Free Vector-based Illustration Tool from Microsoft

Free Vector-based Illustration Tool from Microsoft

  • Comments 18

It's nigh-on impossible to keep track of all the varied products and announcements from Microsoft even as an employee, let alone as a customer! It took someone external (thanks Damir!) to alert me to Microsoft Expression, a vector-based illustration and graphics tool we acquired last year from Creative House and have now released for no charge on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. This application looks pretty cool, although at 60MB it's probably not something to check out from a dial-up connection. Handy as an adjunct to ASP.NET or for creating cool owner-draw graphics in smart client applications, that's for sure.

This isn't our first product in this space. For the first release of Visual InterDev (an ASP web development tool that was part of the first ever release of Visual Studio), we included a great liittle utility called Image Composer that I used to use almost as much as VID itself; it was particularly useful for producing smoothed text as an image for headings - a technique that was very common particularly before DHTML became commonplace. Then we released PhotoDraw as a standalone product simultaneously with Office, although this always felt more bloated and unwieldy than the utility it superseded. Expression looks vastly more sophisticated, judging by this product tour: it will be interesting to see how it develops now it's part of the Microsoft stable.

  • Perhaps it will become the basis of the XAML Vector Graphics Editor for ORCAS.
  • So now MS is trying to kill of Adobe Illustrator by giving away a free program. Where are the lawyers?

  • Image Composer also shipped with early versions of FrontPage, 1.1, 2.0, back in 1998 or so.

    PhotoDraw...ugh. Gone, and not missed.
  • Maybe I'm just simple, but I really liked Image Composer. It did everything I needed. I guess it's dead now, which is kinf of a shame.
  • It would be fair to note that it's only free for existing users of Creative House Expression as stated on the main website: "As a service to the many loyal users of Expression, a free download version is available to existing users."
  • You cannot compare Expression with Image Composer or PhotoDraw. My first tests shows, that Expression can be serious compared with Freehand or CorelDraw.

    Same as with Visual Studio .NET if you are not developer, you'll need some more help in order to be able to use Expression properly. But as a object-oriented application it fits perfectly in .NET world ;-)

    Look at "Making of Blogger Guy":
    http://tomicic.de/PermaLink.aspx?guid=1b038b98-d588-440b-8e0d-ab4ac06b3e44
  • It's actually pretty amazing software, I've had a quick play araound and the reflection mapping thing is really impressive. The User Guide is really good too. Cheers
  • Worth checking into the Expression forum too if you've got any questions about it, since I'm unable to provide any insights:
    http://communities2.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/en-us/default.aspx?dg=microsoft.public.expression.discussion&cat=en-US-expression&lang=en&cr=US
  • I was one of those who played with Image Compower back in the days too.. too bad it's dead :(
  • As Shun wrote:-
    "It would be fair to note that it's only free for existing users of Creative House Expression as stated on the main website: "As a service to the many loyal users of Expression, a free download version is available to existing users." "

    So is it free *for all* or not ?
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