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Microsoft Graphics Software

MS Unveils Beta of New Image Editing Program 492

docdude316 writes "CNET is running a story about Microsoft's new photo editing software, Acrylic. The new program is based on Expression, which Microsoft purchased in 2003. From the article: 'Microsoft describes the software--currently available as a 77MB free download--as bringing together pixel-based painting and vector graphics features. These capabilities will put the product squarely in the market currently dominated by software maker Adobe Systems with its pixel-focused Photoshop and vector-driven Illustrator products. Acrylic appears to support opening and exporting to Photoshop and Illustrator file formats, as well as other standard graphics formats. In addition, the application appears to be able to export to Adobe's Portable Document Format, or PDF.'
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MS Unveils Beta of New Image Editing Program

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  • Nice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daniil ( 775990 ) * <> on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:18PM (#12782030) Journal
    I downloaded the beta yesterday and installed it on my home box. I must say that I was quite impressed, especially with the usability (especially when compared to Gimp). It was a bit slow on my 800 mhz Pentium III, though. Even though I doubt that Microsoft will conquer this market, it's still nice to finally see some real competition to Photoshop, especially considering that the price of Acrylic will be much lower than that of Photoshop.
  • by theurge14 ( 820596 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:19PM (#12782047)
    Sorry, I'm at work and the IT Nazis won't let me try it out.
  • Adobemedia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:19PM (#12782050) Homepage
    So maybe there's something to the notion that Adobe bought Macromedia (who also have an hybrid vector/bitmap graphics program) as a defensive move against Microsoft.
  • screenshots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by professorhojo ( 686761 ) * on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:20PM (#12782062)
    anyone got any screenshots? i do'nt wanna have to download & install this pig just to see what it looks like. :(
  • by Juvenall ( 793526 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:36PM (#12782270) Homepage
    Taking one idea and using it yourself is a cornerstone of capitalism. So I don't understand why you're basing Microsoft for doing what every other business has done throughout human history. It's really like saying "Oh, don't buy a Ford because they didn't invent the car."
  • by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:37PM (#12782294) Homepage
    There's a lot of gold to be mined from the Debian mailing lists right now, in case you run out.
  • Re:Nice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zwei2stein ( 782480 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:43PM (#12782357) Homepage
    Riiight ... because Photoshop has no real competition .... except, um Corel Photopaint (superior in usability), Paint Shop Pro (superior in price) and ton of other programs, including metioned Gimp (unbeatable price), Xara, Scetcher ...

    and so we need someone to show this market that monopoly ends HERE, and so MS will be our saviour and it will change lots of things to better
  • Re:Not even JPEG (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BadMrMojo ( 767184 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @02:44PM (#12782368)
    As a production monkey at a firm which gets a lot of logos and what not from various clients, let me be the first to just say, "I'm fucked."

    If anyone in a mid-level administrative position actually gets this (ie: it's bundled with their next machine), it will make my life a living hell.

    Try explaining nicely to the client that their .xpr file is neither a high-res, uncompressed raster image nor a vector image, but rather an crappy, anti-aliased 72 dpi gif saved in a proprietary format (that no one using a real image editing application can open without getting sued 4203 []) which could potentially support the aforementioned vector/hi-res options, but isn't, so printing it will result in a page that looks roughly like output from the best printer that 1981 could buy. Now try it again but without using the term, "butt monkey."
  • by zeux ( 129034 ) * on Friday June 10, 2005 @03:06PM (#12782663)
    Well, actually I'm concerned with the fact that this product is going to be distributed for free and will probably end up by being integrated in Windows.

    I'm not sure it would be very good for what you call 'competition'.

    But maybe that's just me...
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @03:17PM (#12782828)

    I thought the general concensus on this board is that competition of software products is a good thing which makes *all* the products better, or am I mistaken?

    Microsoft does not generally compete. They have a monopoly so they make products that "compete" with people in other markets, except MS bundles theirs into Windows. That way they just raise the price of Windows and everyone that buys Windows is forced to buy it. In this way the bypass normal market pressures that drive competition. They don't have to strive to be better than the competition, just "good enough" so that people won't pay twice just to get their competitor's version.

    What about Photoshop Elements? What about Corel Painter? Maybe it'll help make ALL those products better by introducing a new interface idea or unique type of filter. Who knows?

    Or maybe it will drive everyone except open source out of business, or push them into very small niche markets. Then the market will freeze where it is an all innovation will basically stop. Personally, I'd rather see the government force them sell it as a stand alone product and not price it below cost and subsidize it. I'd also like to see the government prevent technological tie ins that are not open to the competition. Unfortunately MS has already bought the U.S. govt. so we're probably about to see another software industry grind to a halt.

