"Acrylic" is the codename for an innovative illustration, painting and graphics tool that provides exciting creative capabilities for designers working in print, web, video, and interactive media.Although users are calling this test version "unpolished," Microsoft is seeking user feedback on the new software in a beta discussion forum and has stated that "optimization work is currently in progress and drastically improved performance will be delivered in the final release." In my own quick review of the beta forum, user comments seem to be primarily positive - aside from the performance issues.
The free download is 77 MB and will expire October 1, 2005. Windows XP SP2 is required to run the software. (No, it won't run on Windows 2000 according to user comments in the beta forum, but a Microsoft rep says it will run on Windows 2003.) There is no Macintosh version at this time, but Mac users can still download Expression 3 for free.
Some of the new features are discussed (with screen shots) on Beta Coordinator Annie Ford's Expression site. The primary enhancement is the addition of raster (pixel-based) image editing features to the vector-based Expression core. Other new features include a hint palette, hybrid graphics capability, live effects (dynamic filters), variations, image stitching, and HTML export.
On this site: Expression 3 Review