It's been a long time since we upgraded Xara Xtreme (the last release was the more expensive Pro version). Well the waiting is now almost over.

Within the next few weeks the first result of our collaboration with Magix will be available in retail shops. Magix Xtreme Photo & Graphic Designer is a new version of Xara Xtreme, integrated with Magix Photo Clinic. Initially available in German, the English language versions will follow a few weeks later.

Soon after that, hopefully by the end of May, we will be offering upgrades to Xara Xtreme and Xara Xtreme Pro that incorporate the new features. This will be a fairly major upgrade to Xtreme, less so for Pro (which is only 6 months old after all).

As a taster, here are some of the improvements to both versions:
  • Improved color line and color handling
  • Improved drag 'n drop photo replacement
  • Improved fill handling (graduated and bitmap fills)
  • New integrated Photo Editor, based on an updated Magix Photo Clinic
  • Improved zoom (via scroll wheel) smoother & faster
  • A number of text tool improvements
  • Full Windows Vista usability
  • Improved import / export filters including RTF, EMF/WMF and more
  • Copy / paste to / from Microsoft Word includes all style and font information
More details, including upgrade prices and full feature descriptions will appear in May. New orders of Xara Xtreme and Xtreme Pro will qualify for a free upgrade.

This month's special offer is a return for the enormously popular Xara X� giveaway - back by popular demand as they say. This is the version before Xara Xtreme, but at $19 it's a total bargain (especially for UK customers given the strong pound - that's less than £10!) and a great way to start exploring the Xara X family for those who have hesitated until now. One week only.

Xara Xtreme is much more than just a drawing or vector graphics illustration package. You can perform a wide range of photo manipulation operations from the simplest cropping, re-scaling and file format conversion to more complex photo compositions. This edition of the Outsider shows various ways in which Xara Xtreme can be used for manipulating photos.

This month's inspirational art is not a specific example, but rather a category of art that's popular with Xara owners - namely cartoons. There are many very talented cartoon artists that use Xara Xtreme for their work, so this month we highlight just a few great examples. Find out more

The Xara Xtreme Live Effect feature lets you use Photoshop plug-ins with vector graphics. What's more they remain completely live and editable. So these examples, produced with the squint effect from the Eye Candy 4000 plug-in collection, can be applied to any vector object or text and you can still edit the image - the squint effect is automatically re-applied to the text (or shape) after you've edited.

The Eye Candy 4000 collection of 23 plug-ins is normally sold by Alien Skin for $129, but we've negotiated a discount for all Xara registered users, so you can purchase this for just $59!

Find out more
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Visit the Xara graphics forums to discuss or find answers to your graphics needs. Our pick of top talk this month:

New: Graphic Studio Pro - with special launch offer
Due to popular demand, we've created a new Pro version of Xara Graphic Studio. Graphic Studio is a great value bundle of our 3 most popular products - Xara Xtreme, Xara Webstyle and Xara3D. The new Pro option includes Xara Xtreme Pro instead of Xara Xtreme, and we have a special launch offer which bundles all the Webstyle templates in packs 1 - 5 with all purchases of Graphic Studio (and Webstyle) for 10 days only. That's an extra $49.95 worth of value! Find out more

Tip 1:
Not sure of the format of a bitmap in your drawing? Is it a JPG or a PNG? Open the bitmap gallery and if it shows 'standard bitmap' that means it's stored as PNG (lossless). If it shows JPG then the original JPG file is stored in the .xar file.

Tip 2:
Did you know you can make a photo black and white with a single click to the 'white' color on the color line. Or, just bring up the color editor and edit the color of the photo - it's that easy.

Tip 3:
An easy way to crop a photo. Draw a rectangle (or any shape) over it, Shift-click on the photo then select Ctrl and 3. Easy.
What's more you can now push the photo around inside the crop, by going into the fill tool and dragging the centre of the fill arrows (this really converts the photo into a bitmap fill inside the rectangle shape).

Tip 4:
When you scale hi-res images down to less than half size, the anti-aliasing feature doesn't work so well and jaggies start to appear (this is for speed reasons). But when you export images they are exported at higher quality than they appear on screen (technically they are exported with bicubic sampling).

Tip 5:
You want to vary the strength of effect applied to a photo (anything from blur to a color change or a Live Effect), then just clone the photo (Ctrl and K), apply the effect to the top copy, and then just adjust the transparency of the top copy - this will vary the mix of the original un-processed version with the processed one.

Are you already using Windows Vista?

Resizing photos
Resize your photos easily, with no loss of quality.
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Enhancing photos
Enhance your photos in seconds using the Xara Picture Editor.
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Adding watermarks
Add watermarks to your photos quickly and easily with Xara Xtreme.
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Cropping photos
Crop your photos to any shape, add a border and shadow.
View demo
Adding captions
Add captions to your photos quickly and easily with Xara Xtreme.
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General photo composition
High res image composition work compared to Adobe Illustrator CS�.
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