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Author Topic: Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released  (Read 4154 times)

Carol Haynes

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Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released
« on: April 24, 2008, 04:37:44 PM »
OK I know what I said last time round (about never trusting Xara again) but I think this upgrade is interesting, with some great new features. They are doing special upgrade prices from v3.2 to v4 only until 2nd May.

If you want to see some of the new features check out the videos at: http://xara.com/uk/p...reme/tutorials-demos

Look at the "An introduction to Xtreme 4" video (first one in the list).

The commentary is a bit stilted (or downright annoying) but the visual demo is really impressive.

I haven't had time to play with it yet but it looks a really good upgrade and I have to say I am revising my view of Xara - they seem to be hanging in there with a great product and not giving in to the Magix takeover machine that bought them out. I think we all feared that Xara as an identity would disappear in the merger but they seem to be going from strength to strength and the new version looks really good. As far as I can tell the Xara brand is still being run pretty much independently from Hertfordshire in the UK - presumably the Magix link allowed for a different market outlet under a different brand name.

IIRC it was $49 to upgrade 3.2Pro to 4Pro but thanks to DC members it cost me $26 as I still had some commission from when I used to display an affiliate link in my signature. (Thanks to those who bought in the past).

Tell us what you think - I think the new quick photo manipulation and the text wrapping are really neat - and the CSS HTML website WYSIWYG editor looks awesome (why am I learning DreamWeaver when it can be that simple!).

Affiliate Notice
I don't intend to add an affiliate link to my signature again but I have given a link below. Note I am only an affiliate because I really like their software and I am definitely not into the hard sell on this. Judge for yourself. I removed the affiliate link after they were bought by Magix and the version 3.2 upgrade debacle (search for the long thread on that) but now that there has been time for the merger to settle down and things to get back to normal I think I was probably a bit premature to judge.

If anyone wants to place an order for the new versions (or any Xara software) my new business website will be up and running soon and I hope to have a page on Xara stuff by the end of the weekend. It would help my new business startup if you use the affliate link on there to place the order. No pressure though! It isn't there yet but check out www.dalescomputerservices.com over the next few days.

If you can't wait that long you can use:

Click here:

to place an order. OK you won't get a discount but I will get a bit of commission.  :-*

Remember if you place an order you can download the software immediately but the disc versions and muanuals take a while to arrive (the usual rule of thumb seems to be that the software is RTMed a couple of weeks after they announce the new version and then they let it run for a while so that any bugs can be ironed out before the discs are produced). Having said that the download versions in the past have always been pretty solid and well beta tested prior to release so there shouldn't be any nasty surprises and they work fine so the disc isn't really needed any time soon.

« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 08:01:35 PM by Carol Haynes »

Ampa

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Re: Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2008, 05:11:58 PM »
The HTML export is a mixed blessing, as with all tools that automate HTML/CSS coding, it is quick and easy, but at the expense of quality. Having said that, it seems to do a better job than many other applications.

For my money the best new feature of Xara 4 is the text repel. The incorporation of Xara 3D as the extrude tool is not terribly interesting once you've toyed with it for 5 minutes. It is too limited in scope, and doesn't create a true vector output if you try to convert to editable shapes, but instead a clipped bitmap.

The photo tool is nice and certainly more convenient that XPE (the previously incorporated bitmap editor) but it adds no new functionality.

I am sad that there have been no new vector tools in any of the last major updates, Inkscape, Corel and Illustrator all have vector tools that Xara does not, but I do still stick with Xara for all my design needs, because the user interface is still second to none - it is just so darned fast and intuitive.

Ampa

cranioscopical

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Re: Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2008, 06:11:08 PM »
For my money the best new feature of Xara 4 is the text repel.

It's impressive to watch that 'live' while dragging a complex shape over a large body of text!


Carol Haynes

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Re: Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2008, 07:13:38 PM »
I should have added that all the features shown on the video are in the non-Pro version. Unless you have need of the Pro features or already have a Pro version (so the upgrade price difference isn't totally significant) then you may as well stick with the cheaper version.

Having said that I am not sure if the full Flash export function is in non-Pro. Any one testing the non-Pro download that can check this out?

[Edit] There is a feature comparison page at here and Flash generation is included in the non-Pro version [/Edit]

I think the photo editing is much improved by inclusion and the speed with large files is amazing compared with other flagship products such as PhotoShop. OK it isn't PhotoShop but for quick manipulation within a working document it is second to none.

