Fixed ReaderWmf publised

by abenedik 3. March 2012 22:40

The new version of ReaderWmf 5.5.4436 greatly improved reading metafiles from stream because it read the stream directly and did not create a temporary file from it as previous versions did.

But unfortunately the code change had a bug that could produce NullReferenceException.

This exception can also happen when using WmfViewbox or WmfDrawing.

A new version 5.5.4445 that fixes that issue has been just published.

Tags:

ReaderWmf

Maintenance releases for all products are now available

by abenedik 24. February 2012 22:13

I am happy to announce that maintenance releases are now available for the following products:

  • Ab3d.Reader3ds and Viewer3ds
  • Ab3d.PowerToys
  • Ab2d.ReaderSvg and ViewerSvg
  • Ab2d.ReaderWmf and Paste2Xaml
  • ZoomPanel (evaluation version only)

 

Everybody that are using evaluation version will be happy to know that new evaluation versions of all the products now show the evaluation information dialog only once per day. Previous versions show evaluation information dialogs on each start of your application. If two or more controls were used (for example ReaderSvg and ZooomPanel) than each time you started your application two dialogs were shown. This was too annoying and is now lessened so the dialogs are shown only once per day.

Another important change in evaluation version allows you to reinstall evaluation version (the same version or newer) after 90 days from the date of installing previous evaluation version. The 60-day evaluation time limit is still the same. But with previous versions you need to contact support to extend the evaluation version after 60 days. This was not very practical when you tried an older version before some time and at that time you did not need the library or it did not have all the features you wanted. But after some time you decided to try with the new version and you were not able to install the evaluation because it has already expired. Now this is not the case any more because after 90 days you can reinstall the evaluation version again. Note that when reinstalling the same version it is recommended to uninstall it before installing it again. There is still 30 days between evaluation expiration and possibility to reinstall after 90 days - this is left to prevent continuous use of only evaluation version. But if you need to extend the 60-day period you can still contact support to extend your evaluation.

 

Of course there are also some other improvements and new features that apply for both evaluation and commercial version.

Let me start with Ab2d.ReaderSvg (and ViewerSvg). The changes in new version are:

  • Improved reading size of root svg object (improved support for viewBox and added support for preserveAspectRatio).
  • The GetXaml method now preserves the width and height in specified units (cm or inch).
  • Removed memory leak that occurred sometimes when reading embedded images.
  • Improved reading embedded images - they are now read faster and with lower memory usage.
  • Fixed problems when Path bounds were negative and IsSizeSetToPathElement in SilverlightXamlWriterSettings was set to true.
  • Prevented adding PresentationOptions:Freeze="True" text to XAML for Silverlight.
  • Added option to export for Silverlight 5.
  • Fixed reading svg file that contain links to images and were read without specifying the whole path (Read method was called only with svg file name without the full path).

 

Ab2d.ReaderWmf got the following changes:

  • Fixed leaking GDI+ handles under some circumstances. This could lead to "Cannot open wmf file!" exception after opening a few thousands metafiles.
  • The Read and ReadGeometry methods that take stream as parameter now read the metafiles directly from the stream and do not create a temp file from stream as before.

 

Changes for Ab3d.Reader3ds:

  • Improved reading textures in Model3ds and Viewport3ds. Added TexturesPath property to both controls - it can be used to specify custom textures path. If TexturesPath is not specified, the path of the 3ds file is used.
  • Added support for cameras that are children of helper objects (for example when camera is linked to a helper object so the camera is transformed as the helper object).
  • Fixed setting IsCameraAnimated property - Reader3ds sets this property to true if the 3ds file contains camera animations. Before the property could be set to true in cases when the camera was not animated.
  • Added ReadLightRange property to Reader3ds. Before the Range of PointLights and SpotLights was not read. Now it is possible to read the Range with setting ReadLightRange to true. Note that attenuation data are not present in the 3ds file - if they are used they need to be manually set to lights after the 3ds file is read.

