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One User's Opinion

© 2001 by Foster Coburn. All Rights Reserved.

Review of Procreate KnockOut 2

Procreate KnockOut 2

Procreate
1600 Carling Ave.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Z 8R7

Software Requirements for PC

· 128MB RAM
· Pentium 200
· 30MB free disk space
· Win 98/ME/NT4/2000
· 2x CD-ROM Drive
· 24-bit color display
· Mouse or tablet
· Adobe Photoshop 5 or higher (or compatible host)

Software Requirements for Mac

· PowerMac 150 MHz or faster processor
· Mac OS 8.6 or later, or Mac OS X
· 128 MB RAM
· 30 MB hard disk space
· 2x or faster CD-ROM drive
· SVGA monitor with 24-bit video card
· Mouse or tablet
· Adobe Photoshop 5 or later or compatible host

Price: $329 full product, $149 upgrade

Procreate Knockout 2

KnockOut 2 for PC

KnockOut 2 Upgrade for PC

KnockOut 2 for Mac

KnockOut 2 Upgrade for Mac


If you read my review of Corel Knockout 1.5, you know how much I loved the product. Many of you have e-mailed me to ask what I thought about Procreate Knockout 2. For those of you in business school, you'll learn a good lesson along the way.

Some of you may question the name change from Corel to Procreate. It is still made by Corel, they have just used the Procreate brand to appeal more to a high-end market. Underneath the product is still the same basic tool that allows you to isolate parts of an image.

So let's look at the marketing to see what new features are being touted. The first thing on the list is that Knockout is now a plug-in. Sounds great, right? Well it is exactly what many customers requested and the customer is always right. Sorry folks, in this case the customer was not right and the move to a plug-in is a mistake for many users. My biggest beef is you no longer have the option to run Knockout as a standalone program. If that option were included, I have no problem with having the added ability to run as a plug-in.

Let's look at why this is a problem. I chose an image that is 5 MB in size. Pretty small file if you are regularly creating work for print. When loaded into Knockout 1.5, masked and processed, Knockout is taking up 40,984K in memory. We'll use that as a baseline.

Now let's open us Photoshop 6 and load the file. Photoshop takes up 41,220K. From the filters menu, I chose Knockout and immediately got an error. It says "File is wrong format. Possibly missing layers." The first time I got this, I had no clue what could be the problem. I have a picture and I want to work with it in Knockout. Layers weren't required in the standalone product. After getting upset for a while, I finally figured that I had to convert the background of the image into a layer. Geez, why didn't the error message tell me that?

So now I try to load the image into Knockout again. After I'd done that, Photoshop was taking 52.240K of memory and Knockout was taking 20,132K of memory. Then I went through the familiar process of knocking out the image. After processing, Photoshop was taking 52,264K of memory and Knockout was up to 44,340K of memory. This is due to Knockout saving undo information.

I'd finished with the image so I applied the changes and sent the image back to Photoshop. No problem, except that Knockout never ask me if I wanted to save. Purposely I hadn't saved and now all that work was lost if I needed to make further changes. When was the last time you used an application that didn't ask you if you wanted to save before exiting?

Remember that I was only working with a 5 MB file and the total memory load was 96K of memory. That doesn't count any other programs running or the operating system. It also doesn't include more than one level of undo in Photoshop. For a real world situation, the amount of memory required would be staggering. For this reason alone, I will not be using Knockout until Corel/Procreate release a version that can be run as a standalone product. I find it much easier to use the standalone product, mask my images and then import them into my favorite image editor. By doing this, the Knockout file is saved for future editing and the computer horsepower required is reasonable.

Now that we have all of the ugly stuff out of the way, what else is new? The most visible change is the interface. Much like other Corel products, Knockout now has a Property Bar that presents options relevant to the tool currently selected.

Another addition is the ability to edit CMYK files. Previous versions were limited to RGB. New to the toolbox is a Touchup tool for fine tuning an image after processing. Both would be a good reason to upgrade if Knockout was still a standalone product.

You'll see I gave this product a pretty bad score with only two stars. Give me a standalone version and it would immediately get five stars. In this case, the customers were wrong to ask for a plug-in without knowing all the downsides.

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Foster D. Coburn III has written six best-selling books on graphics software and is currently the Webmaster of the Graphics Unleashed Web site.


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Last Updated Saturday March 01 2003.


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