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Publication numberUS20100115439 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/606,887
Publication dateMay 6, 2010
Filing dateOct 27, 2009
Priority dateAug 19, 1999
Also published asCA2420082A1, CA2420082C, EP1212744A1, EP1212744A4, US7730413, WO2001015127A1
Publication number12606887, 606887, US 2010/0115439 A1, US 2010/115439 A1, US 20100115439 A1, US 20100115439A1, US 2010115439 A1, US 2010115439A1, US-A1-20100115439, US-A1-2010115439, US2010/0115439A1, US2010/115439A1, US20100115439 A1, US20100115439A1, US2010115439 A1, US2010115439A1
InventorsGabriel Daemon Engel, Pita Witehira
Original AssigneePure Depth Limited
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Assigning screen designation codes to images
US 20100115439 A1
Abstract
A method of assigning screen designation codes to images is disclosed. The method includes accessing data operable to display a first image and a second image. A first screen designation code is assigned to the first image, wherein the first screen designation code is associated with a first display screen of a multi-component display, and wherein the first screen designation code is operable to cause a display of the first image on the first display screen of the multi-component display. A second screen designation code is assigned to the second image, wherein the second screen designation code is associated with a second display screen of the multi-component display, wherein the first display screen and the second display screen overlap, and wherein the second screen designation code is operable to cause a display of the second image on the second display screen of the multi-component display.
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Claims(57)
1. A method of assigning screen designation codes to images, said method comprising:
accessing data operable to display a first image and a second image;
assigning a first screen designation code to said first image, wherein said first screen designation code is associated with a first display screen of a multi-component display, and wherein said first screen designation code is operable to cause a display of said first image on said first display screen of said multi-component display; and
assigning a second screen designation code to said second image, wherein said second screen designation code is associated with a second display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said first display screen and said second display screen overlap, and wherein said second screen designation code is operable to cause a display of said second image on said second display screen of said multi-component display.
2. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
displaying said first image on said first display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image using a first plurality of pixels of said first display screen, and wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image in accordance with said first screen designation code; and
displaying said second image on said second display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said displaying said second image further comprises displaying said second image using a second plurality of pixels of said second display screen, and wherein said displaying said second image further comprises displaying said second image in accordance with said second screen designation code.
3. The method of claim 2, wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image with partial transparency to enable viewing of said second image through said first image.
4. The method of claim 2, wherein said displaying said first image and said displaying said second image are performed contemporaneously.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein said first image and said second image overlap.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein said first image is associated with a foreground, and wherein said second image is associated with a background.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein said assigning said first screen designation code further comprises assigning said first screen designation code based upon a screen function of said first image.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein said screen function is selected from a group consisting of an always-on-top identifier and an always-at-back identifier.
9. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
determining, from said data, a depth relationship of said first image with respect to said second image;
wherein said assigning said first screen designation code further comprises assigning said first screen designation code based upon said depth relationship; and
wherein said assigning said second screen designation code further comprises assigning said second screen designation code based upon said depth relationship.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein said first image is configured for manipulation by a user, and wherein said second image is a component associated with said first image.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein said component is selected from a group consisting of a software function, a template, a drop down menu, a function key, a cursor, a tool bar and a heads-up display.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein said first and second display screens each comprise a respective liquid crystal display (LCD).
13. The method of claim 1, wherein said assigning said first and second screen designation codes are performed by a display driver.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein said first and second images are associated with an application configured for execution by a computer system coupled to multiple display devices.
15. The method of claim 1, wherein said first and second images are associated with an operating system.
16. The method of claim 1, wherein said first and second images are associated with a web browser.
17. The method of claim 1, wherein said first and second images are associated with an application selected from a group consisting of a spreadsheet application, a word-processing application, a database application, a presentation application, a graphical application, a drawing application, an instrumentation application, a medical application, a financial application, a scientific application, and a gaming application.
18. The method of claim 1, wherein said first and second images are associated with a geographical information system.
19. The method of claim 1, wherein said first and second images are associated with content selected from a group consisting of a video and a still image.
20. A computer-usable medium having computer-readable program code embodied therein for causing a computer system to perform a method of assigning screen designation codes to images, said method comprising:
accessing data operable to display a first image and a second image;
assigning a first screen designation code to said first image, wherein said first screen designation code is associated with a first display screen of a multi-component display, and wherein said first screen designation code is operable to cause a display of said first image on said first display screen of said multi-component display; and
assigning a second screen designation code to said second image, wherein said second screen designation code is associated with a second display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said first display screen and said second display screen overlap, and wherein said second screen designation code is operable to cause a display of said second image on said second display screen of said multi-component display.
21. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said method further comprises:
displaying said first image on said first display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image using a first plurality of pixels of said first display screen, and wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image in accordance with said first screen designation code; and
displaying said second image on said second display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said displaying said second image further comprises displaying said second image using a second plurality of pixels of said second display screen, and wherein said displaying said second image further comprises displaying said second image in accordance with said second screen designation code.
22. The computer-usable medium of claim 21, wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image with partial transparency to enable viewing of said second image through said first image.
