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Posted 19 Feb 2013

Animator for WinForms

, 22 Feb 2013 LGPL3
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The component allows you to animate any controls on your WinForms.


Can we make our WinForms application was animated, like WPF? Yep, of course we can!
The component Animator allows you to animate any controls on your WinForms.

How it works

Animator creates a temporary control DoubleBitmap over the target control. DoubleBitmap contains two images. First image is snapshot of background of the form, exclude target control. Second image contains snapshot of target control.

Then animator periodically transforms top image of DoubleBitmap. As result – we get animated fake of target control.

Each transformation has some dependence on the current time. And Animator changes time and call transformation for new animation frame.

The Animator supports two kinds of transforms - linear transforms (scaling, shifting, rotating) and non-linear transforms (distortions, skews, etc). Also it can change transparency of animated bitmap.

Linear transformations are performed using matrix transformations of GDI+.
Example of the transformation Rotate:

public static void DoRotate(TransfromNeededEventArg e, Animation animation)
    var rect = e.ClientRectangle;
    var center = new PointF(rect.Width / 2, rect.Height / 2);
    e.Matrix.Translate(center.X, center.Y);
    if (e.CurrentTime > animation.RotateLimit)
        e.Matrix.Rotate(360 * (e.CurrentTime - animation.RotateLimit) * animation.RotateCoeff);
    e.Matrix.Translate(-center.X, -center.Y);

Nonlinear transformations are little harder. First, it creates an array of pixels. And then there is a conversion each pixel in cycle. The Animator can change coordinates of the pixel, it's color and transparency. Below is an example of the transformation:

public static void DoBlind(NonLinearTransfromNeededEventArg e, Animation animation)
    if (animation.BlindCoeff == PointF.Empty)
    var pixels = e.Pixels;
    var sx = e.ClientRectangle.Width;
    var sy = e.ClientRectangle.Height;
    var s = e.Stride;
    var kx = animation.BlindCoeff.X;
    var ky = animation.BlindCoeff.Y;
    var a = (int)((sx * kx + sy * ky) * (1 - e.CurrentTime));
    for (int x = 0; x < sx; x++)
        for (int y = 0; y < sy; y++)
            int i = y * s + x * bytesPerPixel;
            if (x * kx + y * ky >= a)
                pixels[i + 3] = (byte)0;

The Animator creates DoubleBitmap with correct z-order. So, if some controls were under target control, then they will be under DoubleBitmap control. Similarly – controls above target control:

How to use

Simplest way to use Animator: dragging the Animator component onto your form.
To start animation – call method Animator.Show(targetControl) from your code.

Take to attention: the target control must be hidden (visible==false) before calling Show method. Otherwise animation will not take effect.

Similarly, you can hide the control using the method Animator.Hide(targetControl).

The Animator allows you to make animated changing of your visible control. Before updating you need to call Animator.BeginUpdate(targetControl), then update your control, and finally to call Animator.EndUpdate(targetControl). For example:

animator.BeginUpdateSync(dataGridView1, true);
dataGridView1[col, row].Value = newValue;

As result – the control will change its view with animation.

Animator has several built-in types of animation. It's Rotate, Scale, Leaf, Mosaic, Particles, Blind, etc. You can set built-in animation by property AnimationType.

In addition, Animator allows you to fine-tune the animation, as well as create custom animation.
For adjusting you can use property DefaultAnimation. Below described all properties of Animation class:

  • PointF SlideCoeff - Set (1,0) or (0,1) to slider effect.
  • float RotateCoeff - Adjusts rotation angle.
  • float RotateLimit - Parameter defines time of end of rotation
  • PointF ScaleCoeff - Adjusts horizontal and vertical scaling
  • float LeafCoeff - Set 1 to "leaf" effect
  • PointF MosaicCoeff - Adjusts deviation of mosaic
  • int MosaicSize - Mosaic square size (in pixels)
  • PointF MosaicShift - Shift of mosaic squares.
  • PointF BlindCoeff - Set (1,0) or (0,1) to "blind" effect.
  • float TransparencyCoeff - Set 1 if you want to make transparency of animation.
  • float TimeCoeff - Time coefficient
  • Padding Padding - Expands bounds of DoubleBitmap (it is useful for "wide" animations, like Rotate)
  • bool AnimateOnlyDifferences - Allows to animate only differences between start view of control and finish view (only for AnimationMode.Update). By default True.
To create custom animation, you need to handle events TransfromNeeded and/or NonLinearTransfromNeeded. The example see in demo application.

