ScriptFX - Web page design help

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 Has one of the most sophisticated rendering engines in any graphics package.


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Redraw Speed and instant changes
For the user that means that the redraw speed (how long it takes to draw the image when you create, move or resize an object) is one of the fastest you'll see.

Many graphics packages will keep you waiting a few seconds while objects are drawn on the screen. In a complex document that can mean you have wasted a significant amount of time which can be very frustrating. With Xara X, when you create an image it appears instantly on the screen.

Speed isn't just restricted to creating and moving objects though - any time you manipulate an object by using one of the Direct Action Tools, the Profile or Attributes dialogs, or the Colour Editor, any changes you make also appear instantly. This means that when you move a slider it's not the preview of the image that changes - it's the image itself, so you can instantly see how the changes work in the context of the whole picture.

Direct Action Tools
XARA X's Direct Action Tools allow you to create effects such as transparency, bevels or gradient fills by selecting the tool then dragging over the area you want to affect.

Traditionally, to apply these effects you make your changes in a dialog box and they are transferred to the drawing. With Xara X's Direct Action Tools, you can apply all these effects on the object itself - without having to enter any numbers in a dialog box! And the changes take place instantly - it's as close to using your hands as you will get with a graphics package.

This is a BIG advantage, because it not only saves time, but also keeps the creative work and the image itself at the centre of your focus. It makes experimenting with effects and settings much easier too.

Direct Action Tools include the Bevel, Shadow, Transparency, Fill, Contour and Blend tools.

Drag and Drop
Many tasks in Xara X benefit from being able to use the drag and drop principle. When changing the colour of an object, you can just drag a colour from the Colour Line and drop it onto the object, or its outline.

With gradients, you can drop colours along the gradient path and make multi-colour fills.
Drag and drop also comes into play when using the galleries. You can place any gallery item on a page simply by drag and drop.

Graphics Tablet
The closest thing to actually drawing for real today comes from using a graphics tablet. Xara X just made using a graphics tablet even more realistic though as now you get the advantage of pressure sensitivity.

What that means is that when you are using the Brush Tool you can alter the size and/or the transparency of the brush by applying pressure to the pen.
Xara X allows you to choose whether you want the pressure to affect scaling or transparency - or both, or neither.

The Zoom Tool allows you to alter the magnification of the current document, giving you a closer, or more distant view.

Using the Zoom Tool you can zoom to the whole page, so you see the complete document, you can zoom to the drawing, which magnifies just the drawn image as opposed to the whole page, or you can select an object and then zoom to that selection. Another method is to zoom to a particular area by clicking and dragging the tool over the area.

The Xara X Zoom Tool is capable of zooming in to 27,000% - that's 72,000 dpi (dots per inch).

Navigation buttons
Buttons and navigation bars are an essential part of most web sites, but making them can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience.

The Xara X Button and NavBar Tool allows you to create standalone buttons or fully functional navigation bars within minutes. 

You can also create rollover buttons which change as you interact with them  - and Xara X will write all the HTML and JavaScript for you.

The tool works by taking your design for a button and creating as many copies as you wish, either vertically or horizontally. Each button can then be edited - by changing the colour, text, adding bevels, shadows and so on. When making rollovers, you can edit each button and each of its states.

Flash export
Flash by Macromedia has fast become the standard for vector graphic animations on the web. But, as web multimedia designers know, it's not the best tool for actually creating graphics.

Now any image you make in Xara X can be exported in .swf format, which can then be imported into a Flash movie and animated. Because the graphic is in the Flash format, it remains scalable, so you can resize it and manipulate it within Flash without losing any quality.

Using Xara X to create images for use in Flash adds a new level to the quality of animations you will be able to produce.

Animated gifs are still the most common form of animation used on the web. Used for banner advertisements, spinning buttons and character animation, animated gifs will be around for a long time yet.

The Xara X Frame Gallery allows you to create animations one frame at a time. It gives you complete control over every aspect of the animation from pauses between frames to the transparency of objects. When exporting, Xara X is able to fully optimise animated gifs so they have as small a file size as possible, meaning you can create eye-catching animations without hindering the performance of your site.

Dreamweaver integration
Macromedia's Dreamweaver is one of the leading web design packages and is used by designers across the world to create stunning web pages.

Xara X has a special option when exporting an image in a web format (gif, jpeg or png) which saves some extra information used by Dreamweaver, along with the graphic. Then, when you're making a web page in Dreamweaver, you can insert the graphic as normal, but if you want to edit it at any point, just click on the image and Xara X will automatically load up with the graphic open.
Note: only works with Dreamweaver 3.

Image slicing
Large, complex graphics for web pages can produce large files, which take a long time to download over the Internet.

However, often these large graphics contain areas of flat colour or little detail. To reduce the amount of data to download you can 'slice' the image into sections, which can be download separately. The advantage is that areas of flat colour/little detail can be saved at a lower quality (eg. as a 2-color GIF) than complex areas, which can be saved at a higher resolution. The 2-color GIF file takes less time to download, but it means you can still have high detail areas within your image.

Xara X not only slices and saves the images for you, it also writes all the necessary HTML too, so you can just copy it into your web page.

Image maps
Image maps are used in web pages to create clickable areas or hotspots on a graphic. For example, if you had a map of the United Kingdom, you can use an image map with a hotspot over each county.

Xara X allows you to assign a web address to any object in a document. You can then export the complete image along with the necessary HTML required to make the image map work.

When assigning a web address to an object you have the option to make the hotspot fit the object exactly or roughly outline the area with a rectangle which can produce much less code than a complex shape. You also get the option to select where the link should point to - to a new window, the current frame, the parent frame and so on.

Linked stretching
Linked stretching is the process of using named objects to stretch or extend other named objects.

One of the most typical uses for Linked Stretching is when making a button with text on it. It means that when you change the text, the button automatically stretches so the text fits on it perfectly.

This feature is particularly powerful when used in conjunction with the NavBar Tool. You can make one button with some text on, then produce a number of similar buttons to form a bar. The text on each button can then be edited and the individual buttons will stretch to accommodate the text.

When you purchase Xara X, you will be sent a CD-ROM packed with extras.
All this for  $149 US or $69 US upgrade.

Click here for FREE trial




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