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I was asked to design a logo for a friend’s website. Being a photographer and somewhat of an expert with high end photo editing software, that’s the software I usually use for drawing. This time, I decided I wanted to use actual illustration software. Drawings made with illustration software can be made giant or tiny with zero loss of detail and extraordinarily small files I was not going to pay 400+ dollars for new software I searched the Internet for a cheap solution I found a gold mine for a pittance.

XaraXtreme 4 from Xara is an illustrator’s dream. This application is beyond amazing! I got it to use, not review. After using it for just a short time, I knew I had to tell the world what they may be missing. For less than a hundred bucks you get virtually everything you get with the other guy’s really expensive stuff. I was up and running in minutes. XaraXtreme 4 comes with a bunch of short instruction videos which actually address what you want to know. This software not only lends itself to amateurs with its ease of use, it is used by professionals who need the most sophisticated features You can use it to impress friends and family Create drawings, collages, newsletters, web sites, and even edit photos and make panoramas, all with professional results.

Pen and Ink drawing

The illustrations on this page were made with XaraXtreme 4 by professional artists. I include them to show just how much can be accomplished. But wait! There are things that folks like us can do! Open a .jpeg (.jpg) picture and all you have to do to resize it is drag a handle on the picture. No guessing how many pixels wide it should be. Save it for the web, and you’ve resized it both in dimensions and file size. You can place multiple pictures on the same drawing and move them around and resize them independently. You may also rotate a picture in real time by again simply moving handles. You have now made a cool collage in record time Want to add text? No problem. You can add and adjust text just as easily.

XaraXtreme 4 includes basic photo editing. It includes everything a casual photographer needs and then some. Automatic Red Eye Removal, Auto Levels Adjust, Crop, and much more. For the Photoshop crowd, it has plugins that make

XaraXtreme 4 has a full suite of web tools. Easily create flash and gif animations. Automatically generate code for rollover buttons and image maps. Even create complete web sites. There are website templates included, as well as tons of clip art and examples. The reality is that there are far too many features to even scratch the surface. Did I mention panorama stitching?

There is also a professional version, XaraXtremePro(r) 4. It adds support for features such as PDF export, color separation, PANTONE(r) color support, and multi-processor support for speed.

This picture is a drawing, no cameras were used!

Pig drawing

For more info and amazing examples go to www.xara.com

Pros: Easy, fast, price, and far too much more to list.

Cons: I’m not nearly talented enough to take advantage of all the possibilities.

Very Highly Recommended!

No pigs were injured drawing this image.

Written by Jeff