23. The computer-usable medium of claim 21, wherein said displaying said first image and said displaying said second image are performed contemporaneously.
24. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first image and said second image overlap.
25. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first image is associated with a foreground, and wherein said second image is associated with a background.
26. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said assigning said first screen designation code further comprises assigning said first screen designation code based upon a screen function of said first image.
27. The computer-usable medium of claim 26, wherein said screen function is selected from a group consisting of an always-on-top identifier and an always-at-back identifier.
28. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said method further comprises:
determining, from said data, a depth relationship of said first image with respect to said second image;
wherein said assigning said first screen designation code further comprises assigning said first screen designation code based upon said depth relationship; and
wherein said assigning said second screen designation code further comprises assigning said second screen designation code based upon said depth relationship.
29. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first image is configured for manipulation by a user, and wherein said second image is a component associated with said first image.
30. The computer-usable medium of claim 29, wherein said component is selected from a group consisting of a software function, a template, a drop down menu, a function key, a cursor, a tool bar and a heads-up display.
31. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first and second display screens each comprise a respective liquid crystal display (LCD).
32. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said assigning said first and second screen designation codes are performed by a display driver.
33. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first and second images are associated with an application configured for execution by a computer system coupled to multiple display devices.
34. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first and second images are associated with an operating system.
35. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first and second images are associated with a web browser.
36. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first and second images are associated with an application selected from a group consisting of a spreadsheet application, a word-processing application, a database application, a presentation application, a graphical application, a drawing application, an instrumentation application, a medical application, a financial application, a scientific application, and a gaming application.
37. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first and second images are associated with a geographical information system.
38. The computer-usable medium of claim 20, wherein said first and second images are associated with content selected from a group consisting of a video and a still image.
39. A system comprising a processor and a memory, wherein said memory includes instructions that when executed by said system implement a method of assigning screen designation codes to images, said method comprising:
accessing data operable to display a first image and a second image;
assigning a first screen designation code to said first image, wherein said first screen designation code is associated with a first display screen of a multi-component display, and wherein said first screen designation code is operable to cause a display of said first image on said first display screen of said multi-component display; and
assigning a second screen designation code to said second image, wherein said second screen designation code is associated with a second display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said first display screen and said second display screen overlap, and wherein said second screen designation code is operable to cause a display of said second image on said second display screen of said multi-component display.
40. The system of claim 39, wherein said method further comprises:
displaying said first image on said first display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image using a first plurality of pixels of said first display screen, and wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image in accordance with said first screen designation code; and
displaying said second image on said second display screen of said multi-component display, wherein said displaying said second image further comprises displaying said second image using a second plurality of pixels of said second display screen, and wherein said displaying said second image further comprises displaying said second image in accordance with said second screen designation code.
41. The system of claim 40, wherein said displaying said first image further comprises displaying said first image with partial transparency to enable viewing of said second image through said first image.
42. The system of claim 40, wherein said displaying said first image and said displaying said second image are performed contemporaneously.
43. The system of claim 39, wherein said first image and said second image overlap.
44. The system of claim 39, wherein said first image is associated with a foreground, and wherein said second image is associated with a background.
45. The system of claim 39, wherein said assigning said first screen designation code further comprises assigning said first screen designation code based upon a screen function of said first image.
46. The system of claim 45, wherein said screen function is selected from a group consisting of an always-on-top identifier and an always-at-back identifier.
47. The system of claim 39, wherein said method further comprises:
determining, from said data, a depth relationship of said first image with respect to said second image;
wherein said assigning said first screen designation code further comprises assigning said first screen designation code based upon said depth relationship; and
wherein said assigning said second screen designation code further comprises assigning said second screen designation code based upon said depth relationship.
48. The system of claim 39, wherein said first image is configured for manipulation by a user, and wherein said second image is a component associated with said first image.
49. The system of claim 48, wherein said component is selected from a group consisting of a software function, a template, a drop down menu, a function key, a cursor, a tool bar and a heads-up display.
50. The system of claim 39, wherein said first and second display screens each comprise a respective liquid crystal display (LCD).
51. The system of claim 39, wherein said assigning said first and second screen designation codes are performed by a display driver.
52. The system of claim 39, wherein said first and second images are associated with an application configured for execution by a computer system coupled to multiple display devices.
53. The system of claim 39, wherein said first and second images are associated with an operating system.
54. The system of claim 39, wherein said first and second images are associated with a web browser.
55. The system of claim 39, wherein said first and second images are associated with an application selected from a group consisting of a spreadsheet application, a word-processing application, a database application, a presentation application, a graphical application, a drawing application, an instrumentation application, a medical application, a financial application, a scientific application, and a gaming application.
56. The system of claim 39, wherein said first and second images are associated with a geographical information system.
57. The system of claim 39, wherein said first and second images are associated with content selected from a group consisting of a video and a still image.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/048,966, filed Feb. 6, 2002, naming Gabriel Engel and Pita Witehira as inventors, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, and having attorney docket number PURE-P003, which claims the benefit of International Application Number PCT/NZ00/00161, filed Aug. 18, 2000, which claims the benefit of New Zealand Patent Number 337334, filed Aug. 19, 1999. Each of these applications is incorporated herein by reference in their entirety and for all purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many software programs these days display information on a screen using effective a multi-layered approach.

