TweetFollow Us on Twitter

December 92 - GRAPHICAL TRUFFLES

GRAPHICAL TRUFFLES

ANIMATION AT A GLANCE

EDGAR LEE

[IMAGE Graphics_col._final_rev1.GIF]

The Macintosh has always provided animation capabilities. From the early Macintosh 128K to current CPUs, animation has consistently played a large part in the development of software. And though CPU models continue to change, the theories and concepts behind animation have stayed basically the same. Simply stated, animation is the process of stepping through a sequence of images, each slightly different from the previous.

The thought of animation on the Macintosh usually brings to mind games and multimedia, when in fact the actual use of animation is more prevalent than most people imagine. I'll describe some common uses and methods of performing animation and get you started on writing your own animation sequences.

METHOD 1: PRIMITIVE BUT EFFECTIVE
One of the most fundamental methods of animation is using the srcXor transfer mode. The basic idea is that once you've drawn something in this mode, you can erase it simply by drawing it again, restoring the bits underneath to their previous state. Primitive though it may be, this method is common to many applications. Probably the most obvious example of it can be found in the Finder. Familiar to even the novice Macintosh user is the dotted rectangle that often appears during desktop navigation. The movement of the dotted rectangle, which appears when the user selects multiple icons or drags windows across the desktop, is a simple form of animation. The dotted rectangle is also used to create the zooming effect when desktop folders are opened and closed.

To use this method, you set the current transfer mode to srcXor before drawing the object you plan to animate. In the desktop example, the Finder switches to srcXor mode and then draws the dotted rectangle with a simple FrameRect call, with the PenPat set to 50% gray. The movement of the dotted rectangle is accomplished by redrawing the rectangle at its previous position before drawing it at its new location. With srcXor mode, simply redrawing the rectangle at the same position restores the desktop to its original state. So by repeatedly drawing and redrawing the rectangle in its new position, you float a frame across the screen without damaging the contents of the desktop.

As a variation on the dotted rectangle, applications use what's called the "marching ants" effect. With this effect, the bounding frame gives the illusion that the dashed lines or "ants" are moving around the edges of the box, thereby producing an animated and more interesting visual appearance.

[IMAGE Graphics_col._final_rev2.GIF] The marching ants effect is simple to create. The most common way to do this is with a simple 8-by- 8-bit pattern. To create the illusion, you draw a bounding frame by calling FrameRect, with the PenMode set to srcXor and the PenPat set to a pattern defined with diagonal stripes (see the illustration below). Shifting the pattern up one row, and then wrapping the first row of the pattern to the last row, creates the effect. If the rows were shifted down rather than up, the ants would appear to move in the opposite direction. In either case, the ants typically start at one corner of the box and then end at the opposite corner.

As with the dotted rectangle, the frame is continually drawn and redrawn, but this time with each new updated pattern. Note the difference between the two effects when the frame is drawn: With the ants, the frame is constantly being drawn and redrawn even if the rectangle's coordinates haven't changed. With the dotted rectangle, the frame is redrawn only when its position has changed. Since no animation takes place when the dotted rectangle is sitting in the same position, it's not necessary to continually draw the frame in that case.

METHOD 2: NOT SEEING IS MORE THAN BELIEVING
Another method of performing animation is to use off-screen drawing. With this method, the actual drawing is being done behind the user's back. The animation frames are prepared off-screen and quickly transferred to the screen with CopyBits to create the animation sequence. Regardless of what CPU you're running, this method can provide excellent animation effects. And with the advent of GWorlds to simplify the process of building off-screen environments, performing animation with this technique has become much easier.

In this section I'll provide some important points to consider when building your own off-screen world and describe how to apply these off-screen worlds to animation. For a detailed description of creating your own custom GDevices, cGrafPorts, and pixMaps, see the Macintosh Technical Note "Principia Off-Screen Graphics Environments."

