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Exclusive: How The Foundry aims to make Mischief for creative consumers

Michael Burns | Nov. 17, 2014
The Foundry has branched out into the consumer graphics world with Mischief, a pen-based sketching application for Mac and Windows, and released a free limited feature version.

"From a technology standpoint we've managed to create a much simpler interface, one that's very clean," added Kenessey. "The goal is for somebody to download it, look at it and just start drawing within a matter of seconds without too much fuss."

Chris Cheung, formerly Autodesk product manager for Sketchbook Pro, is also on the new team, with the admirable job title of 'Head of Mischief'. Cheung will work closely with Sarah Frisken to drive the conceptualisation, development and commercialisation of digital artistic solutions.

"People use a variety of products, like Photoshop, Sketchbook, ArtRage, but there was this really important conceptual stage, that all artists use, which was missing from The Foundry portfolio" said Cheung. "We've been seeing artists using the borderless quality of the drawing space in Mischief in a very creative way."

"Drawing is something that bridges beyond high-end professionals," he continued. "So while being able to provide a drawing tool really starts with those professonals, it also touches on students, and also children. With Mischief we hope to see a lot of Primary Schools using it, to present kids with a very simple interface but also a very natural drawing experience."

"This is really the right technology for The Foundry to adopt, and to connect with creativity on a broad scale with the Made with Mischief brand," said Cheung. "And that bridges to the amazing things we do on The Foundry side. There are teams that have been looking at Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields, how to adapt the technology for different purposes and potentially for different applications.

"Not only is the technology amenable to GPU rendering, it provides amazing anti-aliasing," he explained. "It's very responsive and can write giant amounts of data in very small file sizes. We could share a file that could be rendered out at any resolution and that would be smaller than some digital camera output. This technology allows the best of both worlds — the resolution independence of a vector graphics application with the feel of a raster painting engine that creatives are accustomed to. The new shape representation is really the technology piece that puts Mischief beyond any other sketching or drawing apps."

Mischief is available today for the Mac — it'll be the first product from The Foundry on the App Store — and Windows, but Cheung also hinted about activity around mobile devices and touchscreens.

A free version is also available on the App Store. Mischief-Free, a limited-feature edition, includes basic brushes, colours and a full infinite canvas experience.

"We want to give a little bit of Mischief to everybody," said Cheung.


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