The Japanese for Explorer 9: “Benchmark, Beautiful, and Speedy”

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Shodo is the Japanese art of calligraphy. The Shodo is a web site that honors the traditional art by providing a virtual kit for creating and sharing calligraphic figures. Check it out on Internet Explorer 9--it is truly stunning. You can log in with Twitter or Facebook credentials or post your artworks anonymously. Logging in is helpful, though, because it lets you delete submissions, establish a personal gallery, and easily share or "like" your own and others' creations.

Contributing is as simple as painting on a virtual calligraphy pad. From the workspace's beautifully rendered toolbox, you select from three brush sizes and four ink opacities. Brushstrokes are applied in layers, and ink darkens as it's overlaid on top of previous strokes.

You can work freehand, or you can choose to paint over a sample character, of which three are supplied: Benchmark, Beautiful, and Speedy. These characters aren't arbitrary. They represent three virtues inherent in the new platform based on Internet Explorer 9. Benchmark stands for Explorer's setting a new bar for Web standards support; Beauty is for the prettier pages and cleaner code these standards make possible; and Speedy is for Explorer's accelerated graphics and script processing.

Once you've produced your own calligraphic masterwork, you finalize it with a "seal signature" (up to ten characters stamped in red on your canvas), add a caption, and save it to The Shodo's gallery for the world to admire. Some of the best stuff happens next: After you've saved your work, The Shodo can replay how you built it, stroke by stroke. And you can download the complete image as a graphic. The Shodo also links to Twitter and Facebook in case you'd like to notify friends and followers of your masterpiece.

This story, "The Japanese for Explorer 9: “Benchmark, Beautiful, and Speedy”" was originally published by BrandPost.