It is also worth noting that with new version of Viewer3ds all the cameras defined in 3ds file are exported as comments in xaml. The xaml also get a description of the exported cameras. This makes switching between cameras defined in 3ds file very easy.

 

There are also a few improvements for Ab3d.PowerToys:

  • Fixed rotating with MouseCameraController and CameaControlPanel when the scene in vertically inverted when Attitude is between 90 and 270 degrees.
  • Fixed EventManager3D where under some circumstances a new object drag can be automatically stared just after end drag event.
  • Improved MaterialTypeConverter: Added support for simply defining SpecularMaterial and EmissiveMaterials. For example the "s:32;Blue" text can be used to define MaterialGroup with DiffuseMaterial and SpecularMaterial (SpecularPower = 32; SpecularBrush = White; DiffuseMaterial = Blue). The "e:Yellow" can be used to show yellow emissive material. Also improved support for defining textures path (now files from local disk and from http can be used).
  • Fixed occasional NullReferenceException in SphericalCamera when layout is updated in Visual Studio designer.

 

The commercial version of ZoomPanel was not updated.

 

I would like to conclude the blog post with something completley different - a new logo for the company AB4D d.o.o.

ab4d logo

I got the new logo from a design contest that run on 99designs.com. I was really satisfied with the contest and would really recommend that page to everyone. We are also making a redesign of the web page that will be available soon.

We are also preparing a very interesting new product (but more on that later).

I surely believe that the future is very bright for the company. I hope that our products will also make it brighter for you.

New version of ZoomPanel adds animation easing

by abenedik 18. November 2011 22:20

I am happy to announce that a new version of ZoomPanel is available.

The new version greatly improves zooming animations with adding animation easing and support for custom animations.

In the previous versions of ZoomPanel the zooming was animated with using a simple linear animation. Now a quintic function is used to ease the animation that starts slowly, than accelerates, decelerates and slowly stops at the new zoom level.

 

There is also a new zoom to object sample that shows how to zoom to selected object. The sample also demonstrates the power of custom animations. The following video shows the new sample:

 

The new version also fixes an issue with Viewbox with SetViewbox or SetZoom methods when the RotationAngle is not 0 and it is not changed. Before the RotationAngle was reset to 0 in some circumstances.

Tags:

ZoomPanel

Major update of 3D libraries available

by abenedik 21. October 2011 22:50

I am really happy to announce that a new major release of Ab3d.Reader3ds and Ab3d.PowerToys libraries has been released.

The key features of this release are:

  • Added transparency sorting that prevents problems with transparent 3D objects in WPF.
  • Improved reading of some 3ds files.
  • Simplified animating camera rotations.
  • Added support for OrthographicCamera.
  • Improved commercial licensing code.

 

Before describing some of the key features in more details let me first give you the full list of changes.

Ab3d.Reader3ds v8.0:

  • Added support for simple transparency sorting that can prevent most of the problems with transparent objects. If the new IsTransparencySortingEnabled property is true (by default) the transparent objects are moved after non-transparent objects. For complex models with many transparent objects use of advanced transparency sorting in Ab3d.PowerToys is needed. Also added TransparentObjectsCount property to Reader3ds (so user can decide if he need to enable transparency sorting or not - with Ab3d.PowerToys).
  • Added NameFormatString to BaseXamlWriterSettings - it can be used to customize how the object names are written to XAML (custom prefixes and suffixes can be added to names).
  • Added possibility to read tga into BitmapImage with static Read method in a new Ab3d.Common.TgaReader class. Note: The previous versions of Reader3ds already supported reading tga files. But it was not possible to read tga files in your applications. This is now possible and enabled you to convert tga images to common files (for example png) that can be used with xaml created from 3ds file). This feature is available only in pro version.
  • Fixed reading some of the objects with object matrix that has negative determinant.
  • Fixed using ForceTwoSidedMaterials property for models that does not have material defined and where the default material is used.
  • Fixed objects without material set (default material is used) and with object matrix that has negative determinant.
  • Fixed when object with negative determinant is broken into sub objects for different materials - the parent's negative determinant was not used before.
  • Fixed reading 3ds file where definition of two sided material is written outside material chunk.
  • Fixed reading some partially broken 3ds file (objects with invalid triangle indices are not shaded).
  • Skipped importing 3D objects that does not have triangle indices set (have only positions set).
  • Fixed security exception in partially trusted WPF Browser applications - before the multi-treading code was not able to get the number of processors on the system.
  • Improved commercial licensing code to prevent delay caused in RSACryptoServiceProvider under some circumstances.
  • Added Ab3d.Licensing.PowerToys.EmbeddedLicenseAssembly property to speed-up looking for embedded license key in commercial version.

