Pixie: A jQuery Plugin port of Pixie

That’s right, my idea of a great Saturday afternoon is porting my own code! I wanted to use Pixie in my new Dog Seeder game. It seemed easy enough.

At first I was thinking, “I shouldn’t have to rewrite this”. But then it actually turned out to be unusable. That’s right completely unusable. Well… un-reusable. The first problem was that the code tightly coupled with the specific page html. Referencing certain divs with certain ids. If I wanted to embed it into a new page I’d need to copy all that HTML over. Related to those specific divs the editor was all over the global namespace. There was one `canvas` object and that’s THE canvas, and THE canvas is div#canvas. Ouch…

This was also problematic for extending functionality and adding tools. Each tool was hardcoded into the page. The tools were in div#toolbox and had hardcoded onclick events to call things like `canvas.setTool(pencil)`. More globals… So the mission of extracting that to be useful in another page was too great. It was easier to just rewrite it all with all these good practices in mind, embedability, and extensibility. The long and short of it is that you, gentle reader, really lucked out because now Pixie is way, way better.

Let’s take a look at what’s needed to create a Pixie pixel editor on a new page:

$('#pixie').pixie();

And #pixie is just an empty div! Ok, you do need to include a couple javascript files and some image directories if you want it to work or look good, but nothing special in the HTML itself.

But what if I want to make a new save button that saves the image into Dog Seeder instead locally. I’d need to dig deep into the internals in the old Pixie, but not anymore!

    $("#pixie").pixie({
      initializer: function(canvas) {
        canvas.addAction({
          name: "Save to Creature",
          perform: function(canvas) {
            images[$('#img_path').val()] = canvas.toDataURL();
            $.each(gameObjects, function() {
              $(this).trigger('changed');
            });
          }
        });
      }
    });

Wow, that sure was easy. Maybe I can challenge myself by adding a new tool instead:

          $("#pixie").pixie({
            initializer: function(canvas) {
              var partyPaint = function() {
                this.color(this.canvas.color(rand(2) === 0));
 
                $.each(this.canvas.getNeighbors(this.x, this.y), function(i, neighbor) {
                  if(neighbor) {
                    neighbor.color(neighbor.canvas.color(rand(2) === 0));
                  }
                });
              }
 
              canvas.addTool({
                name: "Party Brush",
                hotkeys: ['Y'],
                mousedown: partyPaint,
                mouseenter: partyPaint
              });
            }
          });

That was pretty easy too. Just to save everyone the shame of asking: “Yes, it’s all easy. Yes you can add as many tools and actions as you want. What, icons? Yes, that’s easy too.” Don’t worry, I’ll post some all the examples I have at the end of the post.

And don’t worry about having to muck with the internals, all the standard tools are written using the same API, so anything the pencil tool or clone stamp tool does you can do too. And a lot more. The opportunities are endless.

Speaking of the API, although I feel that it is pretty good, there may be room for improvement. This is a new release and there may be changes in the future. What I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to suggest improvements and also don’t be surprised if the API changes in a future version.

So what are some of the amazing possibilities for tool extensions? Let’s take a look at what exists so far:

  var tools = {
    pencil: {
      name: "Pencil",
      hotkeys: ['P'],
      icon: imageDir + "pencil.png",
      cursor: "url(" + imageDir + "pencil.png) 4 14, default",
      mousedown: function(e, color) {
        this.color(color);
      },
      mouseenter: function(e, color) {
        this.color(color);
      }
    },
 
    brush: {
      name: "Brush",
      hotkeys: ['B'],
      icon: imageDir + "paintbrush.png",
      cursor: "url(" + imageDir + "paintbrush.png) 4 14, default",
      mousedown: function(e, color) {
        this.color(color);
 
        $.each(this.canvas.getNeighbors(this.x, this.y), function(i, neighbor) {
          if(neighbor) {
            neighbor.color(color);
          }
        });
      },
      mouseenter: function(e, color) {
        this.color(color);
 
