Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Google Code Hosting and Internationalizing

I knew I wanted it simple and without any complications and Google Code promised just that. To create the SVN based project and commit all the plugins took very little time. Since I am the team I do not really need a lot of team support and so far  the simplicity of Google Code suits me well. What I do not get is the Wiki Syntax. What is the advantage over Html? There is one mayor caveat though. I cannot upload the large Designerator.exe (including the JRE), which has about 90mb. I have tried ten times, but it keeps failing. 60mb files work fine, but 90mb files are bound for Nirvana.

I finally finished the German language support. God, what a tedious work and boring! The Eclipse/PDE support is great. I don't know what I would have done without it. You need a little trick though to side step a little bug. What  I did was:
  1. Externalize Strings package by package
  2. PDE - Internationalize plugin
Now everything looks perfect, but the output Plugin/Fragment from PDE/ Internationalize  was not recognized by Eclipse when I tested it. So I created a new Fragment Project, copied all files from the PDE/Internationalize Output into the Fragment Project and - voila - Eclipse speaks German! The accent is somewhat funny.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Image Processing with Eclipse and Designerator

The Designerator Image Processing Framework is part of the Designerator Project. You find source code and downloads at code.google.com/p/designerator/. You  also will find a copy of this tutorial at  the designerator tutorials page, where the code is hopefully better formated. The intent of this project is to provide an easy and fun way into Image processing for the developer and an easy and fast way for the user to edit his images on the fly, without the hassle of using a heavy weight image editor like Photoshop. The major features are:

  • The ImageCanvas - which I have put into an Eclipse Editor and a View
  • Built in multithreaded image processing with support of convolution kernels
  • Access to the screen image for optimum speed
  • The option of lossless image editing with XML edit data storage
  • Quick and Easy creation of Controls for the image processing filters
  • Simple testing with the Image Developer Application
  • Support for Tools
  • Plugin Templates for a fast start and integration to the Editor
There is the prejudice that Java is too slow for professional image processing. That is not true. At best C/C++ is 5% faster, which is not recognizable. With a modern 4-core cpu Designerator Image Processing handles 20 MP images with ease. It is true though, that much faster code can be written using SIMD, which also can be accessed from Java via JNI. Let's get started by creating a new Eclipse plugin for the Designerator Image Editor.

Go to Help - Install new Software - and add the Designerator Update Site to install the Image Processing Framework and restart Eclipse.

Go to File - New - Plugin Project to start the PDE plugin wizard.

In Template page choose Designerator Image Filter.

The Filter Plugin Template is pretty straight forward. As usual choose a class name and a package name. The Filter name should be presentable but short. Then you can choose from various filter templates. I choose the Empty Template, which has some basic functionalitiy. You also can choose from two menus to put your Plugin, which is either 'edit' or 'plugin'.

The Empty Template is the most simple and a good option to start. The template will add all required plugin dependencies. If you don't use the template wizard the minimum dependencies required are:

  • org.eclipse.ui
  • org.eclipse.core.runtime
  • org.designerator.common
  • org.designerator.media.image
!Important! - To use the Designerator ImageDeveloper Application you also need this dependency:

  • org.designerator.media.image.developer
After opening the new Class in the JDT Editor you can already run the Filter in the Image Developer application.

Open the Context Menu - Run As - Designerator ImageDeveloper.

The Empty Filter Template is not doing much. It just increases the RGB values and brightens the image.

As you can see there is some special functionality for developing image procssing algorithms, which are quite self explanatory. Important is the Option 'Toggle Screen and full ImageData', which I will be explaining in detail.

Options are:

  • Set the number of threads
  • Use screen ImageData or full ImageData
  • Use delayed processing on/off
  • Run the Filter in a Dialog
  • Set a pixel point to observe color value changes
  • Record the runtime of the algorithm
  • Print the changes of the pixels to the screen

The Code

To run an IProcessor the code would typically look like this:

IProcessor processor = new MyProcessor();
processor.init(IImageEditor editor, boolean previewData, boolean deleteCache);
if (processor.updatePixels(ProcessorData[] params)) {

As with your Template I strongly recommend to start an IProcessor by subclassing the abstract class Processor.

