Microsoft Expression Suite
Expression is a vector editor, mixing bitmap and vectors. Used mostly to create quickly illustration.
There are really good things, like the fact that a bitmap (or a set of vector), is used as brush for another verctor. The definition of the brush, is like a sound in a sound editor, there is loop range (for repeating motif), increase, decrease, wave amplitude variation on stroke shape, etc...
Expression has a really ugly Window in Window Multiple document interface. It fails to closely resemble either Adobe or Macromedia products making it harder to migrate to and learn, and it doesn't even do a particularly good job of being consistent with existing Microsoft products. Some reviewers have complained that text support in Acrylic is wholly inadequate.
Microsoft have released a Beta version of Expression codenamed Acrylic and strangely are marketing it as a raster graphics program. Microsoft strategy is not yet clear but it seems Expression may be the name of a new creative suite from Microsoft which would include Acrylic as well as their rumoured alternative to Flash codenamed Sparkle. The second beta included XAML support.
Expression 3.3, 29 June 2004
This program is now available free in PC and Win forms. For those who do not know, it is a vector based painting program and one of the best programs available for free on the net at present. There are many things that it does that Inkscape is heading towards. Creature House was taken over by Microsoft last year and the program is now known as Microsoft Expression. The following is taken from a review of Expresssion by Sue Chastains. The PC version of the download is 57.5MB and became available about a week ago. Who knows how long it will stay available.
a.. Vector-based drawing and illustration software based on unique 'skeletal strokes' technology. b.. The first application to introduce the concept of drawing with strokes of objects along a path. c.. Any kind of object, whether vector- or bitmap-based, can be defined as a custom brush stroke. d.. Unique features go beyond traditional drawing software to provide ultimate artistic expression. e.. Pressure-sensitive pen support, familiar and specialized drawing tools, many import/export options. f.. Version 3 adds repositionable textures, reflection-mapped fills,user-definable fringes, g.. eraser mode, head/tail anchoring, repeatable sections, transparency and width variability, h.. new and improved drawing tools, productivity enhancements, and PSD and PNG import/export. i.. Boxed version includes a detailed, 200-page printed user guide with several tutorials. j.. Windows and Macintosh versions of Expression 3 are available for free download from Microsoft.
There does not appear to be a time limit or any obvious restrictions on the program.
few examples of the skeletal strokes technique (not all the techniques)
Creature House Official Website thanks to the Web Archive.
Tour of technical concepts thanks to the Web Archive.
Skeletal strokes explained thanks to the Web Archive.
Papers on skeletal stroke and variations
- HL94 Siu Chi Hsu and Irene.H.H. Less "Drawing and Animation Using Skeletal Strokes"
Proceedings of SIGGRAPH'94
- HLW93 Siu Chi Hsu, Irene H.H. Less, H.E. Wiseman. "Skeletal Strokes" In: Proceedings of UIST'93
- Application on simulation of chinese brush:  (PDF)
- Application for hand-drawed like trees: (PDF)
List of other references on subject on ACM library portal:  type skeletal strokes in search input box