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Initial Review of Microsoft's Acrylic BETA 283

Posted by timothy
from the room-for-improvement dept.
Geuis writes "I'll admit, I'm not a big Microsoft fan. I'm an old-time user of Adobe Photoshop, and I love nearly everything it can do. However, in the interest of science, I decided to try out the new beta for Microsoft's answer to Photoshop, Acrylic. My review is posted on my blog. Final recommendation: Stay as far away from Acrylic as you can. It needs so much development work done, it shouldn't be out of Alpha testing. If this is anywhere close to the final product they are planning to release, then Microsoft should be prepared to eat another few million in lost development funds. There's no reason you should have to eat it too."
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Initial Review of Microsoft's Acrylic BETA

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  • by metlin (258108) * on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:22PM (#12790780) Journal
    What utter crap, that guy has no clue about what Acrylic is meant for, and keeps comparing it with Photoshop (it's like comparing apples and oranges). And ofcourse, his utter prejudice against MS doesn't help, either.

    I'm not a particularly big fan of MS, but having seen Acrylic, I can assure you that that guy has no clue about what he's talking about.

    Anyway, I wrote a detailed rant in reply to his blog entry [thetechgurus.net].

    Man, since when did Slashdot starting posting ridiculous reviews from Joe Schmoe off the street?
    • Heh. I was just gonna comment that it was an utterly vapid "review" and that the first five comments on his own site summed it up pretty well.

      This dude doesn't even know what video card is in his computer, and it doesn't seem that he tried to actually, you know, *produce* anything with the app.
      • Yeah, I've read several blog reviews, and some of them are genuinely good. In fact, if he had known what exactly it does, maybe the review might actually have been half decent.

        Instead, this just sounds like a fanboy who tried something he did not know what it was for and wrote a review.

        And ofcourse it's not even going to come close to Photoshop, what was s/he thinking? Like another poster remarked, this is probably nothing more than a publicity stunt by MS. Or maybe it's their attempt at bringing a simple
        • Or maybe it's their (MS) attempt at bringing a simple vector + pixel editing program to the masses

          I agree with you about the poor "review" (this guy seems like such a zealot to me and I _really_ don't like MS). However, I really do not agree with your statement above. I downloaded and tried Acrylic. It has a UI _very_ similar to Photoshop. The Acrylic UI is _not_ a Joe User UI. Acrylic as it is or will be, will never be a "program for the masses".

          I think this is MS's answer for Photoshop fans tha

          • I believe we are making the same point - I should have been clearer, when I meant the masses, I meant purely from a financial/cost perspective. If you notice, I have mentioned the SME market there - for example, there are several companies and users out there who cannot afford to have Adobe's or Macromedia's products, and would love a cheaper alternative (I've a small startup of my own, I know how hard it is to pay an arm and a leg for good software). MS could easily target (and win) from such a market, and
      • Yes. Some class snippets in his own blog:

        What you probably do not realize is that Acrylic is based on Creaturehouse Expression 3.3 which is generally regarded to be a pretty good, innovative graphics app. http://www.creativemac.com/articles/viewarticle.j s p?id=15353 [creativemac.com] Read that review in which a graphics pro a) takes the time to learn it and b) does a critical analysis of the app. Yes it's different than photoshop. It is different than Illustrator. It is different than [insert other graphics app here]
        • "You have not gained the right to review anything other than the smell of your own farts."

          Dude, if somebody posted that in my blog, I'd be proud. That line is excellent and I can only hope to some day inspire that much hilarious nerd rage.
    • by Michalson (638911) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:28PM (#12790808)
      And you expect better from a guy who spends the first page describing 3 different reasons why his inability to execute an HTTP download is a problem of the software he hasn't even installed yet (even throwing in an evil Microsoft conspiracy one liner)?
      • by kkerwin (730626)
        I often wonder if some of this Microsoft backlash isn't just the product of the (immature) desire to fit in. I can remember a time when it was simply popular to bash Microsoft. No other motivation to do so existed, other than that everyone else was doing it.

        I would advise that likewise, the same is true today, though it is certainly changing for the better. Within our "community", it is still PC to bash Microsoft because that is what is expected.

