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Simon Brown

PixelLab Beta 1: Write plugins with no programming knowledge

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This plugin is in beta: it may have significant bugs and essential features may be missing until the stable version is ready. Please provide feedback to help quicken this process.

Do you want to write a Paint.NET effect but lack the time, effort or knowledge to learn C# and the effects API? Or are you an effect programmer who is looking for a way to write simple effects more quickly? This plugin is the answer! It provides a simplified programming language in which to create effects.

pixellabgf6.png

A Brief Guide

Here is a brief guide on how to create effects with the program.

Firstly, find an image with which to test your effect and run PixelLab via Effects -> Advanced -> PixelLab.

PixelLab effects consist of several instructions to be performed to manipulate the image. To add a new instruction, click "Add". Then select the variable which will be modified to the new value from the combobox 2nd down. Next select a variable which will be the source of the data from the lower combobox - here you have more options, the custom option, for example, allows you to define a custom number to be the source of the variable change. Numbers for the custom value range from 0 to 255. Lastly, you can also define a custom modifier from the combobox next to the first one, this will define how the value will be interpreted - the default is setting the variable to the new position, but this can be changed to other options, addition, for example.

You can also define a condition which will determine whether the code inside will be run. To do so, add an instruction and change the combobox at the top to "Condition" and construct a condition in which the code will run in a similar fashion to mentioned before. You can then add several instructions which will only be run if the condition is true. To end the conditional code section, add a new instruction and select "End of Conditional Code". Please note that nested conditions are currently not possible but I hope to include this in a stable release.

Once you have finished you can export your effect by clicking the appropriate button. You can then select a file name, the menu to place the effect in and the name it will be displayed as in the menu. Don't attempt to save directly to the effects directory as this will not work while Paint.NET is using it. Instead save to another directory and then close Paint.NET to install the effect.

Copyright © Simon Brown 2008 - All Rights Reserved

Use at your own risk

PixelLab.zip

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Just one thing: I released this as Beta because I feel it does not have enough features yet. I have a few feature plans for the release myself, such as variables. But please feel free to suggest features as that was partly the purpose of the beta release.

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Variables and nested conditionals are the two big ones I'd like to see. But you already have a plan for those, so I'm content. :-)

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Hopefully I hope to eventually make this plugin sophisticated enough to be able to create serious effects and hopefully further expand the number of effects available.

Several other ideas that I am hoping for feedback on how useful they would be include:

  • [*:1veemg11]An automatic "amount" slider added to all converted effects.
    [*:1veemg11]The ability to generate source code from a pixellab plugin which could be useful for educational purposes as well as using this plugin as a starting point for more sophisticated effects.
    [*:1veemg11]The ability to access the normal values standard image variables (ie: red, hue, saturation, ect.) as they were before modification by the effect.
    [*:1veemg11]The ability to alternatively save the compiled effect as a .exe installer.
    [*:1veemg11]The ability to create a dialog for effect configuration in a similar way to CodeLab.
    [*:1veemg11]Specifying a custom effect icon.
    [*:1veemg11]And finally, the most far-fetched, the ability to upload an effect directly to the forum as a checkbox in the build dialog (although I would first need to know whether forumer allows this).

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Now Curtis will have to rename whatever "PixelLab" he was working on...

That never really got off the ground anyway, I kinda lost interest in it. This looks interesting though, I'll have a play with it when I get a chance.

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  • [*:esvg7hng]The ability to alternatively save the compiled effect as a .exe installer.

No, no, and no. Did I say no?

The key words is...

alternatively

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  • [*:2hauj1rw]The ability to alternatively save the compiled effect as a .exe installer.

No, no, and no. Did I say no?

The key words is...

alternatively

The keyword is having non programmers releasing plugins that have to install. I will not touch those for my life, I only fiddle with DLLs.

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There isn't one for CodeLab. Hold off; let them be posted here for now. If it turns out that we'll need a thread, we can open one.

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