        $.each(this.canvas.getNeighbors(this.x, this.y), function(i, neighbor) {
          if(neighbor) {
            neighbor.color(color);
          }
        });
      }
    },
 
    dropper: {
      name: "Dropper",
      hotkeys: ['I'],
      icon: imageDir + "dropper.png",
      cursor: "url(" + imageDir + "dropper.png) 13 13, default",
      mousedown: function() {
        this.canvas.color(this.color());
        this.canvas.setTool(tools.pencil);
      }
    },
 
    eraser: {
      name: "Eraser",
      hotkeys: ['E'],
      icon: imageDir + "eraser.png",
      cursor: "url(" + imageDir + "eraser.png) 4 11, default",
      mousedown: function() {
        this.color(null);
      },
      mouseenter: function() {
        this.color(null);
      }
    },
 
    fill: {
      name: "Fill",
      hotkeys: ['F'],
      icon: imageDir + "fill.png",
      cursor: "url(" + imageDir + "fill.png) 12 13, default",
      mousedown: function(e, newColor, pixel) {
        // Store original pixel's color here
        var originalColor = this.color();
 
        // Return if original color is same as currentColor
        if(newColor === originalColor) {
          return;
        }
 
        var q = new Array();
        pixel.color(newColor);
        q.push(pixel);
 
        while(q.length > 0) {
          pixel = q.pop();
 
          // Add neighboring pixels to the queue
          var neighbors = this.canvas.getNeighbors(pixel.x, pixel.y);
 
          $.each(neighbors, function(index, neighbor) {
            if(neighbor && neighbor.css("backgroundColor") === originalColor) {
              neighbor.color(newColor);
              q.push(neighbor);
            }
          });
        }
      }
    }
  };

Most of these are pretty simple. Also notice how easy it is to set a hotkey and icon/cursor. The mousedown and mouseenter are the standard tool workhorse methods. They are called with `this` bound to the pixel that the event occurred in. The pixel object is an extended jQuery object, so methods like this.css(someprop, somevalue) also work. The extended part provides utilities like `x`, `y` and `canvas` properties, as well as a color() getter/setter shortcut. Take a look and if it’s not immediately obvious leave a comment so that I can fix my failure and make it clear.

We can also rock a closure to add advanced tools like a clone tool:

  var CloneTool = function() {
    var cloneX, cloneY, targetX, targetY;
 
    return {
      name: "Clone",
      hotkeys: ['C'],
      icon: imageDir + "clone.png",
      cursor: "url("+ imageDir +"clone.png) 0 0, default",
      mousedown: function(e) {
        if(e.shiftKey) {
          cloneX = this.x;
          cloneY = this.y;
        } else {
          targetX = this.x;
          targetY = this.y;
          var selection = this.canvas.getPixel(cloneX, cloneY);
 
          if(selection) {
            this.color(selection.color());
          }
        }
      },
      mouseenter: function(e) {
        var deltaX = this.x - targetX;
        var deltaY = this.y - targetY;
        var selection = this.canvas.getPixel(cloneX + deltaX, cloneY + deltaY);
 
        if(selection) {
          this.color(selection.color());
        }
      }
    };
  };
 
  tools.clone = CloneTool();

The closure keeps track of the state of the tool with shared variables. This allows the source position to be set when shift is held and the mouse is clicked. Then remembered when the tool is used again at a distant location. Ideally we would also set some sort of marker on the source pixel so we can assist the user to see where we are cloning from. This can be done with setting some CSS properties on the pixels, but I will leave that for another day.

Let’s wrap this up with a heads up: there is going to be a contest to create the best tool for Pixie coming up, so it’s never too early to start preparing. The winning tools may even appear in the next version.

So until next time, stay pixelated.

Source on github.

One thought on “Pixie: A jQuery Plugin port of Pixie

  1. Pingback: New Version Of Pixie « STRd6

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