Sunday, August 12, 2012

Creating a simple control with dimension

This was the original reason a co-worker suggested I blog some of my work. It is a relatively simple design trick but he really liked it and liked the fact it was easy and didn't require a lot of reworking to get the effect.

Step 1: I created a UserControl that contained a simple shape (in this case a circle) - for this example it will use chrome style brushes. I haven't worked with solid or gradient brushes - that will be later after I figure out the Silverlight charts a bit more. (The charts are for a current assignment, but I do want to catch up on documenting what I have been able to accomplish)
The user control also has a drop shadow applied to the shape - this helps with the final artwork having the look of dimension.
The image above shows the final basic user control.

Step 2. Created a new document (UserControl) where I imported the basic control, and copied and pasted several times. Each subsequent layer reduced using the the transform tool in Blend. (This example uses the preview of Blend 5 available from Microsoft. )
This moved the position of the chrome brushes up slightly, giving the appearance they were still using the same reflection but one was above the other.
Above is a closeup of the positioning of each control layer - they all have the exact same center, but by reducing the size the chrome effect of the brushes moves up slightly. Also, the border has a different chrome style brush than the fill does. The difference is very slight but it helps with the dimensional effect.

Step 3. Layer the control to achieve the desired affect. Below shows the complete dimensional control. When using a "curved" chrome brush - it really helps the effect pop. But, that will be a separate post since I am still catching up on figuring out a bit more coding.

Not the perfect representation, but it is all XAML, and you only have to make the image once to reuse on several other controls or pages. Could also be a good button background.

I have uploaded the files here for you to play with. It includes the brushes as well.