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Interactive 3D bar chart custom control in WPF with rotation, touch-sense display, and databinding support

, 29 Mar 2009
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Create a WPF 3D Bar chart in your .NET application easily. You can create interactive 3D bar charts in seconds using this WPF 3D bar chart custom control. You can even databind your input to see the '3D chart bar change live as you enter your input' effect.

SampleApp.jpg

Introduction

Create an interactive 3D 'spin'able (or 'rotate'able) bar chart in seconds using this WPF3DChart custom control. A few lines of XAML or C# (or any .NET compliant language code) is enough to create an interactive, spinnable 3D bar chart. Also, you can use WPF databinding to have the ‘see the 3D chart change live as you input data’ effect.

What do you want to do today?

  1. If you want to see a quick demo, follow the easy instructions in the section ‘To see a Demo’.
  2. If you want to test this WPF3DChart control in a sample project, follow the instructions in the section ‘How to use the code / Steps to use the assembly’.
  3. If you want to learn how to write such a control, start reading from the section ‘Basics of WPF 3D Geometry’.

To see a demo

  • Step 1: Copy the binary zip file (download using the link at the top of this article) to a separate folder.
  • Step 2: It is a compressed file. Choose a temporary folder and copy (decompress) all the files into the folder.
  • Step 3: Run the Test3DChart.exe file.
  • Step 4: You should see an application as in the image above.

Fun part:

  1. Left click on the chart and hold your left mouse button. Slowly move the mouse. You can see the chart spinning /rotating.
  2. Hover the mouse on the bars. You will see the selected bar enhanced and the X,Y,Z values for that bar.

How to use the code / Steps to use the assembly

The steps below may be followed to write a sample application using this WPF based 3D bar chart control:

  • Step 1: Create a Windows WPF application using Visual Studio 2008.
  • Step 2: Add the assembly as a reference to the project.
  • Step 3: In the Toolbox, right click, then select 'Choose Items'. Choose the WPF tab. Then, click the Browse button to choose the assembly. Click the OK button after selecting the assembly.
  • Step 4: Now, you will see an entry in the Toolbox with the name 'WPF3DControl'. Drag and drop it to your main window or code in XAML to use the control.
  • Step 5: Select the control. Then, right click and select the Properties menu option.
  • Step 6: Add/ modify/ delete the X, Y, and Z properties (if required) to match your requirements.
  • Step 7: Run your application. You should see the interactive 3D bar chart.

Additional details

  1. You can use the XAML code below to quickly setup the control and run a test:
  2. <Window x:Class="Test3DChart.Window1"
      xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
      xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
      Title="WPF 3D Chart Demo" Height="594" Width="618" 
      xmlns:my="clr-namespace:Wpf3DChartTutorial;assembly=Wpf3DChartTutorial" 
      WindowState="Maximized" WindowStartupLocation="Manual" 
      ResizeMode="CanResizeWithGrip">    
        <Grid Height="563" Name="grid1" Width="602" 
              HorizontalAlignment="Left" 
              VerticalAlignment="Top" ClipToBounds="True">
        
          <my:WPF3DChart Margin="0,5,0,136" Name="wPF3DChart1" 
             ClipToBounds="True" HorizontalContentAlignment="Stretch" 
             VerticalContentAlignment="Stretch" MinWidth="100" />
        </Grid>
    </Window>
  3. How to modify the X, Y, Z values at design time?
  4. There are three ways to do this:

    • First option: The first and the simplest is to add the X, Y, and Z values in the XAML file in the Design mode as below. You will notice the XValuesInput, YValuesInput, and ZValuesInput (in bold) in the XAML file below:
    • <Window x:Class="Test3DChart.Window1"
          xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
         xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
          Title="WPF 3D Chart Demo" Height="594" Width="618" 
          xmlns:my="clr-namespace:Wpf3DChartTutorial;assembly=Wpf3DChartTutorial" 
          WindowState="Maximized" WindowStartupLocation="Manual" 
          ResizeMode="CanResizeWithGrip">  
      <Grid Height="563" Name="grid1" Width="602" 
          HorizontalAlignment="Left" VerticalAlignment="Top" 
          ClipToBounds="True">
      
      <my:WPF3DChart Margin="0,5,0,136" Name="wPF3DChart1" 
        ClipToBounds="True" HorizontalContentAlignment="Stretch" 
        VerticalContentAlignment="Stretch" MinWidth="100" 
            XValuesInput="One,Two,Three,Four,Five" 
            YValuesInput="2, 4, 6, 8, 4,9, 8, 10, 7, 6,11,15,12,10, 9" 
            ZValuesInput="Comp A,Comp B,Comp C" />
      </Grid>
      </Window>
    • Second option: Drag and drop this 3D chart control from the toolbox window. Right click to select Properties. Find the properties XValuesInput, YValuesInput, and ZValuesInput in there. Update them to your desired values.
    • Third option: A third way is to use any .NET compliant language code. Here is a C# sample:
    • wPF3DChart1.XValuesInput = "One,Two,Three,Four,Five";    // X Values Input
      wPF3DChart1.YValuesInput = "2, 4, 6, 8, 4,9, 8, 10, 7, 6,11,15,12,10, 9"; 
      // Y Values Input
      wPF3DChart1.ZValuesInput = "Comp A,Comp B,Comp C"; // Z Values Input
  5. How to databind a textbox (or any other) control to this WPF 3D chart so that the chart gets updated we enter values in the textbox?
  6. Databinding is very simple as all the properties exposed by the 3D bar chart are dependency properties. As in the below sample code, first declare the Binding class object. Then, attach the source. The last step is to bind using the SetBinding method call on the target class. If you are looking for a detailed sample, download the source code of the Test3DChart project.

