Xara Xtreme
Price $89 | Company Xara | Web www.xara.com | Contact via website | PC only

As with CorelDRAW, Xara Xtreme is a collection of titles that creates an all-round graphics bundle. But, unlike the Corel one, Xara is aimed squarely at artists rather than graphic designers. Refreshingly, it doesn’t assume the user is as occupied with technical computer matters. Instead, it presents its available tools in a clean, intuitive manner, so you can concentrate on your artwork, not the software preferences.

The core on which Xtreme is focused is firmly in the vector camp, but don’t be fooled into thinking its results will be cold and clinical. There are plenty of examples of vector artwork available that display how possible it is to create more natural results. Xtreme is more than capable in achieving these.

Unlike many competitors, Xara has concentrated on making the software easy to use and lightning fast. Options such as vector transparency, blending and feathering are standard features and the application of such elements is as simple as dragging the mouse. Most edits are carried out in real-time, using remarkably little memory, so you won’t be forced to wait as objects re-render or your system grinds to an inspiration-sapping halt.

Familiarity with its methods will quickly improve your workflow. For its price there is simply nothing in its league for imaginative vector illustration.

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