Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.

 


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

HELP WITH SIGN SOFTWARE

Discussion in 'General Software' started by Tony the Sign Guy, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. Tony the Sign Guy

    Tony the Sign Guy New Member

    1
    0
    1
    Dec 12, 2019
    West Coast
    I'm planning on purchasing new sign software in 2020. We have three design stations, one is dedicated to spot color vinyl cutting (currently using CasMate Pro software). The second is full color printing (CorelDraw software) interfaced with our VersaCamm wide format printer. The third is sublimation printing on our Sawgrass SG800 (Creative Suite software). Everything we have is currently networked together - we can design on any one of our design stations and we can print to any one of our peripherals... We are running WIndows 8 and as of January 1, 2020 - we must update to Windows 10.

    My question to you all - what sign software do you use and why?
     
    Tags:
  2. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

    2,500
    356
    83
    Apr 17, 2012
    DALLAS, TEXAS
    I'm wondering why you described all the 'dedicated' workstations, then immediately said they are all networked and interchangable?? And what are you using NOW?
    Anyway... we use Flexisign, because it's an industry standard and it works for us.
     
  3. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    With Windows 8 you actually have until January 10, 2023 for the extended support. January 2020 is the end of extended support for Windows 7.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. jimdtg

    jimdtg Member

    293
    23
    18
    Jun 18, 2017
    Some places in earth
    FlexiSIGN is my opinion. SignLab is another good.
     
  5. ams

    ams Very Active Member

    2,227
    301
    83
    Oct 28, 2010
    Virginia
    I use Corel Draw X8, it's industry standard and is 100X better than Adobe.
     
  6. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

    6,616
    334
    83
    Sep 27, 2010
    5
    For sublimation I used Wasatch. For cutting, I just used whatever vector program that I am running at the time.

    I read it as only one station has the cutting ability, while the other abilities were interchangeable.
     
  7. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    2,192
    192
    63
    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    I keenly remember using CASmate. It was always fun to get an update via a stack of floppies in the mail! Back in the 1990's I first used it running it under MS-DOS, then Windows 3.1 and Win95. Around 1999 I got a new PC with Win98 SE and CASmate wouldn't run on it. It would crash not long after launching the application. Given the merger between Scanvec and Amiable Technologies at the end of the 1990's we migrated our CASmate licenses over to Flexi. We knew CASmate was being EOL'd. We traded in our parallel port dongles for USB dongles. Then the later versions didn't require any dongles at all (but did require activation). I'm pretty thankful Flexi had (and still has) good CASmate import filters. They even incorporated TTF versions of most of the CASmate SCF fonts. You can open an ancient CASmate SCV file with active fonts in the artwork into Flexi and not run into many issues at all.

    How are you even still using CASmate? Do you have an ancient Windows95 PC that hasn't given up its ghost yet or are you running CASmate in an emulated virtual machine? CASmate didn't work under Win98SE and AFAIK it didn't run under WinXP, Vista or any other later version. What trick did you use to keep it "alive?"

    For sign industry-specific production software our shop has 3 licenses of Flexi and one of EnRoute. On the design end traditional lighted and non-lighted signs are designed mostly within CorelDRAW and ported over to Flexi. Adobe Illustrator is incorporated for certain features CorelDRAW lacks (and vice versa). Generally the farther a project drifts over into large format printing the more we'll use of Adobe software on the front end. We use Onyx Thrive on a couple Latex-based printers and RasterLink Pro on a new flatbed printer. Adobe Photoshop figures in pretty big for large format printing designs (vehicle wraps, posters, banners, etc). Adobe software is also very very useful for creating content to play on LED-based variable message center signs. Photoshop and Illustrator are great for static LED sign images. Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro are great for any motion graphics work and video.

    I like CorelDRAW and have used it for nearly 30 years. But, sorry, CorelDRAW is not "industry standard" at all. It may still be prevalent in the sign industry but Corel's dominance doesn't extend far outside of this industry niche. While CorelDRAW can do some things Illustrator can't do there is bunch of cool tricks Illustrator can do that CorelDRAW can't dupliate at all. There is no one single app that can do it all.
     
  8. player

    player Major Contributor

    4,916
    190
    63
    Apr 24, 2006
    Toronto
    Don't be tricked into thinking you have to upgrade to win10. With good antivirus and keeping email and limiting internet on computers it doesn't matter that there is no support. Most of the software is rental only so you are looking at never ending bills and loss of control, update issues you cannot prevent etc. If you have to upgrade, I would look at Signlab. They usually put it on sale for $750 around this time of year. It would bring you up to current standards and no monthly rental.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  9. ams

    ams Very Active Member

    2,227
    301
    83
    Oct 28, 2010
    Virginia
    I love how you assume things.
     