Ab3d.PowerToys v3.0:

  • Added support for transparency sorting with new TransparencySorter and TransparencyHelper classes.
  • Simplified animating camera rotation with new StartRotation, StopRotation methods on SphericalCamera. There is also a new IsRotating properties. The MouseCameraController is also adjusted to suspend animated rotation while user rotates the camera with the mouse.
  • Added axes names to CameraAxisPanel. Also added IsAxisNameShown, XAxisColor, YAxisColor and ZAxisColor properties to CameraAxisPanel.
  • Added support for OrthographicCamera for all Ab3d.PowerToys Cameras. Added CameraType and CameraWidth properties to BaseCamera.
  • Greatly improved creating wireframe from existing 3D models - now it is much faster and uses much less memory.
  • Improved LinesUpdater - the lines that are removed from the visual tree are now free to be cleaned by garbage collection.
  • Added Reset and UnregisterLine methods to LinesUpdater to manually remove lines from LinesUpdater. This enables better manual control of the registered lines.
  • Improved measuring scene bounds in SceneCamera when transformations are used on Visual3D objects. Before the used transformations prevented the camera to correctly show the scene.
  • Fixed selecting cameras with mouse click on camera icon in Visual Studio 2010 designer.
  • Added GetCameraMatrixes to BaseCamera to get view and projection Matrix3D of the current camera.
  • Improved Ab3d.Utilities.Dumper class - Added GetTransformText and GetMatrix3DText methods and made GetMaterialText public. Also the GetModelInfoString method now also displays the Transformation details.
  • Improved commercial licensing code to prevent delay caused in RSACryptoServiceProvider under some circumstances.
  • Added Ab3d.Licensing.PowerToys.EmbeddedLicenseAssembly property to speed-up looking for embedded license key in commercial version.

 

TRANSPARENCY SORTING

WPF 3D can show transparent 3D objects. But to show them correctly, the transparent objects need to be defined after all the objects that are visible through them.

The following image shows the transparency problem in a simple 3D scene. Because the red boxes are defined after the semi-transparent GlassPlane they are not visible through the GlassPlane (the order of objects is visible in the right):

WPF 3D transparency problem

To solve the problem, the GlassPlane needs to be moved after the non-transparent objects. The following image is showing the correctly rendered scene.

Solved WPF 3D transparency problem

For cases when the number of transparent objects is not big and if the transparent objects are not positioned in 3D space one after another, the simple transparency sorting is usually enough to produce correct rendering in WPF 3D.

But simply moving transparent objects after non-transparent objects is not always enough. For example if transparent object A is visible through transparent object B, than B must be defined after A. The problem in this case occurs when the camera is rotated so that B is visible through A. Now B must be defined before A. To solve this problem correctly, firstly the transparent objects must be moved after non-transparent objects and than transparent objects must be sorted by their distance to the camera. The sorting must be done after the camera is changed.

As seen from the new features lists above, both Ab3d.Reader3ds and Ab3d.PowerToys now support transparency sorting.

Ab3d.Reader3ds can perform a simple transparency sorting by moving transparent objects after non-transparent objects. Transparency sorting is performed if the IsTransparencySortingEnabled is set to true (by default). It is also possible to get the number of transparent objects by the TransparentObjectsCount property. Ab3d.Reader3ds does not do any sorting by camera distance. For this the Ab3d.PowerToys library is needed.