    Binding XValueBinding = new Binding("Text");
    XValueBinding.Source = textBox1; // Binding the Source
    
    XValueBinding.Mode = BindingMode.TwoWay;
    // Binding the target
    wPF3DChart1.SetBinding(WPF3DChart.XValuesInputProperty, XValueBinding);

Basics of WPF 3D Geometry

The WPF geometry co-ordinate system divides the screen as in the figure below:

WPF3DSpace.JPG

As in the above picture, the positive X starts from the origin point (0,0,0) to X, and positive Y starts from the point (0,0,0) to Y, and positive Z starts from the point (0,0,0) to Z. The converse is true, where the opposite directions are negative X, negative Y, and negative Z, respectively. This understanding is useful to draw our 3D geometry model at a desired location.

To make learning WPF a little more fun, consider you are directing a film. Imagine what all basic things you will require: camera, lighting, costumes, and actor(s). The same applies here – you will need camera, lights, brushes, and 3D geometry models (i.e., actors). WPF provides you with different types of lights, allows you to choose your camera position (as you are the director!), gives different kinds of brushes, and provides a library to draw 3D geometry.

Understanding how to draw 3D geometry (the actor) is important. The basic model you can draw is a triangle. This is because triangle is the simplest possible plane. To draw a triangle, you need to plot 3 points in the co-ordinate system. These are called triangle positions. Then, you have to add a normal. A normal is a vector perpendicular to the triangle. It is not difficult to calculate the normal given the 3 vertex positions of a triangle. I have provided the method CalculateNormal in this project that will calculate the normal given the 3 vertex points of a triangle. With this information, you can create a WPF MeshGeometry3D object. Then, all you have to do is create the appropriate brush to paint the MeshGeometry3D. You may refer to the DrawRect method source code below to understand drawing a rectangle (combining two triangles).

Next, all you have to do is add a camera and lights to the scene.

After drawing all your geometry, you need to add the geometry (or geometry group) into the ModelVisual3D object. ViewPort3D is the class object that will contain all the drawings. Hence, the ModelVisual3D object needs to be added to the ViewPort3D object. Then, this can be added to a Grid or a Window based on your needs. You may consider looking at the Initialize method source code given below as a sample.

Description of the control code

There are two classes in this solution. They are WPF3DChart and HitDetails.

HitDetails is a small class that has a Dictionary. The Dictionary stores the geometry and (x,y,z) co-ordinates to provide the Hit Text when the user hovers the mouse over the bar.

WPF3DChart is the class that renders the control. I will walk through the important methods in the WPF3DChar class.

Property XValuesInput: This is a WPF Dependency Property that receives the X values of the 3D bar chart. To implement a Dependency Property, the class needs to derive from DependencyObject. Since this is a custom control, this class already does. The property needs to be registered as a Dependency Property as in the first line. We need to define the setters and getters as usual for this property, with one difference. Instead of setting the values to a class private variable, here we need to call the base class methods GetValue/SetValue. That's all. Everything else is taken care of by the framework.

public static DependencyProperty XValuesInputProperty = 
    DependencyProperty.Register("XValuesInput", 
                                typeof(string), 
                                typeof(WPF3DChart), 
                                new FrameworkPropertyMetadata( "",
                                FrameworkPropertyMetadataOptions.AffectsMeasure,
                                new PropertyChangedCallback(OnXValueChanged)));
    
public string XValuesInput
{
    get
    {
        return (string)this.GetValue(XValuesInputProperty);
    }
    
    set
    {
        this.SetValue(XValuesInputProperty, value);
    }
}

Method DrawRect: As the name suggests, this method draws a rectangle in a 3D space. To draw a rectangle, we need to draw two adjacent triangles. We need to use the MeshGeometry3D class provided by WPF for this purpose. To draw a rectangle, we need to add Positions, TriangleIndices, Normals, and a Brush. Opacity is a parameter whose value can range from 0.0 to 1.0. This opacity parameter determines how transparent your drawing will be. Once we add all of the above to a GeometryModel3D, we are ready with a drawing. You may wonder why we need four triangles instead of two to draw a rectangle. WPF needs you to specify both the sides of the rectangle. Otherwise, the other side will not be visible while rotating/spinning the drawing.

