Visual Basic's graphics commands are simple and easy to use, but relatively slow and limited. Considering Windows succeeded in large part because it provides a graphical interface it's strange to find the premier Windows application development tool provides such poor graphics support. Rod Stephens' book attempts to remedy this without recourse to a new language. He does what everyone does when they need to accelerate VB programs and hits the APIs. The main reason for this is to gain more speed and provide pixel level control of graphics.
After a crash course in avoiding system crashes when working with APIs the rest of the book examines the various graphical operations you might want to perform and shows you how to do it as efficiently as possible. Stephens starts with lines and palettes before introducing pixel bashing, which is tricky in VB using API calls. He discusses mapping various co-ordinate systems to the basic pixel system underlying the standard VB graphics features and addresses the problems.
The bulk of the book is spent in introducing graphic editing, formatting, creation, transformation, animation and other operations. Each is described, the algorithms you need to achieve each are discussed, the API calls you need listed and sample code created. The material is far-ranging. You get everything: bar graphs, strange attractors, image sharpening, tiling, colour handling, 3D transformations, surface mapping and even ray tracing.
There are actually many similar books on graphic programming but most tend to use C or a metalanguage. Such books aren't too useful to VB programmers where an intimate knowledge of the Windows APIs is essential to implement them, so Stephens book is valuable indeed to those wanting to go beyond VB's original intentions without changing programming environments. --Steve Patient
From the Back Cover
All the tools you need to create the full range of Visual Basic(r) color graphics applications Expert Rod Stephens provides you with everything you need to add advanced graphics to your applications in this in–depth introduction to graphic programming with Microsoft Visual Basic. From images using as few as 16 colors to "true–color" applications that use more than 16 million, he shows you how to create the full range of color graphics applications. You′ll learn how to use Visual Basic controls to create impressive graphic effects without having to buy expensive add–on products. The Second Edition covers: ∗ New API functions ∗ Bitmap image morphing ∗ New algorithms for hidden surface removal ∗ Print preview with multiple pages and scales ∗ Image processing, including high color and true color ∗ Examples of controlling animation using simulation ∗ New examples that demonstrate shape–distorting transformations ∗ New examples of fractals and tilings ∗ Gouraud shading, Phong shading, and texturing ∗ Ray tracing speed improvements ∗ Ray tracing for new kinds of objects