The Foundry, the UK-based developer of high-end VFX and postproduction technology, has branched out into the creative consumer graphics market with the acquisition of Made With Mischief and its flagship product, Mischief, a pen-based sketching application for Mac and Windows.
Made With Mischief, founded by Sarah Frisken, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of The Foundry. The company will be headquartered in Boston, with team members located in Boston, London and Shanghai.
Mischief is powered by a patented shape representation, known as Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields (ADFs), co-invented by Frisken. The Foundry claimed ADFs have several advantages for creative applications: they provide high-quality stroke rendering; they use hardware-based rendering so drawing is extremely responsive; they are very compact, resulting in small file sizes; they can be scaled without introducing pixelation artifacts; and they can accurately represent much richer and more complex shapes than traditional vector-based stroke representations.
Users can purchase the full version of Mischief on the Mac App Store and the Mischief online store for $25.00. The full version of Mischief includes a full colour panel with customisable colour swatches, customisable brushes and Hotkeys, and a selection of background papers and colours, all on Mischief's infinite canvas.
Sarah Frisken, who takes on the role of Chief Scientist, said the acquisition of Made With Mischief by The Foundry enabled her to retain her core vision of providing high-quality software tools for wide range of artists and to preserve its accessible price point, while bringing future versions of the platform to an even broader audience.
Christopher Kenessey, chief sales and marketing manager for The Foundry and new president of Made With Mischief, said that rather than a traditional acquisition by The Foundry, the subsidiary was going to function like a standalone entity.
"We've always had ambitions as a company to address a much broader creative audience," explained Kenessey. "When we came across Sarah and brand and ethos she had created around Mischief, it became clear to us right away that if we wanted to create a brand for creative consumers, then this was the perfect seed to build that brand around."
"It's not just a part of The Foundry, because it's a very different approach — trying to have a toolset that's going out to such a large audience," Kenessey added. "Although there will be cross-pollination and sharing of tech with The Foundry, we really want to focus on those creative consumers that are out there."
Kenessey described sketching on Mischief's infinite canvas as being like using the holographic displays in Minority Report: "Using the Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields, it's got an amazing feel, which is really different to any other application out there."
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