/// <summary>
/// This method is used to calculate a rectangle
/// taking input Points, Bar Color and Opacity.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="P0"></param>
/// <param name="P1"></param>
/// <param name="P2"></param>
/// <param name="P3"></param>
/// <param name="BarColor"></param>
/// <param name="OpacityIndex"></param>
/// <returns></returns>
private GeometryModel3D DrawRect(Point3D P0, Point3D P1, Point3D P2, Point3D P3, 
                                 Color BarColor, double OpacityIndex)
{
    MeshGeometry3D side0Plane = new MeshGeometry3D();
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    // Drawing two triangles for every rectangle that   //
    // is to be formed. Hence, we add positions,        //
    // triangle indices, and normals                    //
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    // Adding Positions
    side0Plane.Positions.Add(P0);
    side0Plane.Positions.Add(P1);
    side0Plane.Positions.Add(P2);
    side0Plane.Positions.Add(P3);

    // Adding triangle indices
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(0);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(1);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(2);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(2);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(1);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(0);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(0);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(2);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(3);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(3);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(2);
    side0Plane.TriangleIndices.Add(0);

    // Adding normals
    Vector3D normal = CalculateNormal(P2, P1, P0);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    normal = CalculateNormal(P0, P1, P2);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    normal = CalculateNormal(P3, P2, P0);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    normal = CalculateNormal(P0, P2, P3);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
    side0Plane.Normals.Add(normal);
            
    // Atlast brush.
    MaterialGroup plane0MatGroup = new MaterialGroup();
    SolidColorBrush plane0Brush = new SolidColorBrush(BarColor);
    plane0Brush.Opacity = DEFAULT_BRUSH_OPACITY;
    plane0Brush.Opacity = OpacityIndex;
    DiffuseMaterial plane0Material = new DiffuseMaterial(plane0Brush);

    // Create the geometry to be added to the viewport
    plane0MatGroup.Children.Add(plane0Material);
    GeometryModel3D plane0Geometry = 
             new GeometryModel3D(side0Plane, plane0MatGroup);
    return plane0Geometry;
}

Method Draw3DBar: This is the method that draws the bars. This method uses a DrawRect to accomplish this. This method calculates the 3D bar co-ordinates. Then, it calls DrawRect to draw its drawings. One more important thing this method does is it populates the Dictionary with the bar geometry and the (x,y,z) values. I will explain its usage in the OnRightMouseClick event handler.

/// <summary>
/// This methods draws 3D bars getting X,Y,Z values,
// Point to start, height, width and BarColor.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="XItem"></param>
/// <param name="YItem"></param>
/// <param name="ZItem"></param>
/// <param name="PointToStart"></param>
/// <param name="Height"></param>
/// <param name="Width"></param>
/// <param name="BarColor"></param>
/// <returns></returns>
private List<ModelVisual3D> Draw3DBar(  string XItem, 
        string YItem, string ZItem, Point3D PointToStart, 
        double Height, double Width, Color BarColor)
{
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    // This method first calculates the 8 points P0 to P7          //
    // required to draw the bar. Then it calculates                //
    // the points to write the Hit Text. I.e., when the bar        //
    // is hit by a hovering mouse,  we need to                     //
    // display the X,Y,Z values for that bar. So this point P00    //
    // to P33 is calculated to draw the text                       //
    // during hit text. We store this information                  //
    // in a seperate class called HitDetails with the geometry     //
    // as the hit key. Then we draw the bars                       //
    // using the DrawRect method.                                  //
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    modelArray = new List<ModelVisual3D>();
    // Points are calculated to draw the bar
    Point3D P0 = new Point3D(PointToStart.X, PointToStart.Y, PointToStart.Z);
    Point3D P1 = new Point3D(PointToStart.X + Width, 
                             PointToStart.Y, PointToStart.Z);
    Point3D P2 = new Point3D(PointToStart.X + Width, 
                             PointToStart.Y, PointToStart.Z - Width);
    Point3D P3 = new Point3D(PointToStart.X, PointToStart.Y, PointToStart.Z - Width);
    Point3D P4 = new Point3D(PointToStart.X, PointToStart.Y + Height, PointToStart.Z);
    Point3D P5 = new Point3D(PointToStart.X + Width, 
                             PointToStart.Y + Height, PointToStart.Z);
    Point3D P6 = new Point3D(PointToStart.X + Width, 
                             PointToStart.Y + Height, PointToStart.Z - Width);
    Point3D P7 = new Point3D(PointToStart.X, PointToStart.Y + Height, 
                             PointToStart.Z - Width);
    ModelVisual3D myModelVisual = new ModelVisual3D();

    Model3DGroup myModelGroup = new Model3DGroup();
    // Points are calculated to draw the hit text
    Point3D P00 = new Point3D(xStartingPoint, P4.Y + 0.3, P4.Z - Width / 2.0);
    Point3D P11 = new Point3D(P4.X, P4.Y + 0.3, P4.Z - Width / 2.0);
    Point3D P22 = new Point3D(P4.X, P4.Y, P4.Z - Width / 2.0 - 0.3);
    Point3D P33 = new Point3D(xStartingPoint, P4.Y, P4.Z - Width / 2.0 - 0.3);
    Point3D PtToWrite = new Point3D(P4.X, P4.Y + LITTLE_ABOVE, 
                                    P4.Z - Width / 2.0 - 0.3);
    HitDetails newHitDetails = new HitDetails(XItem, YItem, 
                                   ZItem, P00, P11, P22, P33, 
    PtToWrite, PointToStart, Width, Height, BarColor);
            
    GeometryModel3D rectVisual = DrawRect(P0, P1, P5, P4, 
                                      BarColor, DEFAULT_BRUSH_OPACITY);
    listOfHitPoints.Add(rectVisual, newHitDetails);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(rectVisual);

