Xara 3D Maker 7 full review

Xara 3D Maker 7 simplifies further the creation of snazzy moving text in three dimensions

Animating 3D graphics is not the easiest of tasks, but for some years Xara 3D Maker has been simplifying the creation of snazzy moving text in three dimensions.

The latest version 7 of Xara 3D Maker doesn’t break significantly with the tradition, but it does offer some new animation options, text styles, and integration with third-party apps.

A very welcome addition for amateur videomakers will be Xara 3D Maker 7's new scrolling text options. You can now create captions that move horizontally or vertically, and vary the speed to meet your requirements.

It’s also possible to make the text move on and off screen with different speeds, for example if you want a slow entry and fast exit.

There are seven new bevel types, extending your creative options. However, the changes here are fairly subtle from the existing bevels, which were already extensive.

More significant is the View Options panel. This allows you to change the X and Y positioning of text by exact pixel values. You can also rotate the viewpoint, although these values can’t be animated. If you’re working on a complex animation and find things are slowing down a bit, there’s a wireframe option here as well.

A selection of smaller tweaks are included in Xara 3D Maker 7 as well. The Open Samples dialogue takes you straight to 700 ready-made Xara examples, which you can customize for your own uses. You can copy and paste frames straight from 3D Maker 7 to Microsoft Word and other apps.

On a more prosaic level, your current design is saved automatically on exit and recalled when you load the software again. This version of Xara 3D Maker 7 is also fully compatible with Windows 7 – which any Windows software really should be by now anyway.

As before, the final animation can be exported to AVI files, animated GIFs or cursors, and Flash SWFs; but Xara now has a better option if you also plan to use your animations inside certain Magix apps.

With version 7, it’s possible to export your animations in a proprietary format called CFX, which renders the background transparent rather than a fixed colour, so the text can be overlaid onto other assets more seamlessly. The CFX format is compatible with Photostory on CD & DVD 9, and Movie Edit Pro 17.

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Xara 3D Maker 7: Specs

  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • 256MB RAM
  • 150MB available drive space