Microsoft reveals the history of the Fresh Paint Windows 8 app

Of all the apps that Microsoft has created specifically for Windows 8, the one that has received the most attention has been Fresh Paint. The art creation tool, which uses the touch screen features of the new OS, is even the subject of a Windows 8 TV ad.

The Next at Microsoft blog has now gone into detail on how Fresh Paint was created. It started life at Microsoft Research with a program that got the code name "Project Gustav". The goal was to simulate oil painting with a digital method. The blog added:

But the team wanted to go beyond that to explore how to simulate oil on canvas and how that oil interacted with tools such as a paintbrush. The team built a prototype that critically treated oil as “wet” so that when it was dynamically mixed, a physics model would precisely replicate on the screen what would happen in the real world when you combine oil, a surface and a tool. With that prototype built, the team invited kids from their own families in to the office for what they called “Art Jams” and observed how these creative minds were unleashed on their prototype.

The research team then approached the The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, where they both agreed to set up a prototype app in the museum. The prototype was used by over 60,000 people who visited the museum in a year. Microsoft learned a lot from those visitors. The blog states:

As more and more people played with the app, the team heard that they wanted to be able to do things like paint on top of paint, say put a sun in the sky they just brushed on their canvas. Ira and team listened and created the app’s “dry” button, bringing smiles along with the spinning fan. The experience and the feedback was not only a testament to the capability even within the prototype—it was the encouragement that was needed to take things further.

Nine specially selected families were also able to try out the prototype with a touch screen PC which led Microsoft to make further improvements to the program. The final version of the app, Fresh Paint, is now available for free to download in the Windows Store for Windows 8 PCs and is ofted pre-loaded on new PCs with the OS.

Source: Next at Microsoft blog | Image via Microsoft

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13 Comments

Once again MS don't get it, most people don't care about this crap. I want them to work feverishly to fix the lackluster mail and music app in W8.

I'm pretty tech savvy, but I spent hours trying to figure out how to get my music from a MicroSD card to show up in the music apps on the Surface. MS forum provides absolutely no help.

Yeah, uh, this is made by an entirely different division of Microsoft than the one who handles Mail. Or SD card support. Evidently

gullygod said,
Once again MS don't get it, most people don't care about this crap. I want them to work feverishly to fix the lackluster mail and music app in W8.

I'm pretty tech savvy, but I spent hours trying to figure out how to get my music from a MicroSD card to show up in the music apps on the Surface. MS forum provides absolutely no help.

Jus go to disk management by right clicking where there old start menu should be and select ur SD card and add another drive path from ur C:\SD. Thats it , they u can then add folders to ur library from there .

Debamit Dutta said,

Jus go to disk management by right clicking where there old start menu should be and select ur SD card and add another drive path from ur C:\SD. Thats it , they u can then add folders to ur library from there .

This method does not work for music that is added to the SD card after initial setup.

~Johnny said,
Yeah, uh, this is made by an entirely different division of Microsoft than the one who handles Mail. Or SD card support. Evidently

I know this. The point is, they need to fix all the deficiencies in W8 and stop wasting time with garbage like this.

gullygod said,

I know this. The point is, they need to fix all the deficiencies in W8 and stop wasting time with garbage like this.

Different people solve different problems. These people know stuff about creating complex material physics simulations and paint theory and you want them to go make your Mail application? It's a Research division...

gullygod said,

I'm pretty tech savvy, but I spent hours trying to figure out how to get my music from a MicroSD card to show up in the music apps on the Surface.

I thought the when in desktop mode right click>include in library> music. worked.

gullygod said,
Once again MS don't get it, most people don't care about this crap. I want them to work feverishly to fix the lackluster mail and music app in W8.

I'm pretty tech savvy, but I spent hours trying to figure out how to get my music from a MicroSD card to show up in the music apps on the Surface. MS forum provides absolutely no help.

