Microsoft’s ‘The Art of Touch’

Microsoft Corp. is encouraging artistic creativity through the launch of an international art project called “The Art of Touch,” inspired by the Microsoft family of Touch mice consisting of the Microsoft Touch Mouse, Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse and Microsoft Explorer Touch Mouse. These three unique mice raise the bar on innovation and customer experience. Visitors to the site can easily create original works of art with a palette of brushes and effects built into the application. Art created with the palette may be submitted, easily shared with their social networks and voted on, allowing the artist with the most votes to be awarded the grand prize of “featured artist” status on the Art of Touch website.

With the Art of Touch palette, people have access to an exclusive set of digital brushes and effects to create art in a modern Web browser using their mouse. Three brushes produce a ribbon, smoke or streak and, initially, five different effects can be added to each stroke with the click, swipe or flick of a mouse. Some of the effects include starbursts, trees, ribbons and splats. New effects will debut throughout the campaign, along with special effects created by featured generative artists, Erik Natzke, Dr. Woohoo! and Marius Watz. The canvas feature of HTML5 is combined with JavaScript libraries to draw the strokes and computer-generated animations in real time in the Web browser.

“We wanted to reinvigorate the magic of technology in a dynamic and new way by redefining what a mouse can create, and we welcome everyone to contribute to the communal canvas,” said François Ruault, senior director of marketing for Microsoft Hardware. “People can further their experience on the Art of Touch website by learning about the Microsoft family of Touch mice.”

This evening at the Microsoft Store at University Village in Seattle, the Art of Touch project will launch with Watz demonstrating the Art of Touch palette. Those people attending will be among the first to contribute their original artwork to the Art of Touch website, with the intention that the artwork will be an ever-evolving community masterpiece. In addition, they can save and repurpose their creations for customized items such as desktop wallpaper, postcards or design covers for electronic devices, and they can even print them on canvas.

“Programming has been my creative outlet since age 11, so I’m excited to work with Microsoft to give people the chance to express themselves through code and create something beautiful,” said Watz, who is known for his abstract and colorful compositions and has been publishing his work online since 1996.

The Art of Touch Sweepstakes

Each eligible person who creates a work of art using The Art of Touch palette can save and tag it with their name and location, and then share it online and through their social networks, where they can earn votes to win prizes in The Art of Touch Sweepstakes. Each vote for an art submission will count as one raffle ticket, encouraging people to vote often for favorite collages while increasing their chances to win a variety of prizes from Microsoft. From Nov. 10, 2011, to Feb. 4, 2012, Microsoft will give away prizes in a weekly drawing. Participants will have the chance to win Microsoft Touch mice, Windows 7-based PCs and other prizes that will feature their artwork. Complete sweepstakes rules are available here.

Be a Featured Artist Competition

The person whose artwork gets the most votes by Dec. 31, 2011, will be awarded the grand prize of “featured artist” status on the Art of Touch website alongside the three prestigious artists and will receive a bundle of free gear, including a Windows 7-based PC and a Microsoft Touch Mouse. Additional details and complete rules are available here.