With Ab3d.PowerToys library it is possible to perform simple transparency sorting and sorting by camera distance. TransparencySorter class can be used to perform simple transparency sorting or ByCameraDistance transparency sorting where the transparent objects are sorted by their distance to the camera.

Simple transparency sorting (moving transparent objects after non-transparent objects) can be done with the following line:

Ab3d.Utilities.TransparencySorter.SimpleSort(myModelsGroup);

When sorting by camera distance is used, the TransparencySorter can also automatically re-sort the objects when the camera is changed. To optimize the sorting it is possible to specify an angle that will tell how much the camera's direction must be changed when a new sort is preformed.

To perform transparency sorting by camera distance the following lines of code can be used:

private TransparencySorter _transparencySorter;
 
private void StartTransparencySorting()
{
    _transparencySorter = new TransparencySorter(_rootModel3DGroup, Camera1);
     
    // Re-sort on every 10 degrees change
    _transparencySorter.CameraAngleChange = 10; 
 
    // Do an initial sorting
    _transparencySorter.Sort();
 
    _transparencySorter.StartSortingOnCameraChanged();
}
 
private void StopTransparencySorting()
{
    if (_transparencySorter != null)
        _transparencySorter.StopSortingOnCameraChanged();
}

For more code samples see the samples that come with Ab3d.PowerToys library.

The following images show rendering of the objects before (left image) and after (right image) transparency sorting:

WPF 3D transparency problem

WPF 3D transparency problem

IMPROVED READING OF 3DS FILES IN AB3D.READER3DS

Ab3d.Reader3ds went through a big test with our bigger customer. Many real world 3ds files were used to test the accuracy of the reader. Because many test files were not created with 3D Studio Max or similar product, many of them were not correctly formatted (it was not possible to open them with 3D Studio Max). After some changes in Ab3d.Reader3ds mst of those "broken" 3ds file can now be read correctly. This made the library even better and proved its status as the best library for importing 3ds files.

IMPROVED COMMERCIAL LICENSING CODE

The last relase of Ab2d.ReaderSvg, Ab2d.ReaderWmf and ZoomPanel library already got improved commercial licensing code. The change fixed a potential issue with using RSACryptoServiceProvider that can lead to very long delays when checking the license key. This issue has been now fixed for Ab3d.Reader3ds and Ab3d.PowerToys. Because of this issue it is highly recommended to upgrade to the new version.

Additionally as with the 2D libraries it is now possible to set the EmbeddedLicenseAssembly property to speed up finding the embedded license key in the application.

To see more details about this change please see the blog post for the 2D libraries or check the new help files.

OTHER IMPORTANT AB3D.POWERTOYS IMPROVEMENTS

A very useful new features of the Ab3d.PowerToys library simplifies creating animated camera rotations. Before animated camera rotations were created with binding a DoubleAnimation to Heading property of the camera. But using DoubleAnimation has its drawback because it the animation locks the value of the Heading and therefore makes rotating the camera with the mouse impossible.

The new version now include the StartRotation and StopRotation methods that can be used to simply start the camera animation. The StartRotation method takes two parameters: the first is heading change per second, the second is attitude change per second. The best thing about this is that while the camera is animated with StartRotation method, user can still use the mouse to rotate the camera (during mouse rotation the animation is suspended). This way it is very easy to create great presentations of 3D models where the model is rotated and the used can still manually change the rotation with the mouse.

One of the very requested feature was also a support for OrthographicCamera. It is mostly used in technical applications where the ratios and parallel lines of the 3D objects need to be preserved. The OrthographicCamera is now also supported.

A very nice new feature is also that axis names are shown on the CameraAxisPanel (it shows the orientation of axis of the current scene).

A lot of work was also done to improve 3D lines. Now wireframes from existing 3D objects are created much faster and also use much less memory. Also the memory management of the 3D lines is greatly improved and enables user to have more control of the registered 3D lines.

 

With new features the development of applications with 3D content has become even easier.

WPF 3D is very capable of displaying 3D content for most needs of business applications. It also has many advantages over other platforms (DirectX, XNA). With WPF 3D, Ab3d.PowerToys and Ab3d.Reader3ds programming with 3D was never easier.