It's not just those apps. Even some of the most basic functionality such as importing pictures and videos from a camera to the correct libraries (pictures and videos) is impossible now. Everything simply gets lumped into the pictures library.

Sending files via the messenger service is impossible too. You can't even share using the charms bar any files with messenger contacts. Even my Windows Phone can do that...

What the hell Microsoft, when I was complaining about the apps in the preview builds feeling unfinished people would tell me 'but they're only preview apps' yeah.. sure they are.
As it stands right now, every single one of the apps are a step backwards of the functionality of the previous version of Windows or simply using a website.

In saying that, I really do like Windows 8 for its speed and other features. It's a shame Microsoft dropped the ball with their default apps. They could have really made Windows 8 apps shine, instead, the standard's bar is laying flat on the floor.

gullygod said,
Once again MS don't get it, most people don't care about this crap. I want them to work feverishly to fix the lackluster mail and music app in W8.

I'm pretty tech savvy, but I spent hours trying to figure out how to get my music from a MicroSD card to show up in the music apps on the Surface. MS forum provides absolutely no help.

So you think a team of people that work in MS research on a painting app involved in replicating the physics of oil on canvas and how tools interact with it, should just run over to a different office (possibly a different state) and start helping the team that handles the mail app?

I agree, they should also get the janitors, accountants, legal team, management, general cleaners, security guards, engineering teams, support staff along with all their family and friends on it - because you know, they are all wasting time on these other things when obviously everyone there should be sorting the mail app out!

/S

sagum said,

It's not just those apps. Even some of the most basic functionality such as importing pictures and videos from a camera to the correct libraries (pictures and videos) is impossible now. Everything simply gets lumped into the pictures library.

Sending files via the messenger service is impossible too. You can't even share using the charms bar any files with messenger contacts. Even my Windows Phone can do that...

What the hell Microsoft, when I was complaining about the apps in the preview builds feeling unfinished people would tell me 'but they're only preview apps' yeah.. sure they are.
As it stands right now, every single one of the apps are a step backwards of the functionality of the previous version of Windows or simply using a website.

In saying that, I really do like Windows 8 for its speed and other features. It's a shame Microsoft dropped the ball with their default apps. They could have really made Windows 8 apps shine, instead, the standard's bar is laying flat on the floor.

It comes down to what you want though, the metro apps will never replace all the functionality found in desktop mail clients and that is by design. There are too many options for a lot of people in standard mail apps and the touch experience is first and foremost about simplifying the experience for the average user. Look at how well iPad sells and then go use the mail app in the iPad, yes there are a few more features than found in the metro app but not many and guess what - it is liked by the majority of users of the iPad.

Now I'm not saying that metro apps cannot have decent levels of functionality, just that the MS apps (default) are going to give the majority what they want/need. There will be other metro styles mail apps by 3rd parties to address the issues of RT users wanting more functionality - but to be honest if you want a tablet for real power user use then the RT version is a bad choice as you really want outlook or another well established desktop mail client not focused on touch first experience.

duddit2 said,

So you think a team of people that work in MS research on a painting app involved in replicating the physics of oil on canvas and how tools interact with it, should just run over to a different office (possibly a different state) and start helping the team that handles the mail app?

I agree, they should also get the janitors, accountants, legal team, management, general cleaners, security guards, engineering teams, support staff along with all their family and friends on it - because you know, they are all wasting time on these other things when obviously everyone there should be sorting the mail app out!

/S


There are always some people think that Bill Gates was/ is the ONLY programmer works on everything about Windows from kernel to the GUI.

Sadelwo said,

I thought the when in desktop mode right click>include in library> music. worked.

That doesn't work for SD cards since they're removable drives and could cause Windows to crash if the card is removed while it's being written to/read from.

There's a workaround where you map the SD card to a folder within the C:\ and then you add that folder to the library. It works 95% I would say... Only issue I ran into is that it takes a while for the changes within the folder to show up in the Photos app.

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