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Xara 3D Maker 7 review

Ben Pitt
19 Apr 2011
Xara 3D
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30
inc VAT

Creating cheesy, dated 3D text animations has never been so easy. If that's what you really want, we can't fault it.

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Back in the 1990s when low-cost 3D modelling software was in its infancy, having your name or company logo rotating interminably in the corner of your website felt like the height of computer chic. 3D modelling is still extensively used today, but with advanced rendering to give photo-realistic results, along with a realisation that artistic merit rather than novel technology is the best way to successful design.

Xara 3D

Xara 3D Maker is a 3D text animation tool with its feet planted firmly in the 1990s. Using it boils down to typing text, picking a font and colour or bitmap texture, extruding it into 3D, rotating it and positioning three coloured lights. The rendering engine couldn't be much less photo-realistic, with no ray tracing for convincing reflections, specular highlights and opaque objects. The only provision for non-text elements is a simple border shape.

It's extremely user-friendly, though - a rare feat for 3D modelling. Animations are picked from 13 preset styles such as Rotate and Ripple, and can be customised per character for some interesting effects. New features in this version include the ability to make lines of text appear as a sequence. Exporting as a GIF or Flash SWF allows import to Sony and Adobe's video editors with a transparent background, so animations can be overlaid onto video footage.

To us, 3D Maker's output looks hopelessly dated, but there's no accounting for some people's taste. If you like these examples, then give the free 7-day trial a go.

Details

Price£30
Detailswww.xara.com
Rating***

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