Xara Photo and Graphic Designer MX 2013 And Xara Designer Pro X 

"A review by Nicholas Newman 16 June 2012" 

   One day you are in desperate need of an affordable fully integrated photo and graphic design software package that can meet your immediate needs as a small business or freelance graphics designer. Well Xara has come up with a solution that should interest you. These are the Xara Photo and Graphic Designer MX 2013 And Xara Designer Pro X. The former is ideal for the occasional user, whilst the latter is designed for the graphics professional.

They are both are easy to use, very responsive and intuitive, and they provide all the necessary graphic design tools you should need in one integrated package. Amongst the features that both software packages provide include tools for illustrating, photo editing, advanced page layout, web graphics and animations. However, designer pro also enables its users to construct and design complete websites and online presentations. In addition, both provide an extensive number of templates on which to develop your projects. Though, I would have liked some templates for e-book's and the magazines. However, I did find transferring the graphic images, I created using the software provided a challenge, until I found the solution on the help forums.

Basically, if you need to produce professional looking desktop publishing projects such as notices, brochures, menus, posters, I suggest you buy MX 2013. However, if you plan to produce such work as a creative graphic designer then the capabilities of Xara Designer Pro X are likely to meet most of your professional needs, including commercial web design and outside advertisements.

What will attract both the professional and the amateur news is both packages are competitively priced for someone on a budget, given that it provides such an overwhelmingly comprehensive graphics package. In addition, I was impressed by the tutorials and support Xara provides users seeking to explore their creative boundaries.

New features in Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 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 categorised 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:

  • AShape 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 resizableJavaScript Widgets, such a 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. 
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