Photo Editing
Xara Designer Pro X-365 — First Look
Smart Straighten/Scale Xara has added some of the new SmartShapes controls to your photos resulting in a more streamlined and intuitive way to edit the size and shape of your photos. You can see the new controls in the photo above. These controls let you scale, crop, rotate, resize, and move your photos around inside of the photo shape. You can even round the corners. There are tool tips that appear over each control point that explain that point’s functions. The only bit of confusion for me is the dual rotation arrows top right. The blue rotation handle rotates the physical photo itself while the inside white arrow rotates and resizes the photo inside the photo shape. It is a welcome and elegant way to manage your photos.
The Effect Painter This new feature lets you edit portions of your image with a variety  of available effects. As with the Shape Painter and similar tools, you select an effect, a brush size, determine the angle, and softness of the brush, and then paint over a portion of a photo to apply the effect. In the example below, I used Saturation Soft to brighten the yellow flowers and red stamens. The best way to see what changes these different effects bring about it to try them out. They are “non destructive” and are applied over the photo and can be selected and removed at any time, unless you select the option to Flatten Photo Group (Arrange menu), at which point the effects become permanently added to the photo.
The Magnetic Lasso Tool is worth the cost of the program in my opinion. It works best when there is a clear distinction between areas as with the rose shown here. But it could not be easier. Select the photo and click along the edges, and the Magnetic Lasso snaps to the edges of the photo until you reach the starting point. You click more or fewer points depending on the complexity of the shape. When you have completed the outline, you can cut, copy, and paste the selection. It could not be easier!  
PanoramaStudio 3.0 Designer Pro X 365 has a really easy to use Create Panorama tool (In the Photo Tool fly-out menu) that seamlessly stitches together a series of up to eight overlapping images into a panorama such as my photo above. And for several versions, owners of Designer Pro X have had the opportunity to download and install PanoramaStudio, a heavy duty professional utility for creating wide angle photos and even 360 degree panorama images and which is free to Designer Pro X owners. New PanoramaStudio 3.0 is included with Designer Pro X 365 (Help > Download Content Installer & Pan Studio). It features a range of professional features including the completely redesigned HTML5 panorama viewer for in browser, interactive panoramas. Click on the image above to see an example. Images can be imported directly from over 2,200 digital compact and SLR cameras. And the RAW image import filter has been updated.
[Click image to see Panorama Player]
The X-Process Effect This is a new tool in the Photo Tool fly-out menu that according to the release notes simulates a photo processing technique that historically used the wrong chemicals for developing film. In my example above the center image is the original and the full X-Process effect has been applied to the outside images.
Photo Filter Presets A collection of 26 effects that you can apply to your photos to achieve a variety of looks. I have selected 12 of these new effects to show here top right. The Photo Filter Presets are found in the Content Catalog > Components > Image Resources. You select your photo then select a Filter Preset and press Import. The filter effect is downloaded and applied to the photo. Once you have imported the effect it is added to the Local Designs Gallery.
New Transparency Blend Modes There are two new transparency blend modes in the Transparency (Blend) Mode drop down list, Color Dodge and Color Burn. These take their names from the traditional darkroom techniques applied when making black and white prints of dodging, making an area lighter, and burning, making an area darker. The blend modes that were carried over in version 11, Brightness, Make Lighter, and Make Darker are now gone. But using dodge and burn produces a similar effect but with less loss of saturation.
Photo Grids Xara Designer Pro X 365 now offers two types of photo grids (Content Catalog > Components > Image Resources) Smart and Static. Smart Photo Grids such as the example above make it easy to add, delete, scale, and move photos. You can add additional photos and photo rows. In short, a very intuitive way to put together a montage of photos. The other type of photo grid is static. These are arranged in different sizes, aspect ratios and configuration. With both smart and static, you just drag and drop your photos onto the existing ones. You will love these.
