Xara Photo and Graphics Designer MX and Xara Designer Pro X

May 26, 2012

Xara has released the latest versions of their Photo & Graphic Designer MX and Designer Pro X. Even though the names may indicate a tenth version, they are actually version 8. I’ve included the full press release later in this post if you want all the details. I will give you a quick overview of what I find interesting in the new Designer Pro X. Photo & Graphic Designer is very similar to Designer Pro X but is missing the “pro” features. Look carefully at the product pages for each product to determine which one best meets your need.

I know I hear from users all the time that they want a product that can do all vector and bitmap editing in a single program. Admittedly, I’m very happy having separate vector and bitmap editing software. Xara Design Pro X does include a wide variety of bitmap editing. In the latest version a new feature has been added for selecting and erasing colors. This makes it much easier to mask or select areas of a bitmap for further editing. After selecting, the new hue adjustments can be quite helpful.

Some other cool page layout related features have been added. My favorite is certainly the text styles, simply because this is a feature I use so often in other software. This makes it very easy to update the look of text by simply changing the styles you have assigned. A related feature allows you to have inline graphics. Think of a small graphic, such as an icon, that you want to put in the stream of text so that it flow just like a letter.

Loyal readers know that I am not a fan at all of Corel Website Creator. Xara Designer Pro X allows you to create Web pages in a WYSIWYG environment while still outputting relatively clean Web code. Along with the design environment are a number of widgets you can insert for more advanced functionality. One of the more exciting new features is the ability to embed fonts in your Web pages so you aren’t limited to the few “web-safe” fonts.

One area where previous versions have always excelled is speed. Xara Designer Pro X is still by far the fastest illustration software out there. With the new features added in this latest version, it is definitely a tool you should evaluate to see if it meets your needs. There is a free trial available and it has good bang for the buck if you decide to purchase.

Below is the press release for the new versions.

New Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX and Xara Designer Pro X (version 8) Xara today announced the availability of their new version 8 Designer products – Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX (v8) and Xara Designer Pro X (v8).

Both products are super-fast, easy-to-use single integrated programs that provide all the tools for a range of graphic design tasks that would normally require three or more separate ‘suite’ programs; illustration, photo editing, advanced page layout, web graphics and animations — and in the case of Designer Pro building complete websites and online presentations.

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX and Xara Designer Pro X are the world’s highest performing graphics software titles, with their speed enabling more complex and realistic graphics to be created more easily and in less time.

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX is ideal for any graphics enthusiast, small company or academic user that requires the best value general purpose photo and graphics design tool.

Xara Designer Pro X is the flagship of the Xara product line, the ultimate all-in-one creative tool. As well as the website design features, it provides tools that might typically be required by professional designers such as PANTONE®, CMYK, color separations and PDF/X. It also supports multiple processors for even faster performance.

New features in Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX and Xara Designer Pro X include:

  • Powerful Color Erase /Selection to enhance (change color, adjust brightness, blur, etc) or make parts of photos transparent based on the selected color.
  • Photo hue adjustment to change the color tint of any part of a photo.
  • An innovative new Shape Erase Tool that can perform both vector erasing or path adjustment, as well as ‘soft mask’ painting to perform detailed soft-edged erasing of vector, text and photo objects.
  • A new Text Styles feature that offers an efficient and powerful way of controlling the global appearance of text. Generates CSS compatible styles.
  • New Inline Graphics for embedding symbols and icons into text.
  • Many new Template Designs including a selection of modern new print templates, such as greeting cards, brochures, business cards, CD covers and certificates, plus many new categorized clipart designs.
  • Many other Photo Tool improvements and additions including the integrated Panorama stitching tool, a more efficient ‘Optimize all images’ function and ability to optimize images upon upload.
  • Media Exchange. All titles in the MAGIX/Xara range can share media files with each other and with some important third party services such as Flickr and Facebook.

In addition to the above features Xara Designer Pro X includes:

  • A Shape Builder Tool to ‘paint’ onto an existing shape to enlarge it, add new areas or adjust the shape or outline. This compliments the new Erase Tool to provide two basic new shape editing tools, that are entirely vector in nature (resolution independent, fully editable) that can edit vector outlines of shapes, or provide soft air-brush like painting and erasing.
  • Smart object positioning and page resizing which automatically adjusts the size of a web page and position of objects as you enter more text
  • Embedded fonts — website creators are no longer limited to a small list of websafe fonts, but can use just about any font (assuming the font allows website embedding).
  • New re-sizable JavaScript Widgets, such as smooth photo slideshows and an interactive Chart Widget for embedding high quality charts into documents or websites.
  • MP3 player widget – just drop an MP3 audio file onto the page, and this will embed a fully cross-platform compatible audio player (including iOS for iPad and iPhone) into your website. This joins the existing MP4 player that does the same for MP4 video files.
  • Create numbered lists and graphical bullet points – using Xara’s vector graphics capabilities you can now design your own graphics for use in numbered and bulleted lists.

Managing Director, Charles Moir says “The Adobe approach of selling separate, expensive programs to perform the common creative editing operations is fundamentally wrong in our opinion. Modern documents (whether printed, PDF or web document) should not need separate tools to edit the text, the graphics or the photos. This is not just a costly process, in time and money, but totally inefficient. Xara’s approach offers not just dramatically better value, but we believe it makes the software considerably faster and easier to understand and learn”

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX 8 costs just $89
Xara Designer Pro X 8 costs just $299

Upgrades from v7 to Xara Photo & Graphic Designer MX 8 cost $45
Upgrades to Xara Designer Pro X 8 cost $99

It operates on Windows XP/Vista/7

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