Microsoft reveal new designer tools


#1

Microsoft have revealed details of some new graphics and design apps. They’re all grouped together as part of the same “Expression family of designer tools”

Acrylic Graphic Designer
This contains their vector illustration program “Acrylic” which was available as a beta download recently.

Sparkle Interactive Designer
This is a program for designing rich, multimedia content or user interfaces.

Quartz Web Designer
A new web design program - interesting how Microsoft states on their website that the program lets you “…design, develop, and maintain exceptional standards-based Web sites.”

Interesting developments!


#2

“…design, develop, and maintain exceptional standards-based Web sites.”

LOL
It is especially funny how it didn’t run too well using FireFox.

I am curious what they have to offer though.


#3

Videos:
http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/_asx/expression_vision.wvx
http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/_asx/gd_effects.wvx
http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/_asx/gd_fluid.wvx
http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/_asx/gd_workflow.wvx
http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/_asx/gd_vector.wvx
http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/_asx/gd_bitmap.wvx

What a bunch of incompetent people, I can’t even see the videos in IE…


#4

Having used MS acrylic for a bunch of project, I have to say that I LOOOVE the program.

-R


#5

Having used MS acrylic for a bunch of project, I have to say that I LOOOVE the program.

Basically MS purchased a company called Creature House, who developed a fantastic vector-based program called Expression. It was on version 3 when MS aquired them. The Creature House team started working for MS to develop Expression into Acrylic as well as to redevelop one of their other applications, Living Cells, which was in beta at the time. Living Cells was a 2D animation package that utilized a lot of the functionality of Expression within it (as well as a lot of other things). When MS aquired Creature House there was a lot of speculation that MS wanted to create some sort of Flash killer using Living Cells technology. To me it looks like they are try to do that as well as take on Macromedia/Adobe in the process by creating, in one fell swoop, a product line to compete with Dreamweaver, Illustrator/Freehand and Flash.

I am actually pretty excited about this mainly because the tools look good and I know that the original Creature House developers are fantastic. For example, even while MS is not really supporting Expression 3, the developers from Creature House (now working for MS) still are. They are a great. I expect these products to be great as well and I would not judge them just because they will carry an MS label.


#6

Wow those look pretty good. Will they be realeased with Vista?
I bet Adobe’s not to happy about this. Maybe it will finally be the end of really crappy Powerpoint presentations.

Cheers,
JS


#7

Well except for the fact that content created with these programs probably won’t be easily viewable on non-MS computers (specifically the web content)… so no idea how they are calling it “standards-based”


#8

correection:They say it under
Deliver Superior UX

Create dynamic, interactive pages and sites that leverage the power of the Web to deliver compelling user experiences. Easily design to standards and optimize your sites for accessibility and cross-browser compatibility with built-in support and validation for Web standards.

Now what is a XAML and a UX as opposed to a UI is the next question


#9

:shrug:
That is what I was wondering also. It appears to me that MS really wants to get websites to be really integrated into the Windows Vista - like make webpages one-with-the-OS (or some other BS like that). If that is the case, then there is no way a site made with these tools would display the same on a Mac or LINUX PC (atleast not with extra work on the designer’s end).


#10

That is what I was wondering also. It appears to me that MS really wants to get websites to be really integrated into the Windows Vista - like make webpages one-with-the-OS (or some other BS like that). If that is the case, then there is no way a site made with these tools would display the same on a Mac or LINUX PC (atleast not with extra work on the designer’s end).

Talk about a lot of speculation :wink:


#11

Bring arguments please. I don’t really see what’s so cool about it.


#12

For me, I suppose the remarkable thing is that MS, for all its money and resources, was compelled to buy in the anchor technology of much of this from Creature House. In a way, I’m quite glad - I’ve always felt that the future is vector (witness Satori, still the most underated and cruelly ignored 2D application out there) and in some way this supports all that. Expression was and still is a terrific program, as Roberto has mentioned - the GUI is absolutely terrific, and even though this has been slightly screwed about with in its Acrylic incarnation, the substance remains the same. Expression/Acrylic begins to cruise into its own when used in conjunction with other apps, and in its way is I think far more flexible than its other vector rivals.

All in all, quite interesting, if others take the bait…


#13

As SpecialBrew said, what’s unique about Expression/Acrylic is that it mimics natural media (traditional art materials), but is completely vector-based. In other words, you can paint or draw in a style similar to Corel Painter, but unlike Painter, you can scale or re-size your drawings without losing any image quality or suffering from pixellation (Painter is bitmap-based). It’s true that Illustrator now also contains some brushes that mimic natural media, but Expression goes much further with a far broader range of styles and brushes. SatoriPaint is another natural media drawing program that can scale images to huge sizes with no loss of detail, but does things in a very different way from Expression.


#14

I see, it does seem interesting. Does it support cmyk well?


#15

Here are some samples of some illustration work I have done with MS Acrylic…

Just playing around to test the tool.



#16

Yes Expression is/was a very cool program… So I imagine that MS would have to do pretty bad to destroy it completely. It will be interesting in what direction it will be taken in future. Hopefully having MS’s name on it will finally give the expression team the credit they deserve.

Lets hope that MS don’t get any more of these crazy Ideas though… otherwise they might compete with flash by buying Adobe.:curious:

I think that MS’s idea of standard is that windows is the Standard operating system that comes with your new computer and Internet explorer is the standard web browser since that is what everybody uses. I would like to be pleasantly surprised. But previous experience tells me otherwise. Maybe they are just alluding to the fact that they use XML in there products - I guess thats standard in the way that a standard program is stored in binary.


#17

They’re terrible at new names, at any rate… :slight_smile:

Odd Microsoft, ‘standard’.


#18

So then, maybe not a Photoshop killer, but perhaps a Satori killer?


#19

Since future windows programs for Vista will be built with UI and Application code in different development pipelines, I think it’s smart of Microsoft to release their own Graphic Tools for the artists. I’m guessing these tools will be like Flash (for actual UI design), and the “ActionScripting” part (program code) will be handled by programmers in VStudio.


#20

So then, maybe not a Photoshop killer, but perhaps a Satori killer?

Well, if you look at the entire set as one, then the product is intended to “kill” quite a few apps:

  • Illustrator
  • Freehand
  • Dreamweaver
  • GoLive
  • Flash
  • Fireworks?

Basically this set could take on most of the line of Macrodobe … er … Adomedia … er … you know who :wink: .