Archive for the ‘XAML’ Category

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Bubblemark has added a JavaFX version of his bubble animation test that spans now all of the RIA technologies out there. Bubblemark is a great site and has been a great site for comparing animation in the browser. Alexey Gavrilov has kept the site up to date on all versions of Silverlight since when it was WPF/E and it is a nice quick baseline test to check FPS performance across these new vector toolkits and scripting.

My results are very similar to Bubblemarks tests:

JavaFX — 14 fps
Firefox + Silverlight (JavaScript) — 56 fps
Firefox + Flex — 62 fps
Adobe AIR — 62 fps
Firefox + Silverlight (CLR) — 99 fps

Silverlight is not final and is quite light compared to Flex (I wonder if a vanilla Flash9/AS3 export has been done or if it would perform any different), but if Silverlight has a lead on FPS, where FPS is really success of any kit in RIA or vector, then it could be a rough battle. Flash/Flex is really far far ahead due to the browser penetration and the development community but the better performance is always a good indicator of possible success. Plus, Microsoft controls the desktop market and any “benefits” it might give their own kit which includes distribution and performance in preloading or caching.

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

Sample Silverlight textured 3d in a pretty slick Vista Silverlight theme. It is a pretty impressive demo that is full screen app and a slight performance test with the 3d in it.

I would love for some kits like papervision3d, Sandy etc to be ported to Silverlight. There are some other early 3d works from bubblemark, a 3D engine recently released in early stages called Balder (source at codeplex), pageturns, and more but it is still pretty young.

Sample Textured Silverlight 3d Vista demo

3D Engine for Silverlight Alpha 1.1

But until Silverlight is available in the market it will hard to justify projects in it unless they are demos or technology show pieces. When it hits around 85% market availability and is finalized (it is currently 1.1 Alpha) it could be dangerous.

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketMichael Swanson has created a SWF2XAML converter that you should check out.  It has quite a few features and fixes that would seem like conversion from SWF to XAML might not be worth the time.  This might change that.  I think that it is important to stay up on all vector technologies as a RIA solution provider and we do not treat platforms like religions rather tools to use at our disposal.

The conversion at least for the vector art looks pretty on target.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Features

The following table contains a list of features that are supported by the current version of the SWF2XAML tool or are planned for a future release. Where there are issues, I’ve tried to address them in the Comments column. If you’d like to see some visual illustrations, take a look at the Eye Candy.

Support Feature Comments
Yes  Frame by Frame Advance Use the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the window to navigate frames in the SWF file. Because frames in a SWF file must be processed sequentially, later frames will need to calculate intermediate frames, so jumping forward may take some time.

* The current version of the SWF2XAML tool does not cache prior frames (and that feature in Edit/Preferences is permanently disabled). So, when navigating backwards, the file will be re-calculated from the beginning. Depending on the file complexity, this may take some time.
Yes Explore Project Folder Choose File/Explore Project Folder to view the folder that contains any exported assets (like XAML files and bitmap images).
Yes XAML Export Choose File/Export… to export the current frame to a XAML file.
Yes Save Frame as Bitmap To save the current frame as a bitmap image (.PNG), choose File/Save Bitmap. The image will be named frame####.png where #### is replaced by the current frame number. The file will be saved to the subfolder identified in the application preferences.
Yes Launch XAML File Choose File/Launch XAML to automatically export the current frame to a XAML file and launch it in your default browser (normally Internet Explorer). 
Yes Launch Original SWF File Choose File/Launch Original to launch the current SWF file. If you have the Flash Player installed, this will open the player and begin the animation.
Yes Copy XAML to Clipboard Choose Edit/Copy XAML to copy the XAML for the current frame to the system clipboard.
Yes Copy ResourceDictionary Choose Edit/Copy ResourceDictionary to copy a XAML ResourceDictionary element that represents the shapes that have been defined up to the current frame. The XAML is copied to the system clipboard. Note that any shapes that are defined after the current frame will not be included (so, to include everything, first navigate to the last frame of the SWF file).
Yes Go To Specified Frame Choose Edit/Go To… and enter a frame number to jump to that frame. Because Flash files must be processed sequentially, all interim frames will also need to be calculated, so this may take some time.
Yes Preferences Choose Edit/Preferences… to configure various aspects of the tool:

  • The Display tab contains settings that determine the opacity of the Onion Skin mode and the stroke color and fill opacity for Wireframe Mode.
  • The XAML tab contains settings to export to WPF/E-compliant XAML and to control its formatting.
  • The Files tab controls where the various file types are saved on your system. By default, each SWF file will have its own subfolder created.
  • The Advanced tab contains settings that control how the tool caches various assets. Although caching of assets can improve performance, there may be a significant memory cost involved.
Yes Stage Clipping Choose View/Clip Stage to toggle clipping of the frame on and off. Often times, frames in a Flash file contain elements that can’t be seen with clipping turned on.
Yes File Information Choose View/File Information to enable the File Information pane. This pane displays information about the SWF file, including: file name, file signature, version, file length, frame width, frame height, frame rate (in fps), and the total frame count.
Yes Display List Choose View/Display List to enable the Display List pane. Think of the Display List as a stack of layers that make-up the current scene. You can use the checkboxes to selectively hide/unhide elements until the frame content looks the way you’d like. Note that not all checkboxes will change the visual display (only Shapes, MorphShapes, Sprites, Buttons, and Text).
Yes Advance Sprite Frames Many Flash files contains movie clips (or Sprites) that are sub-elements that have their own animation frames. Although these animations will automatically progress with each frame in the main scene, choosing View/Advance Sprites will manually advance each sprite in the scene by a single frame.

** If you run across a single frame Flash file and it doesn’t appear to animate properly, it may be because you need to manually advance the sprites in the scene.
Yes Wireframe Mode Choose View/Wireframe Mode to display the outlines of the elements in each frame. The wireframe stroke color and fill opacity can be configured under Edit/Preferences. Note that XAML exported or copied to the clipboard in this mode will represent the wireframe version of the frame (i.e. what you see).
Yes Onion Skin Mode Choose View/Onion Skin Mode to toggle opacity of the entire tool window. When Onion Skin Mode is enabled, the tool window becomes semi-transparent so that it can be moved over the top of a comparison window (like the Flash Player). This is useful to visually compare the converted geometry. The opacity of the window can be configured under Edit/Preferences.
Yes Tag Statistics Choose View/Tag Statistics to view a table of the Flash tags that have been encountered up until the current frame in the current file. To get statistics for the entire SWF file, choose Edit/Go To… to jump to the last frame of the file, then view the tag statistics.
Yes View Original Size Choose View/Original Size to size the frame to the height and width that is specified in the Flash file. When using Onion Skin Mode, this makes it easier to do a visual comparison with the Flash Player.
Yes Shape Morphs Shapes that were authored to morph over a specific number of frames are supported in the conversion. This includes geometry, fills, strokes, gradients, matrix transformations, etc.
Yes Clipping Layers Layers in the Display List that are set to clip lower layers are supported. Although these layers don’t have any visual strokes or fills, toggling these layers in the Display List pane will affect the display.
Yes Bitmaps All JPG, indexed color, and full color bitmap types are supported. Note that indexed color modes are simply converted to 32-bit RGBA PNG files (as are JPG files with an alpha layer, unique to Flash files).
Yes Color Transformations Simple color transformations (multiply and add) are supported per-layer in the Display List.
Yes/No Shape Fill Types  All fill types are supported to varying degrees:

  • Solid fills are fully supported
  • Both radial and linear gradient fills are supported. However, the new radial gradient settings in later Flash versions are not supported.
  • Bitmap fills are supported, but non-repeating clipped fills currently have some issues.
Yes/No  Buttons Only the button “up” state is currently converted and displayed. Also, there is no interactivity. 
No Frame Blend Modes No current support for various frame blend modes that were introduced in later versions of Flash.
No Dynamic Text Although static glyph text is supported, there is currently no support for text that uses locally-installed fonts.
No ActionScript All ActionScript code is currently ignored. As such, no interactivity is converted. 
No Sound No sounds are currently exported or played; they are simply skipped.
No Video All video is skipped. 