    // Lets draw the rectangles that form a full bar
    // convering its top and bottom
    Color LightColor = BarColor;
    LightColor.A -= DROP_COLOR_BRIGHTNESS;
    rectVisual = DrawRect(P1, P2, P6, P5, LightColor, DEFAULT_BAR_OPACITY);
    listOfHitPoints.Add(rectVisual, newHitDetails);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(rectVisual);
    rectVisual = DrawRect(P3, P2, P6, P7, BarColor, DEFAULT_BAR_OPACITY);
    listOfHitPoints.Add(rectVisual, newHitDetails);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(rectVisual);
    rectVisual = DrawRect(P0, P3, P7, P4, LightColor, DEFAULT_BAR_OPACITY);
    listOfHitPoints.Add(rectVisual, newHitDetails);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(rectVisual);
    LightColor.A -= DROP_MORE_COLOR_BRIGHTNESS;
    rectVisual = DrawRect(P4, P5, P6, P7, LightColor, DEFAULT_BRUSH_OPACITY);
    listOfHitPoints.Add(rectVisual, newHitDetails);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(rectVisual);
    rectVisual = DrawRect(P0, P1, P2, P3, BarColor, DEFAULT_BRUSH_OPACITY);
    listOfHitPoints.Add(rectVisual, newHitDetails);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(rectVisual);
    myModelVisual.Content = myModelGroup;
    modelArray.Add(myModelVisual);

    // return the model to be added to the main ViewPort3D
    return modelArray;
}

Method DrawXYZWithMarkings: This method draws the X plane, Y plane, and the Z plane. This method calculates the length and width planes. It draws the X, Y, and Z planes based on these calculations. The three for loops are used to draw the markings on the planes. These markings are used to specify values in the X, Y, and Z planes.