  10. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    2,192
    192
    63
    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    Specifically what am I assuming? I don't agree with your claim CorelDRAW is "100X better than Adobe" and "Industry Standard."
     
  11. Richard2717

    Richard2717 Member

    35
    7
    8
    Mar 18, 2019
    MD
    I still have CasMate 6.0 & 6.52 running on my laptop with XP. I still prefer it over flexi for the small amount of stuff that I need to do. We use Flexi at the main work stations but as long as my 6.0 will fire up that is where I go. It has been so long ago I don't recall what we did to get it running on the xp. it was real quirky at 1st. I do know I no longer have to use my dongle on the back of it
     
  12. laserfred

    laserfred Member

    Now that Coreldraw is going with yearly subscriptions instead of license purchase, It's gonna be expensive. Same price as upgrading Corel every year, which is not our case.
     
  13. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

    2,805
    238
    63
    Nov 28, 2007
    Middleburg, Florida
    I remember casmate. Went from anagraph to casmate eons ago. Then went to signlab for last 25 years or so. I have dabbled in flexi, to me it is along the lines of illy as far as user interface.... somewhat..... to me. Signlab can do what all three of your stations need, most likely flexi can too. I have corel and adobe suite here as well just for easier use of customer supplied files. That and I have a huge corel clipart collection that I have been using for years. You never know what will be useful on any given day. If I were in your shoes again I would look at sign dedicated software that can do all you need just for simplicity, and keep corel and adobe as well and learn to play in all. No such thing as useless knowledge. One thing to lookout for is will your hardware/peripherals hook to new computer and OS easily? I had to keep a computer on win7 and 32 bit for a printer that I threw away last year, the guy at dell couldn't believe I didn't want anything newer at the time, lol.
     
  14. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    2,192
    192
    63
    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    You have a notebook that is running XP? That's interesting. My personal notebook is a system that's still running decent; it originally came with Win 7 Ultimate but I updated it to Win 10 Pro. But after 8.5 years it's pretty much overdue for a replacement given the performance demands of certain new applications.

    That's really nice not to have to use a dongle. We had parallel port based dongles for CASmate and EnRoute way back in the day. I'm not sure if anyone can buy a new computer with a LPT1 connection on it anymore (after market PCI boards are still available though). SAi eventually got rid of the dongle nonsense. We still have one application that requires a USB dongle unfortunately (Onyx Thrive).

    We CorelDRAW users have a difficult choice to make between 3 options. One: sign up now for $300 up front to get in on their "upgrade protection" program for perpetual license owners at $99 per year. Two: wait around and let one's perpetual license go "dead" and then pay $198 per year for a CorelDRAW subscription if you get in a position of needing to upgrade. Three: just keep using the version of CorelDRAW you own and never buy anything from Corel again.

    I have a funny feeling a whole lot of Corel users are going to choose the third option, staying put with whatever version of CorelDRAW they already own. There is a possibility sales of CorelDRAW could really plummet. That could force Corel to back-track on the whole subscription thing. The giant private equity company KKR acquired Corel for $1 billion from Vector Capital. There's no telling what KKR might do with Corel if sales revenue craters. They could reverse the policy change, or they could dismantle Corel, selling it off piece by piece to other software vendors.

    CorelDRAW 2019 was a buggy and controversial release. Apparently things still aren't at 100% even after a 3rd update. That certainly helps slam the brakes for anyone moving toward buying the 2019 upgrade (and upgrade protection) while it's still available. It's the main reason why I still haven't pulled the trigger on it. I use version 2018 at work and have a personal X8 license at home. I thought the deadline date for perpetual license owners to upgrade was December 1. We're two weeks past that and Corel is still sending out email offers daily and hitting users with "upgrades are ending" popup in the lower right corner of the computer screen. That seems like a hint that the strategy of corralling CorelDRAW perpetual license owners into a $100-$200 per year subscription model isn't working out as well as planned.

    One funny thing is Corel's clip art collection would sometimes change significantly from one version to the next. CorelDRAW 8 (back in the 1990's) had a pretty good collection of military clip art licensed from One Mile Up. But most of that stuff disappeared in version 9.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  15. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

    6,616
    334
    83
    Sep 27, 2010
    5
    I find it ironic that Draw is going subscription. I remember when Adobe announced subscription only and Corel was using the line "we still have a perpetual license option" (or something to that effect) and now just a few short years later, they too are going the way of subscriptions.
     
