Earlier this year we announced the release of Storyboard Suite 4.0, giving embedded GUI design and development teams an easier and faster way to get their applications to market. 4.0 focused heavily on streamlining the design experience and supporting collaborative team development, with enhancements like multiple application design file support, model comparison and merge streamlining, support for 9-patch images, Lua Editor updates to increase productivity and make debugging easier, support for scrolling layers and circles and arc render extensions, and more!
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In my last layer post I discussed how you can use hardware layers to achieve animation effects using limited CPU. The only problem with this is that most graphics toolits out there do not give you access to the layers. Some call it a video overlay and let you use one layer but what if the hardware has more layers. The Freescale i.MX line has 2 layers that can be used but some chips have up to 8 independent layers. To my knowledge GTK and QT do not allow you access to multiple layers. Other user interface applications, such as Adobe Flash and Browser based HMI's render to a single framebuffer and therefore cannot take advantage of all the hardware features.
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With devices like the iPhone and iPod Touch out there the bar has been raised on embedded graphics. Everyone expects to see smooth animations and screen transitions. The problem is that most of the devices lack the horsepower and graphics capabilities of the iPhone. Many of these devices have no graphics acceleration at all causing programmers to consume precious CPU during a transition only to discover the frame rate is too low.