Coming October 18 – The New Fresh Paint!

I am posting this on behalf of Ira Snyder, General Manager in the Startup Business Group.

Today we are announcing new versions of Fresh Paint for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone.

A few months ago, we shared a Preview version of Fresh Paint for Windows 8.1 and our first Windows Phone app. The feedback from the community has been tremendously exciting and helpful–thank you to all those who have contributed via our communities or sent email! We’ve taken that feedback to heart and have been working hard to deliver the highest quality, most realistic painting and drawing experience possible.

Today I’m excited to announce that the new Fresh Paint will launch in tandem with Windows 8.1 on October 18 and that we’ll also have new features coming to the Windows Phone version on October 14. Best of all, Fresh Paint will continue to be free, and everyone who updates to Windows 8.1 will get the improved experience.

Included in the new Fresh Paint are all the features we announced in the preview like watercolor, a new graphite pencil set, and a new clean, modern user interface. We are also adding the ability to make high quality canvas prints, new ways to work with photos, improvements to stylus pressure, more realistic rendering for watercolor, in addition to a large refresh for Fresh Paint on Windows Phone.

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Introducing CanvasPop!

One thing we’ve heard from people over and over is the desire to make high-quality canvas prints of their paintings and sketches. We’re thrilled to share that we’ve partnered with CanvasPop to make this possible. CanvasPop provides high-quality canvas prints using the best materials and craftsmanship, from archival grade canvas to hand-stretching by skilled workers.

Fresh Paint is the first painting app to integrate CanvasPop’s new printing API. We believe in pushing the boundaries of what is possible with art in the digital age. We’re bringing that to life by helping you turn your digital paintings and drawings into amazing physical pieces that you can hang in your living room or give as gifts. This new functionality is a direct result of user feedback. And, we’re making it easy.

After putting the finishing touches on your painting in Fresh Paint, just swipe up from the bottom of your canvas and tap print. You’ll get a customized page where you can select your size and framing options, and we’ll take care of everything from there including handing off a special, high quality version of your painting. CanvasPop then prints your piece, hand frames it, and ships it to you.

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Our team and the folks at CanvasPop worked hard to make this experience seamless and simple. One of the challenges we tackled was how to make it possible to print large, high-quality prints from small devices. With many graphics programs the user needs to choose the file size before beginning. We felt that would interrupt the user experience, make the product more complex, and knew it would be challenging for small devices to handle very large files.

Instead, we developed a way to scale the paintings after they were completed. We do this by analyzing the painting pixel by pixel using bilinear filtering, and then smoothing out pixels as it scales. It is the equivalent of zooming in very close to the painting, taking a ton of pictures of it, and then stitching all of them together to make a giant rendering of the painting. This allows us to render very large prints even from small devices in a way that keeps the user experience simple, magical, and fun.

I’m also pleased to share that we are making some special offers available for our fan base. Check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds for special offers the week of Oct 18, or visit canvaspop.com/freshpaintoffer.

New Features on Fresh Paint for Windows 8.1

We’ve also been hard at work on a number of new features and improvements to Fresh Paint for Windows 8.1.

First, we know that sometimes it can be tough to know where to get started, or maybe you just need a little inspiration. That’s where the new Inspire Me feature comes in. Just click on the Inspire Me tile in your gallery home page, and you’ll find inspirational images you can then import, apply a filter to, and paint. Because this image search is powered by Bing you can even type in your own query to find amazing, inspirational pieces. And, of course, we’ve tuned the search to be safe for everyone in the family.

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We’ve improved our image filters too. The Oil Daub has been improved to highlight unique oil textures, and we’ve added a filter that turns your photo into a watercolor wash. Just add water and watch the painting come to life.

Beyond photos, we’ve been really focused on the details. We’ve improved pen and stylus input to better work with pressure and the eraser (pick up a Surface to try out a great stylus experience). We’ve added the ability to save custom palettes, so if you have a favorite set of colors you can keep them handy. And, we’ve made dozens of other little changes throughout the product–such as adding the ability to import a painting directly from SkyDrive.

New Features for Windows Phone Too

We love Windows Phone and are making some significant updates that will be available early next week. You’ll now have the option to draw with pencil in the Windows Phone version of the app. We know many of you love sketching, and the addition of the pencil will allow you to draw from anywhere. This is the same, highly realistic graphite pencil we use in Fresh Paint for Windows 8.1.

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Pencil sketch created on a Surface Pro by artist Jenny Vorwaller.

You’ll also see new photo filters and an updated user interface that makes the Fresh Paint experience more consistent whether you are on a PC or phone.

We’re also really excited about the possibilities with SkyDrive. Now you can start a painting or capture a moment on your phone, save it to SkyDrive, and finish it on your PC by simply selecting the “Save To” icon in Fresh Paint for Windows Phone and importing it into your Fresh Paint gallery on your PC.

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Painted in Fresh Paint on a Windows Phone.

Across Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone we are excited to hear what you think.

You will find the new Fresh Paint in the Windows Store on October 18.

If you have Windows 8, you’ll automatically be updated to the new Fresh Paint when you upgrade to Windows 8.1. Your paintings will all be preserved, and you’ll get all the new features I mentioned above. Windows Phone users can get all the improvements in Fresh Paint beginning October 14—just look for the app update.

We’ve been on a mission to make the most realistic, simple, and fun painting and drawing app out there. Thanks again for all of your feedback. It has been invaluable. Be sure and follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds to learn more and to find special offers I mentioned.

We can’t wait to see what you create next!