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Xara X. A Basic Animation Tutorial

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Here is a quick tutorial that will cover the basics for creating a GIF animation in Xara X.

Enable Snap to Grid (Window > Snap to Grid). Set the Units in the Page Options menu ( Utilities > Options > Units) to Pixels and the Color Units: to 0-255.

Using the Rectangle Tool, create a rectangle 200 pixels wide by 150 pixel tall.

Open the Color Editor, (click the small color wheel to the left of the screen palette) and enter the exact RGB values shown above).

Copy the rectangle to the clipboard (Ctrl C or Edit > Copy ).

new animation iconPress the New Animation button (just under the File menu on the Infobar) to open a New Animation window. Paste the rectangle using Ctrl V or Edit > Paste to paste the rectangle in the center of the animation window.

animation buttonsWhen you open a new animation window, a new set of buttons are activated on the Infobar. (If you do not see these buttons, from the Window pull down menu, select Control Bars... and place a check next to Gif Animation).

The buttons are as follows: a New Frame, b Copy Frame (copies the contents of the current frame into a new frame), c Delete Frame, d move back one frame, e move forward one frame, f Frame Properties, g Preview Frame, h Animation Properties (similar to Frame Properties except applies to all frames), i Preview Animation (opens the animation player shown on the bottom of the last pagej Export Animation and k Preview Animation in Browser. (The button bar is shown in its undocked (floating menu) position.

animation properties dialogframe properties iconPress the Frame Properties button on the Infobar to open the Frame Properties dialog (shown on the left). Check Background and change the display time to 0. Be sure to press Apply to apply the changes.

new frame iconPress the New Frame icon on the Infobar to add frame #2.

animation properties dialog In frame #2, select the Text Tool and key in a capital X, set the size to 48 points (on the Infobar) and from the drop down list of Fonts, select Arial Black, or a similar bold, sans serif font. Highlight the X (drag the text cursor across it) and press the Center Justify button on the Infobar.

Select the X and the rectangle. Open the Align menu (Arrange > Alignment ) and click in the center of the preview window to automatically select center vertically and horizontally. Press OK to apply the alignment and to close the Object Alignment menu.

animation properties dialogPress the Copy Frame icon (shown here) to copy the current contents to a new frame, frame #3.

animation properties dialogHighlight the X with the Text Tool cursor and change the text to XA. Because the text is center justified, the new text will automatically be centered on the new frame.

Repeat the last two steps to Copy two more frames and change the text in the new to frames to XAR and XARA.

animation properties dialogOpen the Frames Gallery by pressing the Frames Gallery icon on the Infobar.

All five frames are shown.

The box under the B is checked in frame 1 indicating this is a background image and the display time is set 0.

Right click on frame 5 and select Frame Properties. Change the display time to 50. Press Apply to apply this change. Change the display time for the other frames to 50 pressing Apply with each frame change.

animation properties dialogPress the Copy Frame button to add another frame.

Delete all the text except the X. Using the Height and Width of Selection text entry boxes on the Infobar, and with the small lock icon in the raised position, (non-proportional scaling) change the height and width of the X to 200 pixels wide by 150 pixels tall.

In the Frame Gallery, select frame 6 and change the display time to 200 and press Apply to apply the changes. This adds a pause at the end of the animation.

animation properties dialog Before you close the Animation Properties dialog, select the Animation Loop and Speed tabbed section. Uncheck Loop Continuously and enter 5 for the Loop times. Press Apply.

In the Animation Colors tabbed section, check Global Browser Palette.

Select the Preview in Browser tabbed section and press the Browser Preview button to launch your default Browser and preview the animation. The animation will play 5 times and stop. To see the animation again, reload the page. 

animation properties dialog If you are happy with your animation, press the Export Animated Gif button on the Infobar. Name your animation and select the folder in which to save the animation.

And that's it in a nut shell. 

animation properties dialogHere is the finished animation, all 7KB of it.

This is the basic procedure for creating most animations. Of course with Xara's tremendous set of power tools you can create some really cool effects as well.

animation properties dialog Here is another simple but effective animation.

Questions, comments, or... Go to the next page and let me know if this was helpful and easy to understand.