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Double Buffered Graphics using DirectDraw

, 23 Sep 2001
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This article explains how my class CDXSurfaceMgr can be used to facilitate Double Buffered drawing.
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This article explains how my class CDXSurfaceMgr can be used to facilitate Double Buffered drawing/graphics.

Double Buffered Drawing

Normally when drawing using the GDI you do all your painting straight into the HDC that's provided by either BeginPaint or a CDC (if you are using MFC). Iif you draw a line it immediately appears on the surface of the window you are drawing on. If you draw a lot of graphic items the screen is updated with each item and this can result in flicker or stuttering as the surface is filled with the drawing. Double Buffering can be used to create smooth updates, you build a "frame" of graphics in a non visible place first then copy the whole thing onto the main windows surface.

There a lots of ways to implement double buffering, one way is to create a compatible HDC in memory somewhere and draw into that then Blit (copy) that memory into the visible windows HDC. My approach uses a subset of DirectX called DirectDraw which can be used to draw 2d Graphics. CDXSurfaceMgr is written using the DirectDraw interfaces supplied in VC6 (ddraw.h/lib) and should work on 95/98/Me/2k/XP and NT 4.0 (sp3 - I think).

Using CDXSurfaceMgr

Create an instance of CDXSurfaceMgr

#include "DXSurfaceMgr.h"
CDXSurfaceManager_NBP dxMgr_;
Initialise the instance like so
int CMfcdxView::OnCreate(LPCREATESTRUCT lpCreateStruct)
 if (CView::OnCreate(lpCreateStruct) == -1)
         return -1;
 // Initialise CDXSurfaceMgr
 if(!dxMgr_.Initialise(m_hWnd)) return -1;

 return 0;
This should be done just once, the parameter to the Initialise method is the Handle to the window you want to draw on. Then when handling the WM_PAINT message (the place you would normally do the drawing) call the BeginPaint Method
void CMfcdxView::OnDraw(CDC* pDC)
 CMfcdxDoc* pDoc = GetDocument();
 // TODO: add draw code for native data here

 HDC& hdc = dxMgr_.BeginPaint(GetSysColor(COLOR_3DFACE));
 if(NULL !=hdc)

The parameter to BeginPaint is a COLORREF that BeginPaint will use to fill the background with. BeginPaint returns an HDC that that you can then use to draw things with, either via the standard GDI API;

 ::TextOut(hdc,10,10,"Please don't call me reg its not my name", 40);
Or if you are using MFC;
 CDC* cdc = CDC::FromHandle(hdc);
 cdc->(10,10, CString("All aboard Brendas iron sledge"));

Note all the usual GDI rules apply - if you select a brush remember to reselect the old one etc. When you have finished drawing, call the EndPaint method like so;


This will "flip" your drawing onto the main windows surface. and the drawing will instantaneously appear.

What CDXSurfaceMgr does

CDXSurfaceMgr creates a primary surface - one that is visible - and a secondary off screen surface that is the same size as the primary one but invisible. When you call BeginPaint an HDC attached to the secondary surface is returned; you do all your drawing into this; then EndPaint Blits(copies) the whole of the secondary surface onto the primary one and it appears on the window. If you have a capable graphics adapter on your machine then the Blit is very very fast, if you don't then the operation is obviously not as fast, but still very functional.


There are three demos included one that uses WFC and draws rectangles and ellipses moving up and down the screen, one that uses MFC, and draws a few lines and a bit of text, and one that does exactly the same again but is just a Win32 program.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Gertruud Lawrence

United Kingdom United Kingdom
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionCDialog problem PinmemberPeterHo38618-Oct-11 17:23 
GeneralAlpha support Pinmembernesculcas10-Feb-07 7:16 
GeneralWorking sample Pinmembernesculcas8-Feb-07 14:40 
GeneralRe: Working sample Pinmembernesculcas10-Feb-07 5:49 
GeneralRe: Working sample Pinmembernesculcas10-Feb-07 7:17 
GeneralUuups, did you ever try... Pinmembera coder7-Apr-05 21:23 
... to resize or - simply move - your example application's window???

I never saw an application (even if it was a buggy example) that eated up all the available memory in the system so enormously fast!!!

Or was it intended to demonstrate even that...?
Sometimes I ask myself, whether some coders here even basicly test the pieces of code they do...

How can this happen?
A class, which causes such a behavior is probably the worst case possible. Even if it tries to create an OFFSCREEN CONTEXT mechanism to speed up things !!!

By the way, why to heck it is necessary to recreate the buffer at such simple tasks like moving a window...? Even resizing can be designed smart (i.e. only neccessary, if the window resizes to "bigger" ).

Whatever, I have written "normal" GDI based offscreen contexts, which akt ALLOT faster than your DirectX example here for some reasons...

Oh my!

GeneralRe: Uuups, did you ever try... Pinmemberx-plorer7-Apr-05 22:39 
Generalhuge memory leaks ! PinmembercnkKlau10-Mar-05 1:26 
Generalpull-down menue updates PinsussSagi dror10-May-04 1:33 
GeneralUse in Dialog bases app PinmemberRuination28-Aug-03 13:54 
GeneralCDXSurfaceMgr stops working after screen saver has been activated PinmemberJohanps17-Jun-03 4:22 
GeneralRe: CDXSurfaceMgr stops working after screen saver has been activated Pinmembershorer30-Aug-09 1:46 
QuestionWhy here not Visual Basic? Pinsussniekass12-Jun-03 3:06 
QuestionWhy here not Visual Basic? Pinmemberniekasss12-Jun-03 2:40 
AnswerRe: Why here not Visual Basic? PinmemberTwink9-Jan-05 14:57 
GeneralSetDIBitsToDevice PinmemberAnonymous1-Apr-02 23:19 
GeneralThanks so much Pinmemberackka7-Jan-02 11:11 
GeneralTheres a leak in my code Pinmembergerty29-Sep-01 13:08 
GeneralGreat code... and a question PinmemberMatt Ashland25-Sep-01 16:38 
GeneralRe: Great code... and a question Pinmembergerty29-Sep-01 12:41 
GeneralRe: Thanks... and a benchmark PinmemberMatt Ashland1-Oct-01 4:26 
Generalatlres.h missing PinmemberFriedhelm Schuetz25-Sep-01 5:33 
GeneralRe: atlres.h missing PinmemberMatt Ashland25-Sep-01 18:09 
GeneralRe: atlres.h missing Pinmembergerty29-Sep-01 12:44 
GeneralInteresting... PinmemberJ.G. Hattingh25-Sep-01 3:47 

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