Animator has a good set of techniques to control the animation. Each method is asynchronous and synchronous versions. Asynchronous methods starts animation and returns immediately. Synchronous methods starts animation and wait while animation will be completed.

In addition the Animator supports queue of animated controls. You can use methods AddToQueue() and ClearQueue() for it.

Also, the Animator has methods to wait for all outstanding animations and methods to wait for the particular animation.

Moreover, the Animator has events AnimationCompleted and AllAnimationsCompleted that are invoked after any/all animation was completed.

Extended controls

The library contains extended TabControl. It is usual TabControl, but its tabs are animated:

The TabControlEx conatins property Animation, where you can adjust animation of tabs.

Demo app

You can use the demo app for that would evaluate the possibilities of Animator:

Decoration sample (BottomMirror mode):


The Animator does not work with OLE-based controls (WebBrowser, RichTextBox). These controls do not paint itself when window is not visible. So we can not to grab bitmap from it.


19 Feb 2013 - First release.
20 Feb 2013 - TabControlEx was added, ClipRectangle is available for Update mode.
22 Feb 2013 - Performance was increased. Some bugs was fixed. Decoration sample was added.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv3)


About the Author

Pavel Torgashov
Software Developer Freelancer
Ukraine Ukraine
I am Pavеl Tоrgаshоv, and I live in Kyiv, Ukraine.
I've been developing software since 1998.
Main activities: processing of large volumes of data, statistics, computer vision and graphics.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Alhoot20049-Jul-13 13:37
memberAlhoot20049-Jul-13 13:37 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
demouser7436-Jul-13 8:36
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QuestionMy vote > 5 Pin
hackerspk6-Jun-13 2:18
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Virtualization22-Apr-13 2:41
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
maunilgajjar12-Apr-13 8:21
membermaunilgajjar12-Apr-13 8:21 
QuestionWoW! Pin
nandixxp1-Apr-13 2:33
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GeneralExcellent Pin
C# learning user26-Mar-13 8:37
memberC# learning user26-Mar-13 8:37 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
bobfox19-Mar-13 18:05
memberbobfox19-Mar-13 18:05 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Hasibul Haque13-Mar-13 18:21
memberHasibul Haque13-Mar-13 18:21 
QuestionMy Vote of 5 Pin
RaviRanjankr13-Mar-13 6:26
memberRaviRanjankr13-Mar-13 6:26 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Renju Vinod12-Mar-13 20:27
memberRenju Vinod12-Mar-13 20:27 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Mihai MOGA11-Mar-13 21:44
memberMihai MOGA11-Mar-13 21:44 
Questionamazing demo Pin
smartls10-Mar-13 3:13
membersmartls10-Mar-13 3:13 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
ridoy7-Mar-13 23:33
memberridoy7-Mar-13 23:33 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
MayurrDabhi7-Mar-13 20:20
memberMayurrDabhi7-Mar-13 20:20 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Monjurul Habib4-Mar-13 19:21
memberMonjurul Habib4-Mar-13 19:21 
GeneralWell done, Pavel! Pin
Espen Harlinn3-Mar-13 21:30
mvpEspen Harlinn3-Mar-13 21:30 
QuestionGood work Pin
waleedhm27-Feb-13 5:13
memberwaleedhm27-Feb-13 5:13 
AnswerRe: Good work Pin
Pavel Torgashov27-Feb-13 7:12
memberPavel Torgashov27-Feb-13 7:12 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Shof26-Feb-13 22:38
memberShof26-Feb-13 22:38 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
jawed.ace26-Feb-13 20:19
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QuestionC# --> VB Pin
dherrmann26-Feb-13 3:25
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AnswerRe: C# --> VB Pin
Pavel Torgashov26-Feb-13 4:12
memberPavel Torgashov26-Feb-13 4:12 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
p_a_k25-Feb-13 20:58
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
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