/// <summary>
/// This method is used to Draw the XZ and Y axis in the 3D bar chart
/// </summary>
/// <param name="XItems"></param>
/// <param name="NumberOfXItems"></param>
/// <param name="YIncrement"></param>
/// <param name="NumberOfYItems"></param>
/// <param name="ZItems"></param>
/// <param name="NumberOfZItems"></param>
/// <param name="BarWidth"></param>
/// <param name="PlaneXColor"></param>
/// <param name="PlaneYColor"></param>
/// <param name="XMarkingColor"></param>
/// <param name="YMarkingColor"></param>
/// <param name="ZMarkingColor"></param>
/// <returns></returns>
private List<ModelVisual3D> DrawXYZWithMarkings( string[] XItems, 
        int NumberOfXItems, double YIncrement, 
        int NumberOfYItems, string[] ZItems, int NumberOfZItems, 
        double BarWidth, Color PlaneXColor, Color PlaneYColor, 
        Color XMarkingColor, Color YMarkingColor, Color ZMarkingColor)
{
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    // This method draws the XZ and Y axis. Not only that,   //
    // this method draws the X, Y and Z markings.            //
    // These are important to  know the values               //
    // of the bars to the user                               //
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    List<ModelVisual3D> listXYZ = new List<ModelVisual3D>();
    Model3DGroup myModelGroup = new Model3DGroup();
    ModelVisual3D myModelVisual = new ModelVisual3D();
    myModelVisual.Content = myModelGroup;
    listXYZ.Add(myModelVisual);
    NumberOfXItems++;
    NumberOfYItems++;
    NumberOfZItems++;
    xInGraph.Clear();
    zInGraph.Clear();
    yInGraph = 0;
    // We calculate One X,Y and Z units.
    // Also we calculate the starting points.
    double Width = chartSize.Width / 10.0;
    double Height = chartSize.Height / 10.0;
    double StartX = -1.0 * Width / 2.0 + 0.5;
    double StartY = -1.0 * Height / 2.0 + 0.5;
    double EndX = Width / 2.0;
    double EndY = -1.0 * Height / 2.0;
    double EndYY = Height / 2.0;
    xStartingPoint = StartX;
    double OneUnitX = (Width - 0.5) / NumberOfXItems;
    double OneUnitY = (Height - 0.5) / NumberOfYItems;
    double OneUnitZ = BarWidth * SPACE_BETWEEN_BARS;
    double ZEnd = (BarWidth * NumberOfZItems * 
                    (Z_ADJUST) * (SPACE_BETWEEN_BARS));
    centreX = Width / 2.0;
    centreY = Height / 2.0;
    centreZ = ZEnd / 2.0;
    //Compute the points to draw the XZ and Y axis. 
    Point3D PXpoint0 = new Point3D(StartX, StartY, 0);
    Point3D PXpoint1 = new Point3D(EndX, StartY, 0);
    Point3D PXpoint2 = new Point3D(EndX, StartY, ZEnd);
    Point3D PXpoint3 = new Point3D(StartX, StartY, ZEnd);
    // Draw the Plane XZ
    GeometryModel3D planeX = DrawRect(PXpoint3, PXpoint0, 
                    PXpoint1, PXpoint2, PlaneXColor, 0.9);
    Point3D PYpoint0 = new Point3D(StartX, StartY, 0);
    Point3D PYpoint1 = new Point3D(StartX, StartY, ZEnd);
    Point3D PYpoint2 = new Point3D(StartX, EndYY, ZEnd);
    Point3D PYpoint3 = new Point3D(StartX, EndYY, 0);
    // Draw the Plane Y
    GeometryModel3D planeY = DrawRect(PYpoint0, PYpoint1, 
                    PYpoint2, PYpoint3, PlaneYColor, 0.9);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(planeX);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(planeY);
    double MarkingWidth = 0.07;
    double MarkingHeight = 0.5;
    double OneLetterWidth = 0.8;
    double OneLetterHeight = 1.6;
    // Draw X markings.
    double StartXPosition = StartX + OneUnitX;
    yInGraph = StartY;
    for (int Counter = 0; Counter < NumberOfXItems - 1; Counter++)
    {
        xInGraph.Add(StartXPosition);
        Point3D pMarkX0 = new Point3D(StartXPosition - MarkingWidth, 
                EndY + MarkingHeight, 0 - MarkingHeight);
        Point3D pMarkX1 = new Point3D(StartXPosition + MarkingWidth, 
                EndY + MarkingHeight, 0 - MarkingHeight);
        Point3D PMarkX2 = new Point3D(StartXPosition + MarkingWidth, EndY, 0);
        Point3D pMarkX3 = new Point3D(StartXPosition - MarkingWidth, EndY, 0);
        Point3D pToWrite = new Point3D(StartXPosition - 
               (XItems[Counter].Length * OneLetterWidth / 2.0), 
                EndY + MarkingHeight, 0 - MarkingHeight);
        GeometryModel3D planeToMark = DrawRect(pMarkX0, pMarkX1, 
                        PMarkX2, pMarkX3, XMarkingColor, 0.985);
        myModelGroup.Children.Add(planeToMark);
        double LetterLength = XItems[Counter].Length * OneLetterWidth;
        planeToMark = WriteText(pToWrite, LetterLength, 
                                OneLetterHeight, XItems[Counter]);
        myModelGroup.Children.Add(planeToMark);
        StartXPosition += OneUnitX;
    }
    // Draw Y markings
    double StartYPosition = StartY + OneUnitY;
    double StartYItem = YIncrement;
    for (int Counter = 0; Counter < NumberOfYItems - 1; Counter++)
    {
        Point3D pMarkY0 = new Point3D(StartX - MarkingHeight / 2.0, 
                                      StartYPosition - MarkingWidth, 0);
        Point3D pMarkY1 = new Point3D(StartX - MarkingHeight / 2.0, 
                                      StartYPosition + MarkingWidth, 0);
        Point3D PMarkY2 = new Point3D(StartX + MarkingHeight / 2.0, 
                                      StartYPosition + MarkingWidth, 
                                      0 - MarkingHeight);
        Point3D pMarkY3 = new Point3D(StartX + MarkingHeight / 2.0, 
                                      StartYPosition - MarkingWidth, 
                                      0 - MarkingHeight);
        GeometryModel3D planeToMark = DrawRect(pMarkY0, pMarkY1, 
                        PMarkY2, pMarkY3, YMarkingColor, 0.985);
        myModelGroup.Children.Add(planeToMark);
        StringBuilder YItemToWrite = new StringBuilder();
        YItemToWrite.AppendFormat("{0,2:f}", StartYItem);
        double LetterLength = YItemToWrite.Length * OneLetterWidth;
        Point3D pToWrite = new Point3D(StartX - MarkingHeight / 2.0 - LetterLength, 
                                       StartYPosition - MarkingWidth, 0);
        planeToMark = WriteText(pToWrite, LetterLength, 
                                OneLetterHeight, YItemToWrite.ToString());
        myModelGroup.Children.Add(planeToMark);
        StartYPosition += OneUnitY;
        StartYItem += YIncrement;
    }
    // Draw Z markings
    double StartZPosition = 0 - OneUnitZ;
    for (int Counter = 0; Counter < NumberOfZItems - 1; Counter++)
    {
        zInGraph.Add(StartZPosition);
        Point3D pMarkX0 = new Point3D(EndX - MarkingHeight / 2.0, EndY, 
                                      StartZPosition + MarkingWidth);
        Point3D pMarkX1 = new Point3D(EndX + MarkingHeight / 2.0, 
                                      EndY + MarkingHeight / 2.0, 
                                      StartZPosition + MarkingWidth);
        Point3D PMarkX2 = new Point3D(EndX + MarkingHeight / 2.0, 
                                      EndY + MarkingHeight / 2.0, 
                                      StartZPosition - MarkingWidth);
        Point3D pMarkX3 = new Point3D(EndX - MarkingHeight / 2.0, EndY, 
                                      StartZPosition - MarkingWidth);
        Point3D pToWrite = new Point3D(EndX - MarkingHeight / 2.0 + 1.0, 
                               EndY, StartZPosition + MarkingWidth);
        GeometryModel3D planeToMark = DrawRect(pMarkX0, pMarkX1, 
                                      PMarkX2, pMarkX3, XMarkingColor, 0.985);
        myModelGroup.Children.Add(planeToMark);
        double LetterLength = ZItems[Counter].Length * OneLetterWidth;
        planeToMark = WriteText(pToWrite, LetterLength, 
                                OneLetterHeight, ZItems[Counter]);
        myModelGroup.Children.Add(planeToMark);
        StartZPosition -= OneUnitZ;
    }
    GeometryModel3D titleToDisplay = WriteText(new Point3D((chartSize.Width / -20.0), 
                   (chartSize.Height / -20.0) - 7.0, 2.5), 
                    OneLetterWidth * 2.0 * ChartTitle.Length, 
                    OneLetterHeight * 2.0, ChartTitle);
    myModelGroup.Children.Add(titleToDisplay);
    return listXYZ;
}

Method Draw3DChart: This method is the main method called by Initialize. This method gets input the X, Y, and Z values. Then, this method draws the bars calling the Draw3DBar method. Finally, this method calls DrawXYZWithMarkings to draw the X, Y, and Z planes.