Before even considering off-screen animation, you need to determine whether your Macintosh has enough memory for creating the off-screen environment. Without sufficient memory, you might as well forget it. Having high-performance, high-quality animation isn't cheap. Most of what determines the amount of required memory is the off-screen world's dimensions and pixel depth.

  • Typically, or at least for this method, the dimensions of the off-screen world are the same as those of the entire on-screen area.
  • For the depth of the off-screen world, you'll need to determine whether it's based on the depth of the images used in the window or on the depth of the GDevice intersecting the window. In the case where the GDevice is set to direct colors, you may want to create only an 8-bit off-screen world to save memory if your images use only 256 or fewer colors. On the other hand, you may want to create an off-screen world equal to the depth of the GDevice containing the window, for better data transfer performance.

Once you've determined the dimensions and depth for the off-screen world, you're ready to create the off-screen environment. Note that if you're using the GWorlds introduced with 32-Bit QuickDraw, many of the off-screen initialization procedures have been simplified. Also, with certain video display cards, the GWorlds can be cached into the NuBusTM card's memory, providing even better performance when off-screen worlds are used.

To create the off-screen environment, you pass NewGWorld the off-screen dimensions, depth, and color table, and the routine creates the environment or warns you if there wasn't sufficient memory. After you've made all the required memory checks and created your off-screen environment, either by hand or with NewGWorld, the next step is to create the animation sequence.

In the simplest case, the off-screen world is used to store an identical copy of what's displayed on the screen. Rather than erasing and drawing the moving object on-screen, you perform all this in the off- screen world. Once the moving object has been drawn in its new position, the off-screen image is transferred to the screen. By continually drawing the next frame of the moving object in the off-screen world before displaying it on the screen, you produce the animation effect. The following steps describe the process.

  1. Assuming that the entire window is being used for the animation, create an off-screen environment of the same dimensions as the window, either by hand or with NewGWorld. When you're defining the depth and color table of the off-screen world, remember that QuickDraw requires extra time to map colors when the destination GDevice's depth and color table are different from those of the source.
  2. Switch to the off-screen grafPort and GDevice and draw the background image. This is the image that the object will be moved on top of; typically it won't change.
  3. Draw the object that will be moved or animated into the off-screen world. Actually, any image not part of the background image should be drawn at this time. Also, since the object overwrites the background image, the background under the object will eventually need to be restored.
  4. Switch back to the on-screen grafPort and GDevice and use CopyBits to transfer the off-screen pixMap to the screen.

These steps create just one frame of the animation sequence. To create the full sequence, repeat the last three steps until the animation is complete. In step 2, instead of redrawing the entire background, you may want to redraw just the areas that need to be restored, if that information is available. By redrawing just a portion of the damaged background, you'll notice improved performance, especially when working with higher pixel depths.

Besides providing a quick introduction to off-screen animation, this method has the advantage that it's simple and straightforward. Since all the objects and images are drawn at one time and in the same environment, it's easy to create your sequences and synchronize the animation for any moving object. However, as mentioned earlier, large off-screen images at higher pixel depths can really affect the performance of the animation. To overcome this problem, you need to use multiple off-screen worlds.

METHOD 3: SWITCHING INTO HIGH GEAR
The concept of multilayer off-screen worlds isn't much different from the basics of off-screen animation. Rather than having just one off-screen environment, you've also got an intermediate off- screen layer in which all the actual drawing is completed, leaving the background layer undamaged. So unlike the previous method, where one off-screen world was used for storing the background and the moving object, this method uses two separate off-screen worlds to maintain this information. The following steps describe how the intermediate layer fits in.