        Microsoft, within the past couple of months, has changed

        • I've been using Microsoft products since MS-DOS on the IBM 5150 in 1981. At the time, comparing it to CP/M, MS-DOS was an inferior product, though the PC was superior to the Z80s. There have always been reasons to criticize MS products, most of them coming from the quality of their products, or their business practices. That's not to say that some people don't attack MS to "fit in", without knowing what they're talking about. But that also doesn't discount the criticisms of those who do know. For that matte
        • by triso (67491)
          I can remember a time when it was simply popular to bash Microsoft. No other motivation to do so existed, other than that everyone else was doing it.
          Except for the fact that their products were over-priced, buggy, wide-open to security breaches and not very useful; that was motivation for some of us.
    • Then what is it for? The whole point of going to beta is that it has some end-user function. If it's still locked into a proprietary file format, it doesn't offer anything. I've downloaded it already, and although it is kind of nice that MS is offering something slightly better than Paint, it doesn't offer anything good in the long run. It would appear that MS is trying to show that it is trying to improve, rather than doing the work itself.
      As far as your accusation that he has no idea what he's talking a
      • by metlin (258108) * on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:36PM (#12790873) Journal
        Well, it's primarily a vector editing program, you ought to be comparing it against such tools as Macromedia's Fireworks and the like. It has both pixel and vector editing features, but the guy does not explore that aspect at all.

        He keeps comparing the pixel editing aspects with photoshop, completely ignoring the other side. And half his/her rant is spent on crazy stuff pertaining to how s/he could not download it?

        If you notice, the reviewer has failed to mention vector editing in any form or comparison - makes you wonder if they are even aware of that.

        And yes, I agree with you - it's probably nothing more than a stunt by MS, but if you are reviewing a product, at the very least be aware of _what_ you're reviewing it against. If I took up a street Miata prototype and started comparing it against the virtues of Ferrari, folks are gonna laugh at me. Both are entirely different, and made for quite different purposes.
        • by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:11PM (#12791424) Homepage
          Well, it's primarily a vector editing program, you ought to be comparing it against such tools as Macromedia's Fireworks and the like.
          Or against Inkscape [inkscape.org], which is open-source, and is getting to be a reasonably stable, full-featured piece of software. It runs on Windows and Linux.
          • > Or against Inkscape, which is open-source, and is
            > getting to be a reasonably stable, full-featured
            > piece of software. It runs on Windows and Linux.

            I started using Inkscape recently. It's still a bit rough around the edges, but the latest version is quite stable on Linux, and it gets the job done. And because it uses SVG, it (a) lends itself to tweaking with a text editor (and even includes a basic textual interface of its own), and (b) interoperates easily with any other app that does likewise
      • by amliebsch (724858) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:43PM (#12790905) Journal
        MS could easily have given us a JPEG exporter or the like, but they did not.

        Missed that little File-->Export menu option, did you?

    • Caveat: I have not installed Acrylic yet. I did successfully download it - in one attempt, maybe I should be proud enough of that.

      However, I did take a look at the included release notes which plainly state:

      Known Issues

      • Pixel painting has not yet been optimized and the performance is slow. Optimization work is currently in progress and drastically improved performance will be delivered in the final release.
      • Importing of .ai files can results in blank documents and under some circumstances appl
    • Just what is Arcylic for?
      Is it geared up to be a Photoshop replacement, a replacement for Microsoft Paint - or just some tool for mums and dads to edit their digital photos, removing red-eye and adding bits of text?

      Whatever happened to Microsoft's Paint.NET?

    • I'd be more worried that he seemed to be seriously excited about a red-eye removal tool.
    • by Deathlizard (115856) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:27PM (#12791504) Homepage Journal
      Man, since when did Slashdot starting posting ridiculous reviews from Joe Schmoe off the street?

      Let's see if it submitted Article Passes the Slashdot article Submission test...

      1) Does it Prase Linux: NO :(
      2) Does it Bash Microsoft: YES :|
      3) Does it talk about Firefox: YES :)
      4) Is it duplicating something from today: NO :D

      From what I see, it passed three of the four tests, so it's gold.
    • I don't even have to download the program to see that it sucks. That UI is one of the worst I have ever seen. It's like one of those Chinese organizers you buy at a Buck or Two for $2.99.