For example, a drawing package may have a central area which the software user can draw upon.

In a typical drawing package there are many drop down menus, tool bars, cursors or templates which effectively overlay the drawing on the screen. The reason for this is that there is only limited screen area available. Thus, for the user to be able to view the functions to be selected, some of the drawing space has to be borrowed for this.

Often, the user is placed in the undesirable position of having to move around the tool bars and menus if possible, or alternatively move the drawing (or whatever file the user is working on) so that the user can actually see parts of the drawing formerly obscured by the menus and so forth.

There is another related problem experienced by software users, particularly in relation to drawing packages, but not exclusively.

Often when compiling a drawing, it is necessary to compile the drawing using several layers of “objects”. A typical drawing function gives the user the ability to determine whether the object is viewed as being at the back of the picture or overlaying everything at the front of the picture. This can in some cases lead to the objects at the back of the picture being obscured by larger objects at the front of the picture. Thus, the user cannot readily select the object at the back of the picture with it being obscured.

This is understandably frustrating and can impede the user's ability to work efficiently, often requiring the user to move the front object so as to gain access to the back object.

This frustration is not limited to drawing packages. It can also be frustrating to not having ready access to the multiple levels in such diverse applications as geographical information system (GIS) programs, including medical models, instrumentation using browsers for the internet or game software, for example flight simulators.

All of the aforementioned packages have information on various levels with which the user would desire ready access to.

It is an object of the present invention to address the foregoing problems or at least to provide the public with a useful choice.

Further aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the ensuing description which is given by way of example only.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for creating a visual effect in the display of software wherein the software is for the presentation of data or images on a screen using software functions, the method characterized by the steps of: a) assigning a particular screen designation code to some software components; and b) assigning other screen designation code to other components of the software, wherein the screen designation code determines which physical screen the image or software components is displayed in a multi-level screen display.

In further embodiments of the invention, the software components being assigned a particular screen designation code all relate to images being manipulated. However this should not be seen as limiting. The image being manipulated can mean the manipulation of any image, whether the image is in text format, numbers, graphical or otherwise.

For example, the present invention can be used in relation to software for word processing, drawing, financial and scientific information, flight simulators, internet browsers, spreadsheets, slot machines, instrumentation, medical programs, mapping programs, games and the like.

In some embodiments of the present invention certain software components may be reference data of lesser importance than other data. This, is the data of greater importance may be assigned to the front screen where as data of lesser importance may be placed on background or midground screen. In preferred embodiments if there is an image on the screen which is being manipulated via software functions—even if it is a game scene “being traveled through”—it has a particular screen designation separate to other functions.

It is envisaged that in most cases, the other components of software are standard features which come with the software program. For example, screen template, drop down menus, function keys, cursors, tool bars, head-up displays and the like. However, in some embodiments of the present invention, the different components of the image may be assigned a separate designation code, for example an object which is laid over part of the image.

In some embodiments of the present invention, the method can be applied to existing software, for example Microsoft Word™, Microsoft Powerpoint™, Adobe Photoshop™, MacroMedia Director™ and so forth. However, in other embodiments of the present invention there may be created software which uses the principles behind the present invention.

The screen designation code is merely a code that identifies which physical screen the image or software component is displayed upon.

The inventors of the present invention also invented a multi-level screen display and this is described in detail in PCT Application Nos. PCT/NZ98/00098 and PCT/NZ99/00021.

This is a device which is created by combining multiple layers of selectively transparent screens. Each screen is capable of showing an image. In preferred embodiments, the screen layers are liquid crystal displays. Preferably the screens are aligned parallel to each other with a preset distance between them.

With this invention, images displayed on the screen furthest from the view (background screen), will appear at some depth behind the images displayed on the screen closest to the viewer (foreground screen). The transparent portions on the foreground screen will allow viewers to see images displayed on the background screen.

This arrangement of layering multiple screens allows images to be presented at multiple levels giving the viewer true depth without use of glass or lens.

The present invention shall now refer to use with a multi-level screen as described above although this should not be seen as limiting.

