Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

Official SharpCap and Forum announcements
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8144
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#1

Post by admin »

This will be the third try at a proper dark mode for SharpCap, and hopefully the final one too :)

The first dark mode in early versions of SharpCap was very basic - roughly speaking it was a digital equivalent of a red sheet of film over the display, muting the colours of everything except the camera image display.

The second dark mode is what you see now in SharpCap 3.2 and 4.0 - the familiar orange-on-black display that mostly works pretty well, but has a few glitches and niggles:

* Some things either cannot be turned to dark mode or are ridiculously hard to do - scrollbars, the window title bar, some bits of the dropdowns in the toolbar
* At times you see a flash of light mode before things turn to dark mode - particularly when opening a camera and the controls appear for the first time
* If you flip between dark and light mode then you get strange effects, like orange text staying on some things when you go back to light mode
* Some things are harder to see in dark mode - highlighting on pressed buttons, etc.

New dark mode (shown below) fixes pretty much all of these issues and brings some additional benefits - read on for more info...
darkmode.jpg
darkmode.jpg (476.8 KiB) Viewed 630 times
You can see in this screenshot that things like the window title bar and scroll bars are now dark, although if you look closely you will spot some minor changes between how this screenshot looks and how the current SharpCap 4.0 looks beyond the colours. This is because the whole of the SharpCap main window, menus, toolbar, status bar, image display and more has been re-written in a different technology. While things are largely equivalent, there are some differences - such as the inactive buttons in the toolbar still showing some colour and the menus looking a bit different. I'm not intending to try to chase down every single different pixel, but I will address any differences that make it harder to see/use/interact with the application if such arise.

The change to a new technology for the main user interface of SharpCap brings a number of additional improvements (either now or in the future). These include

* More work on displaying the image is done by your computer graphics card (GPU). This reduces CPU usage when working with high frame rate cameras
* You can zoom the image further in when working with high resolution cameras - previously the zooming ability stopped when the size of the image multiplied by the zoom factor exceeded 65535 pixels in either direction (so for instance you would be limited to about 10x zoom on a 6000x4000 image in the old UI).
* Better support for high DPI monitors (and also for systems with a mixture of high DPI and normal DPI monitors). This may require more work to fully enable.
* Improved stability of overlays drawn on the image - for instance the pixel value readout overlay could flicker for high frame rate cameras when the image is zoomed in the old UI

From a technical point of view, moving to the new technology stack is a welcome step in the evolution of SharpCap - it's taken about 3 to 4 weeks to make the visible changes that you can see above happen, but that's only been possible because I have been planning and preparing for this change for about 2-3 years (on and off)!

From the user point of view, initially the new UI will be hidden unless activated by a command line switch. I'm hoping that some of the adventurous among you will try it out and report any gremlins or issues that you find (there are bound to be some in a change of this size, and new sets of eyes on it will be welcome as they will spot things that I am just not seeing). After a suitable period of refinement and testing, I will change the default over to the new user interface, and then eventually remove the old one.

cheers!,

Robin
User avatar
Menno555
Posts: 600
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:19 pm
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#2

Post by Menno555 »

Looking good Robin!!
And surely want to try it and see if I can spot some Gremlins ;) When released I'm looking forward to the command line switch.

Menno
procyon12
Posts: 209
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:32 am

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#3

Post by procyon12 »

Seems a lot of work you have done, Robin :D
I'm looking forward to it too.
This reduces CPU usage when working with high frame rate cameras
- Can you quantify this?

Thanks, Christian
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8144
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#4

Post by admin »

Hi,

on my system (Core i9 9900K, Geforce 1650), ZWO 174MC running at maximum speed in RAW8 mode ~(163fps)

SharpCap 4.0 (old UI) : ~17.5% CPU Usage, 0% GPU (according to task manager)
New UI : ~15% CPU Usage, ~25% GPU

Note that about 8% CPU usage in either case is down to debayering, so with an equivalent mono camera, the results would be about 9.5% and 7% respectively.

Not a massive improvement, but worthwhile.

cheers,

Robin
procyon12
Posts: 209
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:32 am

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#5

Post by procyon12 »

Thanks, Robin, I'll try it out (QHY174GPS - occultation work).

Chr.
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8144
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#6

Post by admin »

Hi folks,

I have just uploaded the new version that allows this new UI to be tested. The only way to switch it on currently is to use the '/newui' command line parameter - ie.

Code: Select all

"C:\Program Files (x86)\SharpCap 4.0\SharpCap.exe" /newui
or, for 64-bit SharpCap users

Code: Select all

"C:\Program Files\SharpCap 4.0 (64 bit)\SharpCap.exe" /newui
You ***MUST*** have SharpCap 4.0.8472 or newer for this to work properly. In particular, if you try this with 4.0.8439, SharpCap will crash on startup :(

Note that your choice of new UI will not be remembered - you need to specify the command line parameter each time you run SharpCap to get the new UI. This is deliberate at the moment so that no-one gets stuck in the new UI if there are any unforseen significant problems with it. After a suitable period of testing and feedback, there will be a way to make it your default so that the command line is not needed every time.

cheers,

Robin
JesusRL
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:36 pm
Location: Madrid

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#7

Post by JesusRL »

Hi Robin,

CustomButtons do not load in the new interface (ie):

Code: Select all

CBMAX = SharpCap.AddCustomButton("MAX", Image.FromFile(".\Icons\Max_icon.ico"), None, activate_max)
T&R,
Jesus
procyon12
Posts: 209
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:32 am

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#8

Post by procyon12 »

There are issues, Robin.

SC 4.0.8472 32bit on two W10 systems (W10 64bit Home 21H2 and W10 32bit Home 21H1): no Dark Mode.

SC 4.0.8472 32bit on W7 64bit Home Premium SP1: SC crashes on startup, see pictures.

SC starts normally in all cases w/o the switch.

Cheers, Christian
Attachments
Clipboard02.jpg
Clipboard02.jpg (85.3 KiB) Viewed 512 times
Clipboard01.jpg
Clipboard01.jpg (69.94 KiB) Viewed 512 times
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8144
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:52 pm
Location: Vale of the White Horse, UK
Contact:

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#9

Post by admin »

Hi folks,

thanks, I think the Win7 thing is a missing DLL, and I can see roughly what is going on with the custom buttons. No idea on 'no dark mode' in Win10 - it's not just that it starts in normal colours and you need to use the menu or press F12 to toggle to dark mode is it?

cheers,

Robin
procyon12
Posts: 209
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:32 am

Re: Upcoming Feature : New Dark Mode and UI improvements

#10

Post by procyon12 »

Sorry, Robin,

Regarding W10 obviously my mistake, I didnt implement the commandline switch in the right way. I just tested only with the W10 21H2 system - I think this is o.k. (?).

Christian

... and for W7 I attach a report
Attachments
FileNotFoundException.zip
(15 KiB) Downloaded 10 times
Clipboard02.jpg
Clipboard02.jpg (197.36 KiB) Viewed 508 times
Post Reply