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How To Make Images Have A Pixelate Effect In Your C+ App

What do we mean by a Pixelate effect in C++? Which C++ IDE supports easily creating Pixelate effects? How can I use a Pixelate effect for images in my C++ app? Is there an easy way to add Pixelate Effects to components? How can I add pixelate effect to alpha images on my applications? How can I use TPixelateEffect in C++ Builder? Are there any tips to add pixelate during the development of C++ applications? Let’s answer these questions.

What is a Pixelate effect?

A pixel is the smallest square of hue, saturation, and light (HSL) that makes up the grid in a digital image (i.e in a Bitmap or PNG). Higher pixel amounts in width and height of a bitmap results with the high-resolution images.

Pixelate Effect, also known as Pixelation, happens when, instead of blending seamlessly in photography pixels are deliberately visible to the naked eye as rectangular pixels. This results in reduced details. Even though your eye may suggest the shape of object from the colors the effect makes it difficult or impossible to discern the actual details. Users can get accidental Pixelation when they resize a digital image to dimensions that are too large for its resolution, but they can also create cool effects by intentionally pixelating an image. Nowadays Pixelation is used to characters or icons used for the love of early video games. The other, perhaps most popular, use of pixelation is to obscure private or confidential details in an image such as vehicle’s license plate or a phone number on a photo of a document.

Apart from the privacy uses, a Pixelate effect may be applied quickly to create your own pixel art by pixelating a digital image, no matter the image size or quality of the image.

What is TPixelateEffect?

TPixelateEffect is a class for creating an effect that pixelates the texture of visible objects. In other terms, TPixelateEffect reduces the texture details of the image. The number of details can be changed through the BlockCount property. For further information, see TImageFXEffect and FireMonkey Image Effects

The following table shows the result of the TPixelateEffect effect on a .png picture, with transparent background, placed on a form (using a TImage object). The default value (BlockCount= 25) is used for the BlockCount property.

How do I use the Pixelate effect in C++ Builder?

Adding a Pixelate Effect to a single or multiple UI Elements in C++ Builder is very easy,

1. In RAD Studio or C++ Builder, create a new C++ Builder Multi-Device FMX application

2. Drag the TPixelateEffect component from the Palette on to UI Element (for example to an Image) that you want to pixelate. If you want to apply the same settings on a group of the components; include all components that you want to add pixelation to into a group component (i.e Layout, Rectangle…) and drag TPixelateEffect to that group component. This will add the pixelate effect to the group component, not to all group members. This means the bottom components might be more visible than top components. You can use the Structure panel to move UI elements into UI groups.

3. You can change sharpness by changing the BlockCount property between 2 to minimum number of the width and height of the image or component used.

Here is an example that uses the same image with and without the Pixelate effect applied.

What are some additional tips on adding pixelation to C++ apps at design or run time?

1. Don’t forget that Pixelation of an image reduces the quality of the image. Use it only if necessary.

2. The size of pixels can be arranged by the BlockCount property value. If the BlockCount property is two it means it will be displayed with 2×2 squares. The width and height of the pixelate block in an image can be found as below,

3. The Pixelation effect can be used to detect colored object movements faster in Image Processing apps or in some AI applications to detect some colored objects at lower resolutions. The idea here is to pixelate the high-resolution image, find the color of pixel zone in block size steps; and focus on that zone to analyze it more precisely. For example, this can be used to detect a position of a red ball in low resolution and then focus at a higher resolution of that part to find the exact position. This will eliminate scanning many pixels of that image.

4. Pixelation can be used to censor images or some part of an image. It can be used on some global applications when displaying country based sensitive images due to some regional or cultural sensitivities (brands, drugs, alcohols etc.). This can be done by checking the category of the image and the country of the user.

5. Note that these kinds of effects` cost GPU usage due to distortion on all pixels of that UI element. Thus, it may mean more energy consumption which will impact mobile users and that may cause your app to be listed as a higher energy consuming app in user task managers and monitors. If you really overdo it Android and iOS users may even receive warnings about your app being a battery hog which can negatively impact their perception of an otherwise great app. So, the golden rule is – use the effect in moderation.

6. You can use sliders or knobs to control the effect amount at runtime and you can do animation effects too.

C++ Builder is the easiest and fastest C and C++ IDE for building simple or professional applications on the Windows, MacOS, iOS & Android operating systems. It is also easy for beginners to learn with its wide range of samples, tutorials, help files, and LSP support for code. RAD Studio’s C++ Builder version comes with the award-winning VCL framework for high-performance native Windows apps and the powerful FireMonkey (FMX) framework for cross-platform UIs.

There is a free C++ Builder Community Edition for students, beginners, and startups; it can be downloaded from here. For professional developers, there are Professional, Architect, or Enterprise versions of C++ Builder and there is a trial version you can download from here.


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About author

33+ years of coding with more than 30+ programming languages, mostly C++ on Windows, Android, Mac-OS, iOS, Linux and some other operating systems. Dr. Yilmaz Yoru was born in 1974, Eskisehir-Turkey. He graduated from the department of Mechanical Engineering of Eskisehir Osmangazi University in 1997. One year later he started to work in the same university as an assistant. He received his MSc and PhD degrees from the same department of the same university. He has married and he is a father of a son. Some of his interests are Programming, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Artificial Intelligence. He also likes the graphical 2D & 3D design and high-end innovations.
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