Let's walk through the code. The Constructor is usually empty.


public void init(IImageEditor editor, boolean previewData, boolean deleteCache) {
if (editor == null) {
this.editor = editor;
iData = editor.getImageData(previewData, deleteCache);
dest = new byte[iData.data.length];
super.init(editor, previewData, deleteCache);

IImageEditor is the link to the ImageCanvas. Important methods are:

  • editor.getImageData((boolean) previewData, (boolean)deleteCache)
  • editor.processFinnished((ImageData) result, (boolean) previewData);// The Super Class Processor will call this for you
  • editor.getDisplay()
Most important is the usage of the boolean previewData. When perviewData is true, it means that you ask for the ImageData of the Screen Image, which can be much smaller than the original ImageData. Of course any image filter will run much faster using the Screen ImageData for the preview. In the usual case of a Dialog interface, we use the screen preview imageData first and only after the user pressed the OK Button, we process the original ImageData.getCurrentProcessorData:
public ProcessorData[] getCurrentProcessorData() {

ProcessorData[] params = new ProcessorData[1];
ProcessorData pd = new ProcessorData();

pd.name = AMOUNT; // name of the parameter
pd.selection = (int) (amount * 100f + 0.5); // current selection
//pd.data  store selections array
pd.index = 0;
pd.max = 100; // maximum of the Scale
pd.min = 0; // minimum of the Scale - can be negative
pd.increment = 100; // scale increment
pd.delay = true; // the Scale only fires when the user pauses the movement
params[0] = pd;

return params;

The class ProcessorData is used for 3 tasks:

  • to store and pass the selection of a parameter of your algorithm
  • to save the edit data using XStream in case of lossless editing
  • to quickly create a special Widget Scale for interaction to modify the parameters of the algorithm
You can create as many ProcessorData as you need and create as many Scales or return null to ignore.

public void createControl(Composite parent,
final IProcessListener messageListener,
int[] lastSelection) {
super.createControl(parent, messageListener, lastSelection);  

Only if you want to add custom Controls you need to override this method. Otherwise getCurrentProcessorData() does the Job.

public boolean updatePixels(ProcessorData[] params) {
if (isRunning() || params == null) {
return false;

for (ProcessorData param : params) {

if (param.name.equals(AMOUNT)) {
amount = param.selection * 0.01f;

return true;

This method is called before "process". You get your updated params and need to call any neccesary preparations before the "process" is called.

public void processDefault(IProgressMonitor monitor, boolean preview) {
super.processDefault(monitor, preview);

if (!preview) {
init(editor, false, false);
if (getMonitor() != null) {
getMonitor().beginTask(getName(), getOrignalImageData().height);  

This method is called from the Gui Thread either at the beginning of a Session - the Dialog has just opened - or at the End - the User has pressed the OK Button. The call to super wraps the IProgressMonitor into an AsyncMonitor and should only be accessed by 'super.getMonitor()'. The boolean 'preview' is again of the utmost importance. As mentioned there are two ways to process the image. When 'preview==false', which means to use the full ImageData, you need to retrieve the full ImageData and discard the Screen ImageData. Best this is done by calling init with the right parameters again.

public void run(SegmentImageData data) {  
runEmpty(data, dest, amount, getMonitor()); 

This method is already called from the processing thread. So when there are four Threads for four cpu's, it will be called 4 times. It passes a SegmentImageData, that is the segmented ImageData for this Thread. I will go into detail, when we look at the actual implementation of the run method, which I ususally put into a static method to optimize performance and easy chaining of the algorithms.
Implentation of run:
This is where the action happens.

public static boolean runEmpty(SegmentImageData segment,
final byte[] dest,float amount,
IProgressMonitor monitor)

The prameters are:

  • SegmentImageData
  • byte[] dest - this where we store the result
  • amount - parameter for the algorithm
  • IProgressMonitor will be null most of the time - unless 'processDefault' was called at the end of a session.
SegmentImageData explained: This part of the code generally always stays the same when you do single pixel processing. When you run a Convolution, which also is supported, there are minor changes.

