A new CTP (community technical preview) of Microsoft’s forthcoming graphic design tool codenamed “Acrylic” was released yesterday. The download is here and check out the Acrylic home page for some samples. Note that Acrylic offers both “vector-based and pixel-based design.” eWeek has some background:
Acrylic, a professional illustration, painting and graphic-design product, is targeted at de-signers working in print, Web, video, and interactive media. Up until now, Microsoft Corp. has not fielded a product in this space, which is dominated by Adobe Systems Inc. Acrylic is based on the Creature House Expression product that Microsoft acquired in 2003, when Microsoft bought the developer of Expression, a Hong Kong-based company, Creature House Ltd.
“Acrylic relates to Windows Vista, and it is a technology for the creation of rich applications and user interfaces,” said Forest Key, group product manager for the technology. Acrylic also relates to the Windows Presentation Foundation, formerly code-named Avalon, and “gives developers capabilities to build compelling applications. There is a need for tools to target XAML [Microsoft's Extensible Application Markup Language] for presentation of compelling applications. Acrylic is a design tool to target XAML.”
The article also mentions the rumored Expressions Studio suite for designers which was due in 2006, but whose status is now unclear. Despite the similarity of the names, Expression is different from Expressions Studio as this article at CNET makes clear. From the same article, a rumored ship date for Acrylic is before YE2006.