Corel's vice president of development and marketing, creative products, Ian LeGrow (pictured) shared Corel's plans for development of its Mac product range in an exclusive interview with Macworld. "For pro design, it's Mac," he said, "We are just entering our Mac schedule now.”

LeGrow's background is 100 per cent Mac. He joined Corel as part of the development team for the first version of CorelDraw for the Mac, which never shipped. He oversees the development of CorelDraw, Photo-Paint, CorelRave, Kai's Power Tools (KPT), Bryce, Painter, and KnockOut.

He said: "The story begins in August 1999 with Corel's acquisition of KnockOut. We had decided to make a strong push into the Mac space, so we chose to acquire some best of breed products.

"December last year we got a call from MetaCreations, and worked with them to organize the acquisition of Painter, Bryce, and KPT. So now we have a line of products widely recognized by Macintosh creatives."

Microsoft to the rescue Doubt had been cast on the future of Corel's creative product range, as observers considered the company's desperate financial condition over the last year. Now, with a $135,000,000 cash injection from Microsoft, the company's future appears more secure.

LeGrow said: "Everyone is very optimistic at Corel now. The money has had a very positive effect, but we felt we were turning a corner even before the news, as CorelDraw 10 was nearing completion - and this too had a galvanizing effect.

"We are very committed to our Mac products. We've already released a Bryce 4.1 update, and will be releasing a Painter 6.1 Public Beta in November, with the final update available by the end of the year".

Mac OS X in March The company is engaged in prepping its applications for Mac OS X. LeGrow said: "We are working on CorelDraw 10 for Mac OS X. We already have Bryce working on the new OS.

"We have had very few problems Carbonizing applications for Mac OS X. As 80 per cent of it is platform-independent, only 20 per cent is platform dependent. Apple's developer support has been excellent." He also pointed out that developer support for preparing applications for Mac OS X was the main project for Apple at this time.

Hinting perhaps at a likely release date for the hotly awaited Mac OS, LeGrow said: "We are aiming to release Bryce for Mac OS X in March."

KPT filters LeGrow also discussed work in progress on the essential KPT range. "We are working on several filters, which will be made available for paid download over the Internet. We are developing a new business model built on Internet distribution." These new filters are promised as packaged products later this year, LeGrow said.

He added: "One new filter is based on the Navier-Stokes Fluid Dynamic differential equation. This models the flow of liquids, and filters based on the equation that can take an image and reproduce the effect of its being reflected in rippling, disturbed water. We have several filters nearing completion based on this equation."

MetaCreations apps on horizon Of MetaCreations next generation of apps, LeGrow said: "We have already begun working on Painter 7.0, and the product is scheduled to ship in the late spring, early summer 2001. Bryce 5.0 will be released at the same time. It's a spring/summer push for our Mac creative products."

CorelDraw 10 for the Mac is also under development. Corel is aiming to release the Mac version of this in March or April next year, LeGrow said. Underlining the importance in which Corel holds the platform, LeGrow promised: "After the release of CorelDraw 10, all our Mac and PC releases will be released simultaneously on both platforms."

LeGrow also gave the biggest hint yet that Corel is putting the Microsoft millions to work, but spared the details. "We do have something really exciting on the imaging side that will be released in spring."

Rave on Finally, LeGrow discussed CorelRave, part of Corel's CorelDraw 10 suite. "Rave can do excellent lighting effects, without layer distortion. You can tween text in Rave, but it still acts like text. You cannot do this in Flash. It does this very, very quickly, and we have worked hard to ensure that we can shrink the file size very small for the Internet."

Rave has been designed for creating images for the Web, similar in application to Macromedia's Flash or Adobe's GoLive. "What we see is people using our product to create images, adding behaviours in Flash. We think it offers a much better set of drawing tools than Flash - that's pretty much what we focused the product to do. It does about 50 per cent of what Flash does, but does that 50 per cent better." On GoLive, LeGrow said: "Adobe did not keep its attention focused on keeping file sizes down."