  • Absolutely floored (Score:3, Interesting)

    by British ( 51765 ) <> on Friday June 10, 2005 @03:21PM (#12782888) Homepage Journal
    I took an image of danica mckellar(winnie cooper...wonder years) from her stuff photoshoot.

    While screwing aroud with the selection tool, I decided to use the mark region in/out. so I drew a few crude circles around her body(which has contrast against the white pillows, but she has varying skintones+black), and was absolutley floored.

    With a few crude circlings around Danica, it got the clue, and selected ONLY her. PERFECTLY clean selection lines around her.


    And I shoulnd't be saying this since I work for a competitor to this!
  • by BeerMonkey ( 867164 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @03:26PM (#12782952)
    Actually, from your article...

    "Although Ford was not the first to build a self-propelled vehicle with a gasoline engine, he was, however, one of several automotive pioneers who helped this country become a nation of motorists."

    So no, he *didn't* invent the car.

  • by Shalda ( 560388 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @03:30PM (#12782998) Homepage Journal
    Really now. The bread and butter of Microsoft's marketing department has long been about providing a suite of applications that play well together. Furthermore, the lack of a decent graphics editor has been a rather glaring hole in Microsoft's product line. And lastly, this ought to spice up the image editing market a bit. To this point, there's really only been Photoshop on the high end, Paint Shop Pro on the low end, and the Gimp for the open source enthusiast. This will put some long overdue price pressure on Photoshop and make things interesting for a while. I'll also point out that the existance of Microsoft Publisher has done very little to dent sales of Pagemaker. Outside of the OS and Office market, Microsoft really has to work hard to compete.
  • Re:Office (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wfberg ( 24378 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @04:13PM (#12783514)
    Printing to PDF does NOT dump a bitmap image into a PDF container. Try it. Printing to PDF first prints using a postscript driver (driven bij Window's native GDI/EMF format), and then converts to PDF. This entire path is vector based, unless the printing application fucks up.

    And yes, PDFCreator will embed fonts, be they truetype, type-1 or opentype, and even subset.

    Also, if you DO want a bitmap, PDFCreator will print to JPG, PNG, etc.

    Note that if you have an Oo.o document that uses transparancy, Oo.o's export to PDF function WILL rasterize transparant sections, while PDFCreator will retain vectors. PDFCreator will even add metadata, encryption and stuff like that.

    Exporting directly to PDF will help in one area; if you're creating a file that isn't supposed to be in one of the standard paper size like Letter or A4. Also, it's faster than GDI->PS->PDF.

  • BETA, BETA, BETA! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john,lamar&gmail,com> on Friday June 10, 2005 @05:10PM (#12784213) Homepage Journal
    Wait, it's a free beta.

    I hate "M$" as much as the next guy but at least they aren't charging people to test beta software anymore. Like the other Microsoft image software, this will eventually cost money. Of course it maybe bundled with your next digital camera, copy of Office or drawing tablet, but someone is going to buy a license.

    As far as I know, the only Microsoft image software that is "Free" is MS Paint. On top of that, as someone else pointed out, this only runs on XP. Why? Because error reporting comes on XP and debugging can be done daily.
  • by hullabalucination ( 886901 ) on Friday June 10, 2005 @08:41PM (#12785936) Journal
    Here's a quote from Adobe's Bruce Chizen from a while back:

    We have learned, historically, that if we stay close to what we really do well, we win. Microsoft has tried to enter Adobe's markets. It tried in the early days, coming up with a PostScript clone--and it actually shipped one printer with an original-equipment manufacturer. It was a total failure. It tried with Microsoft Draw and Microsoft PhotoDraw, and it gave away the product free with Microsoft Office to kind of "nitch up" Illustrator and Photoshop. Again, it was total failure--these products no longer exist.
    For eBook publishing, it tried Microsoft Reader as an end run around PDF. You never hear about Microsoft Reader anymore. Microsoft tried, once again, to go at Photoshop with Microsoft Picture It.

    The company has never been able to move Picture It above the consumer level. So I am confident that, as long as we do what we do well, as long as we continue to execute, we'll be very successful, despite Microsoft's monopoly.

    (Interviewer:) Why have Microsoft's attempts not worked? What's the source of your confidence?

    The reason is that our customers care a lot about the visual integrity and reliability of the information that is being presented. And that's just not a core competency of Microsoft. We've been at this now for 20 years. Everything we do is based on Adobe's imaging model and rendering engine--that layer between the operating system and the application that allows us to express information in a way Microsoft has trouble figuring out.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.