It should be appreciated that although reference shall be made throughout this specification now to only background and foreground screens, other aspects of the present invention may utilize more than two screens. For example, with drawing packages all of the readily useable software functions may be on the foreground while various layers of the drawing may be on the multiple screens behind the foreground screen.

With the present invention, a screen designation code may be used to place all of the standard software functions, templates, tool bars and the like on the foreground screen. However, the image being worked upon may be placed on the background screen. This arrangement allows the user of the software to effectively look behind the foreground components to view the image being manipulated.

This ability may be enhanced if the traditional opaque background to the functions has varying shades of transparency. This feature may be imparted by a version of software in accordance with the present invention.

Thus, there is now no requirement for the user to move around on screen various toolbars and the like so as to get a full view of the image.

Further, if the package is for example, a drawing package, the foreground and background components may actually be on different screens, again allowing the viewer to view and possibly select the drawing components without one obscuring the other.

To allow the drawings components to be readily and/or manipulated, the components themselves may have different transparencies. Further, the traditional white palette may be fully transparent.

There are a number of methods by which the present invention can be implemented.

In some embodiments of the present invention it may be that existing software is coded to identify screen functions which are normally “always on top” or “always at back”. If this is the case, one embodiment of the present invention will be an interface that identifies the coding on existing software with these identifiers and assign the various software components (e.g. a toolbar) to the appropriate foreground or background screen.

The interface maybe a patch for existing software, a display driver, a library file or a new front end for multiple existing software packages or a completely new operating system. Instead of software, graphic cards may be used to divide the images appropriately. This will increase the speed of operation considerably.

Further aspects of the present inventions provide a media which can contain instructions for the operation of method as described.

The background fill of “always on top” functions can be made fully or partially transparent by the present invention.

With existing software that does not have such coding, it may be necessary to implement the present invention by having customized software in which the software developer specifies the software routines which cause the appropriate components and images to go on the appropriate screens.

Other aspects of the present invention include not just interface programs which enable existing software to be used on multi-level displays, but original software programs which likewise utilize the concept of having a screen for the file or image being worked upon and other screens for more standard software functions, templates and the like.

There is software available which can be used with multiple monitors placed side by side. This software has screen designation codes as such, in that the x-axis coordinate determines on which of the monitors the information is to be displayed. It is envisaged that this software could be used in the present invention with a code which normally would assign an image to a particular monitor will now assign that image or data pixel to one of the screens in a multi-level display.

Other aspects of the present invention include an operating system which incorporates the principles of the present invention as previously described and also a web browser which also incorporates the principles as previously described.

It can be seen that the present invention adds a new dimension, literally and figuratively to existing software and potential for new software.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements.

FIG. 1 shows a conventional screen display.

FIG. 2 illustrates a foreground screen display in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a background screen display in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With respect to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a typical screen display found in commercial software, in this case, the commercial software is Microsoft Powerpoint™.

On this display there is an external template (1), two toolbars (2, 3), a drop down menu (4) and an image to be manipulated (5) on a palette (6).

It can be seen that the toolbars (2, 3) and drop down menu (4) obscure the image (5) and palette (6).

With the present invention, the common components of the software can be placed on the foreground screen of a multi-level screen display as illustrated in FIG. 2. It should be noted that the palette (6) and the image (5) are not displayed on the foreground screen.

Instead, the image (5) is displayed on a background screen as illustrated in FIG. 3. With the present invention there is no need to display a palette.

The separation of the image (5) from the standard software components (1, 2, 3 and 4) is achieved by the present invention assigning screen designation codes to each of these which determine whether they are placed on the foreground or background screen. Again, it should be appreciated that there may be more than two screens and these components can be placed on any of these.

Not illustrated is the effect of having the foreground screen over the background screen as this is a 3-dimensional effect difficult to show. However, as the foreground screen is a physical distance from the background screen and transparent in places to respect to the background screen, it is possible for the user to look around and behind the tool bars and drop down menu to view the image on the background screen.

Aspects of the present invention have been described by way of example only and it should be appreciated that modifications and additions may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the appended claims.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20110304607 *Dec 29, 2010Dec 15, 2011Nintendo Co., Ltd.Storage medium having stored thereon image processing program, image processing apparatus, image processing system, and image processing method
Classifications
U.S. Classification715/764, 715/766, 715/765, 345/629, 345/634, 715/767
International ClassificationG06F9/44, G09G5/14, G06F3/14, G09G3/20, G06T11/60, G09G5/397, G09G3/36
Cooperative ClassificationG09G5/14, G06T11/60, G06F9/4443, G09G2300/023
European ClassificationG06T11/60, G06F9/44W, G09G5/14
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 19, 2011ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PUREDEPTH INCROPORATED LIMITED;REEL/FRAME:027088/0256
Owner name: IGT, NEVADA
Effective date: 20111018