Playing Animations in GDI+

So far we have been dealing with static image formats, such as BMP. Each of these formats holds image data for a single picture. Other formatssuch as GIF, AVI (Audio Video Interleaved), and MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group)contain image data that, when played back in quick succession, gives the illusion of movement. These images are called animated images. GIF is one of the common formats used for animated images. An animated image is a series of images, also called frames (e.g., see Figure 7.29).

Figure 7.29. An animated image with three frames


You can create animated images by using graphics tools such as Macromedia Fireworks or CorelDRAW, but GDI+ doesn't support the creation of animated images. When you create animated images, you must specify the order of frames and the time interval between them.

The GDI+ library provides the ImageAnimator class to deal with animated file formats using time-based frames. At this time, GDI+ supports only multiframe GIFs and TIFFs. ImageAnimator has four static methods: Animate, CanAnimate, StopAnimate, and UpdateFrames.

  1. The Animate method displays a framed image as an animation. This method takes parameters of type Image and EventHandler. Image is the image you want to animate. The event is triggered when the currently displayed frame is changed.
  2. The CanAnimate method returns true when an image has timebased frames.
  3. The StopAnimate method terminates an animation. It takes parameters of type Image and EventHandler.
  4. The UpdateFrames method will move to the next frame and render it the next time the image is drawn.

Now let's write an application that will play animated images. We create a Windows application and add a MainMenu control and two button controls to the form. We also add two menu items: Open File and Exit. We change the text and names of the menu items and button controls as shown in Figure 7.30.

Figure 7.30. An image animation example


We add two variables of type Image and string as follows:

private Image curImage = null;
private string curFileName = null;


The Open File menu item allows us to browse images, and the Exit menu item closes the form. Listing 7.13 gives the code for the click event handlers for these two menu items.

Listing 7.13 The Open File and Exit menu item click event handlers

private Image curImage;

private void OpenFileMenu_Click(object sender,
 System.EventArgs e)
 // Create OpenFileDialog
 OpenFileDialog opnDlg = new OpenFileDialog();
 opnDlg.Filter = "Animated Gifs|*.gif;";
 // If OK, selected
 if(opnDlg.ShowDialog() == DialogResult.OK)
 // Read current selected file name
 curFileName = opnDlg.FileName;
private void ExitMenu_Click(object sender,
 System.EventArgs e)

Now we rename the two buttons Start Animation and Stop Animation, respectively, and write click event handlers by double-clicking on them. The code for the StartAnimationBtn event handler is given in Listing 7.14. We create an Image object by calling FromImage, which takes an image file as its only argument. Then we use the CanAnimate method to check if the image can be animated. If it can, we call Animate, which plays the animation.

Listing 7.14 The StartAnimationBtn click event handler

private void StartAnimationBtn_Click(object sender,
System.EventArgs e)
 curImage = Image.FromFile(curFileName);
 if( ImageAnimator.CanAnimate(curImage) )
 new EventHandler(this.OnFrameChanged));
 MessageBox.Show("Image doesn't have frames");

On the StopAnimationBtn click event handler, we check whether there is an Image object, and we call StopAnimate to stop the animation as shown in Listing 7.15.

Listing 7.15 The StopAnimationBtn click event handler

private void StopAnimationBtn_Click(object sender,
System.EventArgs e)
 if(curImage != null)
 new EventHandler(this.OnFrameChanged));

Now we add OnPaint and OnFrameChanged methods to the application. The code for these methods is given in Listing 7.16. In the OnPaint method, we call the UpdateFrames method of ImageAnimator and then call DrawImage to draw the image. In the OnFrameChanged method, we repaint the form by calling Invalidate.

Listing 7.16 The OnPaint and OnFrameChanged methods

protected override void OnPaint(PaintEventArgs e)
 if(curImage != null)
 e.Graphics.DrawImage(curImage, new Point(0, 0));
private void OnFrameChanged(object o, EventArgs e)

Now compile and run the application. You can browse animated images on your system or download the files from online and select a file. The Start Animation button will start playing the animation. The Stop Animation button will stop the animation.

Figure 7.31 shows the first frame of the animation sample provided with this book (download code from online).

Figure 7.31. The first frame of an animated image


Figure 7.32 shows the second frame of the sample.

Figure 7.32. The second frame of an animated image


GDI+: The Next-Generation Graphics Interface

Your First GDI+ Application

The Graphics Class

Working with Brushes and Pens

Colors, Fonts, and Text

Rectangles and Regions

Working with Images

Advanced Imaging

Advanced 2D Graphics



Developing GDI+ Web Applications

GDI+ Best Practices and Performance Techniques

GDI Interoperability

Miscellaneous GDI+ Examples

Appendix A. Exception Handling in .NET

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GDI+ Programming with C#
GDI+ Programming with C#
ISBN: 073561265X
Year: 2003
Pages: 145
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