      Photoshop or not, you have to at least try to make the buttons and icons usable. And what's with those palettes? Who needs a palette for the various transform commands? I'd go blind searching for the right button in my "Toolbox" window.
    • by 75th Trombone (581309) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:39PM (#12791546) Homepage Journal
      100% agreed.

      An example: The guy says there's no intuitive way to scroll around the image because there are NO SCROLLBARS.

      Anyone who's used Photoshop for five minutes knows that to drag around an image, you hold down the spacebar to toggle to the hand tool. This works in just about any other graphics app, including Acrylic.

      Another: He regurgitates the gripe that it can only save to XPR format, while the slightest bit of intelligent poking around reveals that -- again, JUST like Photoshop -- it EXPORTS to JPG, PNG, etc etc.

      And that's in the HALF of the "review" that talks about the program instead of the logistics of downloading and installing the thing.

      One thing a lot of us tech nerds have to learn is that our initial feelings do not opinions make. Something about our proto-Asperger's Syndrome compels us to try to make cogent arguments out of what we KNOW are just bare impressions.

      After this guy learns that, he also needs to learn not to compensate by parading his malformed non-arguments in front of all of Slashdot.
      • I'll say this much. Any program that is claiming to be beta should be feature/UI complete or very very close to a freeze on those things IMHO. Beta should be for bugfixes and wider testing (specifically public betas). Now, I know MS always is a little ahead of every other software vendor - many on /. will claim that MS final releases are equivelent to betas from other companies. Sometimes I agree :P

        If they are asking for feature suggestions, or are planning massive work on the UI and the like prior to a fi
    • I'm a Photoshop user, and have been for years; the only vector program I've ever used was an ancient version of Corel draw. Even so, I just downloaded (without incident) Acrylic, installed it, took a couple of minutes fathoming out the interface, and had a play.

      My verdict after 20 minutes? Pretty good. The functionality seems to be all there (although there's always room for more), and the only thing I can see that's crying out for a little love is the UI -- changing stroke widths, etc., is accomplishe
  • Move Along (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:25PM (#12790794)
    If he cant download a file successfully, how can you trust his review?
    • Do you remember a few days ago when some commenter was bitching about how the open office installer came as a zip file instead of an exe or msi? He was rated a five!. He kept bitching about how it was so confusing to an average joe to unzip a file and run setup.exe. He got rated a five despite the fact that MS office can't be downloaded and installed at all!!.

      So the lesson here is that if you critize any open source software for being hard to download and install then you get rated a 5. If you critize any
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:27PM (#12790802)
    I messed with it the other day myself.

    Photoshop competitor? Hardly.

    Nifty little tool? Sure.

    This article? Jumping to conclusions based on a beta showing that doesn't even pretend to be anything more than a test run.
  • by Blahbooboo3 (874492) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:27PM (#12790804)
    I don't understand why Slashdot (a place I like to think of being pretty well grounded in approaches to technology reviews) has gotten caught up in this blog nonsense. Blogs are not news. This guy who wrote this review is a nobody, and as prior replies to this posting say there are tons of flaw by the "author." Could we have a return to posting articles by real journalists in magazines with real editors? Come on Slashdot editors, don't buy into this blogosphere crap! :)
    • by solios (53048) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:45PM (#12790909) Homepage
      I don't understand why Slashdot (a place I like to think of being pretty well grounded in approaches to technology reviews) has gotten caught up in this blog nonsense.

      Uh....

      Slashdot IS a blog. Run by Rob Malda and friends. It just happens to have Weapons Grade commenting capabilities. :P
      • There's no consensus on the definition of a blog, but Slashdot is not a blog in any meaningful sense of the word. Things may appear on it in chronological order, but apart from that there is little about it which is blog-esque.

        A blog-esque Web site consists of postings representing the views and thoughts of an individual, or tiny group. Not so with Slashdot.

        If you broaden the definition of 'blog' tom incorporate the likes of Slashdot the definition becomes too broad to have much meaning.
        • Fah, I remember when /. was Chips & Dips and it was little more than a few geeks commenting on Linux and other geeky subjects. The only difference between /. and the average blog is that /. has actually become popular.

