Right on the edge of useful

Microsoft's New Vector Drawing Application Released

Posted Friday, June 10, 2005 2:58:24 PM by Kim

Microsoft today announced their new vector based drawing and painting application, code named Acrylic. Redmond describes Acrylic as "an innovative illustration, painting and graphics tool that provides exciting creative capabilities for designers working in print, web, video, and interactive media."

I've had a quick run through with Acrylic this afternoon and like much of what I see. There might be a pretty steep learning curve for what is in essence a painting application, but I do like some of the effects the program is able to achieve and the tools methodology. This is a beta, so there are bound to be changes coming to the user interface, which I find to be both sparse and overcrowded at the same time. A preference to turn labels on for tools would be a good start since the tool icons in use are meaningless to me as a new user. Still, as with any graphics application it's what you're able to create that really matters, and what I've seen of Acrylic so far looks very very nice.

Acrylic is built on top of the Creature House Expression software program that Microsoft bought a few years ago, but clearly they have set their sights much higher than what was possible in Expression, ostensibly aiming at the professional market owned by Freehand and Illustrator and Corel's painting software. (Umm, you might want to not capitalize the word Freehand in your menu choices there folks. I have a feeling that there's a trademark violation in there somewhere.)

(Portions originally posted at

Update: More information at c|Net: Microsoft offers beta of Adobe rival.

Category tags: Designing for the Web