Installation

To get the SWF2XAML tool up-and-running on your system, follow these steps:

  • Make sure that you have the .NET Framework 3.0 installed on your machine. If you’re running Windows Vista, you can skip this step, because the Framework is automatically installed with the operating system.
  • Download SWF2XAML_0.2.zip (521KB).
  • Extract all of the files to a folder of your choice.
  • Double-click SWF2XAML.exe to run the tool.
Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Darren David has posted a WPF animation kit to help bring it to Actionscript level of one line animation calls such as to packages like Tweener for Flash.  

Essentially this kit helps to take most of the quirks out of learning animation in WPF early on and making it more like Flash code animation which is a requirement for anything like games, random, visualizations that have no limitations.  I am happy to see this toolkit and more like it soon.  It may help crossover but it also provides a base level platform that allows developers to ride and make solutions in either platform with similar syntax (hrm like the Java to C# toolsets).  Good solutions are not only on one platform but this is only for WPF so far. Found via Zeh.

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketflowlabs has a PSD to XAML converter. 

Psd2Xaml (with a splash of swf)

Simple, free, open-source tool for converting Photoshop .PSD files to XAML. Also supports limited SWF conversion to XAML.
This project is a by-product of the development of PaintLab, a node-based paint application.
Read more about the underlying PSD parser in this article: http://www.codeproject.com/cs/media/PSDParser.asp

Usage

Drag’n'drop PSD or SWF files to the application, and it will create XAML files in the same directory but with the extension xaml instead of psd. The individual layers’ bitmaps are saved in a subdirectory with the same name as the output .xaml file plus “_Bitmaps”.

Example: “Test.psd” is converted to”Test.xaml” and a new folder with the name “Test.xaml_Bitmaps” will be created, containing the bitmaps.

[source]

Downloads

Application: Psd2Xaml.zip (233 kb)
Source: Psd2Xaml_src.zip (226 kb)
Test media: Tiger.swf (16 kb)  DVDMenu.zip (psd, 989 kb)

It’s Gr-r-r-e-eat!!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHere’s the first pageturn in silverlight.  It runs pretty smooth. 

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Adobe vs. Microsoft Vector Wars/Development platform heats up

Silverlight, formerly WPF/E, is a cross platform competitor to flash that launched today.  The new name leaves something to be desired but this is a new technology battle over vector application for RIAs, interactives, 3d, games, etc. 

The great thing about Silverlight is the use ot .NET and C# to code the interaction rather than Actionscript 3 in Apollo/Flex/Flash9.  I like both languages but with a .NET language to code in flash this opens up the development of interactive to a whole batch of developers not into Flash.

Tools to Develop with Expression Studio and Silverlight here

One major glaring problem is that Flash won the internet video battle with FLV video but Silverlight only runs windows video.

All in all this is great news in that two of the biggest companies are going to be pushing Flash and Flash-like Silverlight, meaning mush more possible interactive work.  Some are buying into the Microsoft vs. Adobe game but it just means better tools for smart developers that know how to leverage multiple platforms for their solutions.  This usually leads to the best understanding of solution development when technology has your allegiance rather than a specific platform or company. 

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketMy friend Thomas Goddard over at Illuminated Pixel created the first Maya to XAML converter.  Its pretty robust and works great exporting from my favorite 3d program Maya to XAML and into WPF.

Thomas being the cool guy that he is was nice enough to OpenSource this badboy to share the love.

Check it out at HighEnd3d here

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHere’s a nice XAML exporter for Illustrator that is pretty clean.  Exporting from Illustrator to Flash or WPF can be tricky with the extra garbage that can be left or thrown out on export.

 http://www.mikeswanson.com/xamlexport/

From the author Michael Swanson

For working with XAML files, Notepad is great; I use it almost every day. XAMLPad (from the Windows SDK) is even better. But neither of them are built for serious graphic design work. Most professional designers are very familiar with Adobe’s venerable suite of tools, and a large percentage of them use Illustrator. So, I decided to spend some time investigating what it would take to build a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator that exports to XAML. Well, like a lot of software prototypes, it just kept growing. And growing. And growing. Now, after spending more than a few evenings trying to re-learn the C++ I’d forgotten some five years ago (I love C# and managed code even more now!), I’ve ended up with a very useful tool.

The tool may be a little rough around the edges. This is my first attempt at an Adobe plug-in, and although I don’t expect it to crash Illustrator, who knows what can happen? :-)

For a quick walk-through of the plug-in, you may want to watch this 25-minute Channel 9 interview.