Cairo tile engine, and accessing 565 buffers from cairo and C
dhopkins at DonHopkins.com
Sat Apr 14 20:10:50 EDT 2007
I've been working on a cairo-based tile engine written in C as a Python
extension (part of my cellular automata machine module), which I now
have working well enough to display animated cellular automata in two
modes: as tiles or as pixels.
To render tiles, you pass it an array of cairo surfaces you've read in
(or rendered), one for each tile, and it draws them by painting the
surfaces onto a cairo context you pass in.
To render pixels, you pass it one cairo surface which it grabs pixels
out of, and it draws by storing the pixels into a destination image
surface. The caller can then render that destination surface on the
screen itself (scaling if it likes).
Theoretically the tile mode could render tiny 1x1 colored tiles to
produce the same results as the pixel mode, but it would be much less
efficient to draw individual pixels by calling Cairo to copy 1x1
surfaces. So I implemented the pixel mode to support single color tiles
directly, drawing into an offscreen cairo surface instead of using the
I've read on the mailing list that Cairo supports 565 ("begrudgingly",
whatever that implies).
But the surfaces it's handing my C code are 32 bit (RGB or ARGB).
(Or at least that's what's happening on the emulator with a 16 bit 565
screen -- I haven't tested it on the actual olpc yet).
How can I get ahold of the actual 16 bit 565 buffer that X can directly
and efficiently draw on the screen?
I've read through the Cairo code, and apparently it has no internal
support for 16 bit pixels.
So is it the xlib/xrender back-end that actually has a 16 bit buffer and
does the 888=>565 conversion?
Is there any way for my C code to get ahold of that buffer to draw
directly into it?
Or do I have to puff everything up to 32 bit color, just to let Cairo's
back-end stomp it back down to 565?
If there's a 565 screen buffer somewhere, there there should be a way
for C code to take a cairo context and use it to figure out the 565
buffer to draw into (in the special case of the x backend).
(Of course it would be the C code's responsibility to respect Cairo's
CTM and know the pixel format and stuff like that, but that's just fine
since it goes with the territory, and is worth doing to make it draw
A direct access api to Cairo's 16 bit buffer would make it possible to
integrate SDL and other rendering libraries (like Mesa) with Cairo,
without going through another X window, so games and Python extensions
could draw more efficiently without doing lots of unnecessary format
I took a look at the USInvaders demo that uses PyGame and SDL, and it
looks like it just makes another X window that SDK draws in directly,
instead of going through Cairo. So SDL is drawing directly in 565, but
going around Cairo's back, using a GTK "Socket" window.
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