A helping Hand with Graphics speed and masks

Matt Denton matt.denton at limelight.com.au
Tue Feb 26 06:53:01 EST 2002

Hi there speed fiends,

I'm building a cute little app that displays a series off five animated 
objects, based on a series of timed events, animating usually only one 
object at a time.  I'm having a lot of trouble getting the 'speed' up 
and keeping it consistent.  I know some clever cookies on this list have 
worked out or found ways to speed up -- sometimes many many multiples of 
speed increase, such as pencil tool instead of line tool for turtle 
graphics -- all sorts of graphics and text handling.  I'm hoping someone 
can help...

The problem is I have 10 objects, each with masks attached.  Originally 
I fudged the masks, and tried animated GIFs with but that blew out my 
project size as I had to 'render off' about 200 animations, ie no 
masks.  Surprisingly the animated GIFs didn't seem to perform very well 
anyway...??? Not sure why.  I have small objects but I want to get 
around 20-25 frames per second, if possible.  The GIFs, even just on 
their own, seemed to run sluggishly... weird.

BTW, I'm on a 500Mhz Powerbook G4 so you'd expect the GIFs to be OK.  
Also I'm running OSX, however I have stepped back to 9.2.2 to see if it 
was some Quartz/Carbon conversion bottleneck.   Eventually I hope to get 
reasonable animation out of an old 7100 and PII 350 for 'low end 
performance tests'... haven't even copied the project to these yet!

Next I tried using 32bit PNGs and hand animating each object (just moves 
in this case) but the masks seemed to slow things down to what appeared 
to be 8-12 fps.   So I have 10 objects, with only three ever 
overlapping, each with masks but they run like molten lava.  I guess 
PNGs are best 'static'.  I noted on the list that Mac masking is slow, 
but not this slow.  We are talking smallish objects.

  I'm trying to work out the FASTEST way to display graphics across both 
platforms.  I'm trying to avoid QuickTime as I truly want to keep away 
from additional installs... this is only a small tool I'm writing.  Next 
step -- which I don't really want to take -- is wired sprites and masks 
in QuickTime.

I've had great joy in programming the back-end code that maintains the 
data, sends messages etc. but had a very frustrating time dealing with 
graphics, or at least 'fast' graphics.  Love Revolution for the power 
under the hood, if I could only know what to do with these graphics!!  
Some Fast Blast Pixel Blittering Thing would be great...

Any tips or comments would be appreciated.  There must be some clues 

Many thanks!

Matt Denton

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