Microsoft has revealed details of its first foray into the high-end world of graphic design and image-editing with the debut of the beta version of Acrylic.

Aimed at professional graphic designers, the application is a second warning shot to Adobe from the software giant, following last month's revealing by Microsoft of 'Metro', its tool that will face-off Adobe Acrobat.

According to Microsoft, Acrylic is a professional illustration, painting, and graphic design product, is targeted at designers working in print, Web, video, and interactive media, and is based on Creature House Expression 3. It combines both pixel-based painting with raster- and vector-graphic editing features, and features panoramic photo-stitching.

The Windows XP-only application is available for free download from Microsoft's site, and expires October 2005. More details -- including a shipping date and support for Mac OS X -- were not available.

Download it from www.microsoft.com/products/expression/