Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 365

by Tony Thomas

Every year about this time I get a chance to take a look at the new version of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer. It's like opening up a present and seeing what's inside. I think that's been 20 years since I started using the program and each version gets better and better.

One thing that I should share with you immediately is that, when you buy the latest version (now called 365), you will receive any new features and content that is developed for 365 days after you purchase and register the program. You no longer have to wait a full year to access new features. That, in itself, is awesome for a program that you can actually buy and not just rent!

Even though, when I open up the program, I see the same interface that I have come to know and love for quite a while, I know that there is some brand-new goodness baked inside. Some of the new features include:

Easy Move, Rotate and Scale: New handles are available when in photo mode so that you can quickly and easily manipulate your photo.

Cross Process Photo Effect: This one allows you to dramatically color-shift your photo by manipulating the RGB channels in real time.

Smart Shapes: Allows for quick creation and editing of some of the most common shapes. Examples include bar charts, pie charts and percentage rings.

Online Content Catalog: This is free for one year and allows you to access over 500,000 royalty free photos. Keyword searching is available for rapid access.

Symbols and Icons: Over 1500 fully-editable vector symbols are now available. 

Photo Filter Presets: These presets can be quickly applied to your photos and can be very useful when experimenting during editing.

New Blend Modes: Dodge and burn effects are now available for darkroom-style control of your images.

Photo Grids: These make it easy to display a collection of photos in a single, compact grid.

Although Xara started out as a vector drawing program, it has really morphed into a full-function graphic design tool with a strong set of photo editing capabilities. It continues to be an amazing value for the price!

Full Disclosure: In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255, I hereby disclose that the manufacturer or retailer mentioned in this article provided the product for review purposes with the knowledge that I would provide a full, unbiased and impartial review.