Xara have revealed the latest versions of their Designer family, Photo and Graphic Designer MX 8 and Designer Pro X 8. (Which, if the names mean nothing to you, are the packages formerly known as Xara Xtreme and Xara Xtreme Pro.)
As usual with these particular applications, Xara are aiming for maximum versatility. So both programs can handle most photo editing, illustration, basic Flash animation and web graphics tasks, while Xara Designer Pro X 8 can also create complete websites and online presentations and has support for a stack of high-end design features (PANTONE, colour separation, PDF/X, XPS and more).
And while the “What’s New” list this time doesn’t include any particular standout feature, there are still more than enough interesting additions to justify giving the programs a closer look.
New features in both Photo and Graphic Designer MX 8 and Designer Pro X 8, for instance, start with the new Text Styles option. This provides an easy way to modify the look and feel of the text right across your document, in just a few clicks.
Photo editing improvements include powerful colour selection and hue adjustment tools.
The new Share menu makes it easy to share media files with Flickr, Facebook and other Xara/ MAGIX MX applications.
And you get improved image optimisation, enhanced import in many areas (SVG, PDF, RAW, web URLs), faster publishing, and a stack of usability improvements.
Designer Pro X 8 gains various useful web features. These include smart page resizing (objects automatically reposition as you add or remove text); the ability to embed the fonts you need for a website within its pages; an MP3 player, new charting and QR Code widgets, and various web presentation improvements.
Elsewhere, a new Shape Builder tool allows you to paint onto an existing shape to edit and adjust it. Or, if you prefer the easy life, you may be more interested in the new bundled content: clipart, print templates, web themes and more.
As previously, Xara Photo and Graphic Designer MX 8 remains the value offering, delivering a vast amount of functionality for a very reasonable $89. If you need Designer Pro X 8’s web features and extra power, though, the program can be yours for $299, and trial builds of both editions are available now.