Xara Xtreme 5 offers flexible drawing, text, photo and web design tools, all in one package, making it perfect for any creative work, whether it involves DTP designs, drawings, photo compositions, Flash animations or web graphics. That makes it an ideal choice for all your business or personal design needs – from logos, letterheads and invites to complete brochures, flyers, posters and websites.
Xara Xtreme is incredibly fast, especially when it comes to blend, contour and group rendering and the basics of resizing, rotation, translation and zooming. Being able to instantly toggle between zoom levels (up to 25601%), for example, or transforming, and now interactively copying, complex objects and groups in real-time without the onscreen display having to resort to wireframe or boundary boxes is completely liberating.
Xara’s underlying speed is matched by an equally efficient working environment. Key to this is the range of direct action tools with which advanced effects such as bitmap fills, graduated transparency, bevels and shadow effects are applied interactively to objects in real time (even when all effects are combined!). And with Xara Xtreme you can now apply nested transparency to groups of objects, copy shadow effects and ungroup shadowed objects.
Alongside these tools, Xara also offers a range of onscreen palettes, or Galleries, for managing textures, clipart, fonts and so on and these can now be conveniently docked to either side of the screen.
Hands-on vector handling is undoubtedly Xara’s greatest strength, but, with pioneering features such as automatic anti-aliasing, tiled fill support and object feathering, it has also always recognized the unique benefits that bitmap handling brings to creative illustration. In particular Xara’s rendering speed makes it an excellent compositing program for assembling images and layouts that combine both bitmap and vector elements. As such the improved support for 32-bit images with in-built alpha masks is especially welcome – for example these can now be recolored simply by clicking on Xara Xtreme’s color bar.
You can crop and control global brightness, saturation, contrast and sharpness using the integrated Xara Picture Editor (XPE). Using Xtreme’s updated XPE you can also now remove red eye and apply plug-in effects. Xara also bundles a selection of third-party Photoshop filters that can be used for hue-shifting, image masking and applying a range of special effects such as crumples, mosaics and fur. What stands out in Xara’s implementation is the speed and the fact that edits are non-destructive so that you can always undo changes or apply new ones with no cumulative degradation.
These same benefits are also seen in Xara Xtreme’s most impressive new feature, the Live Effects tool. Using this you can quickly apply any Xara or Photoshop-compatible filter not only to imported bitmaps but to vector elements too. With older filters the vector objects are effectively converted to bitmaps so that to edit the filter or the object you have to remove and then reapply the effect. With modern scriptable filters though you can edit either the objects themselves or the filter settings and the effect automatically updates. As always with Xara the interactive creative power this offers is extraordinary: apply a melt filter to some text and the dripping effect updates as you type!
Live effects can now be applied to both bitmap and vector objects.
Xara Xtreme offers powerful vector and bitmap handling all round with some unique capabilities of its own on top of its sheer speed and creative interactivity. However it still can’t compete with every feature that professional programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop offer nor with their underlying integration and workflow. That’s why Xara Xtreme has reworked its PDF export to support its core graduated fill and transparency effects as true vectors. As well as offering higher quality and smaller file sizes, this means that PDF can now be used as an exchange format enabling your Xara work to be imported into Illustrator for further editing.