  1. Again, create the background off-screen layer with the same dimensions as the window.
  2. Switch the current grafPort and GDevice to the background layer, then draw the background image. This layer will never change, since its main purpose is to restore the overwritten areas of the intermediate layer.
  3. Find the common rectangle containing the object's previous location and its new location. This can be calculated by passing UnionRect the object's bounding rectangle for both positions. Be sure the common rectangle uses coordinates local to the window.
  4. Create the intermediate off-screen layer with the dimensions of the common rectangle.
  5. Switch to the intermediate layer and transfer the area of the corresponding common rectangle of the background layer to the current layer. This will restore the area at which the object was last positioned. Rather than having to redraw the background for each frame, you simply replace the damaged area with the background image stored in memory.
  6. Draw the moving object at its new location in the intermediate layer. If multiple objects are within the same bounding region of this layer, they should be drawn at this time as well.
  7. Switch to the window layer and use CopyBits to transfer the contents of the intermediate layer to the screen. Finally, to create the entire animation sequence, repeat steps 3-7 until the animation is complete. The illustration below shows the process of creating one of the frames in the sequence. In this frame, the moving object is the sun, drawn on top of the background image of the mountains.

When moving multiple objects, you'll need to decide whether to handle the objects separately or in groups. In the case where objects are widely dispersed in the window, it would be more practical to create a separate intermediate layer for each object than to create one layer containing all the objects. Since no changes are occurring in places between widely spread objects, unnecessary time and memory would be spent updating these areas.

[IMAGE Graphics_col._final_rev3.GIF]

However, if the objects are closely spaced, grouping the objects and creating one intermediate layer would make more sense. Since objects can overlap each other, creating separate off-screen worlds would not be too practical or easily accomplished. So when determining the number of intermediate off-screen layers, you'll want to first check where the objects are located in the window.

The main advantage of using the intermediate layer is the performance improvement. As mentioned earlier, transferring large blocks of data at high pixel depths can be time consuming. As you can guess, the smaller the transfer image, the less time QuickDraw requires. Another advantage of using this layer is the ability to isolate the background image. Since all the drawing is taking place in the intermediate layer, there's no need to redraw the background image for each frame, which can be a real time saver for complex backgrounds. Though more memory is required with the addition of the intermediate layer, the performance gains can sometimes make the extra memory worth it.

Finally, to fully optimize the animation performance, you'll want to be sure the data transfer from the off-screen layers is as fast as possible. Since you can influence the speed of CopyBits, here are a few points you'll want to keep in mind when creating and using off-screen layers:

  • For indexed GDevices, the same color table should be used for the window and the off-screen layers. Since no color mapping should be required when the source and destination share the same color table, less time is needed for the data transfer.
  • Be sure no nonrectangular clipping is involved in the CopyBits operation. Having to check which pixels should or shouldn't be clipped can really slow down the data transfer.
  • Use srcCopy as the transfer mode for CopyBits. Any other mode takes extra time to perform the logical operations on the source and destination pixels.
  • Set the current port's foreground color to black and background color to white before calling CopyBits. This will ensure that no colorizing (which can be slow) takes place.
  • Make sure no dithering takes place. Unless you have your own rippin' fast method for dithering, try to stay away from it. If possible, prepare the images in the off-screen layers in such a way that dithering isn't needed.
  • Keep the same alignment of pixels for the source and destination pixMaps. Having to shift unaligned pixels can take time.
  • The source and destination rectangles should be the same size. Scaling requires extra work.

By following as many of these points as possible, you'll improve the performance that you'll get out of CopyBits and waste less time in the on-screen updates.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
I've presented several methods of animation; which method to use depends on your application. In fact, you may choose to use several methods or switch between methods under different system requirements. Say your application uses multiple layering for optimal animation; under low-memory conditions, you may want to switch to just one off-screen world to provide at least some type of off- screen animation. But if that isn't even an option, you may have to do all the animation on-screen. For an example that does exactly that, see DTS.Draw in the Sample Code folder on theDeveloper CD Series disc. If sufficient memory is available to create the off-screen worlds, the application uses the multilayer method; otherwise, the application decides on the next best method based on the current available memory.

