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Creating Custom Animations

Newbie here.
 
I have been appointed the guy to design the interface for our product.
 
The most intuitive would be an animation of our machine with the LabVIEW program updating controls and determining where hoists and such were positioned on the graphic.
 
Can this be done in LabVIEW?
 
I am currently awaiting my LabVIEW license, so I only have a public demo PC to try out my ideas on. I want to know if this can be done, not whether or not someone thinks the idea sounds ridiculous.
 
Thanks for the help in advance!
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x9561 (148439)
8/24/2007 10:10:06 PM
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As I suspected, it sounds like this is not going to be simple.
We have a team developing our first LV application to control our machines using standard LV controls.
As soon as this application is able to run, we will immediately start removing standard LV controls for custom controls.
Ultimately, our manager wants the application to have a look and feel similar to the newly released i-pod phone.
He has stated that he wants a custom taskbar object similar to what is found in the MAC OS where each task icon expands on mouse over, then returns to its normal state when the mouse leaves.
The main screen will be an animated representation of our machine. We want:

- the engine to colors to indicate temperature,

- hot spots that expand to an informational balloon when clicked, and

- flashing regions when errors or warnings occur (regions indicate location of interest).

I am here to determine if this is possible in LV.
Can the Picture Control handle this?
If it can not, is there another way to accomplish this (i.e. Write the LV data to a file and have C++ read that data to display the information)? If so, then how would I manage to get a C++ executable to run on the Compact RIO?
Regards,Joe
0
x9561 (148439)
8/27/2007 2:10:20 PM
"
Can the Picture Control handle this?
" 
Yes!
Care should be given to how this is implemented because the mouse over-stuff will require a lot of screen updates. Pixel punching takes time so try to keep the size of objects as small as possible.
I suggest you start simple, post Q's as they come up and watch your performance with every code change.
Have fun!
Ben 
0
x9561 (148439)
8/27/2007 2:10:21 PM
Wait a minute. Let's back up a bit...


jp2labview wrote:

...how would I manage to get a C++ executable to run on the Compact RIO?


You want to run this on an RT target?
I haven't looked deeply into this, but the picture control format is essentially a string which holds vector graphic commands or raster data. It is not very efficient and string manipulation which may require intense memory management is something which is tricky in RT systems. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that there are potential pitfalls.
Usually, RT systems are used for RT applications, not for pretty animations. You might find that you are pushing the limits of what can be done. 
Then again, you might find that this is relatively easy for the cRIO to handle.
0
x9561 (148439)
8/27/2007 2:40:09 PM
As others have said, there's nothing you're trying to that can't be done in LabVIEW. But, if your company bought into the "10 mouse clicks to an application" sales pitch for LabVIEW, I think they might have set you up for a long and difficult road.
 
I read your other posts and it sounds like you and your development team may be experienced "C" programmers. You also mention that this is your first LabVIEW project. What you're trying to accomplish is fairly complex and will take a lot more than 10 mouse clicks. If you already know C and are comfortable with it, then that's probably what you should be using for a project of this complexity. That's why NI has Measurement Studio and Labwindows/CVI.
 
LabVIEW is a very forgiving language. So much so that it will let you build very inefficient code. This is a common problem for new LabVIEW programmers. They don't know how to properly architect a large application. The architecture concepts are similar to text based languages, but the implementation is different. This is why so many people get frustrated with LabVIEW early on and decide it's useless.
 
I believe you can build a C .dll to run on the Real Time OS of the CompactRIO, but accessing the IO modules is done through the FPGA in the backplane and requires a completely separate application built using LabVIEW FPGA. Programming the CompactRIO requires at least two separate applications. One for the Realtime OS and one for the FPGA. I almost always have a third one running on a Windows machine for the GUI. There is a Realtime module for Labwindows/CVI, but there is no FPGA module for Measurement Studio or CVI. Also, since the Real Time OS of the CompactRIO is not really designed for GUI's, this will probably be the weak link. I would not try to create that GUI on the CompactRIO itself, but I would pass the data to a Windows/MAC/Linux box and build your GUI there.
 
I hate telling people to not use LabVIEW, but if you're not comfortable with LabVIEW for a project of this complexity, I would revisit the issue with your management and try to explain this to them so you can use a tool you're comfortable and familiar with. This is difficult undertaking for a first time LabVIEW user.
 
Good luck, and remember, we're here to help.
 
Ed
0
x9561 (148439)
9/28/2007 6:10:09 PM
jp2labview wrote:

If it can not, is there another way to accomplish this (i.e. Write the LV data to a file and have C++ read that data to display the information)? If so, then how would I manage to get a C++ executable to run on the Compact RIO?


This is just to stress that if there is no time critical elements in the connection between the UI and the main RT system, then there should not be any constraint on the cRIO to handle your system. this can then be easily and effectively programmed with LV. 
the way you describe you want your UI is another story tough.
0
x9561 (148439)
9/28/2007 9:10:08 PM
I am still hear, I am still reading these posts, and many I take to management for their review. Thanks for all of the input!
Our department seems to be lead by a small number of Mechanical Engineers (MEs). Obviously, they are excited about LabVIEW (LV), because they would not have to rely on the software team to create/modify the code for our product.
I presented Measurement Studio (MS) to management, but each MS license would also require a licensed copy of Visual Studio (VS) installed (our software team uses Borland). The department has made a considerable investment with the 10 LV licenses, and a big reason for doing this was so everyone (software developers and engineers alike) would be on equal footing when it comes to understanding the code. Purchasing additional licenses for both MS and VS would not sit well with management. Further, our MEs would fight it, because they don't want to learn code.
It looks like incorporating graphics into our application will cause us to shoot ourselves in the foot with the performance advantages of the cRIO.
The MEs that convinced our department to buy into LV may not have presented the best options for the department.
So, is there a better way to modify LV controls so that the interface that our clients interact with does not scream "I was made with LabVIEW"?
0
x9561 (148439)
10/1/2007 2:10:09 PM
Hi Joe,
I do not think I have read enough of the details of your app to be able to provide a solid outline as to how to proceed.
The main issue I hear in your posting is the learning curve to get up to speed on the custom graphic stuff. If you have a dead-line then you may be well served by getting some start-up consulting help. Check with your loca NI rep to find an experienced consulting group in your area (You want to find Certified LabVIEW Architects, or very experienced Certified labVIEW Developers). They should be able to sit down with you and construct an architecture fro your application and get you started with the fancy graphics (ask them to provide examples of their custom graphic work).
I'll stop there before I violate the "Terms of Use" for this forum. :smileywink:
 
Ben
0
x9561 (148439)
10/1/2007 2:40:05 PM
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