final int step = segment.bpp;
int scanLineEnd = segment.start + segment.scanLineLength - step;
final byte[] source = segment.data;
final int rs = segment.redShift;
final int gs = segment.greenShift;
final int bs = segment.blueShift;
final int length = segment.length - segment.pad;

segment.bpp : bytes per pixel - will always be 3 or 4 (RGB,GBR,RGBA,GBRA)

segment.pad: the padding of a scanline are extra bytes added so that every scanline is divisable by four

segment.data: is the orignal ImageData.data byte[] array

segment.redshift,greenshift,blueshift: either 0,1,2,3. The position of the red, green or blue byte

segment.length: the length of the byte[] segment

The Loop: you only need three lines of code to change the pixels. For single pixel processing everything stays the same and can be copied at will.

for (int i = sourceData.start; i < length; i += step) {

b = source[i + bs] & 0xff;
g = source[i + gs] & 0xff;
r = source[i + rs] & 0xff;

// This is where pixels are altered
b = clamp((int) (b+((255-b)*amount)));
g = clamp((int) (g+((255-g)*amount)));
r= clamp((int) (r+((255-r)*amount)));
// end of changing pixels

dest[i + bs] = (byte) b;
dest[i + gs] = (byte) g;
dest[i + rs] = (byte) r;

if (i == scanLineEnd) {

scanLineEnd += sourceData.scanLineLength + sourceData.pad;

if (sourceData.pad != 0) {
i += sourceData.pad;

if (monitor != null) {
// maybe it will be better to call the monitor less often?

And finally:

public void dispose() {
src = null;
dest = null;
iData = null;

public String getName() {
return Name;

public ImageData getOrignalImageData() {
return iData;

public byte[] getResult() {
return dest;

You need to implement these methods.

Code a Colorize Filter

Let's use the EmptyFilter Template to write a Colorize Filter in very view steps. The Colorize Filter will shift the Color of the image to a specified color. e.g. to give it a warmer touch.

Change the Name:

public static final String Name = "Color Filter";

Add a Field for the Color:

private RGB rgb = new RGB(228,134,6);

Change the run() method name and parameters - add the RGB:

public static boolean runMixer(SegmentImageData sourceData,
final byte[] dest,
float amount,
int red, int green,int blue, 
IProgressMonitor monitor) {

 Change the Loop:

dest[i + bs] = (byte) clamp((int) (b+(((blue-b)/2)*amount)));
dest[i + gs] = (byte) clamp((int) (g+(((green-g)/2)*amount))); 
dest[i + rs] = (byte) clamp((int) (r+(((red-r)/2)*amount)));

That is it. We only have a fixed Color, but we can already try out our new Filter.

This algorithm runs automatically multithreaded.

By default it will set the number of threads to the number of available cpu's.

Open the Context Menu - Run As - Designerator ImageDeveloper.
Add a Color Chooser (for details look at the Color for Eclipse Article):
createColorChooser(Composite parent)

public void createControl(Composite parent,
final IProcessListener messageListener,
int []lastSelection) {

super.createControl(parent, messageListener, lastSelection);  

protected void createColorChooser(Composite parent) {
Composite composite = new Composite(parent, SWT.NONE);
composite.setLayoutData(new GridData(SWT.FILL, SWT.BEGINNING, true, false));
composite.setLayout(new GridLayout(2, false));

