Yesterday, we released another update to Deep Zoom Composer, and you can download it for free from the following location:
|Download Deep Zoom Composer|
In case you are not familiar with this app, Deep Zoom Composer (DZC) allows you take images, arrange them on a design surface, and export them for use with the Deep Zoom technology found in Silverlight 2. You can see a really impressive demo at Hard Rock Cafe’s Memoribilia site where they use Deep Zoom to show you a lot of high-resolution imagery. You can create something similar using your own images with DZC.
This update sports a lot of cool features besides just supporting the Silverlight 2 Beta 2 changes, so for the rest of this post, let’s take a look at these new features.
One of the big changes we made was replacing the old BIN file formats with an XML-based file format instead (dzc_output.xml):
EDIT: Picture updated on June 9th to refer to correct XML file.
This means that your MultiScaleImage control will no longer work when you set its Source property to a BIN file. It has to be the new XML-based file, but don’t worry, Deep Zoom Composer takes care of those details for you. The project template we export provides all of the hooks necessary for you to have a working Silverlight 2 Beta 2 application without you doing anything extra.
Thanks to Avi Dunn, Lutz Gerhard, Dan Cory, and Radoslav Nickolov of the Live Labs team for making these changes to both the encoder as well as the MultiScaleImage control.
Image Importing Changes, Quality Settings, Transparent PNG Support
In previous versions, when you imported an image, we flattened everything down to a JPEG whose quality was 95. While that seems like a pretty good tradeoff, it does not help when you are importing a transparent PNG or a lossless format where quality really matters. In this version, we respect whatever file format your input image is in. If it is a JPEG or PNG, we encode it as a JPEG or PNG on the design surface. If it is some other lossless format, we pick the appropriate lossless format for you.
When exporting, you can now pick between JPEG or PNG, and if you picked JPEG, you have the ability to adjust the image quality:
We are not providing support for image formats beyond PNG and JPEG because we are only supporting the image types Silverlight 2 currently supports.
Undo and Redo
You now have the ability to Undo and Redo any action you perform on the artboard:
Use the Edit menu or the standard Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y key combinations for performing Undo and Redo respectively.
Simplified Auto-Grid Arrangement
To quickly help you arrange your images on the artboard, we introduced some cool snapping and guideline functionality in our previous version. Now, if you want to bypass manual arrangement altogether, you can arrange your images into a grid! Simply select multiple images, right click, and select Arrange into a Grid from the Arrange menu:
This will allow you to constrain your arrangement by either rows or columns:
All that said, the big takeaway is that you now have a very quick and easy way of arranging all of your images into a grid:
While the above example only shows same-sized images being arranged, you can work with images of varying sizes as well.
Support for Tagging
When working with collections, having a way to filter your images would be useful. Many of you were modifying your SparseImageSceneGraph XML file by adding extra nodes to represent metadata. To help with this, we are now providing tagging functionality within the UI itself:
Select an image or a group of images, and set the tags you want on them. When you export, we now output an XML file called Metadata that contains your image details, its zorder, as well as any tags you set on it:
This file closely mimics your SparseImageSceneGraph, so you can use Silverlight 2’s support for LINQ to quickly parse the XML data and associate tags with the appropriate images. We will provide an example of how to do that in a future post.
We hope you like these new changes, and if you have any cool features or ideas on what you would like to see in the next version of the app, let us know by commenting below.