Review of Xara 3D Maker 7

April 30, 2011

Writing a review on a product can sometimes be difficult. With some products, they are so complex that it is hard to cover everything in a short review. That isn’t the case today as I look at Xara 3D Maker 7. It is a product that does one thing and does it very well. That is, it creates 3D headings, titles and buttons very easily.

I’ll start with the end product. Above you’ll see the animated text I created in only a few minutes. From running the program for the first time until I had the finished file, it was less than ten minutes. I started with one of the many animation presets supplied and modified the bevels and lights. For the face, I chose to use a seamless texture from the Textures Unleashed collection.

I do have some things that frustrated me. I couldn’t figure out how to create something that wasn’t animated. There must be a way to do it, but I couldn’t find an option to turn off the animation. Again, I didn’t spend a lot of time in the application so this is most likely a case of me not knowing the application well. I just thought it should be more obvious. Another disappointment was that PostScript fonts are not supported. This includes OpenType fonts with PostScript data. That limitation meant that I couldn’t use the font I wanted to use.

When it comes time to export, there are a number of choices. If you animate, the file will not be small. My sample above is 277 KB as an animated GIF. When exporting to SWF, it was 810 KB. Given these sizes, I would be reluctant to put them on a Web site that gets a lot of traffic. You can also export to PNG and AVI.

Overall, the price is right ($39.99 US), it is easy to use and it creates some pretty cool 3D effects.

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