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The Foundry Expands Market Footprint with Acquisition of Made With Mischief


The Foundry, provider of award-winning creative software used globally by leading artists and designers, expanded its market reach while simultaneously bolstering the strength of its technology by acquiring Made With Mischief. Its flagship product, Mischief, a pen-based sketching application for Mac and Windows, blends sophisticated underlying technology with an elegant, clean interface. This makes it easy for creative people to explore, create and share art in a digital format on a truly infinite canvas while preserving the emotional experience of the physical. Under the terms of the private deal, Made With Mischief, founded by Sarah Frisken, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of The Foundry. The company will be headquartered in Boston, with team members located in Boston, London and Shanghai.

“Made With Mischief brings both immediate and long-term value to The Foundry,” said Bill Collis, chief executive officer of The Foundry. “First, this allows us to enter a new market, with an offering that’s both powerful and simple to use, ideal for professionals and creative hobbyists alike. Second, Mischief uses a powerful new technology that has massive potential to impact future creative solutions. As we work with Sarah and her team to enhance the current Mischief platform, we’ll identify applications for our design, visual effects and gaming customers as well.” 

Mischief is powered by a revolutionary patented shape representation, known as Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields (ADFs), co-invented by Frisken. ADFs have several advantages for creative applications: they provide high-quality stroke rendering; they are amenable to hardware-based rendering so drawing is extremely responsive; they are very compact, resulting in small file sizes; they can be scaled without introducing pixelation artifacts; and they can accurately represent much richer and more complex shapes than traditional vector-based stroke representations. For Frisken, the acquisition of Made With Mischief by The Foundry enables her to retain her core vision of providing high-quality software tools for a wide range of artists and to preserve an accessible price point, while bringing future versions of the platform to an even broader audience.

“The Foundry has a proven record of taking exciting, innovative concepts and commercializing them for a broader market,” said Sarah Frisken. “By becoming a part of The Foundry, we now have the ability to grow our team, to be more responsive to our users, and to further our vision. I’m also very excited about the addition to the team of Chris Cheung, who will head our product agenda. Chris has invaluable experience in building a large and loyal following in the artistic and design communities so we’re very happy to have him on board. With our talent and technology, we will create new and exciting products that in turn create new possibilities and experiences for our customers.”  

In the new organization, Frisken will become chief scientist, allowing her to explore the convergence of technology and art in future innovations. She will work closely with Cheung to drive the conceptualization, development and commercialization of digital artistic solutions. Christopher Kenessey, chief sales and marketing officer for The Foundry, will assume the position of president of Made With Mischief. In his new dual role, Kenessey’s executive leadership will drive adoption of Mischief among a broader market while also identifying development opportunities through technology crossover. 

Users can purchase the full version of Mischief on the Mac App Store & the Mischief online store for $25.00 USD. The full version of Mischief includes a full color panel with customizable color swatches, customizable brushes and Hotkeys, and a selection of background papers and colors, all on Mischief’s infinite canvas.

To encourage new users to play with Mischief, the company will offer Mischief-Free, a new limited-feature edition that is completely free of charge. Mischief-Free includes basic brushes, colors and a full infinite canvas experience. It is ideal for young artists, enthusiasts and anyone with a graphics tablet.


FAQ – The Foundry and Made With Mischief

What are you announcing?

We’re excited to announce we’ve acquired Made With Mischief, founded by Sarah Frisken. With Made With Mischief, we’re ideally positioned to extend The Foundry’s presence into a new market with engaging, easy-to-use offerings for creative people.

Its flagship product, Mischief, is a unique pen-based application for Mac and Windows. Mischief’s sophisticated core technology and clean, elegant interface make it both powerful and simple to use, ideal for professionals and creative hobbyists alike. 

Key to its underlying technology is revolutionary patented shape representation, known as Adaptively Sampled Distance Fields (ADFs), which Frisken co-invented. ADFs have several advantages for creative applications: they provide high-quality stroke rendering; they are amenable to hardware-based rendering so drawing is extremely responsive; they are very compact, resulting in small file sizes; they can be scaled without introducing pixelation artifacts; and they can accurately represent much richer and more complex shapes than traditional vector-based stroke representations.


How does this fit with The Foundry growth strategy?

Our strategy has always been to enter into the broader creative market once we had the right technology and products. Therefore, the benefits of this acquisition are two-fold. First, Mischief allows us to immediately establish a legitimate presence in the market with an inspiring offering. 

Second, Mischief’s powerful new technology has massive potential to impact future creative solutions. As we work to enhance the current Mischief platform, we’ll identify ways in which we can incorporate relevant Mischief technology into solutions for design, visual effects and games.  


How will Made With Mischief fit within The Foundry organization? It seems very different from your typical customer/product?

Made With Mischief will remain a stand-alone entity with a unique value proposition for creative people. While it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of The Foundry, we’ve made a conscious decision to preserve its Mischief brand and independent website to make it easy for people to engage with Mischief. 

While the customers and product are new, the process by which we’re bringing Mischief to market mirror our past success. We’ve commercialized solutions that have become pivotal to the creative process at studios like Dreamworks, Pixar, ILM. We’re now applying that same expertise to deliver a relevant offering to creatives with Mischief. 

At the same time, we’ve already begun researching ways in which our collective technologies strengthen future product development for both The Foundry and Made With Mischief. Therefore, we’ll see benefits for all our customers, while still remaining true to the qualities for which each brand is known.


Who will run it and where will the team be based?

Christopher Kenessey, chief sales and marketing office for The Foundry, has also become the president of Made With Mischief, to drive adoption of the product among a broader market while also identifying development opportunities through technology crossover. Sarah Frisken remains as chief scientist of Made With Mischief, focusing on future innovations and underlying technology. We’re also thrilled that Chris Cheung, who has incredible experience in building a large and loyal following in the artistic and design communities, has joined Made With Mischief as head of products. The company will be headquartered in Boston, with team members located in Boston, London and Shanghai.


How does someone purchase Mischief?

Users can purchase the full version of Mischief on the Mac App Store & the Mischief online store for $25.00 USD. The full version of Mischief includes a full color panel with customizable color swatches, a set of preset brushes, layers and a selection of background papers and colors, all on Mischief’s infinite canvas.

Made With Mischief also offers Mischief-Free, a new limited-feature edition that is completely free of charge. Mischief-Free includes basic brushes, colors and a full infinite canvas experience. It is ideal for young artists, enthusiasts and anyone with a graphics tablet. For more information on Made With Mischief, including how to purchase, product features, system requirements and supported platforms, visit www.madewithmischief.com.