        • Slashdot was one of the first popular blogs, before the word blog existed. There was a time when it was just Rob posting neat stuff he found online, and the occassional commentary.

          If it is still a blog or not I suppose can be debated, but its a matter of degree -- Slashdot is a blog that's grown massively in size.
        • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @06:49PM (#12791292) Journal
          UID 703910 says Slashdot is not a blog in any meaningful sense of the word.

          When Slashdot first appearer it was clearly the type of site that people called "weblogs". Just some links and minimal comment functionality.

          The comment functionality got beefed up, and some blogs became more substance-oriented, but the weblog roots of this site really show through (especially when compared to BBS sites.)
        • by solios (53048) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:27PM (#12791501) Homepage
          If you define a "blog" as somebody being all DOOD OMFG LOOK HOW COOL [link] IS!!!!! and people then talking about it (see ANY Livejournal), then /. isn't just a blog, it's the Death Star of blogs.
          • /. isn't just a blog, it's the Death Star of blogs.

            Indeed. If one were to say that most blogs have an xacto knife and a 9V battery, Slashdot is a blog with a fusion reactor and friggin' laser beams on its ... well, you get the idea.

        • This Jon Katz article describing slashdot as a "weblog" was the first place I ever saw the term: [slashdot.org] http://slashdot.org/features/99/05/13/1832251.shtm l [slashdot.org] (Yes, that's from 1999, back when two-digit dates were popular.)
          I remember because I found the term confusing and thought it should be the log of a webserver. Thankfully, the abbreviation "blog" came along eventually and prevented further confusion.
        • There's no consensus on the definition of a blog, but Slashdot is not a blog in any meaningful sense of the word. Things may appear on it in chronological order, but apart from that there is little about it which is blog-esque.
          A blog-esque Web site consists of postings representing the views and thoughts of an individual, or tiny group. Not so with Slashdot.


          Slashdot represents the views of the editors in what they consider 1)Nerdy and 2)Newsworthy.
          AND they add lil' comments to the articles letting us know
        • It's a blog. The only difference between it and what you describe is that there are more "editors" posting.

          Note the double quotes there. They are not journalists. Slashdot exhibits little of the professionalism we would expect from a newspaper. The misspellings alone should be enough to convince anyone, especially considering the amount of words written.

          I would give Gene Expression [gnxp.com] as an example of something that while clearly a "blog", has several editors and sticks to much higher standards.

    • As opposed to the professional journalists from CNET, ZDNet, and slashdot itself? Given a choice between John C. Dvorak's latest bowel movement of a story and some idiot blogger's "reviews," I'll take the reviews.
    • by Tack (4642) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:49PM (#12790935) Homepage
      I don't understand why Slashdot (a place I like to think of being pretty well grounded in approaches to technology reviews) has gotten caught up in this blog nonsense. Blogs are not news.

      Just because it's content posted in a blog doesn't mean it's not news, or not reliable. Should I avoid reading what Bruce Schneier has to say just because he posts it in a blog [schneier.com]? Or maybe I should wait until next month for him to release his Cryptogram where he basically reposts the same stuff?

      Like any other source, you have to evaluate it based on its merits. But dismissing it out of hand because it's a blog is silly.

      Jason.

    • by product byproduct (628318) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:58PM (#12790983)
      A blog article can be occasionally good. But here's a simple rule that slashdot should use:

      "Do not accept an article submitted by its own writer!"

      Not perfect, but at least if it's submitted by someone else, the article has got at least one positive independent review.

      I for one would never dare submitting my own stuff. The proper way is to do nothing. If it's really good someone else will discover it and submit it to slashdot.
    • I am perfectly ok with john doe's review of . That's because sometimes that's the only way to find a "honest" opinion about .

      The real problem here is with editors. Content like this (crapful review) should not be posted on /. Its your friggin job to read the links you post here.

      This is all assuming that the editor did not read the article linked, because if he did read and still decided to post it, oh boy, this place needs a change in the staff.
    • Well, websites like this, and I hate the word "Blog", are news. /. is nothing more than a proto-blog, a paleo-blog if you will. We ancient posters here predate this blog thing.

