Xara Designer Pro X Review of the new features In the first part of my review of Xara Designer Pro X I followed the tools that interested me the most in Xara Designer Pro X. This page is part II where I actually dig into the “What’s New?”  part of the program. Remember to hover over the images on the left side to get more info.
Home Red Color Blind Version of Review Xara Designer Pro X part 1

Clone Tool (Clone and Magic Erase)

There are two parts to this tool. I chose to focus on the Magic Erase part of the tool. I dug up some old pics of Big Cats from Photo Gallery 5000 volume 2. I erroneously decided that freeing this kitty from prison would be a simple task for the Magic Erase tool.  And really one has to ask “simple” relative to what? I later buckled down and decided that even doing some good old fashioned cloning in a bitmap editor would be just as complex. Once I turned on the background music to work on freeing my kitty it all worked out ok. The Magic Erase part of the tool I could understand. The Clone part of the tool I could not understand. It didn’t SEEM to work the same way a clone tool in a bitmap program works. So I just stuck with the Magic Erase. Magic Erase usefulness 5/5 stars Clone usefulness 2/5 stars

Panorama now able to take max of 8 photos

I’d never used the Panorama tool before in any program. So I lucked into finding an interesting school building and took numerous pictures. I stood in one place and took multiple photos hoping that the program would stitch the images together well. Just testing out THREE photos was jaw dropping for me.

Please Install The Flash Player

Check out the videos on Xara’s site about Shape Builder and

Shape Editor tools!

I’ve covered a small sampling of what’s new in Xara Designer Pro X. Two other fantastic new tools that are covered way better on the Xara site in the What’s New? section. I REALLY recommend that you view the videos specifically about the Shape Builder and Shape Eraser too. These are fantastic vector tools!

What is the value of the panorama tool?

Considering that with a regular iPad 2 (not the BEST iPad camera available to mankind)  I was able to get the effect of a nice WIDE angle shot of the school. I think this tool can be VERY valuable. I’m normally not one to go buy a camera or lens just to get that wide angle effect. But with this tool, who needs the special lens? Panorama usefulness 5/5 stars

If you don’t have time to follow the link, I’ll do a quick recap

of how the Shape Builder and Shape Eraser work hand in

hand.

I start with a lowly black rectangle then pick up the Shape Builder tool.
Add sinister looking ears and “jaw”. Then pick up the Shape Eraser tool.
Use the Shape Eraser tool to erase out the eyes and smile. Then make another rectangle with rainbow fill to prove that these features were actually “cut out” instead of “painted over”
Hover over the fill box on the left to see the proof that this was cut out. I give the Shape Builder Usefulness 5/5 stars Shape Eraser Usefulness 5/5 stars

Unfortunately the Web Widgets might need more

customizability. I only had time to test the carousel.

And while I can replace the photos in the carousel -- that would be a given. What I WANTED to be able to do was to have a BIGGER image pop up when you hover over a specific photo in the carousel. As it was, I had to adapt what I did in this review to accomodate what the widet was lacking as far as easily customizable. (The accomodation I made was to just have the carousel as a whole give me a mouseover pop up). I didn’t want to go to a different page or link which was what I THINK the carousel widget was wanting to do -- if I tried to use the linking ability of the carousel widget. So given that it didn’t allow me to customize to my plan, I have to take some points off of the usefulness of the widgets.  I feel like I’m being a bit harsh because there are so many beautiful widgets. THAT volume of fantastic widgets to choose from brings the usefulness count back up. For not allowing the precision of mouseover ability that I wanted, I give the carousel widget in particular a 2.5 stars out of 5. For sheer volume of widget options and for absolutely beautiful widgets, I give Xara Designer Pro X 4 out of 5 stars.

Is the Xara Designer Pro X worth the upgrade?

First of all, I have to tell you my tendencies. For my favorite programs, I always like to keep current. Xara has always been one of my favorite graphics programs so for me, the answer is yes. A basic rule of thumb for ANY computer program is if you’re getting your work done with what you have then you really don’t need to upgrade. The next basic rule of thumb is if you’re not upgrading your computer hardware, then you might want to really consider not upgrading. Xara products, in my years of experience with them, have alwyas been VERY forgiving on hardware requirements. They always get the most out of your hardware. So this is why Xara products might be an exception to my 2nd rule of thumb. I’ve rarely found Xara products to be bloated so that they bog down your older computer. Now in fairness to you, the reader, I AM using an AMD 8 core processor with 32 GB of RAM and 2 GB of vid memory.  I built this machine to replace an AMD quad core with 16 GM of RAM that I had been using for four years since I built THAT one. I STRONGLY recommend that you try the software before you buy it to see if it fits on your rig and does what you would like it to do. My personal impression is that Adobe Photoshop needs more muscular hardware and Xara can do miracles on lightweight computers.
Home Red Color Blind Version of Review Xara Designer Pro X part 1
The 8 photos carouselling below were the sources for the final image that shows up here as you hover over carousel.