BannerZest ProIf you’ve ever wanted to add a professional-quality, animated banner to a website or blog, you’ll want to check out BannerZest from Aquafadas. This theme-based animation software makes it easy to quickly add Flash-based slide shows and animated banners without owning or knowing anything about Flash. BannerZest is available in two flavors: Standard or Pro. This review is based on experiences using the Pro version.

Creating a Flash banner using BannerZest is surprisingly quick and easy. Upon launching the program, the first thing you’ll see is a designated drag-and-drop area. To create a banner, you must first select your images and drag-and-drop them onto the designated area. This action launches an Inspector panel that allows you to choose the layout and type of animation from a list of 27 themes. Once you select a theme, you can adjust most of the theme’s attributes, such as dimensions, background colors, gradients, borders, fonts, and transitions. Even though you must use a theme to create a banner, adjusting the settings allows you to create a custom look. Adding a URL link to the banner images is easy using the Media panel tools.

The final step is to publish the banner. The Publish settings allow you to specify whether you want to publish the banner to a Web server or a local directory. Clicking the Show HTML button opens a window containing the code needed to integrate the banner on a server. Clicking the Show Banner button opens an HTML page displaying the banner.—Cyndy Cashman

PRICE: $129 Pro ($49 Standard)
FROM: Aquafadas SAS
WEB: www.aquafadas.com

HOT Easy to use; ability to customize settings