      As for the difference between some dumbass posting and "real" news like Dvorak or Cringley, what exactly makes someone a "somebody" and someone a "nobody"?

      God knows that "real journalists" are no smarter than Joe Blog posting on his website.

      This is /. We've had thousands of Hotgrits posts, marriage proposals, birthday spam email ar
    • "Blogs are not news."

      If you really want to split hairs, consider what Slashdot does post. It posts the news posted by the news. Not like anybody 'round here is running around finding stories and reporting them on their own.

      As for whether or not Slashdot should post it: I say, why not? Slashdot is ad driven. We like bitching about anything Microsoft does. Slashdot posts 'story', we pretend like we're operating on some higher form of mental clarity, and the ads served number starts rolling.

      Pefectly
  • What?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solder Fumes (797270) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:27PM (#12790805)
    The reviewer obviously rode the short bus to school. For starters, they complain about being unable to download the file, it got corrupted, etc. I had no such troubles, obviously their computer or internet connection has issue.

    THEN, we hear about a few lame attempts to use bitmap functions of the product, comparing it to Photoshop. Not one word about the vector functions. Come on! This isn't going to be a Photoshop replacement. The whole point of Acrylic is drawing clean vector-based objects with a pressure sensitive digitizer.

    My review of the reviewer? Stay away from their blog at all costs.
  • Go figure. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by numLocked (801188)
    Vector based and pixel based image editing is so completely different, both from a design and mathematical standpoint, it's no surprise that Microsoft's slap-dash attempt at combining both editors into one package failed. Even a company like Adobe would be hard pressed to make such a package. MS needs a lot more experience before pulling this off successfully.
  • by NathanBFH (558218) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:29PM (#12790820)
    Microsoft's Acrylic is based off of "Creature House Expression", which they recently acquired. As it turns out, the software isn't all that similiar to Photoshop, most of the tools are actually vector based. Read a short review of the original Creature House Expression here [pcplus.co.uk].
  • Misses the point! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:32PM (#12790850)
    Stay as far away from Acrylic as you can...

    I thouhgt all software will have its own constituency of people it satisfies no matter how good or unfinished or unpolished it is...just like Linux distros do satisfy some. So why go on advising a potential customers to like "Stay as far away from Acrylic as you can...?" This is not fair.

  • Pointless review (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roguelazer (606927) <Roguelazer@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:32PM (#12790851) Homepage Journal
    The reviewer complains that his Photoshop plugins didn't work when he put them in the Acrylic folder. Did he seriously expect them to? I mean, that might be the dumbest reason not to like a product that I've ever heard...
    • Re:Pointless review (Score:3, Interesting)

      by imemyself (757318)
      Well in all fairness(though I haven't RTFA), I think Photoshop plugins are kind of standard in the graphics community. I'm pretty sure they work with Paint Shop Pro and a few other important ones(though I could be wrong, I'm just think I remember hearing something about that one time).
      • Re:Pointless review (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Photoshop plugins have no interface to handle vector data, they are purely bitmap transformations.

        I can't imagine why this huy thought they would work.
  • by THEUBERGEEK (891151) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:33PM (#12790855) Homepage
    I am no fan of Microsoft, but having done support for them I know how whiny and unyeilding their customers can be.
    they want a small app that will fit on a floppy, backwards compatibly with EVERYTHING, bug free out of the box, have perpetual support, and they want the damned thing to get up and dance a jig.
    MS may be a monopolistic greedy bloodsucker, but they do not deserve all the bashing they get for the software they actually design themselves
  • by Aphrika (756248) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:37PM (#12790877)
    ...should simply not be allowed to be posted here; magazines make a point of not doing it, so should websites. We all seen those articles in the past slating graphics cards before helpfully pointing out that the drivers are still being working on and this doesn't seem any different.

    While I wouldn't expect Microsoft to touch Photoshop with a beta version of a graphics package, I'd prefer to reserve judgement until the packages is shrink wrapped on the shelves. As it stands, it's a cheap shot at Microsoft which is undeserved, especially if you consider the large number of open source projects which are continually being worked on that would be equally at home under the label 'dodgy beta'.