  16. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

    2,805
    238
    63
    Nov 28, 2007
    Middleburg, Florida
    I found a mega clipart collection one christmas at office depot, 5 cds of corel clipart, bought two sets for 20 bucks.
     
  17. ams

    ams Very Active Member

    2,227
    301
    83
    Oct 28, 2010
    Virginia
    before X4, very few sign shops used Corel. However since the release of X4 and X7, it started booming and people were switching. Many of the local shops have switched due to how much easier and quicker it is to use. The old Corel versions are worthless, but X7 and X8 are awesome. What does Adobe have over Corel? Fine art. Who the heck does fine art in the sign business? at least 80% are vectors. Did you know Corel has a built in Illustrator mode? Did you know it has Photo Paint?

    Basically if you suck at Corel, you are going to bash it. Because you are too ignorant to actually learn it. If you actually used it and used it correctly, you would see why it has become industry standard. Flexi used to be one of the top, but now Corel and Adobe are the top two.
     
  18. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    2,192
    192
    63
    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    That is laughably way way wrong.

    I've been with my sign company since 1993. Back then the overwhelming majority of sign companies used PCs running MS-DOS & Windows as well as various brands of industry specific sign making software. CorelDRAW was a common denominator between all these shops. Adobe didn't start taking the Windows platform seriously at all until the late 1990's. Freehand was too obscure to PC users. Even if a sign shop considered Illustrator or Freehand as alternatives to Corel they usually passed on both due the comparative lack of added on goodies like fonts and clip art. Deneba Canvas was the only vector drawing app that offered a comparable bonanza of fonts and clip art, but again it was pretty obscure.

    Again, bull$#!+. If anything, CorelDRAW's foothold in the sign industry has been slowly eroding over the past 10-15 years. CorelDRAW has made some big improvements over the years, and I agree X8 was a good release. CDR 2018 added more interesting features, but runs slower. CDR 2019 has been a seriously botched upgrade, even with them adding a Mac version. The growing popularity of large format printing and LED-based variable message centers allowed Adobe to make inroads into many sign shops. A new start-up sign company doesn't have to buy CorelDRAW. They're probably still going to have to run Windows-based PCs since there's next to nothing in terms of Mac-based sign industry specific software anymore.

    More bull$#!+. Ignorant bull$#!+ regarding the dismissive "fine art" comment. You talk as if you have basically no experience using Illustrator at all. Illustrator has a bunch of unique features not found at all in CorelDRAW. A lot of plug-ins are available which make Illustrator even more versatile. CorelDRAW has some unique things not found in Illustrator (which is why I still do most full scale sign design work using CorelDRAW). They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Most major corporate branding work is done using Adobe's software, Illustrator in particular. CorelDRAW doesn't do a very good job importing late version Illustrator-based artwork. That's a big problem. It's not cheap, but it is handy to have both applications for dealing with client-provided artwork.

    Corel PhotoPAINT sucks @$$ compared to Adobe Photoshop. CorelDRAW's imitation of the Illustrator work space is lousy; it fails to duplicate many of the keyboard shortcuts that make Illustrator a breeze to use for manually digitizing paths, adjusting those paths on the fly while you're still drawing them and being able to zoom-in/out and hand pan the view all while digitizing. CorelDRAW requires users to click on tool bars a whole lot more when doing vectorizing tasks.

    Talk about assuming things! How old are you anyway? Your comments don't sound mature at all. BTW, Flexi is not the same kind of product as CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator.
     
  19. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    3,956
    283
    83
    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    I wouldnt upgrade to 10, who said you had to? We use Flexi and adobe illustrator both still on disks
     
  20. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

    527
    154
    43
    Apr 22, 2007
    Normal, Illinois
    Corel Draw became standard in the sign industry very early because it ran on PCs. Adobe products were Mac only, and in the beginning all the CAD/CAM programs for signmaking ran on PCs. Corel Draw and Painter are nice programs, and are fun to play with (I have them both), but in the graphic design community Adobe products are almost exclusively used because they are more efficient. They are not as easy to learn and intuitive as Corel, but if you put your mind to it it won't take long to understand why Illustrator and Photoshop are so popular.
     
Loading...

Share This Page

 


Loading...