Photo Tools Design & Useability Enhancements Other Minor Enhancements

Photo Tools

Clone Tool (Clone and Magic Erase)

The Clone Tool has been significantly improved. When you clone, copy or magic erase an area it now uses the current edited photo as the source, instead of the original photo (for manual clone and magic erase objects), which makes the whole process far more WYSIWYG.

Color Select / Erase tool

This powerful new tool serves two purposes; to erase (make transparent) parts of photos based on colors, and secondly to allow only those color-selected areas to be adjusted using the Photo Tool Enhance operations (such as Brightness, Blur, Hue Adjustment etc).

So you can, for example, easily adjust the brightness of the blue sky in your photo or remove a colored background, or change the color of a flower, without affecting other parts of the picture.

If you want to adjust the brightness, sharpness, or color, etc, or a color-selected area rather than simply erasing it, then you can use the ‘Make soft mask’ option to turn the color-selected areas into a mask, so that subsequent Enhance operations affect only those selected areas.

Here are a few examples.

One of these photos shows the real colors. Can you guess which one?
Note that a wide range of shades of the flower color, from light to dark, are being re-colored, but the green leaves are not. And as with most operations in Designer this is fast, real-time, and non-destructive in nature!

Hue Adjustment

The Photo Enhance tool now includes a new hue adjustment feature, allowing a photo (or parts of a photo when using a soft mask or the new ‘Color Select’ tool) to be tinted with any color.

Other Photo Improvements

  • An updated ‘Optimize all images’ function will scan all graphics and images in your document - now including PNGs as well as JPEGs - and convert them to the optimum size and optimum image type.
  • This can substantially reduce memory use and .web file sizes. (NB this is a destructive operation).
  • You are also given the option to optimize images to JPEG when importing, if Designer recommends it.
  • The integrated Panorama stitching tool now stitches up to 8 photos (previous limit was 6) and processing is multi-threaded for higher performance on multi-core computers.
  • Photo replacement is now smarter. When you drag and drop a photo onto an existing one, other existing copies of that image are not all replaced together by the new photo, unless they are inside the same soft group.

Design & Useability Enhancements

Shape Eraser Tool

This is really two powerful tools in one, and can be used to perform hard-edged vector erasing of shapes and photos, or soft erasing.

Hard Erase
When used with a hard edge, it’s a fast and direct way of adjusting the vector outline of a shape inwards. If you stroke around the edge of a shape with your mouse, it just moves the outline inwards.

Dragging a hard-edge erase stroke completely across an object will cut it in two and create two separate objects. If you click and hold (i.e. don’t perform a brush stroke), it will simply cut a hole in the shape.

Soft Erase
You also have a soft erase option; strokes over any object (which can be any shape, text or photo) will erase, ie make transparent, the brush-stroked area. The softness control adjusts how soft the edge of the brush stroke is.

Non-destructive editing
One of the great things about this soft erase feature is that it’s not destructive, that is it doesn’t change the underlying erased shape or photo at all, unlike most other photo editing programs.

This has some important benefits: not only can change your mind at any point and re-adjust the erase, but you can also un-erase and even remove all the erase strokes and recover the original, unmodified shape, text or photo. What’s more you can, for example, apply a soft erase across some text, or perhaps a 3D extruded shape, and then still edit that text, or adjust the 3D extrude, after the erase has been applied.

Support for inline graphics

Designer MX now allows you to embed 'inline graphics' in text using a simple Paste operation. Embedded graphics are great for really small items on the line such as symbols, icons etc, and are treated just like a 'character', in other words they flow and follow the same formatting rules as a character embedded in the text.

Media Exchange via the Share Menu

The new Share Menu puts the MX (Media Exchange) into Designer! All titles in the MAGIX/Xara range can share media files with each other and with some important third party services.

Using the new Share menu, the current selection (whether it’s a photo, or any other object) can be passed as a JPEG to other installed MAGIX MX applications (eg Movie Edit Pro MX), to MAGIX Online Album, and to Flickr and Facebook.

Import & Export

  • 'Import graphics from the Web' has been improved and now imports graphics and text from a web page, and places them in the right position on the page. Note that since most websites use scripts, mouse-over effects and hidden objects and text, this will rarely produce a WYSIWYG result, but it is very useful for importing all graphics and text from an existing website.
  • Improved Copy / Paste of HTML items from other applications such as web browsers (Note the same restrictions apply as above).
  • SVG Import. It's now possible to import most SVG files (we say ‘most’ because there is no industry agreement for SVG format - for example different web browsers support different sets of features).
  • Improved PDF import.
  • Update of camera RAW import.

