September 2004

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column published for parents, teachers & business owners featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles, a free resource since 1995.


Barbie Fashion Show from Vivendi Universal Games and Wild FX Pro Video Titling and Text Animation Software

By Howard Berenbon

Girls, ages 5 and up, will find Barbie Fashion Show from Vivendi Universal Games, a great way to learn about the world of fashion.  It may even spark interest in a future career in modeling or clothing design when they join Barbie and friends in a fashion packed interactive adventure.  Girls will learn the ins and outs of the fashion business while choosing the right clothes, the right accessories, on the right stage, with the right music as they prepare Barbie for her big fashion show event in Paris, France.

After a quick installation from CD, and signing in, you’ll join Cookie McFarland (a famous fashion designer) and Barbie for your first fashion design assignment.   Future fashion designers will have all the tools they need, accessed from the main screen, to create their very own unique fashion shows.

First, you’ll access the Design Table to pick the fabrics and patterns, and then design the new outfits, or change outfits already created.  After all outfits are designed, click on the Model Board to pick the models and add matching hairstyles and shoes.  Finally, click on Stage to set the stage for your new fashion show. You also have access to your clothing rack, a radio to play your favorite tunes while you’re designing and a computer where you can hear Cookie repeat your assignment.

Girls will definitely love this new Barbie fashion title from Vivendi.  Becky, my 9-year-old daughter, really enjoyed this CD.  She’s not as interested in Barbie as she was at the age of 6, but that didn’t stop her from spending several hours, two days in a row, working with the models and the various accessories and cloths combinations on screen.  She said this software was “pretty good.”

Barbie Fashion Show sells for  $19.99 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium II 400 MHz or faster processor, 32 MB RAM with Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and a 24x speed CD-ROM drive.  DirectX 9.0 with a compatible 3D video and sound card. 

Wild FX Pro Video Titling and Text Animation Software

Wild FX Pro is a new great new Flash (.swf) utility that can help any Web designer, beginner or advanced, add some snazzy text animations and video titles to their Web site designs.  Sometimes, you just need a little something to get the attention of your site visitors, and Wild FX Pro is the tool to help you do it.  Just type a little text, select a font and pick from over 400 pre-designed animated effects (or design your own) and you’ve created a little Flash text animation to add a little pizzazz to your Website.

Once created, your animations can be exported to several different video formats including Flash .swf files for the Websites, .mov, .avi, .mp4, .dv and image sequence.

After a quick download and installation from the Wildform Website, you'll be creating flashy text effects and video titles in no time.  From the main menu, you’ll enter your text at the top center of the screen, and then pick an effect from three folders on the left labeled Custom, Dynamic and Standard.  Each time you select an effect, you'll see it in action displayed in the Wildform Wild FX Pro SWF Preview window.  Directly below the text window you'll find the controls are the movie width, height, frame per second and background color selections. Below the movie box you’ll find the controls for selecting the font size, color, line spacing and x and y positions of your text.  And, below the Font controls you’ll see boxes to select the Letter Delay, Line Delay frames and the Reverse text display check box.  After you've designed that attention-getting text effect you'll need to save it in the proper Web site format.  Click the File menu in the upper left hand corner of the screen and select Save Settings or Save Settings As.

Under the Custom menu, you can modify the effects to your liking, by changing the various operating parameters, and then save it as a new effect.  Everything you need to know about custom animation or any other factors or effects, is covered in their excellent Help documentation available within the program.

Here are some samples of what you can expect from Wild FX Pro, picking from wide variety of great affects:

Now, although it only takes just a few seconds to create a neat text animation, you still have to save the file in a usable format for use in your project.    If your design is intended to spruce up a Website, then you’ll likely save it in the Flash (.swf) format.  You will definitely spend more time installing it on your Website then creating the effect in Wild FX Pro.

Wild FX Pro is a must have tool for any Web designer.  It sells for $99 and is available for Windows or Macintosh. 

Software Companies Mentioned

Vivendi Universal Games, Inc.
4247 S. Minnewawa Ave.
Fresno, CA 93725
Phone: 1-866-341-0879