#region "This method is the main method that draws the 3D bar chart "
/// <summary>
/// This method draws the 3D bar chart.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="XItems"></param>
/// <param name="YItems"></param>
/// <param name="ZItems"></param>
/// <param name="xStartingPointColor"></param>
/// <param name="YPlaneColor"></param>
/// <param name="ZPlaneColor"></param>
/// <param name="BarWidth"></param>
/// <returns></returns>
private List<ModelVisual3D> Draw3DChart(string[] XItems, double[] YItems, 
        string[] ZItems, Color xStartingPointColor, Color YPlaneColor, 
        Color[] ZPlaneColor, double BarWidth)
{
    List<ModelVisual3D> modelsToAdd = new List<ModelVisual3D>();
    // This If block is just for understanding sake.
    // The compiler will remove this during release build.

    if (XItems.Length * ZItems.Length != YItems.Length || 
        ZPlaneColor.Length <= ZItems.Length)
    {
        // We will display less items in the graph then..
    }

    // If there are anything to draw then enter in this if block
    if (YItems.Length > 0 && XItems.Length > 0 && ZItems.Length > 0)
    {
        // Calculate the max Y point
        double MaxY = YItems[0];
        for (int Counter = 1; Counter < YItems.Length; Counter++)
        {
            if (MaxY < YItems[Counter])
            {
                MaxY = YItems[Counter];
            }
        }

        // Calculate the Height of the longest bar and also calculate On Y Unit
        double Ht = chartSize.Height / 30.0;
        double OneYUnit = ((chartSize.Height / 10.0)) / MaxY;
        ComputeXZInGraph(XItems.Length, YItems.Length, BarWidth);
        OneYUnit = ((chartSize.Height / 10.0) - (chartSize.Height / (10 * Ht))) / MaxY;
        int CounterY = 0;
        // Draw the Bars one by one based on values
        // computed in the method ComputeXZInGraph above
        for (int CounterZ = 0; CounterZ < ZItems.Length; CounterZ++)
        {
            for (int CounterX = 0; CounterX < XItems.Length; CounterX++)
            {
                List<ModelVisual3D> modelBars = 
                   Draw3DBar(XItems[CounterX], YItems[CounterY].ToString(),
                   ZItems[CounterZ], 
                   new Point3D(xInGraph[CounterX] - BarWidth / 2.0, 
                            yInGraph, 
                            zInGraph[CounterZ] + BarWidth / 2.0),
                            OneYUnit * YItems[CounterY], BarWidth, 
                            ZPlaneColor[CounterZ]);
                List<ModelVisual3D>.Enumerator enumModels = 
                                        modelBars.GetEnumerator();
                while (enumModels.MoveNext())
                {
                    modelsToAdd.Add(enumModels.Current);
                }
                CounterY++;
            }
        }
        // Now draw the XZ plane and Y plane
        Ht = chartSize.Height / 30.0;
        OneYUnit = ((chartSize.Height / 10.0)) / MaxY;
        List<ModelVisual3D> modelBars1 = DrawXYZWithMarkings(XItems, 
                    XItems.Length, MaxY / (Ht - 1), 
                    (int)Ht, ZItems, ZItems.Length, 
                    BarWidth, XAxisColorItem,
                                                YAxisColorItem, 
                    Colors.Black, 
                    Colors.Black, 
                    Colors.Black);

        List<ModelVisual3D>.Enumerator enumModels1 = modelBars1.GetEnumerator();
        while (enumModels1.MoveNext())
        {
            modelsToAdd.Add(enumModels1.Current);
        }
    }
    // Return the model so that it can be added to the main Viewport3D
    return modelsToAdd;
}

Method Initialize: This method is the first method called by the OnInitialized base class override. This method sets all the default values for a first time look of the 3D chart.

/// <summary>
/// This method is called during initialization
/// to create the 3D Bar chart and then its called to update
/// </summary>
private void Initialize()
{
    if (chartSize.Height == 0 || chartSize.Width == 0) return;
    Initializing = true;
    zCameraDistance = 175 + 5 * ZItems.Length;
    // We clear the 3D drawings, if any previously added
    mainViewPort.Children.Clear();
    mainViewPort.Children.Add(lightModelVisual);
    listOfHitPoints.Clear();
    this.InvalidateVisual();
    List<ModelVisual3D> retValue;
    List<ModelVisual3D>.Enumerator enumList;
    SelectedHit = null;
    modelForHitText = new ModelVisual3D();
    OneLetterWidthForHitText = 1.1;
    OneLetterHeightForHitText = 1.7;
    PointToWrite0 = new Point3D();
    PointToWrite1 = new Point3D();
    PointToWrite2 = new Point3D();
    PointToWrite3 = new Point3D();
    yPlane2DPoint0 = new Point(0, 1);
    yPlane2DPoint1 = new Point(1, 1);
    yPlane2DPoint2 = new Point(1, 0);
    yPlane2DPoint3 = new Point(0, 0);
    // We draw 3D cart here.
    retValue = Draw3DChart(XItems, YItems, ZItems, Colors.Yellow, 
        Colors.Cyan, ZPlaneColors, 
        chartSize.Width/(XItems.Length * 2.2 * 10));
    enumList = retValue.GetEnumerator();
    // Add the resultant geometry to the main viewport.
    while (enumList.MoveNext())
    {
        mainViewPort.Children.Add(enumList.Current);
    }
    retValue.Clear();
    // Compute the camera position.
    ComputeCameraPosition();
    Initializing = false;
    // Display the graph
    this.InvalidateVisual();
}