Label label = new Label(composite, SWT.NONE);
label.setLayoutData(new GridData(SWT.BEGINNING, SWT.CENTER, false, false));

colorLabel = new Label(composite, SWT.NONE);
colorLabel.setLayoutData(new GridData(48, 24));
final IRGBUpdateable updater = new IRGBUpdateable() {

public void update(RGB rgb) {
colorLabel.addMouseListener(new MouseAdapter() {

public void mouseDown(MouseEvent e) {
RGB old = rgb;
HSBColorDialog colorDialog = new HSBColorDialog
(colorLabel.getShell(), true, updater);
colorDialog.setColor(colorLabel.getShell().getDisplay(), rgb);
int code = colorDialog.open();
if (code == Window.OK) {
}else {


protected void setColor(final RGB rgb, boolean process) {

final Color color = new Color(colorLabel.getDisplay(),rgb);
Color tmp = this.color;
if (tmp!=null) {
if (this.rgb.equals(rgb)) {
if (process) {
if (!isRunning()) {

public void dispose() { 
dest = null;
iData = null;
if (color!=null) {

  • I have created a Label to display the choosen Color
  • I have added the org.designerator.color.dialog.HSBColorDialog as the ColorDialog (also added plugin dependency)
  • I have added an IRGBUpdateable to the HSBColorDialog to provide direct feedback
  • I have added the method setColor() to handle the change of the choosen Color
  • I changed the dispose method to dipose the Color
Lets see the result: Colorizer.java

To add the Filter to the Image Editor and Image View, export the plugin and install it from the New Software Menu (choose local). After a restart the plugin will be added to the Editor.


I hope I was able to show how easy it is to create multithreaded image processing with Designerator and Eclipse/SWT. There still might be a quite few bugs and I have had only the time to test everything on the win32 platform. To get a better hold of things I recommend to go through the different Template examples. There you will find two Filters with Convolution Processing (Unsharp mask and SmartSharpen), which is a bit more complicated, but still easy enough.

Tutrials to come are:

  • About the basics of image processing with SWT
  • Designerator Image Processing outside the framework
  • Convolution with SWT and Designerator
  • Tools for Designerator ImageCanvas
  • Use INTEL compiler intrinsics via JNI to access fast SEE instructions (SIMD)
Visit designerator.org to try out Designerator Media Manager, or install the Plugins for Eclipse.

All of Designerator code is open source under EPL.

The Designerator Eclipse Image Editor Plugin:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Color and Gradient for Eclipse

The Designerator Color Plugin consists of three components:
  • Color View
  • Color Dialog
  • Gradient Dialog

    Color View:


    This is the Eclipse Color Palette. You can copy Color values or drag Colors into the Editor. You can choose from different palettes or create your own. The Color view can also handle Photoshop 'aco' files.

    The Color Dialog:


    The main advantage of this Color Dialog is that you have direct feedback from the Color field. The code is simple and straight forward.

     HSBColorDialog colorDialog; 
     colorDialog = new HSBColorDialog(shell, true, colorListener);
     colorDialog.setColor(display, rgb);
     int code = colorDialog.open();
     if (code == Window.OK) {
    If you want direct feedback you pass an 'IColorListener' to the Dialog:
      final IColorListener updater = new IColorListener() {
       public void update(RGB rgb) {
       public void updateGradient(GradientData g, boolean addBut) {

    When ever the color changes, the IColorlistener will be notified. This is the complete example ShowColorDialog.java.

    The Gradient Dialog:


    The code to open the Dialog, passing a Gradient to the Dialog looks like this:

     GradientData data=null;
     RGB[] rgb = {new RGB(0, 0, 0), new RGB(255, 255, 255) };
     int[] percentage = { 0, 100 };
     int[] midpoints = { 50 };
     boolean vertical = false;
     boolean linear = true;
     boolean radial = false;
     data = new GradientData(rgb, midpoints, percentage,
     vertical, linear, 0, 0, radial);
     HSBColorDialog colorDialog = new HSBColorDialog(shell, false,updater);  
     colorDialog.setGradient(display, data);
     int code = colorDialog.open();
     if (code == Window.OK) {
      gradientData = colorDialog.getGradient();

    You also can pass an IColorListener to the Dialog to get direct feedback. To paint the Gradient the Code again is quite simple:

     GC gc = e.gc;
     Rectangle clientArea = canvas.getClientArea();
     Image buffer = new Image(Display.getCurrent(), clientArea);
     GC bgc = new GC(buffer);
     if (gradientData != null) {
      LinearGradient.paintGradient(bgc, gradientData,
      clientArea.x, clientArea.y, clientArea.width,clientArea.height);
     gc.drawImage(buffer, 0, 0);

    This is the complete example ShowGradientDialog.java. Both snippets are part of the org.designerator.color plugin for Eclipse.

