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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: 3376
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

WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.1

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.1 brings:
 - WhatsApp Calling: Call your friends and family using WhatsApp for free, even if they’re in another country. WhatsApp calls use your phone’s Internet connection rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes. Data charges may apply.

[...]
Value:
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