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Microsoft and MoMA Partner on New Painting App

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Microsoft, a 2013 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree, has partnered with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on a unique new application that allows users to tap into their creativity. Fresh Paint, the new painting app for Windows 8 (available for free at the Windows Store), is a “a delightfully fun and realistic painting application for you and your family,” according to the app’s website.

 

Fresh Paint was born from the idea that people were missing out on a creative outlet, whether through online posts, blogs, photos or otherwise. The research team behind the product commissioned a global survey designed to find out how many people are looking for ways to express their creativity. Results showed that a large number of people were looking for creative outlets—87% of those surveyed in the US alone. The same research found that 96% of US parents wished they had better ways to develop creativity in their children. Fresh Paint aims to do just that.

 

Fresh Paint was derived from an earlier program known as Project Gustav, which allowed the user to re-create the analogy of real oils and pastels, replicating onscreen what would happen in the real world. Seeking feedback on the product, the research team contacted Wendy Woon, MoMA’s Deputy Director of Education. She and her team were impressed enough with the app that they invited Microsoft to be a part of the educational activities at MoMA’s Material Lab.

 

The prototype app was embedded in the Material Lab at MoMA for over a year. During that time, over 60,000 people created and painted, and the app received rave user reviews. As more and more people played with the app, the research team heard that they wanted to be able to do things like paint on top of paint, say put a sun in the sky they just brushed on their canvas. The experience and the feedback was not only a testament to the capability even within the prototype—it was the encouragement that was needed to take things further.

 

With the feedback received from the users at MoMA, the research team embarked on a mission to reimagine the app into what would become Fresh Paint. Developers began playing with paints, experimenting how real oils react with real canvas and trying to recreate it onscreen, ultimately creating the best in class touch application for Windows 8. Fresh Paint is now back at MoMA in the Art Lab and users are raving about the interactive experience it provides for kids of all ages.

 

Congratulations to Microsoft, who continues to be one of the best businesses partnering with the arts in America!

 

For more information on the partnership between Microsoft and MoMA, visit the Next at Microsoft blog.

 

Fresh Paint infographic - An infographic by the team at Fresh Paint infographic

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