    People - Microsoft included - that put betas out tend to do so for constructive criticism, not for review.
    • I seem to remember a lot of people reviewing the MacOS X public beta, and there was a lot of interesting information in those reviews. As I remember, it boiled down to "brilliant, but slow, and that should be addressed evenutally".

      Would you want reviews like that suppressed? I would not.

      I'm going to be a lone voice in the wilderness defending this reviewer. It does seem like the program was publicised as "Microsoft's answer to Photoshop". The fact that it is actually a vector program is reduced in imp
  • Acrylic/Expression (Score:5, Informative)

    by X_Caffeine (451624) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:38PM (#12790882)
    The writer seemed unclear as to what this software is for. It is not, as he says, "Microsoft's answer to Photoshop." It's more like Microsoft's answer to Illustrator.

    Except it's not that either. It's a repackaging of some software they bought a couple years ago called Expression, which is to Illustrator as Corel/FractalDesign Painter is to Photoshop. That is, not really a competitor, more like a companion that specializes in natural media.

    Granted, MS might be confusing the situation by trying to make the software do too much (red eye removal in a vector software? er, OK), but this isn't meant to be a Photoshop competitor at all.
    • For Professional designers red-eye removal is a desaturation tool.
      Desaturation has more uses beyond red eye removal. So it has place in a vector program.

      Since not everbody is a designer, you are not expected to know what desaturation is. So graphic programs usually just rename it as a red-eye remover.

  • As an avid user (Score:5, Informative)

    by metalhed77 (250273) <andrewvc.gmail@com> on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:43PM (#12790900) Homepage
    As an avid user of photoshop, and someone who is generally unfriendly to MS even I must say that this review is total crap. After reading this review I have no idea what features Acrylic has really, the only things compared are the brushes, image navigation, and plugins.

    What about things like how it performs in a digital camera workflow, prepress workflow, web design workflow, etc. I have no idea from this how this program handles color spaces, vectors, or myriad other features. Hell, this review doesn't even mention how well it supports type.

    The lack of discussion regarding acrylic's vector capabilities is the most damning thing since acrylic uses a ton of code from an acclaimed vector program (Creature House Expression) Microsoft bought from another company.

    I've been waiting for a decent review of Acrylic, but this is not it. It should also be mentioned that Adobe Photoshop has a truly massive featureset which almost no one uses in full. It's a bigass swiss army knife with different facets used by different industries. Duplicating the functionality of such a program should take a VERY long time, give MS a little break here.
  • by stubear (130454) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:47PM (#12790920)
    ...and it never was. This began its life as Expression by a company called Creature House. Microsoft bought the company to get access to the unbelievably cool vector editing capabilities of Expression, likely for use in Longhorn's Avalon UI. Acrylic is Microsoft's first release of the app with their branding and small UI changes. Expression never had a good UI to begin with and Microsoft really has done nothing to improve or destroy it. However, this is, and never was a raster editing application. if it were to be compared to anything from Adobe it would be Illustrator.
  • err, thanks (Score:5, Funny)

    by csimicah (592121) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:52PM (#12790956)
    I actually thought MS might have crippled the download at first because I tried it with Firefox. I guess they haven't stooped that low yet.

    Err, well, thanks for keeping us up to date on your paranoid fantasies, then.
  • and i still don't. this was a pretty bad review.

    i'm glad that it's not meant to be a replacement for microsoft, though, because many PHBs would require that we use this instead of photoshop since microsoft "works well with office".

  • 1. "I downloaded the file 3 different times and each time the file was corrupt. " It downloaded fine for me.
    2. "There's no way to move around the image easily. No scrolls on the side or bottom. " but in fact there are scrolls on the top and bottom, they just look a little different than the usual scrollbars
    3."Another problem is that Acrylic is slow. " but it seemed fast to me.
    4. "Overall, there is nothing outstanding about this product at this juncture." but I thought it had a much more intuitive interfac
  • by Monte (48723) * on Saturday June 11, 2005 @06:03PM (#12791012)
    I just saw "Revenge of the Silt" or whatever it's called, and I didn't like it one bit. I don't see wy everyone is carrying around light sticks when phasers are clearly superior, and what's with that short green dude? Is he some sort of third Klingon race? He's got the forehead right, but the skin color and the height are major issues for me.

