Issue: 4.5 (May/June 2006)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,497
Starting Page Number: 8
RBD Number: 4503
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Photoshop is clearly the dominant force in image customization and manipulation. But what about for an editing program more suited for the stay-at-home mom with pictures of her kids or the thirteen year old with pictures of friends? Photoshop is a little much for these relatively simple tasks. Thanks to the power of REALbasic and the hard work and ingenuity of Tomis Erwin, ImagePlay has been born. This application, accompanied by full REALbasic source code, offers over 40 image effects without the use of plugins.
Mac OS X was great in that it brought the Core Image technology to our Cocoa programming friends. The only problem with a developer calling these commands from REALbasic is that they would only work on Macs. ImagePlay fixes this problem. Although Core Image is not used, similar filters and gradients are readily available to the REALbasic developer. Therefore, not only can REALbasic's cross-platform compiler build an application that calls this module for multiple targets, it no longer relies on specific graphics cards or GPUs. Installation of this module is as simple as drag and drop.
Another great aspect about ImagePlay and the ImagePlay library is that all of the effects are written in straight REALbasic code with no plugins or system calls required. This keeps the overhead and speed in general of the functions to a minimum. REALbasic performs the math and graphics object calls quickly and natively.
It is important to note that ImagePlay does make a few system calls for ease of use. For instance, it calls the system to enable live updates when dragging image elements around the screen. This is important to provide the immediate results users anticipate. ImagePlay also makes use of proxy icons, a technology several of its users may know and expect to be in any application they use.
Above all, a shallow learning curve was required by the developer in order to keep the application spectra of this set of tools viable. Using REALbasic's drag and drop IDE, Erwin could clearly see how a potential user would interact with the program and thus tailored the interface of the program accordingly. For instance, Erwin was able to subclass a canvas control in order to make a disclosure triangle in the layer window remarkably obvious. In addition, Erwin added a preview pane, which automatically applies whichever effect is selected to a sample image. This does not merely display a picture of the effect, rather, the effect's code is run on the image in real time and the neither application nor the system skips a beat.
ImagePlay is a classic example of an application that allows anyone access to the tools needed to have fun. Who knew that REALbasic could provide entertainment for such a wide range of individuals? People do not usually like waiting for amusement so the choice of coding this program in REALbasic was a smart one, considering its speed and efficiency with the indicated calls.
IN BRIEF Product ImagePlay 0.1.1 Manufacturer Tomis Erwin Price Free Contact Info http://imageplay.sourceforge.net/
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