I would like to conclude with saying that in my opinion desktop applications will not just sink into oblivion. They will still have their big share with complex business applications that need to be very user friendly, need advanced user interfaces to simplify complex user processes or require lots of resources. Despite many (usually not developers but marketing driven) considerations, I believe that WPF is still the very best technology for writing such applications.

Tags:

Ab3d.PowerToys | Reader3ds

Improved Ab2d.ReaderSvg, Ab2d.ReaderWmf and ZoomPanel available

by abenedik 10. October 2011 14:23

The major improvement in this release is made in the licensing code for commercial versions of the products.

The update contains also some minor improvements in the Ab2d.ReaderSvg and Ab2d.ReaderWmf libraries and a small improvement in ViewerSvg. But let me first tell you about the changes in the commercial licensing code.

Recently a customer reported very long delays (up to 10s) when creating an instance of ZoomPanel class. After some investigation I have discovered that the delay is related to a "bug" in Microsoft's RSACryptoServiceProvider class (see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948080). The RSACryptoServiceProvider is used to validate the license and under some circumstances the VerifyData method on the class can cause a long delay. The licensing code has been changed to prevent the delay. The problem with this bug is that the licensing code can work very well on computers where you test your products, but on some client's computer the RSACryptoServiceProvider can cause your application or product to start with a long delay.

Therefore it is highly recommended to update the products to the latest version.

But this was not the only improvement in the licensing code. Now it is possible to set the new EmbeddedLicenseAssembly property to make the check of the embedded license even faster. To understand the purpose of the new property let me first shortly describe how the licensing code works.

The licensing code in our components uses the standard .Net licensing system. This means that at compile time the compiler calls the licensing code in our products. There the developer license key is read. It is converted into a runtime license key and saved by the compiler into assemblies embedded resource. When our component is used in your application, its licensing code first tries to find the embedded runtime license key. Because our component does not know which assembly contains the embedded license key, it is usually needed to check resources in multiple assemblies before the correct one is found. To make this check much faster, it is now possible to set the static EmbeddedLicenseAssembly property to the assembly that contains the embedded license. This way the licensing code can immediately find the license key and can therefore execute much faster.

The following example sets the EmbeddedLicenseAssembly for the ZoomPanel control:

public class MyClass()
{
    public MyClass()
    {
        Ab2d.Licensing.ZoomPanel.LicenseHelper.EmbeddedLicenseAssembly
          = typeof(MyClass).Assembly;

        InitializeComponent();
    }
}

Samples for other products and some additional details about this process can be found in the new "Using commercial version" help file.

 

The improved licensing code is currently available for Ab2d.ReaderSvg, Ab2d.ReaderWmf and ZoomPanel. The fix for Ab3d.Reader3ds and Ab3d.PowerToys will be available in the following days (both libraries will have many new features that have to be finished before publishing).

 

As mentioned before, this update also brings some additional improvements to Ab2d.ReaderSvg and Ab2d.ReaderWmf.

ReaderSvg and ViewerSvg:

  • Added NameFormatString property to BaseXamlWriterSettings - it can be used to customize how the object names are written to xaml (custom prefixes and suffixes can be added to names). The export window in the ViewerSvg have two new TextBoxes that can be used to specify custom prefix and suffix that will be used to format the object names.
  • Improved reading svg image elements with added support for preserveAspectRatio property.

 

ReaderWmf:

  • Improved drawing Paths - in some cases only path stroke should be drawn without using any fill.
  • Added support for monochrome brushes.

Tags:

ReaderSvg | ReaderWmf | ZoomPanel

Update for Ab2d.ReaderSvg, Ab2d.ReaderWmf and ZoomPanel available

by abenedik 12. August 2011 20:37

I am happy to announce that all our 2D products have been updated.