    And what's with this "Force" thing? I guess everyone is now hopped up on that chemical from "Plato's Shepchildren" and it's flying' furniture everywhere! I though that only worked on the one planet...?

    And haven't these people heard of Transporters? I mean gag me with a tribble! My advice: Stay as far away from this movie as you can.
  • That's the error message that I get all the time when trying to use filters in Acrylic. What a POS!
  • Any attempt to upgrade the basic paint program that comes bundled with windows is a good idea.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    For few versions of MS Office, Microsoft included a nifty picture editor. Its functions were very basic but it was very handy. In the latest version of office the editor was removed. My suspicion is that Acrylic will replacement it in the next version of office.

    I use photoshop constantly and it's the best! But, it's also very expensive and it takes years to master. Acrylic is not up to par.

    Acrylic will be just one more application in MS office and its functionality is good enough. Photoshop has nothing to
  • The screen shot looks more like the notoriously bad ColorStudio interface, back from the days of Photoshop 1.0. Now that's really awful, not being as good as v1.0 products in a market that's up to v8.0 or more.
  • For what it's worth, I was curious enough to get a throw-away Passport.net, managed to download it easily enough, installed it... and couldn't get the app to do anything beyond showing the splash screen and a few tool palletes (no parent window with aa menu). I used a reasonably current and vanilla WinXP system with plenty of RAM, and even rebooted, then disabled a bunch of background processes, with no luck. {shrug}
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 11, 2005 @06:44PM (#12791265)
    I have used Expression since the 1.0 version was released as demoware back when Metacreations owned it.
    Since Creature House bought it back and since MS bought CH, I've had a chance to putz around with the program to see what is up.

    Similarly, I've used Photoshop since v.3. Heck, I used version 4 for years without once regretting that I didn't upgrade.

    The point in mentioning these things is that I can tell you what kind of Photoshop user that reviewer is and that he didn't even break the surface of Acrylic.

    He's one of those Photoshop users who thinks PS is all about the plug-ins and about cutting and pasting images together. I'd wager he's never created anything from scratch in PS besides maybe a beveled button for his crappy website, circa 1997.

    Two, even though Expression was in Beta when Creature House was bought by MS, it is a complete program...now. It is a general purpose illustration program...now. It can be used to create the sweetest vector lines...now. What MS is doing is adding raster pixel editing functions. The chances that MS Paint code is being chunked into the Acrylic program are pretty good ;). But, seriously, the program is an early beta that is going to be different than the 3.x version.

    The reviewer's problem is that he is so used to PS making whatever he does easy for him that he's never had to use an illustration program. He probably can't draw or design to save his life. He probably hasn't done photo processing in a darkroom before. He's probably never used any of PS's tools to work on a blank document, starting with nothing. And ending up with something except the aforementioned website button...Start with a rectangle and fill...

    He also didn't take the time to realize that the program's zoom i/o feature makes more sense than any other graphics program and gives you precise and dynamic info on the page size and zoom percentage. I'd love that GUI option in *any* program I use. It is a good use of the mouse or stylus. It is like dialing up or down....
    Now...

    I hate MS and I hate the notion that they might think that they can just buy their way into a market. Or that any market with some growth potential is a market that it must dominate. That's bullsh1t! They should innovate and create new markets instead of trying to play catchup, lock-in and smash.

    I'll forgive MS for not releasing a Mac version of Acrylic because I have Expression 3.x, gratis courtesy MS.

    But, that reviewer is a chump. The kind of chump you use to make examples of for future generations who you don't want to see resort to chumpery.
  • The Deep Paint software is freeware now, and it has many functions for 3D painting. A ton of brushes is preset, for example, and you can start doing things right away. It's pretty powerful.

    IMO, Acrylic will be a replacement for MS Paint, given that Paint is totally ridiculous today.

  • by theantidote (891365) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @06:58PM (#12791330)
    I wonder if this reviewer was smart enough to realize that Download Accelerator Plus (that little lightning bolt in his task tray) cripples 70% of your downloads. Also it's ridden with spyware. This review is rediculous. How did it get posted?
  • Acrylic is pretty nice for making quick sketches, like caricatures, and having them look like pen and ink.

