As you know, Adobe has swallowed Macromedia in merger that makes everyone except the consumer happy. Check out this link to see what most folks in the design industry would have never happened http://www.macromedia.com.
Anyway, with this merger, competition in the vector area has been all but nullified. Freehand, the Macromedia tool wasn’t included in the latest release of the Macromedia Suite of tools (Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks). Conversely, Adobe Illustrator CS2 is still dominating the vector world—and why not; not only is it the biggest vector player, with the merger, it becomes the only player.
Well, not so fast. From an unlikely place, a competitor arises to face the Adobe Graphics behemoth. A small (one man) company was developing its own vector graphics tool about a year or so ago. He was approached by a software company in Redmond and promptly sold his tool.
Microsoft Expression Code Name Acrylic Graphic Designer is the first entry from Redmond into the graphics industry (come on now, you can’t really count Paint, Publisher or, (shiver) Front Page). According the site, Expression does both bitmap and vector art from within the one tool. I downloaded from here today link (free, but you do need to register (of course, that’s what gmail accounts are for)) and it is a good tool. I did the cowboy with the freehand tool in about 15 minutes. If you are used to Adobe tools, you will find yourself doing quick keys that don’t work the same way in AGD, but the interface will be familiar. I will play with it some more and post a full review next week. In the meantime, check it out for yourself though only Windows version is available, but a MAC version should be out shortly.