The following screenshow is showing improved design time support for SvgViewbox and WmfViewbox:
SvgViewbox and WmfViewbox in Visual Studio

 

The following are the changed in Ab2d.ReadSvg:

  • Improved design time support for SvgDrawing control - now the svg file is shown in design time (before the image in design time was shown only in SvgViewbox).
  • Added SvgFileLoading and SvgFileLoaded events to SvgViewbox and SvgDrawing controls.
  • Prevented locking referenced image files.

 

The following are the changed in Ab2d.ReadWmf:

  • Added support for pattern brushes. Reading pattern brushes is turned on by default but can de disabled with setting ReadPatternBrushes to false.
  • Improved design time support for WmfViewbox and WmfDrawing controls - now the metafile is shown in design time.
  • Added MetafileLoading and MetafileLoaded events to WmfViewbox and WmfDrawing controls.
  • Fixed reading some embedded images that have their width or height negative.

Added support for pattern brushes need some additional comments because there are some differences between handling pattern brushes in GDI+ and WPF. Pattern brushes in GDI+ are not affected by the scale of the shown image. This means that if you zoom in or out of the metafile that is drawn by GDI+, the pattern brush is not scaled and is always drawn in a way that one pixel in the pattern bitmap is always rendered with one pixel.

In WPF the bitmap brushes are affected by the scale.

For example if you have a rectangle with 10 x 10 size and pattern brush from 10 x 10 bitmap and you scale the rectangle to be shown on the whole screen, the bitmap will be also scaled to the whole screen. In GDI+ the bitmap is not scaled so the pattern is still the same as when showing the rectangle without scale.

Because of this difference the imported pattern brushes can sometimes look strange. Therefore it is possible to disable reading pattern brushes with setting ReadPatternBrushes to false.

 

ZoomPanel has received the following updates:

  • Fixed problems with using None for Stretch value.
  • Improved using ViewboxLimits.

 

All the products also had a licensing issue that showed unlicensed dialog under some circumstances. This issue is now fixed.

 

As usual the new version can be downloaded from User Account page (for commercial users) or from my Downloads page (for evaluation version).

Tags:

ReaderSvg | ReaderWmf | ZoomPanel

New version of Ab2d.ReaderSvg available

by abenedik 1. August 2011 10:19

I am happy to announce that the new version of Ab2d.ReaderSvg library is available.

The version adds improved support for svg use and embedded svg elements. Those two svg elements are now correctly placed and have the correct size.

The new version also provides two new properties that can be used to fix problems that are caused by the differences between WPF and svg.

The first new property is SwitchElementProcessingType. It specifies which children of the svg switch element will be imported and shown. The switch element in svg file defines children that are shown based on the conditions defined in switch element. Because it is not possible to process svg conditions in WPF, it is possible to choose how the children will be imported and which children will be shown. The possible values for SwitchElementProcessingType are:

  • Disabled - svg switch element will not be imported.
  • ShowFirstDiscardOthers - only the first switch child will be imported. Other children will not be imported.
  • ShowFirstHideOthers - all switch children will be imported. Only the first element will be shown. Other children will have their Visibility set to Hidden.
  • ShowFirstCollapseOthers (default) - all switch children will be imported. Only the first element will be shown. Other children will have their Visibility set to Collapsed.
  • ShowAll - all switch children will be imported and shown.

 

The second new property is OverrideMiterLimit. The property has been added because WPF renders miter limit line cab differently as they are defined in svg specifications. The miter lime cabs show sharp line edges. But when the two lines meet at low angle, the sharp edge could extend very far away from the line junction. Therefore the miter limit can limit the sharp edges. In WPF the miter limit is used to specify how far away the sharp edge is allowed to go. In svg, the miter limit defined at which angle the miter limit is converted into beveled edge. This difference can lead to some anomalies when importing svg files. In this case the OverrideMiterLimit can be used to override the miter limit specified in the svg file and use value 1 or 2 instead.

For more information about the differences please see forum thread about this.

For backwards compatibility by default the miter limit defined in svg file is used (OverrideMiterLimit = 0).

 

Both new properties can be also set in the new ViewerSvg (here the default OverrideMiterLimit is set to 2 - miter limit of 2 is used by default).

Tags: , , ,

ReaderSvg