This column has described different animation techniques, but the principle behind them is basically the same, even if the results don't show it. Given a set of slightly different images, all the methods involve stepping through the series of images, where each object in the image is erased before the next object in the series is displayed.

Animation provides excellent visual effects, more fun for the programmer, and most important, an enhanced experience for the user. Now that you've got the basics of animation on the Macintosh, I hope you'll be inspired to animate your own applications!

RECOMMENDED READING

  • "Macintosh Display Card 8*24 GC: The Naked Truth" by Guillermo Ortiz, develop  Issue 3.
  • Macintosh Technical Notes "Principia Off-Screen Graphics Environments" (formerly #120) and "Of Time and Space and _CopyBits" (formerly #277).
  • Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice, 2nd ed., by J. D. Foley, A. Van Dam, S. K. Feiner, and J. F. Hughes (Addison-Wesley, 1990), Chapter

EDGAR LEE (AppleLink EDGAR) Recently spared from the traumas of big city living, Edgar enjoys the relaxing and granola-like atmosphere of sunny Cupertino. When asked what he likes most about the area, he proudly points to his car stereo in disbelief that it's still there. Besides adjusting to his newly found appreciation of suburban living, Edgar enjoys a good challenge of doubles volleyball, an excellent head-to-head game of Tetris, and learning the newest and latest human tricks from his faithful companion, Sunny. Though Edgar realizes Sunny is only a dog, he still believes some of the engineers here at Apple could stand to learn a lot from her. Of course these engineers don't seem to agree. *

For more information on caching GWorlds into NuBus memory and improving drawing performance, see "Macintosh Display Card 8*24 GC: The Naked Truth" in develop  Issue 3.*

For source-code routines that create and manage off-screen layers, see GWLayers in the Sample Code folder on theDeveloper CD Series  disc. To see how these routines are actually used, check out the Kibitz and DTS.Draw samples on the CD as well. (GWLayers is brought to you by Forrest Tanaka, and Kibitz and DTS.Draw are from Eric Soldan.) *

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Macs Fan Control 1.3.1.0 - Monitor and c...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
NetShade 6.3.1 - Browse privately using...
NetShade is an anonymous proxy and VPN app+service for Mac. Unblock your Internet through NetShade's high-speed proxy and VPN servers spanning seven countries. NetShade masks your IP address as you... Read more
Dragon Dictate 4.0.7 - Premium voice-rec...
With Dragon Dictate speech recognition software, you can use your voice to create and edit text or interact with your favorite Mac applications. Far more than just speech-to-text, Dragon Dictate lets... Read more
Persecond 1.0.2 - Timelapse video made e...
Persecond is the easy, fun way to create a beautiful timelapse video. Import an image sequence from any camera, trim the length of your video, adjust the speed and playback direction, and you’re done... Read more
GIMP 2.8.14p2 - Powerful, free image edi...
GIMP is a multi-platform photo manipulation tool. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GIMP is suitable for a variety of image manipulation tasks, including photo retouching,... Read more
Sandvox 2.10.2 - Easily build eye-catchi...
Sandvox is for Mac users who want to create a professional looking website quickly and easily. With Sandvox, you don't need to be a Web genius to build a stylish, feature-rich, standards-compliant... Read more
LibreOffice 5.0.1.2 - Free, open-source...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
f.lux 36.1 - Adjusts the color of your d...
f.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or wake... Read more
VirtualBox 5.0.2 - x86 virtualization so...
VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers... Read more
File Juicer 4.43 - Extract images, video...
File Juicer is a drag-and-drop can opener and data archaeologist. Its specialty is to find and extract images, video, audio, or text from files which are hard to open in other ways. In computer... Read more