Text Styles

Designer now supports Text Styles, a powerful way to alter the appearance of text throughout your document with just a few clicks.  Update an element of your Text Style eg font, color, line spacing etc, and all text with that Style applied throughout your document is instantly updated – headings, titles or body text. Consistent text styles help you create professional looking documents, and now it couldn’t be easier.

What’s more we offer ‘live’ Style preview; Simply select some text and then traverse the Style menu - the selection will change to show your text in each Style. It’s a quick and easy way to try out your Styles without having to actually select and undo each in turn.

Designs Gallery, new templates and UI improvements

New content & usability improvements:
  • We’ve added a selection of modern new print templates, including greeting cards, brochures, business cards, CD covers and certificates, plus a selection of new clipart.
  • The Designs Gallery has been completely re-arranged and re-ordered to be more easily navigable.
  • Live Designs Gallery. The Designs Gallery is now completely server linked, so we can update and add more templates, clipart, Widgets etc.

Page & Layer Gallery improvements

Re-position / Delete / Cut or Copy multiple pages
It’s now possible to select more than one page in the Page & Layer Gallery and re-position them with drag & drop. Plus there’s right click access to menu options to Delete, Cut or Copy the selection of pages to the clipboard. You can go into another document and paste whole pages.

You can now also drag objects into and out of ordinary groups in the Gallery (note this is not supported for special groups like anchored groups, repeating groups, etc).

Resizable Color Editor

The color editor is now resizable, which is particularly useful when editing very pale shades of a color in the top right area of the color picker.

Other Minor Enhancements

Optimize all images

An updated 'Optimize all images' function will scan all graphics and images in your document  - now including PNGs as well as JPEGs - and convert them to the optimum size and optimum image type. This can substantially reduce memory use and .web file sizes. (NB this is a destructive operation).

You are also given the option to optimize images to JPEG when importing, if Web Designer recommends it.

Alt text on images

Images that are created during the export process from objects that include text, now have that text set as ‘Alt’ text on the image. So for example a graphical heading that shows the text “Widgets From John Smith” will now have that text set as image Alt text. This means the text can be indexed by search engines even though it’s presented as an image on the page, and it will be picked up by ‘read aloud’ tools used by the visually impaired.

Fly-out galleries

A new option to turn off the fly-out galleries.

Easy access previewing

The 'Preview Page' and 'Preview Website' buttons have been placed beside each other on the top bar, for easier, quicker access and provided with new F5 and Shift+F5 key short cuts.

Auto showing of guides

Page Guides are now turned on and 'snap to guides' enabled automatically if you attempt to drag a guideline onto a page when the guides are turned off.

Ctrl+rotate alignment

When rotating objects if you hold Ctrl down it now snaps any significant straight edge to the horizontal or vertical. This applies to text lines, columns and blocks, photos, Quick Shapes, lines and even freehand drawn shapes that have significant straight edges.

Link handling on iOS devices

Also v8 is smart about the lack of mouseovers and mouse pointers on iOS devices – the first tap on a button or link will now follow the link, a second tap isn’t necessary.

Incremental Publishing

Improved Incremental Publishing, making it smarter about publishing updates.

Character based languages

Improved formatting support for character based languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Right click options

Right clicking over any empty area of the button bars on the Web Designer window will show a context menu to quickly enable or disable any tool bar.

Lock page size option

A new 'Lock page size' option has been added in the 'Page Options' dialog. This can prevent accidental drag resize of the lower or right page edge.

New keyboard shortcuts

Delete Page:   Delete
Move Page Up:   PageUp
Move Page Down:   PageDown
Push margins dialog:   Ctrl+Shift+H
Toggle Push attribute on selection:   Ctrl+H
Preview Website:   F5
Preview current web page:   Shift + F5

AVI animation frame rate control

You can now set the AVI frame rate of exported animations, and the animation preview window now has thumb track control on a timeline.

Soft mask

Mask mode now supports soft as well as hard masks. You can place semi transparent objects on the mask layer to form a soft mask, so that you have fine control over the placement and strength of Photo Enhance effects such as Hue, Saturation or brightness adjustments. With this new release you can paste any semi-transparent vector object, including complex groups and alpha-channel bitmaps onto the mask layer.