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Xara Photo & Graphic Designer v10.1.2

A one-stop photo editing, illustration and design tool

by Mike Williams

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License: Trial Software
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:

300MB free hard drive space

Languages: English
Software Cost: $89.99 (Windows)
Date Updated: 15 August 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 2781
Developer: Xara
RSS News Feed: http://www.xara.com/rss/
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/XaraGroup
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/XaraGroup
Buy Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 9 for only $69.99, saving 22% from MSRP, only from store.downloadcrew.com
Xara Photo and Graphic Designer 10
A one-stop photo editing, illustration and design tool

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer is a versatile graphics package which comes packed with editing, illustration and design tools.

A capable photo editor can optimise your image automatically, or gives you full control over brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation, temperature and more. There are strong core features (crop, resize, fix red-eye, shadow/ highlights adjustments), many advanced tools (content aware zooming, photo healing, bitmap > vector conversion), 60+ built-in Live Effects and Photoshop plugin support, while professional options like layer blending, feathering and vector masking help ensure you get precisely the results you need.

The program's illustration abilities start with a host of shape, line and freehand drawing tools. 3D extrusion means you can drag any shape to create a properly lit and rendered 3D version. You're able to customise the results further with transparency, feathering, shadow, bevel and contour tools, or use the blend tool to blend from one shape to another (just drag and drop). There's a lot to learn, but fortunately editing is easy - even freehand work can be tweaked later.

Text features are impressive. You can position and rotate text as you'd like, make it follow a curved path, apply any of the other effects as required. The desktop publishing-type feel continues in the Designs Gallery, where you'll find templates for calendars, greetings cards, invitations, CD/ DVD covers, more. A bundled clipart library also helps, and powerful print and various export options (including PDF and PSD) make it easy to share your creations with others.

Version 10 adds PhotoLooks 2, a powerful plugin (once sold separately for $199) which offers 100+ preset lighting and colour effects.

Finer editing controls mean you're now able to adjust highlights, shadows, or a particular colour in your image, without affecting anything else.

There are new tools for drawing and editing commonly-used shapes: text panels, speech bubbles, arrows and more. The Content Catalog makes it easier to browse available content, photos are automatically rotated on opening (as required), and there’s improved Word and PDF import.

Finally, you get two bonus extras from the MAGIX range. MAGIX Photo Manager helps you sort and search your photo collection. And 12 months free access to MAGIX Online Album Premium gives you 100GB online storage space, and your own domain, ready to share your finished creations with the world.

Verdict:

A hugely capable design tool which comes packed with high-end features, yet remains generally very easy to use and is amazing value for money.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 (v11.0.6)

Free Full Commercial Software

Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 is a compact, simple, but surprisingly feature-packed disc burning suite.

The program makes it easy to create simple data discs and audio CDs, for instance: just drag and drop your files onto the list area and you'll be burning the finished disc in a couple of clicks.

That's just the start, though. Burning Studio 2013 can also create data discs with customised, interactive multi-page menus, perfect if you'd like a more professional way to share and present the disc contents.

A built-in backup tool allows you to create backups which may be encrypted, compressed, and span several CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays.

And there are modules to create VCD or SVCD video projects; burn video DVDs or Blu-ray discs from prepared folders; create, browse or burn disc images (ISO, CUE/ BIN and Ashdisc formats are supported); copy discs, erase them, design and print disc covers, labels and booklets, and more.

The focus throughout is on ease of use, though, and so Ashampoo Burning Studio 2013 remains very straightforward, whatever you're doing. Most disc projects are created via the same simple interface, and for the most part all you have to do is drag and drop the necessary files. But experts will find more advanced options are only a click away, and if you need to then you can set ISO and UDF version, enable Joliet, make a disc bootable and more.

Note the download here will take you to the Downloadcrew Software Store where you can download Burning Studio 2013.

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Value:
Free
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