ReBoard: Revolutionary Keyboard (Utilit...
ReBoard: Revolutionary Keyboard 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Do everything within the keyboard without switching apps! If you are in WhatsApp, how do you schedule a... | Read more »
Tiny Empire (Games)
Tiny Empire 1.1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1.3 (iTunes) Description: Launch cannonballs and blow tiny orcs into thousands of pieces in this intuitive fantasy-themed puzzle shooter! Embark on an... | Read more »
Astropad Mini (Productivity)
Astropad Mini 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** 50% off introductory price! ​*** Get the high-end experience of a Wacom tablet at a fraction of the price with Astropad... | Read more »
Emo Chorus (Music)
Emo Chorus 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Realistic Choir simulator ranging from simple Chorus emulation to full ensemble Choir with 128 members. ### introductory offer... | Read more »
Forest Spirit (Games)
Forest Spirit 1.0.5 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.5 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Ski Safari 2 (Games)
Ski Safari 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The world's most fantastical, fun, family-friendly skiing game is back and better than ever! Play as Sven's sister Evana, share... | Read more »
Lara Croft GO (Games)
Lara Croft GO 1.0.47768 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.47768 (iTunes) Description: Lara Croft GO is a turn based puzzle-adventure set in a long-forgotten world. Explore the ruins of an ancient... | Read more »
Whispering Willows (Games)
Whispering Willows 1.23 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.23 (iTunes) Description: **LAUNCH SALE 50% OFF** - Whispering Willows is on sale for 50% off ($4.99) until September 9th. | Read more »
Calvino Noir (Games)
Calvino Noir 1.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: The film noir stealth game. Calvino Noir is the exploratory, sneaking adventure through the 1930s European criminal underworld.... | Read more »
Angel Sword (Games)
Angel Sword 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Prepare to adventure in the most epic full scale multiplayer 3D RPG for mobile! Experience amazing detailed graphics in full HD.... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

iPad Air 2 on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
Best Buy has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices available for online... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP
Best Buy has MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary... Read more
Big Grips Lift Handle For iPad Air and iPad A...
KEM Ventures, Inc. which pioneered the extra-large, super-protective iPad case market with the introduction of Big Grips Frame and Stand in 2011, is launching Big Grips Lift featuring a new super-... Read more
Samsung Launches Galaxy Tab S2, Its Most Powe...
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. has announced the U.S. release of the Galaxy Tab S2, its thinnest, lightest, ultra-fast tablet. Blending form and function, elegant design and multitasking power,... Read more
Tablet Screen Sizes Expanding as iPad Pro App...
Larger screen sizes are gaining favor as the tablet transforms into a productivity device, with shipments growing 185 percent year-over-year in 2015. According to a new Strategy Analytics’ Tablet... Read more
Today Only: Save US$50 on Adobe Elements 13;...
Keep the memories. lose the distractions. Summer’s winding down and it’s time to turn almost perfect shots into picture perfect memories with Elements 13. And get the power to edit both photos and... Read more
1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $449, save $50
Best Buy has the 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $50 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price for online orders only, in-store price may vary... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Gold MacBook on sale for $1149...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.1GHz Gold Retina MacBook on sale for $1149.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... Read more
27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1849, sav...
Best Buy has the 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1849.99. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if... Read more
Worldwide Tablet Shipments Expected to Declin...
Does Apple badly need a touchscreen convertible/hybrid laptop MacBook? Yes, judging from a new market forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, which... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Music, Business Operations - Apple (...
**Job Summary** This role in Apple Music and in iTunes is working with…the songs that we all enjoy listening to in Apple Music. Your job will be to work wit Read more
Hardware Systems Integration Engineer - *App...
**Job Summary** We are seeking an enthusiastic electrical engineer for the Apple Watch team. This is a design engineering position that entails working with Read more
Engineering Project Manager - *Apple* TV -...
**Job Summary** The iTunes Apps project management team oversees iTunes, Apple TV, DRM and iOS Applications. We are looking for a project manager to help manage and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail Online Store: Customer Insigh...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail (Online Store) is seeking an experienced e-commerce analytics professional to join the Customer Insights Team. The Web e-Commerce Analyst Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.