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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

  Xara 3D Version 6
Xara3D is so simple to use, literally anyone can produce high quality 3D graphics in minutes. Both professional web designers and home users choose Xara3D to make still and animated 3D text and graphics, such as logos, titles, headings and buttons.

One of the things I am most impressed with is the ease of use of XARA 3D 6. I did watch the sample video just to have an idea of what can be done but once I opened the program up for the first time I was off making 3D text and animations with ease. Not to mention having a bit of fun doing it.

Everything is laid out nicely in the interface and you don't have to guess what things do or where to find tools or settings panels. There are several ways to get to each of the individual tools depending on what task you are currently working on so that the tools you need next are always just a click away. That part is very nicely done. One exception though is there is two setting sliders on the tool bar that have no indication whatsoever as to what they are for - just a slider with numbers. Once you try the sliders you see that it does in fact adjuct the spacing between text, but still the fact that there is no graphic or textual indication on the tool bar as to what the tool does seems to be something that shouldn't have been left out.

As mentioned I was able to create some pretty awesome 3D buttons or text, but did find some serious limitations. Two of the biggest limitations I spotted and was kind of dissapointed in was that you could not layer text. You could blend different lines or characters of text together but you could not layer them. The second being that you could not apply an image to the object (board) background without it tiling. If I wanted an image on the face of a button I had to have it the entire size of the button or graphic else the image would tile.

The tiling problem was also an issue for the graphic background itself. I tried taking a button that was created in Fireworks during a page design and tried applying 3D text to it. But again I was not able to maintain the proper original image dimensions and the image would tile either horizontally, vertically or both.

Once you are done your graphic you can export as jpg, png, gif, flash or even a screensaver. I had no problems exporting as jpg or png, and exporting as an animated gif was simple enough, but for some reason the ability to have a transparent background has been left out - or at least well hidden. Exporting as a flash file worked flawlessly but did take a fairly long time to convert and all but used up all my resources and memory on a 2.6 mHZ system with 1 GB of RAM.

If you are looking to be able to do simple 3d Text or Buttons then this program will do the trick. But if you need to do multi part 3D images or complicated shapes XARA 3D does seem to fall a bit short. But then again, for the reasonable price of $45 US you do certainly get your moneys worth. Its ease of use makes this one a true winner for the average home user.

Review ID Number: 288
  Product Details
Review Date: 2005-03-02
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 8 out of 10
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