Click to download Zipped Tutorial Xara 3D is known for its ability to take text and symbols and to create impressive 3D animations. But what’s not so well known is with a small bit of effort and imagination, you can create some pretty interesting and complex objects, such as the wooden toy train shown below, which as it so happens is the subject of this Guest Tutorial. In this tutorial, we will turn some very simple vector shapes into this toy train. You will need a vector drawing program, Xara Xtreme, Xara Designer or Xara Photo and Graphics Designer will work fine as will previous versions of Xara such as Xara X, etc. And you will need a copy of Xara 3D Maker 7. If you do not already have Xara 3D Maker 7 you can download a free 30 day trial copy here. Shown above top are the basic vector shapes created in Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 6 (or similar software application) and below the simple shapes are the results of extruding these shapes in Xara 3D with the wood texture added along with the bevel styles. Three of the vector shapes look like thin lines and nothing like the round cylinder shapes as they will be in 3D. Well give these 3 shapes a large round bevel to fatten them up into cylinders in Xara 3D Maker 7. This is an illustration of each vector shape according to size and position relative to each other. You can use this as a guide. You will need to either duplicate these shapes in your vector graphics editor. I have colour coded each vector shape for your guidance only. You will not need to colour them. Xara 3D Maker 7 will not use the colours, only the shapes, or click here for a XAR file with the shapes. Once you have created each shape and positioned them similar to the way I have shown, you will need to draw a rectangle around them. This rectangle is a ‘sizing frame’ that will be used by Xara 3D to position and register each shape relative to each other shapes. This ‘sizing frame’ takes advantage of the fact that Xara 3D does not recognise lines (only shapes) and that very thin shapes are not displayed even though they are still recognised. Draw a simple rectangle with an outline width of just 0.001 pixels. For Xara 3D to use the frame you need to convert this line into a shape (Arrange > Convert to Editable Shapes) in your vector drawing program. The shape is too thin to see, so to make it visible, give it a line width of 4 pixels. Open Xara 3D Maker 7: Click on the Text Tool (Aa). Press Ctrl a to select all the existing default text and press the Delete key on your keyboard to delete the text. Ensure that the Aspect ratio is set to 100% and that the Line spacing is set to 0%. Click the Animation Options button and select Rotate 2. Now we’re ready to copy the shapes from the vector application (Xara Designer for example), and paste them into Xara 3D Maker 7. One by one, copy one shape and the sizing rectangle to the clipboard (Edit > Copy). And using the next step, paste the shape and sizing rectangle into Xara 3D Maker 7. In Xara 3D Maker 7, enable Show/Hide Cursor so we can clearly see what we are doing. IMPORTANT: Each time, after you paste a shape and rectangle into Xara 3D, hold down the Shift key and press Enter. This returns the cursor back to the previous position in front of the last pasted shape. And will ensure all the shapes align properly. NOTE: My friend Gary got very confused and wrote to me in a panic asking how to get everything to align properly. This is what the sizing rectangle is for. It automatically puts all of the pieces in the right place. TIP: It will make it easier if you make all of your shapes and resizing rectangle larger. I did this for you in my Basic Shapes XAR file. Copy one shape and sizing rectangle at a time and paste each into Xara 3D Maker 3D.