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SharpGL: a C# OpenGL class library

, 12 Oct 2011
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Use OpenGL in WinForms or WPF applications, directly or with a powerful Scene Graph.
This is an old version of the currently published article.

Screenshot.jpg

Headline: SharpGL 2.0 Beta 1 is available to be tried out from the SharpGL CodePlex site - the latest download is here: http://sharpgl.codeplex.com/releases/view/74704 

Introduction 

Use OpenGL in your C# applications with SharpGL, it's a breeze! Just drag an OpenGLControl onto your Windows Form and handle the 'OpenGLDraw' function - now just call ordinary OpenGL functions! 

Keeping Track of SharpGL 

Before I go much further here are some useful bits of information: 

SharpGL is now hosted on CodePlex at: http://sharpgl.codeplex.com   

SharpGL is currently at version 2.0 Beta 1 - this version adds support for WPF, OpenGL 4.2 extensions and more. 

I am also writing about the various challenges of creating the new version on my blog at: 

http://www.dwmkerr.com   

Using SharpGL in WinForms Applications 

SharpGL provides you with two controls for designing forms. The OpenGLControl, which lets you do standard OpenGL drawing in a C# application, and the SceneControl, which does the same with added support for polygons/persistence/picking and more. The screenshot above shows the SceneControl in action, with the supplied 'SceneBuilder' application. The screenshot below shows some 'old fasioned' OpenGL drawing, with calls to 'glBegin' and 'glEnd' etc.

Screenshot-Small.jpg

If you want to get OpenGL in your application quickly, there's no easier way. There are eight example applications in the download that show you how to use some common features. 

Getting Started

Create a Windows Forms application, use the SharpGL DLL as a reference, and drop an OpenGLControl onto the form. Then handle the 'OpenGLDraw' event and you're ready to go!

Calls that in C++ would look like:

glBegin(GL_LINES);
    glVertex3f(1.0f, 1.0f, 1.0f); ...etc...

Will have to look like:

OpenGL gl = someForm.someOpenGLControl.OpenGL;

gl.Begin(OpenGL.LINES); 
		gl.Vertex(1, 1, 1); ...etc...

Porting over existing OpenGL code is therefore trivial. Every OpenGL and GLU library function has been imported and fully commented - no need to look through reference books for function parameters, the Code Hints will show you everything you need to see!

screenshot_codehints.jpg

The Scene Graph

The Scene Graph contains classes like 'Texture' and 'Camera' to make working with certain types of object much easier. You don't have to use them, you can use certain components or you can use the whole lot. Or you can mix and match. There is an example application that shows how to do texturing with the Scene Graph. 

Using SharpGL in WPF Applications 

The screenshot below shows SharpGL being used in a WPF application: 

MainWindow-Final.png 

There is a full article describing how to use SharpGL in a WPF application on the CodeProject, at: http://www.codeproject.com/KB/WPF/openglinwpf.aspx

Updates 

New to SharpGL 2.0 Beta 1
Note: Beta 1 is available on the CodePlex site only and won't be uploaded to this page until the Beta testing is complete. 

  • Hardware acceleration
  • OpenGL Extensions Support  
  • Core OpenGL Functionality up to OpenGL 4.2 
  • A dedicated WPF library 

New to SharpGL 1.83  

  • Five example applications in the download.
  • Numerous bug fixes, updates and optimisations. 

New to SharpGL 1.8 

  • Three new example applications.
  • Significant improvements to texturing code.
  • Rollup Controls in SceneBuilder keep the interface clutter free.
  • A new materials editor in the Modify tab allows quick material editing.
  • All SceneObjects in SharpGL now automatically optimise themselves to use display lists. This has made the Scene drawing extremely fast.
  • An overhaul of the GDI code by Lee Davies and myself has removed the large memory leak and hugely increased the overall performace of the library and application.
  • Many more minor updates and bug fixes are documented in the updates document in the project.

You can now automatically load simple 3D objects from Caligari trueSpace files. This makes creating applications a bit more simple, as you can test the polygon classes with real objects. A Polygon in the SharpGL scene graph is very powerful, they can cast real time shadows. A set of 'Builders' have been added to the SceneBuilder application, allowing you to build polygons from scratch, play around with materials etc.

SceneBuilder (the Test Application) is a simple application showing some of what SharpGL can do, and all the sourcecode is bundled with it, you can use it to build many aspects of a scene.

Points of Interest

The library is great to use, the Scene Graph 'Scene' object lets you do picking, you can control objects via the mouse, even parts of objects, such as the control points of NURBS and evaluators can be moved around. The polygons can be edited by Face, Vertex or as whole objects, and cast shadows over other objects.

Many of the 'kludgy' aspects of OpenGL such as the limits on the number of lights have been smoothed over. Using lights as an example, when the scene is created, the maximum number of lights is ascertained, and you cannot go over that limit. The extent of Mouse control is amazing, and very easy to implement in your own classes. The Persistence code is some of the best code I've ever written, you can call a function in the persistence engine, passing a type of object, and immediately a File Open / Save dialog will be shown with all the available file formats there for the user to select from, then the object will be created from the file or saved to the file. This means in the SceneBuilder app, it takes about two lines to be able to load a polygon from file, with all the possible formats automatically shown.

Keep Up To Date 

Up to date information on SharpGL development is available from the CodePlex site. 

SharpGL is now hosted on CodePlex, at: 

http://sharpgl.codeplex.com 

I write about various interesting areas I come across when developing SharpGL on my blog at: 

http://www.dwmkerr.com   

Feature Requests

I am looking for feature requests for SharpGL 2.1 and the roadmap! Add feature requests from the CodePlex page's 'Issues' section or via the comments below. 

