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November 10, 2011

Microsoft Hardware launches new digital art project “The Art of Touch”

Microsoft Hardware is launching a new digital art project today called The Art of Touch. The campaign is inspired by Microsoft’s Touch Mouse family of mice. And it’s pretty cool.

The Art of Touch

By visiting the website, people can sign-in to create a piece of digital art on a canvas with a series of tools which include 3 types of brushes (ribbon, smoke or streak), and 5 different effects (like starbursts, trees, ribbons and splats). The artwork can be created using a click, swipe, or flick of a mouse!

Once a person has created a piece of artwork (people can create multiple pieces of artwork too –which is all accessible when saved via “my art” at the top right of the website when signed in), they can save it where they are then able to share it with friends and family via Facebook or Twitter. They can also save what they’ve created as an image to their PC where they can make it a desktop background in Windows 7. A piece of art can be saved to a PC in three different sizes – small, medium and large. And the large size is pretty big. So think about this: if you create multiple pieces of artwork, you can save them to your PC and create a Windows 7 theme you can share with your friends and family on SkyDrive for them to download and use on their PCs. Here is a Windows 7 theme I created with the artwork I’ve created for you to download and check out:

People can also have their artwork printed onto a laptop skin, coffee mug, t-shirt or sweatshirt or more.

After people create artwork, they can also enter a sweepstakes to win really cool prizes. A person can choose to share their artwork online through The Art of Touch website where people can then vote on their artwork. Each vote counts as a “raffle ticket” – and the more votes a piece of artwork gets, the better the chances are of that artist winning a prize. Starting today and going on through February 4, 2012, Microsoft will be giving away prizes such as Microsoft Touch mice, laptops and other things like having a person’s artwork showcased somewhere in a weekly drawing. The person whose artwork has the most votes by December 31st will get the grand prize of being the “featured artists” and a prize package that includes becoming a featured artist on the site.

When you create and save artwork on The Art of Touch website, you are contributing to a “global masterpiece” – the “Sea of Art” communal canvas – that could quite possibly become one of the largest displays of digital artwork ever created! What is the “Sea of Art” communal canvas? It’s a collection of everyone’s artwork that has been shared out on The Art of Touch website.

So here is a little bit on the technology behind The Art of Touch. The “canvas” in which a person uses to create their digital artwork on is powered by HTML5 and JavaScript which allow your drawing to be rendered in your browser in near real-time. And of course if you use Internet Explorer 9, you also get the benefit of IE9’s hardware-accelerated HTML5 capabilities. When artwork is saved to the servers, it is saved at a resolution of 1280×690 pixels. A custom server component was built using the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) framework that allows us to take the original 1280×690 image and re-render (or re-construct) it at higher resolutions stroke by stroke. When a person goes to have their artwork printed on something or displays – it’s done so with fantastic quality.


For more information on Microsoft’s Touch Mouse family, click here. And for more on The Art of Touch, read this blog post from my friends on the Microsoft Hardware team and visit the website to start creating your own digital artwork!