August 7, 2014 update. Progress today. A build showing our new shadow behind the moose.
July 3, 2014. Having a beautiful shadow behind the 3D talking moose, has been a goal of mine for a long long time. The shadow really enhances the believe-ability of 3D character floating in front of the desktop. And it’s hard to achieve! No other 3D desktop characters have them. (eg. CodeBaby, Living Actor, 3d-avatar-store, etc.) We are making progress…
Let me grumble first about some shortcomings of windows API. C# and WPF can show nice Gaussian blur shadows, but only to a blur radius of 10, which is simply too little to be useful. It’s ok for text, but not graphics.
HTML5 can show nice Gaussian blur shadows with ANY size of blur radius, so it is fantastic, except that it only shadows the rectangular box shape. It can’t shadow behind a circular GIF or PNG with a transparent background.
My coder has succeeded in creating C# code that creates the Gaussian blurs (any size), behind our XAML graphic objects of arbitrary shape, and it’s using the GPU, not the CPU. So I’m very happy about that. AND, we’ve invented formulas that automatically adjust the blur radius and shadow depth, depending on the size of the actual object in front.
We’ve made our graphics “bouncy”. That is, they wiggle a bit when the mouse hovers over them, and they shrink a bit when clicked, then they rebound with springy-ness when the click is released. A couple things are impressive about this: The spring behavior uses the true “dampened oscillation” formulas used in physical modelling of real springs, and we adjust these springy parameters based on how long the mouse click was held down. And as the graphic is spring-ing, getting bigger and smaller, the shadow changes according to it’s objects’ size. That makes it all seem very natural.
So I feel this is really nice “User Interface” enhancing technology. At first, it’s simply going to make our cartoons bouncy, then our control panel buttons. Later, it will appear behind the real-time animated 3D moose. Later still, it will appear on the video-technology 3D moose for web page placement. And people will notice it as something new, and high quality, and fun, about our user interface.