Text flow, I have to agree, is the best new feature - and that fact that with CSS and HTML you can generate webpages with 'bent' text frames is great.

There is also a new Panorama Tool - haven't tried it yet (see the video in my post above for a quick look).

I haven't done enough with it yet to look at the efficiency of the HTML code but given that Xara seems to excel at producing highly efficient and fast software gives me some hope that their HTML engine would be reasonably efficient too. I'll have a play when I get a minute and report back.

I agree that Xara3D isn't the greatest of tools (though it does have its uses) but if you are going to use those features it is great that it is now available within Xtreme rather than importing from another app.

The main thing that strikes me every time with Xara software is that increments are small between versions but there is never a loss of quality and as features are added the app doesn't feal like it is succumbing to feature bloat like so many other products from rival software house.

One further comment on the comparison between Corel Draw and Illustrator - don't forget to compare the price!

Xara Xtreme 4 $89US (upgrade $39 or $59 depending on version)
Xara Xtreme Pro 4 $249 (upgrade $49 or $69).
Corel Draw X4 ($429US, upgrade $199)
Adobe Illustrator CS3 ($600US, upgrade $199).

I have used the Corel and Adobe products in the past (and have Illustrator CS2 installed on my system) but invariably come back to Xara when I want to do something because it is so much faster and much more intuitive than either of the others with excellent built in video tutorials. Even if the feature set isn't as complete as the Adobe or Corel products the software still gives them a close run and is better value - especially for non-pro usage where the pennies count.

Personally I think the small development team have done an amazing job over the last 20 or so years. How many people work on the market leading pro applications in comparison?
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 07:53:37 PM by Carol Haynes »

tomos

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Re: Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2008, 05:11:25 AM »
I am sad that there have been no new vector tools in any of the last major updates, Inkscape, Corel and Illustrator all have vector tools that Xara does not, but I do still stick with Xara for all my design needs, because the user interface is still second to none - it is just so darned fast and intuitive.

I'm still sticking like glue to FreeHand but one of these days I'm going to have to move on...

Dissappointed to hear the first half there ("no new vector tools"),
but the "user interface is still second to none" sounds interesting and that it's fast is big plus - last time I tried illustrator it was like a slug to FreeHands hare, if you work on lots of files it can be painful waiting for illustrator to ... open ... save...
Tom

iphigenie

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Re: Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2008, 03:26:15 AM »
Yes, I too cannot get around with Illustrator. I was very cross when Adobe bought Macromedia, as I figured it was the end of Freehand... There are several Macromedia products I mourn, Xres (was fauve before iirc?), Fontographer and now Freehand...

I have Xara X1, Canvas (for a certain kind of illustration) and I guess I often will use the drawing tools in zoner, photoimpact or paint shop pro (yes, i accumulated a lot and since i have multiple computers - laptop, 2 homes and 1 office!! - I spread them around so I have 1 tool of each kind on each computer) and yet I still reinstall Freehand 9 and use it, cause I know it and have lots of files in it...

This new xara goes the photoimpact/paint shop pro route by adding more and more image manipulation (non destructive!) to illustration ( the others came at it from the other side, PI had this mix early, PSP added it recently)

cranioscopical

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Re: Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2008, 10:08:41 AM »

For some of what I happen to do Illustrator is a must.

Illustrator is like trying to win a point-to-point horse race while riding an elephant...
not as fleet of foot but it'll stomp across country, over any obstacle, to finish first in the end  :)

I find Xara to be delightfully nimble, and just right for some less complex jobs.

Horses for courses, which is why most of us have a full stable.

Oh for the Aldus days!




tomos

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Re: Xara Xtreme 4 and Pro 4 released
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2008, 02:09:05 PM »
I notice at their website they have some interesting upgrade offers

Quote
   Xara Xtreme      
   Xara X¹, Xara X, Xara XS, CorelXARA, ArtWorks, Xara Studio or Webster   
   MAGIX Xtreme Photo & Graphic Designer   
* Adobe Freehand [9, 10, MX]   
   Other competitor   

Upgrading to...                            Price   
   Xara Xtreme PRO 4                $159 US
   

that's a good offer especially from Freehand 9 which was brought out in '99 I think

from Xara X1 the upgrade is 59 to Xtreme & 199 to pro (Xara X1 for $19 here)

"other competitor" is "on application" - possibly the same as Freehand offer if you want to jump ship from an older version of Corel or Illustrator :)
Tom