Mouse move and left button down handlers: This is an important handler that is responsible for the rotation of the 3D geometry. This method calculates the move, i.e., how far the mouse moved with respect to the Y or X axis, while pressing the left button. Then, it calls ComputeCameraPosition to calculate the position in the Sphere. Well, to explain in a little detail: initially, our work is to just draw the geometry, light up the scene, and then place the camera. These three basic steps are required by WPF to show us a 3D picture on the screen. After doing this, if we want to spin/rotate the geometry, all we have to do is move the camera. Imagine placing all these geometry on a dining table in your home. Then, imagine viewing it in a camcorder display moving on a spherical plane.

I simply used the standard 8th grade math geometry formula ‘Any point on sphere’ to calculate the camera position:

/// <summary>
/// This method is called when the mouse is moved.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="sender"></param>
/// <param name="me"></param>

private void OnMouseMove(object sender, MouseEventArgs me)
{
    if (me.LeftButton == MouseButtonState.Pressed && leftButtonDown == true)
    {
        // If the left mouse button is pressed, then we calculate the Camera position, 
        // then invalidate the current drawing for a redraw
        Point retPoint = me.GetPosition(pThis);
        double MouseX = retPoint.X;
        double MouseY = retPoint.Y;
        if (MouseX == MouseXFirstDown && MouseY == MouseYFirstDown)
        {
            return;
        }

        // To calculate how much the mouse moved X position
        if (MouseXFirstDown != MouseX)
        {
            XAngle += (MouseX - MouseXFirstDown) / 2;
            MouseXFirstDown = MouseX;
        }

        // To calculate how much the mouse mofed Y position
        if (MouseYFirstDown != MouseY)
        {
            YAngle += (MouseY - MouseYFirstDown) / 2;
            MouseYFirstDown = MouseY;
        }

        ComputeCameraPosition();
        this.InvalidateVisual();
    }
    Point pt = me.GetPosition((UIElement)sender);
    HitTestResult result = VisualTreeHelper.HitTest(mainGrid, pt);

    // If there is a hit, then draw the bar slightly bigger and display the Hit text 
    // (as we stored thia already while drawing
    if (result != null)
    {
        RayHitTestResult res = result as RayHitTestResult;
        if (res != null)
        {
            GeometryModel3D geoMod = res.ModelHit as GeometryModel3D;
            HitDetails myHitDetails;
            if (listOfHitPoints.TryGetValue(geoMod, out myHitDetails))
            {
                SelectedHit = myHitDetails;
                this.InvalidateVisual();
                return;
            }
        }
    }
    SelectedHit = null;
    this.InvalidateVisual();
} 

/// <summary>
/// This methodis called when the mouse button is down.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="sender"></param>
/// <param name="e"></param>
private void OnMouseDown(object sender, MouseEventArgs e)
{
    // If the left mouse button is down, we compute the mouse first pressed point
    if (e.LeftButton == MouseButtonState.Pressed)
    {
        leftButtonDown = true;
        Point retPoint = e.GetPosition(pThis);
        MouseXFirstDown = retPoint.X;
        MouseYFirstDown = retPoint.Y;
    }
    else
    {
        leftButtonDown = false;
    }
}

/// <summary>
/// This method is called when Left mouse button is up.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="sender"></param>
/// <param name="e"></param>
private void MouseLeftButtonUpEventHandler(object sender, MouseEventArgs e)
{
    // We reset the boolean so  that we dont move the graph when the user is not 
    // pressing the left mouse down
    leftButtonDown = false;
}

Method OnRender: Last but not least, OnRender just modifies the camera position. It draws the HitPoint if the user right clicks on a displayed bar.

/// <summary>
/// This method is called when rendering is required. 
/// </summary>
/// <param name="drawingContext"></param>
protected override void OnRender(DrawingContext drawingContext)
{
    if (!Initializing)
    {
        // Update the CAmera position
            persptCamera.LookDirection = cameraLookDirection;
            persptCamera.Position = cameraPosition;
            // If the user's mouse is on one of the 3D bar. 
    //then enhance the bar and display its values.

        if (null != SelectedHit && (PrevSelectedHit == null || 
            0 != PrevSelectedHit.StringToDisplay.CompareTo(SelectedHit.StringToDisplay)))
        {
            if (geometryForHitText != null)
            {
                geometryForHitText = null;
                modelForHitText.Content = null;
                mainViewPort.Children.Remove(modelForHitText);
            }
            if (modelsForHitTest != null)
            {
                List<ModelVisual3D>.Enumerator enumModelsI = 
                                     modelsForHitTest.GetEnumerator();
                while (enumModelsI.MoveNext())
                {
                    mainViewPort.Children.Remove(enumModelsI.Current);
                }
            }
            LetterLengthForHitText = 
              SelectedHit.StringToDisplay.Length * OneLetterWidthForHitText;
            Point3D ptToWRite = SelectedHit.P2;
            ptToWRite.Y += LITTLE_ABOVE;
            geometryForHitText = WriteText(SelectedHit.PointToWrite, 
                LetterLengthForHitText, 
                OneLetterHeightForHitText, 
                SelectedHit.StringToDisplay);
            modelsForHitTest = Draw3DBar(SelectedHit.XItem, 
                SelectedHit.YItem, 
                SelectedHit.ZItem, 
                SelectedHit.PointToStart, 
                SelectedHit.Height, 
                SelectedHit.Width , 
                SelectedHit.BarColor);