    Is it to a threat to Photoshop? Hell no. It's a threat to Paintbrush.

    That said, it's kinda neat. I'll look at it again once they finish it. Microsoft's stuff is so committee-driven that it's very rare for them to come out with anything even this neat.
  • by cooldev (204270) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @08:49PM (#12791870)
    I mean, I know /. is anti-Microsoft, but this is just drivel. Did you guys post this just because it was a negative review?

    What the fuck has happened to this industry? The bias is sickening, whether it be for or against Microsoft, open source, or whatever.

    What happend to the real geeks that can look at something and judge it by merit?
  • You can save to the non MS EXP format.. just choose export...

    Come on man at least look to see if MS screwed it up some other way and did something half assed... Either they forgot to give you options in the save dialoge or they forgot to disable that feature in the export for the beta. The only way it does make sense is so that new users do not end up with 20 types of the same image file... But with the interface as clunky as it is, this program does not appear to be for new users. This program makes t
  • by -Harlequin- (169395) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @10:43PM (#12792486)
    I'm an avid photoshop user (pro even, wooo...), but the kludgy photoshop interface that scatters mouse buttons onto the keyboard instead of keeping them on the mouse (eg click for one function, shift-click for another, etc) means it does not translate as seamlessly as other apps do to some of the evolutions in interface technology that have occurred since photoshop began - photoshop only really works if you're using something very similar to the mouse+keyboard interface that the early versions were designed for.

    I draw on a tablet-PC for some production, and the problem with photoshop of course, is that it needs a keyboard in tandem with the wacom pen, so I can't fold the keybaord away and use the tablet-PC like a sketchpad if I'm using photoshop. (Ok, technically I can, since the tablet-PC offers a virtual keyboard option, but it's a workaround for photoshop's interface, not a fix).

    My suspicion, even though I have not heard of Acrylic until this moment, and that I am pulling out of my ass, is that MS will be making this drawing app such that in addition to whatever they're trying to acheive with it, it is better suited to the modern pen interface than photoshop, thus killing an extra bird with one stone - making the tablet-PC even more attractive as an art machine / sketchpad.

    Any other tablet-PC users here tried Acrylic yet?
  • by VanillaCoke420 (662576) <vanillacoke420.hotmail@com> on Sunday June 12, 2005 @03:28AM (#12793473)
    They have a long record of failures when it comes to entering a market and try to butt themselves in to compete:
    • GUI's for operating systems
    • Office suites
    • Web browsers
    • Instant messaging
    • Video game consoles
  • Absurd! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lucianx (115093) on Sunday June 12, 2005 @08:06AM (#12794019) Homepage
    This review is absurd. I have no idea how it got posted to Slashdot.

    He's done the developers of the original Expression a terrible disservice by not even performing a cursory examination of its featureset. As mentioned by many others here who spent enough time to actually learn the purpose of the tool, this is not an image-editing program in the same market space as Photoshop!

    What makes Acrylic/Expression novel is not the "redeye" tool (the hell?) but the fact that it is a vector-imaging tool that allows a variety of amazing ways to render natural media (e.g., oils, acrylics) or photographic source material (ropes, chains) along an editable vector curve. This is really, really cool enough on its own, but then these rendered curves can then be rasterized on the fly and blended as though they were native pixels. The blending tools are no Painter 9, but this is a Beta and I'm still impressed.

    And his response in the comments is BS. Saying that the review was "fair" for a "first look" at this tool is like saying it would be fair to do a "first look" review of Photoshop and then never use (or even be aware of!) its filters. How fair would a review of Photoshop be if I acted as though all it could do was crop, resize, and rotate the canvas? The heart of Acrylic has been completely missed, ignored, or some combination.

    And what does he mean, what is MS "trying to pull"? By letting people play with a technology preview of an innovative piece of illustration software for free? He acts like they owe him something!

    I hate Microsoft as much as the next Linux-running coder geek, but alpha/beta/whatever, they're just letting people see and test what they are developing. Even after 20 minutes I could see the interesting new utilities provided by this app without having to accuse MS of attempting to do something ignoble.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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