Xara 3D

Xara 3D is a program that fits onto a floppy disk and makes 3D-rendered lettering so that Web pages can have suave, solid-looking headings and e-mail links. These 3D words can be simple images, or jumping, bouncing, rotating animations that attract viewers' eyes and (hopefully) inspire clicking.

Veteran Web creators reading this are pretty much guaranteed to think of Ulead Cool 3D, and they would be right. Xara 3D is, for all intents and purposes, a shareware version of Cool 3D made by a different company. The interface is much the same as in the Ulead product, the things that you can do to your 3D letters are the same and, finally, the end results are indistinguishable from those obtained using the industry standard product.

So, what's the difference, you may ask? Xara 3D is much smaller, and downloads over a 56Kbps modem in about three minutes. Xara is extremely affordable and, significantly, Xara does its thing substantially faster than Cool 3D. On an obsolete Pentium 200, effects applied to text are rendered in well under half a second, whereas Cool 3D has to think for nearly 20 seconds.

Text rotations and animations proceed quickly without pauses between frames. The ability to render Windows Metafiles (WMF), Enhanced Metafiles (EMF), CorelXARA files (XAR) and Xara Web files (WEB) means that rendering chrome company logos becomes a very simple matter.

Xara is one of those relatively rare programs that does exactly what it is supposed to without any fuss, simply and effectively. If you are creating for the Web, this is pretty hot stuff.

Xara 3D

Publisher: Xara Ltd

Price: $US39 download

URL: www.xara.com

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