            List<ModelVisual3D>.Enumerator enumModels = 
                                      modelsForHitTest.GetEnumerator();
            while (enumModels.MoveNext())
            {
                mainViewPort.Children.Add(enumModels.Current);
            }
            PrevSelectedHit = SelectedHit;
     
            modelForHitText.Content = geometryForHitText;
            mainViewPort.Children.Add(modelForHitText);
        }
        // Else if there is no bar selected
        // remove the enhancement and Hit text.
        else if (null == SelectedHit)
        {
            geometryForHitText = null;
            modelForHitText.Content = null;
            mainViewPort.Children.Remove(modelForHitText);
            if (modelsForHitTest != null)
            {
                List<ModelVisual3D>.Enumerator enumModels = 
                                        modelsForHitTest.GetEnumerator();
                while (enumModels.MoveNext())
                {
                    mainViewPort.Children.Remove(enumModels.Current);
                }
            }
        }
    }
    
  base.OnRender(drawingContext);
}

I think this control code gives some insight into 3D geometry drawing in WPF custom controls.

Your Feedback?

Feedback is a great mechanism to improve. Your feedback messages will help the community to have a better article and help foster improvement. So, let me know your feedback.

History

  • 7 Sep. 2008 -- Initial version.
  • 8 Sep. 2008 -- Uploaded the correct right version of the source. Added a section explaining the basics.
  • 14 Sep. 2008 -- Updated the Test Sample application to allow user inputs such as X,Y,Z values and the chart title.
  • 19 Sep. 2008 -- Modified all the properties in the custom control to be WPF Dependency Properties. Also updated the test app to bind to the Dependency Properties. Now, as the user enters values, the chart changes dynamically.
  • 21 Sep. 2008 -- Modified the 3D bar interactivity based on the mouse move, bar resized to fit the screen, fixed a few bugs, and added source code comments.
  • 28 Sep. 2008 - Added multi-color Y axis, mouse cursor changes, and mouse sensitivity.
  • 17 Mar. 2009 - Added support to display the chart in any window other than the main window.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Bharath K A
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
Questionhow to use this control in Page insted of Window PinmemberMember 1043358228-Jan-14 0:57 
QuestionImage of Chart [modified] PinmemberHM India16-Oct-13 9:10 
BugChart throws nullreferenceexception in xaml Pinmembertamirmo6-Sep-12 23:01 
QuestionChart throws nullreferenceexception in xaml PinmemberPintu Paul8-Nov-12 21:09 
GeneralRe: Chart throws nullreferenceexception in xaml PinmemberMember 87318595-Dec-12 10:10 
GeneralRe: Chart throws nullreferenceexception in xaml [modified] Pinmemberdwm2296327-Jan-14 7:17 
QuestionThe chart not recognized as a type Pinmemberaviadlanger6-Sep-12 1:39 
GeneralHow to rotate text with the camera Pinmemberrohit harkhani21-Jul-12 0:41 
Questionmulti 3d chart in the same window PinmemberMember 92081554-Jul-12 0:04 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberthanhhai391818-Dec-11 23:21 
GeneralI can't seem to change the chart title Pinmembermattcirque26-May-11 6:18 
GeneralRe: I can't seem to change the chart title PinmemberBharath K A29-May-11 5:51 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberniravmmehta20-Apr-11 23:45 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 PinmemberBharath K A29-May-11 5:51 
QuestionThe Yaxis value didn't match the 3Dbar,how to fix it? Pinmembervpoint201011-Jan-11 20:33 
Excellent work!!!
but this issues here:The Yaxis value didn't match the 3Dbar.
for example,the input value of Y is 8,the chart's 3D bar which should catch 8 level of Y axis didn't catch that place,a little lower,not 8,looks like 7.X
how can I fix it in the source code?
3Q!!! Blush | :O
AnswerRe: The Yaxis value didn't match the 3Dbar,how to fix it? PinmemberBharath K A18-Apr-11 15:40 
GeneralUsing the 3D graph control as a User control Pinmembersidhu0926-Aug-10 16:19 
GeneralRe: Using the 3D graph control as a User control PinmemberBharath K A27-Aug-10 4:02 
Questionregarding WPF3DChartDemo Implementation Pinmembermdjawed198428-Apr-10 7:19 
AnswerRe: regarding WPF3DChartDemo Implementation PinmemberBharath K A3-May-10 8:51 
GeneralRe: regarding WPF3DChartDemo Implementation PinmemberpattyS6-May-10 17:38 
GeneralRe: regarding WPF3DChartDemo Implementation PinmemberpattyS6-May-10 18:03 
Generalabout 3dchertdemo Pinmembermdjawed198428-Apr-10 7:09 
QuestionFloat or double as an input Pinmembermax844-Jun-09 13:42 
AnswerRe: Float or double as an input PinmemberBharath K A4-Jun-09 14:08 

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