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Designerator is Open Source

    The last weeks I have been working hard on the Designerator Eclipse Plugins and I have finally finished. Well, not really since it all is a never ending story (Sisyphus must have been a programmer), but I have set up an Update Site for Eclipse at:


    There are 3 plugins, Media Manager, Image Processing and the Color Plugin, which basically have the same functionality as Designerator RCP.  All are under the EPL license. The code is available from my Google Code Project Site. I also have just released a new update of Designerator, which fixes quite a few Bugs. Please give it a try and download! For now Designerator compares to Picasa Desktop, but also supports Flickr and YouTube and has a nice Interface to FFmpeg.

    For all of you that do not know about the Designerator Project yet, take a look at this chart. it gives you a good impression about the complexity and ambition of the project.

    The Media Manager is quite finished,  what I am still working on is the Web Manager - the core of the project. The final aim is to create a real alternative to the Facebook Internet, which really is the opposite of the Idea of a free world wide web.

    Back to the Eclipse Plugins. Do you need a Media Manager for Progamming? You need Icons. When I imported my special Icon Folder I was quite surprised when I saw this:

    54000 icons to import. Amazing! Most of them were from the Open Icon Library. Thats all for now. I would be happy for any feedback. Next week I will publish a tutorial on the new Designerator Image Processing Framework for Eclipse.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    First Blog

    This is my first blog about the development of Designerator, so I would like to thank all Eclipse developers for the great software they are providing. Without them - of course - I would not have been able to do this.

    Designerator is made up of two components, MediaManager and WebManager. The basic idea is that what Eclipse is to the software developer, Designerator could be for the End-user. MediaManager tries to provide the same features as Google Picasa, and is the basis for the WebManager, which I am still working at. Designerator is basically a set of plugins for Eclipse plus the RCP part.

    Designerator Open Source

    I am not sure how the over all license for Designerator will be, but I have already put quite a few parts under EPL. These are:

    Color and Gradient Plugin for Eclipse and Designerator

    The major reason to write this was that a direct feedback from the color-chooser, to immediately update the screen, seems necessary for a user friendly software. I guess that I ended up adding Gradient Dialog and a Color-View is just one of those "programmer" things.


    Image Processing for Eclipse and Designerator

    Image processing is one of my favorites. From my experience image processing works in Java just as good as in C( real speed boost only comes from using SIMD). As we potentially have to deal with 12MP pictures, the Designerator Framework is set to only update the screen image and apply the algorithm after the user has closed the processing Dialog, or save the edits in a xml file for lossless editing. The framework is also layed out to run in parallel threads. The screenshot shows the testing application I wrote to simplify the development process. You don't need to write a Gui, but only provide a configuration Object with the algorithm. All image processing of Designerator is EPL.

    Screenshot for Eclipse and Designerator

    It is also packaged with Designerator, so you can give it a try right away. Besides from regular screenshots, it crops the screen, takes Screenhots of the active Eclipse View or main composite, and also takes the Clipboard as input. You can save as, quick save with auto-numbering, or open the screenshot in the Designerator image editor.

    IconEditor for Eclipse and Designerator

    Yes, that is a little crazy. I don't know how I came to write this. First I thought to go for 2-day proof of concept and ended up spending a whole month working on it, because it was too much fun. When I realized that I forgot to implement undo-redo, I had to put it aside. IconEditor is meant to work as simple as XaraX - if you know that excellent graphic editor. It needs about another month of work to be fully functional. Anybody interested?

    FFmpeg Plugin for Eclipse and Designerator

    It is a complete Front-end for the FFmpeg binary. I have added an almost full featured Jface text editor for the FFmpeg command-line.

    Most of the code still needs to be refactored into independent plugins. I don't know how quickly I will be able to that. I am kind of overwhelmed with work right now. If you are interested in any particular part of the software let me know.