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david van brink // Tue 2008.10.14 22:27 // {pixel bender}

Pixel Bender: My First Flash Program

Since I love After Effects, I need to learn Pixel Bender. To talk about Pixel Bender in this blog, it sure is handy that the new Flash Player can show it, live. But first I had to learn Flash. Darn!

So, below is a program written for Flex, compiled with Adobe’s free mxmlc command line tool. Requires Flash 10 (currently in beta). It incorporates a simple Pixel Bender kernel to draw on a rectangular area. It doesn’t use an input image.

For reference, here’s the snippet of Flex code that simply fills in an area with the Bended Pixels:

        // "draw" is the name of a UIComponent instance,
        // and "shader" is a Pixel Bender kernel instance.
        var g:Graphics = draw.graphics;
        g.clear();
        g.beginShaderFill(shader);
        var m:Number = 20;
        g.drawRect(m,m,draw.width - 2*m,draw.height - 2*m);
        g.endFill();

And, below is the swf, live, in action. Click the “animate” checkbox for most fun.

As you can see, it displays each of the kernel’s numeric parameters as a slider. Since it knows the min- and max- of each parameter, we can randomize and animate them, which is much more fun that twiddling the slider by hand, yes? It also suggests some of the possibilities when animated in After Effects CS4.

Importantly, this Flex program discerns the parameter values and ranges at run time, so you can pop in another kernel, recompile, and play some more.

Here’s the kernel code. Just a bunch of Math fun… really it was just to test out the Flash displayer, but it came out kind of psychedelic.

And here’s the Flex program. To pop in our own kernel, just alter the Embed line.

Stay tuned for some Fun With Cubes.

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