Mischief Application Launched for Sketching, Drawing and Painting

The curiously-named new application nevertheless shows a fresh approach to graphics generation.

Sometimes when you work for a giant corporation long enough, you learn things that can actually be useful to people. Take Sarah Frisken and Ronald Perry, for example. Sarah spent twelve years as Distinguished Research Scientist at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, working on projects for surgical simulation, volumetric modeling, 3D digital sculpting, font representation and rendering, which involved computer simulation, computer graphics and shape representation. Then there's Ronald Perry, who if I understand correctly is still a Distinguished Research Scientist at MESL. The two of them are apparently the inventors of the Saffron Type System, the underlying font rendering technology used on the Amazon Kindle and in Adobe Flash.

All very interesting but more to the point is that each of this duo hold dozens of patents in the Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields (ADF) technology that powers the Mischief application. What the heck is ADF technology, you ask? It's better to quote them on this: "ADFs are a new digital representation of shape which provide numerous advantages including high-quality anti-aliasing, very fast rendering, very small file sizes, multi-scale rendering, support for massive parallelism, and the ability to succinctly represent variable-width, scalable, textured strokes." Geeky but promising!

More concretely, Mischief promises the holy graphical grail of "the richness of pixel-based brushes and the scalability of vectors." Reminiscent of a Mandelbrot set, you don't define the page size or resolution but instead just start drawing, in the knowledge that the program's promised infinite canvas will never get in your way. Which is to say that Mischief promises a larger dose of creative freedom than anything currently on the market. Other attractions include use of your GPU to speed display performance, the small file sizes associated with vector formats and a zoom range of 50 trillion to one. No less than that.

It all sounds quite seductive, although technical details are in short supply on even fundamental issues, such as file format support. But it's refreshing to see a new approach to graphics creation from such a tiny developer, especially in our current era so dominated by large corporations with more interest in monthly payments than innovation. So we wish Mischief the best of success. Our only quibble? The price. For the first product from an unknown developer, far wiser to make this affordable to boost widespread adoption. So half of the current price of $129 would be more on target.

Mischief 1 for Mac and Windows can be purchased on the MadeWithMischief.com site. A trial version is also available for download.