Introduction

In this part of the Java 2D tutorial, we will introduce the Java 2D technology.

About

This is Java 2D tutorial. It is aimed at beginners. This tutorial will teach you basics of programming in Java 2D. The images used in this tutorial can be downloaded here.

Vector graphics

There are two different computer graphics: vector and raster graphics. Raster (bitmap) graphics represent images as a collection of pixels. Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves or polygons to represent images. These primitives are created using mathematical equations. Both types of computer graphics have advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of vector graphics are:

The Java 2D API provides tools to work with both vector and raster graphics.

Java 2D API

Java 2D is an API for drawing two-dimensional graphics using the Java programming language.

The Java 2D API provides the following capabilities:

The Java 2D API enhances the graphics, text, and imaging capabilities of the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT). AWT was the original toolkit for creating user interfaces and graphics in Java. For compatibility purposes, Java 2D is technically a superset of the AWT toolkit.

Java 2D is a powerful technology. It can be used to create rich user interfaces, games, animations, multimedia applications, or various special effects.

The paint mechanism

The custom painting code should be placed in the paintComponent() method. This method is invoked when it is time to paint. The paint subsystem first calls the paint() method. This method invokes the following three methods:

In specific cases, we might want to override the paintBorder() or the paintChildren() methods. In most cases, we override the paintComponent() method.

The Graphics object

The paintComponent's sole parameter is a Graphics object. It exposes a number of methods for drawing 2D shapes and obtaining information about the application's graphics environment. The Graphics2D class extends the Graphics class to provide more sophisticated control over geometry, coordinate transformations, color management, and text layout.

The Graphics object is initialized before it is passed to the paintComponent() method, and then it is turned over to the paintBorder() and paintChildren() methods. This reuse improves performance but it may lead to problems if the painting code permanently changes the Graphics state. Therefore, we must either restore the original settings or work with a copy of the Graphics object. The copy is created with the Graphics's create() method; it must be later released with the dispose() method.

In practical terms, the copy of the Graphics object does not need to be created if we set the following properties: font, colour, and rendering hints. For all other properties, (especially clip, composite operations, and transformations), we must create a copy of the Graphics object and later dispose it.

Simple Java 2D example

We will create a simple example of a Java 2D application.

SimpleEx.java
package com.zetcode;

import java.awt.EventQueue;
import java.awt.Graphics;
import java.awt.Graphics2D;
import javax.swing.JFrame;
import javax.swing.JPanel;

class Surface extends JPanel {

    private void doDrawing(Graphics g) {

        Graphics2D g2d = (Graphics2D) g;
        g2d.drawString("Java 2D", 50, 50);
    }

    @Override
    public void paintComponent(Graphics g) {

        super.paintComponent(g);
        doDrawing(g);
    }
}

public class BasicEx extends JFrame {

    public BasicEx() {

        initUI();
    }

    private void initUI() {

        add(new Surface());

        setTitle("Simple Java 2D example");
        setSize(300, 200);
        setLocationRelativeTo(null);
        setDefaultCloseOperation(JFrame.EXIT_ON_CLOSE);
    }

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        EventQueue.invokeLater(new Runnable() {

            @Override
            public void run() {
                BasicEx ex = new BasicEx();
                ex.setVisible(true);
            }
        });
    }
}

We draw a text on a JPanel component. Much of the code repeats throughout the Java 2D tutorial.

class Surface extends JPanel {
...
}

We create a Surface class. This class will be our drawing panel. It inherits from the JPanel component.

Graphics2D g2d = (Graphics2D) g;

The Graphics2D class is a fundamental class for rendering graphics in Java 2D. It represents number of devices in a generic way. It extends the old Graphics object. This casting is necessary to get access to all advanced operations.

g2d.drawString("Java 2D", 50, 50);

Here we draw a string on the panel with the drawString() method.

@Override
public void paintComponent(Graphics g) {

    super.paintComponent(g);
    doDrawing(g);
}

Custom painting is performed inside the paintComponent() method, which we override. The super.paintComponent() method calls the method of the parent class. It does some necessary work to prepare a component for drawing. We delegate the drawing to the doDrawing() method.

private void initUI() {
...
}

The initUI() method initiates the user interface of the application.

add(new Surface());

The surface is added to the JFrame container.

EventQueue.invokeLater(new Runnable() {

    @Override
    public void run() {
        BasicEx ex = new BasicEx();
        ex.setVisible(true);
    }
});

We create an instance of our code example and make it visible on the screen. The invokeLater() method places the application on the Swing Event Queue. It is used to ensure that all UI updates are concurrency-safe.

Simple Java 2D example
Figure: Simple Java 2D example

Reference

The following resources were used to create this tutorial:

This part of the Java 2D tutorial was an introduction to the Java 2D library.