Microsoft releases Acrylic beta

A few weeks back we were pondering what ever happened to ‘Creature House’s Expression’ after Microsoft assimilated it 18 months ago. There was some talk about an upcoming beta, but in the software business the ‘upcoming beta’ can often be akin to the dragon, the mermaid and the unicorn. Fun to think about.

However in this case the talk appears to well-founded. At the old Expression URL there’s now a page telling us about ‘Microsoft Acrylic’ and offering a free download.

I haven’t had time to really put it through it’s paces yet, but it appears pretty similar to Expression 3. They’ve cleaned up the icons and interface a little, but it’s still very idiosyncratic. Most of the old brush strokes seem to still be there, with a few extra.

Expression 3 had a panel specifically for exporting Flash buttons which seems to have disappeared — no great loss there. Acrylic has a new ‘Web’ menu that contains ‘Exports to HTML’ (dodgy tables that don’t look particularly useful to anyone) and a ‘Live Rollover Mode’ that I never quite figured out.

Anyway, it’s free and approx. 70Mb to download (you’ll need a Passport login), so if you have some playtime, take it for a spin.

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  • http://www.circle.co.nz nzgfxguru

    Will do Alex, thanks for the link :)

  • Thirteenva

    They’ve also dropped the mac version. Expression was cross platform.

  • http://www.solas.cc MCsolas

    Looks feeble enough to skip is you already have Photoshop or Fireworks

  • Phil Readmore

    If you’re using photoshop you’re probably not interested anyway as it’s completely different. I have the original beta and so far it hasn’t expired so I’m a bit wary of downloading Acrylic which I know will expire.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    Phil, you can run them side-by-side quite happily. There aren’t any killer reasons that I’m aware of for ‘upgrading’ to Acyrlic though.

  • bob

    this is another example of MS taking a decent progam and making it bloatware. Expression was designed as a vector tool, and MS wants to now make it a bitmap tool. Microsoft can’t compete with photoshop or other programs because they know nothing about the graphics industry.

  • McKack

    I don’t see why people keep comparing this with Photoshop, it looks alot more like a Painter clone, namely messy interface and non-userfriendly