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU General Public License (GPLv3)

About the Author

Dave Kerr
Software Developer
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Follow my blog at www.dwmkerr.com and find out about my charity at www.childrenshomesnepal.org.
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Comments and Discussions


Discussions posted for the Published version of this article. Posting a message here will take you to the publicly available article in order to continue your conversation in public.
 
QuestionSharpGL tutorial & 3D rendering?? [modified] PinmemberMember 1088161316-Jun-14 22:56 
AnswerRe: SharpGL tutorial & 3D rendering?? PinmvpDave Kerr22-Jun-14 7:52 
QuestionRe: SharpGL tutorial & 3D rendering?? PinmemberMember 1088161325-Jun-14 23:04 
AnswerRe: SharpGL tutorial & 3D rendering?? PinmvpDave Kerr27-Jun-14 4:41 
GeneralRe: SharpGL tutorial & 3D rendering?? PinmemberMember 108816131-Jul-14 20:19 
GeneralRe: SharpGL tutorial & 3D rendering?? PinmvpDave Kerr21-Jul-14 6:48 
QuestionHow to use the WGS84 (Latitude, Longitude) projection PinmemberAhmedGis201114-Apr-14 7:28 
AnswerRe: How to use the WGS84 (Latitude, Longitude) projection PinmvpDave Kerr14-Apr-14 7:59 
QuestionWhich OpenGL version? PinmemberLeonardo Bouchan12-Apr-14 10:04 
AnswerRe: Which OpenGL version? PinmvpDave Kerr12-Apr-14 20:54 
QuestionLicense Pinmembermoritz949-Apr-14 5:32 
AnswerRe: License PinmvpDave Kerr9-Apr-14 5:36 
GeneralRe: License PinmemberLittleFox949-Apr-14 5:57 
QuestionDrawText could not show Chinese! Pinmemberydongydong11-Mar-14 2:48 
AnswerRe: DrawText could not show Chinese! PinmvpDave Kerr11-Mar-14 5:56 
GeneralRe: DrawText could not show Chinese! Pinmemberydongydong12-Mar-14 15:53 
QuestionCan't Install VSIX With VS2012 PinmemberAshley Staggs15-Sep-13 0:33 
AnswerRe: Can't Install VSIX With VS2012 PinmvpDave Kerr15-Sep-13 5:37 
QuestionZooming in and out PinmemberMWBate27-Jul-13 16:18 
AnswerRe: Zooming in and out PinmvpDave Kerr28-Jul-13 8:37 
QuestionHow to make it work with visual studio 2008 Pinmemberjiabin.me14-Jul-13 3:09 
AnswerRe: How to make it work with visual studio 2008 PinmvpDave Kerr14-Jul-13 12:05 
AnswerRe: How to make it work with visual studio 2008 PinmemberAORD13-Nov-13 6:49 
GeneralQuite Cool PinprofessionalBrisingr Aerowing15-May-13 15:05 
GeneralRe: Quite Cool PinmvpDave Kerr16-May-13 2:27 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberMax Holder18-Apr-13 2:25 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 PinmvpDave Kerr18-Apr-13 2:32 
BugWhat if (frameRate is 0) but (timerDrawing.Enabled is false) @OpenGLControl.SetupDrawingTimer() ? Pinmemberbitzhuwei16-Apr-13 16:05 
GeneralRe: What if (frameRate is 0) but (timerDrawing.Enabled is false) @OpenGLControl.SetupDrawingTimer() ? PinmvpDave Kerr16-Apr-13 21:25 
GeneralFantastic stuff thank you. Pinmembermakaveli_000020-Feb-13 7:33 
GeneralRe: Fantastic stuff thank you. PinmvpDave Kerr20-Feb-13 21:37 
GeneralRe: Fantastic stuff thank you. PinmemberJuan Manuel Romero Martin7-Apr-13 12:12 
GeneralRe: Fantastic stuff thank you. Pinmembermakaveli_00007-Apr-13 13:23 
Questiontext in 3d space Pinmembertcpmv1-Jan-13 10:15 
AnswerRe: text in 3d space PinmvpDave Kerr2-Jan-13 21:32 
Generaltext in 3d space Pinmembertcpmv3-Jan-13 4:58 
GeneralRe: text in 3d space PinmvpDave Kerr3-Jan-13 7:10 
QuestionWhen I initialize the OpenGL, why I must Translate the modelview. Pinmemberzy3327197942-Dec-12 15:23 
AnswerRe: When I initialize the OpenGL, why I must Translate the modelview. PinmvpDave Kerr4-Dec-12 3:12 
QuestionCan't get started PinmemberMWBate29-Nov-12 8:01 
AnswerRe: Can't get started - solved PinmemberMWBate3-Dec-12 16:48 
GeneralRe: Can't get started - solved PinmvpDave Kerr4-Dec-12 3:12 
QuestionProblem with Intel HD 3000 on laptop Pinmemberandrea tosetto24-Nov-12 4:32 
Question2d Images PinmemberMember 778994826-Oct-12 8:21 
Questionwhyt the run result is always balckground Pinmemberlxp211022-Oct-12 4:57 
Bugbug in framerate setter [modified] Pinmemberchristophe.thalet13-Oct-12 8:00 
GeneralRe: bug in framerate setter PinmvpDave Kerr13-Oct-12 23:27 
Generala problem Pinmemberxitangzi16-Jul-12 22:57 
GeneralRe: a problem Pinmemberlxp211022-Oct-12 4:42 
BugSharpGL runs really slow Pinmemberc4th0d36-Jul-12 8:50 

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