how Flexi's Production Manager (the dialog you use to control vinyl cutters) compares to Co-Cut or other Corel plug ins, but it has a lot of good features. You have lots of control over paneling, plotting "window" sizes, orientation, overlap, etc.

    Flexi also provides a very good path to using other apps like EnRoute for running CNC routing machines.

    It will take some getting used to the Flexi user interface. Some things feel a bit strange and other features are backward to that of Corel. Flexi's align behavior always drives me nuts just a little bit. In Flexi, the first object you shift-click will be the alignment anchor object. In Corel, the last object shift clicked is the alignment anchor.
     
  5. Scott Reynolds

    Scott Reynolds Active Member

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    Flexi-Pro for $1900??? BUY IT!
     
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