Software Reviews - Xara 3D 6
Xara 3D Rave-view
This review covers Xara 3D. Originally written for an older version, this rave-view has been updated for the latest version - Xara 3D 6.
Welcome to the world of 3D and animated 3D graphics! 3D graphics are STILL a hot topic on the Web. Designers are always looking for cost-effective, easy solutions to creating 3D and 3D animated images. Figure 4.1 is an example of 3D text created with Xara 3D.
While narrow in its scope (Xara refers to 3D as "slimware"), Xara 3D (see figure 4.2) does what it is intended to do... and it does it well. In fact, the image in figure 4.1 was created in mere minutes. The longest time I spent was in deciding which font to use (okay, okay, I admit I played around with the ligting and the color of the lights to get that "cartoony" look). The limitations are that Xara 3D only does 3D text and 3D text animation (see the tip below on how to exceed the limitations). If this is what you need, though, you're in for a real treat because Xara 3D enables you to easily create 3D text images. 3D uses Xara's advanced anti-aliasing (read the GrafX-Design.com tutorial on anti-aliasing) engine to smooth out your images, as well, giving them a polished, professional quality.
TIP: You can easily exceed the "text and widget only" limitation if you have Xara Xtreme or Xtreme Pro installed (click here to download a free demo
of either). With either of these programs you can easily copy and paste between them and Xara 3D 6. The 3D guitar seen in the figure below is the result of combining the parts of an illustrated guitar (you can read our Illustrating a Guitar with Xara Xtreme Pro
tutorials here) and then copying & pasting the outline of the guitar from Xara Xtreme Pro into Xara 3D 6. A little tweaking on the colors, the bevel and the addition of a drop shadow and voila! instant 3D guitar.
|A 3D guitar created with Xtreme Pro and Xara 3D 6|
During the image creation process, Xara 3D gives you complete control over the size, the extrusion (depth), the bevel, the lighting (using three different lights) and the placement of your text.
As well, you have complete control over the animation of your text images. You control the direction, whether only the front face shows, and how many frames per second your animation uses. Again, all of this is accomplished easily even if you've never created an animation.
Figure 4.3, for example, was created in mere minutes. I chose the font I wanted, typed the character (ALT +0169 on the numeric keypad) set the lights and changed their colors slightly, chose the direction and that was it... instant 3D copyright symbol. One nice feature is that Xara enables you to change the different settings and options, and see the results in real-time.
Even though, as I said earlier, you're limited to creating 3D text and animated 3D text (unless you also have Xara Xtreme), you can still create some cool images. I use the wingdings capitol-C to create the thumbs-up image in figure 4.4. This image could just as easily have been exported as a JPG, BMP, AVI, animated GIF, or saved to Xara's propriatary X3D format.
I've barely touched on some of what can be done with Xara 3D 6, but:
- If you have the need to create and manipulate 3D text, or animated 3D text, Xara 3D might be the answer
- If you're curious about 3D text or animated 3D text, then Xara 3D is definitely worth looking at
You don't have to take my word for it, though, you can download a free demo of Xara 3D 6 directly from Xara!
That's it for now... Be sure to check out some of our other Rave-views!
We'd like to hear from you... If there are any graphics software or hardware products you'd like to see reviewed, send us an e-mail.
Here's of list of our most popular graphics tutorials:
Quick Mask Have you ever wanted to do a little cutting and pasting and make it look as if your head was on someone else's body? Read more....
Transparent GIFs This technique demonstrates how to create transparent GIFs in Paint Shop Pro Read more....
Illustrating a Guitar - Part 1 It may seem to be quite an undertaking to create a realistic illustration of something like an electric guitar, but I wanted to challenge the ease-of-use of this software. Read more....
Creating Complex Shapes Drawing circles, squares, triangles , etc. is easy with a vector program. How do you combine these shapes to create something more complex, though? Follow this tutorial and you'll see how easy it can be to create just about any shape you need.
Download and try out the free demos and then save 10%, 20% and more when you decide to buy!
GrafX-Design.com has partnered with some of the best graphics software companies in the World to offer you terrific savings on your favorite programs.
We've been using AlienSkin's Photoshop Plug-ins for over a decade and they are still our favorites.
Create amazing, high-quality 3D graphics
Read our review of Xara 3D 6
or click the graphic below to download a free trial version