[BACK TO TOP]
Saturation Soft makes the colors brighter
[NEXT PAGE] PREVIOUS PAGE]
Photo Editing
Xara Designer Pro X-365 — First Look
Smart Photo Straighten/Scale Xara has added some of the new SmartShapes controls to your photos resulting in a more streamlined and intuitive way to edit the size and shape of your photos. You can see the new controls in the photo above. These controls let you scale, crop, rotate, resize, and move your photos around inside of the photo shape. You can even round the corners. There are tool tips that appear over each control point that explain that point’s functions. The only bit of confusion for me is the dual rotation arrows top right. The blue rotation handle rotates the physical photo itself while the inside white arrow rotates and resizes the photo inside the photo shape. It is a welcome and elegant way to manage your photos.
The Effect Painter This new feature lets you edit portions of your image with a variety  of available effects. As with the Shape Painter and similar tools, you select an effect, a brush size, determine the angle, and softness of the brush, and then paint over a portion of a photo to apply the effect. In the example below, I used Saturation Soft to brighten the yellow flowers and red stamens. The best way to see what changes these different effects bring about it to try them out. They are “non destructive” and are applied over the photo and can be selected and removed at any time, unless you select the option to Flatten Photo Group (Arrange menu), at which point the effects become permanently added to the photo.
The Magnetic Lasso Tool is worth the cost of the program in my opinion. It works best when there is a clear distinction between areas as with the rose shown here. But it could not be easier. Select the photo and click along the edges, and the Magnetic Lasso snaps to the edges of the photo until you reach the starting point. You click more or fewer points depending on the complexity of the shape. When you have completed the outline, you can cut, copy, and paste the selection. It could not be easier!  
PanoramaStudio 3.0 Designer Pro X 365 has a really easy to use Create Panorama tool (In the Photo Tool fly-out menu) that seamlessly stitches together a series of up to eight overlapping images into a panorama such as my photo above. And for several versions, owners of Designer Pro X have had the opportunity to download and install PanoramaStudio, a heavy duty professional utility for creating wide angle photos and even 360 degree panorama images and which is free to Designer Pro X owners. New PanoramaStudio 3.0 is included with Designer Pro X 365 (Help > Download Content Installer & Pan Studio). It features a range of professional features including the completely redesigned HTML5 panorama viewer for in browser, interactive panoramas. Click on the image above to see an example. Images can be imported directly from over 2,200 digital compact and SLR cameras. And the RAW image import filter has been updated.
[Click image to see the HTML5 Panorama Player]
Photo Filter Presets A collection of 26 effects that you can apply to your photos to achieve a variety of looks. I have selected 12 of these new effects to show here top right. The Photo Filter Presets are found in the Content Catalog > Components > Image Resources. You select your photo then select a Filter Preset and press Import. The filter effect is downloaded and applied to the photo. Once you have imported the effect it is added to the Local Designs Gallery.
New Transparency Blend Modes There are two new transparency blend modes in the Transparency (Blend) Mode drop down list, Color Dodge and Color Burn. These take their names from the traditional darkroom techniques applied when making black and white prints of dodging, making an area lighter, and burning, making an area darker. The blend modes that were carried over in version 11, Brightness, Make Lighter, and Make Darker are now gone. But using dodge and burn produces a similar effect but with less loss of saturation.
Photo Grids Xara Designer Pro X 365 now offers two types of photo grids (Content Catalog > Components > Image Resources) Smart and Static. Smart Photo Grids such as the example above make it easy to add, delete, scale, and move photos. You can add additional photos and photo rows. In short, a very intuitive way to put together a montage of photos. The other type of photo grid is static. These are arranged in different sizes, aspect ratios and configuration. With both smart and static, you just drag and drop your photos onto the existing ones. You will love these.
[BACK TO TOP]
Saturation Soft makes the colors brighter
[NEXT PAGE] PREVIOUS PAGE] Xara Designer Pro X 365 First Look óBy Gary W. Priester
Xara Designer Pro X 365 — First Look
PHOTO EDITING PHOTO EDITING