WO2006067711A2 - Method and device for displaying animated buttons - Google Patents

Method and device for displaying animated buttons Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2006067711A2
WO2006067711A2 PCT/IB2005/054279 IB2005054279W WO2006067711A2 WO 2006067711 A2 WO2006067711 A2 WO 2006067711A2 IB 2005054279 W IB2005054279 W IB 2005054279W WO 2006067711 A2 WO2006067711 A2 WO 2006067711A2
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np
pictures
group
sequence
common
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PCT/IB2005/054279
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French (fr)
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WO2006067711A3 (en
Inventor
Koen J. G. Holtman
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Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
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Application filed by Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. filed Critical Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Publication of WO2006067711A2 publication Critical patent/WO2006067711A2/en
Publication of WO2006067711A3 publication Critical patent/WO2006067711A3/en

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/048Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI]
    • G06F3/0481Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] based on specific properties of the displayed interaction object or a metaphor-based environment, e.g. interaction with desktop elements like windows or icons, or assisted by a cursor's changing behaviour or appearance

Abstract

A method of displaying a group of animated buttons (A, B, C) on a display (12) in a synchronized manner is described, each button being associated with at least two sequences of pictures, each sequence being associated with a certain status of the corresponding button, all sequences having the same number of pictures (NP). When the button is in a certain status, the pictures of the corresponding sequence are displayed sequentially and repeatedly in a predetermined order, starting again with the first picture. When a button (X) changes from a current status to a second status (i), display of the sequence associated with the second status starts with the picture having ranking number jx that satisfies the formula: jx = [(CC-Q) mod NP] + 1; wherein CC indicates the value of a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at picture display transition moments, the counter being common to all fields belonging to said group; and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter.

Description

Method and device for displaying animated buttons

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates in general to the field of graphical interfaces between a user and an apparatus such as a personal computer.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Graphical interlaces for computer systems are commonly known. A graphical interlace comprises a display screen, for instance a monitor, and the computer system comprises a control system capable of creating menus on the screen. Such menus typically contain text messages showing the user a selection of possible commands he can give. The user can actually give his command by entering a character via a keyboard. It is also possible that the control system allows a user to enter his command by using a mouse-pointer for "clicking" in a predefined portion of the screen; such predefined screen portion is indicated as a "button".

A button may just contain text. However, a button may also contain one or more graphical symbols or pictures.

Usually, such graphical symbols or pictures are stationary. A more attractive effect is obtained if the graphical symbols or pictures are moving or changing; this is indicated by the phrase "animation"; buttons capable of performing animation are indicated by the phrase "animated"; buttons. Button animation is achieved by providing a plurality of button pictures

(typically in the form of bit maps, as will be clear to a person skilled in the art), and displaying these button pictures sequentially; after the last button picture, the sequence continues with the first button picture. Apart from the contents of the individual button pictures, the button animation is defined by the number of button pictures in the sequence, and the duration of each button picture, or animation rate.

The button animation of one button may depend on circumstances, such as for instance the status of a button. For instance, a button may have two possible statuses "SELECTED" or "UNSELECTED", or three possible statuses "SELECTED" or "UNSELECTED BUT AVAILABLE" or "UNAVAILABLE". For each of such different button statuses, a corresponding button animation sequence may be provided, and the start of a certain button animation sequence may depend on a user action. The number of button pictures in the different animation sequences for one button may be mutually equal, or different. Also, the animation rates for the different animation sequences for one button may be mutually equal, or different.

In case the computer system has two or more animated buttons, each individual animated button has its own button animation sequence or set of button animation sequences, each sequence having an associated number of pictures and rate. The number of button pictures in the different animation sequences for two different buttons may be mutually equal, or different. Also, the animation rates for the different animation sequences for two different buttons may be mutually equal, or different.

In prior proposals, button animations run independent from each other. As a consequence, the movements of all buttons on the screen may appear chaotic to a user or an observer. Japanese patent application 2002-230573 describes a system where synchronization of the movements of the different buttons is achieved. According to this application, each button animation sequence is replaced by a replacement sequence, which has the same button pictures as the original sequence, but the display duration of the different button pictures is adapted, such that the overall sequence duration is changed. For each button animation sequence, the changes are such that all replacement sequences have the same overall sequence duration. One problem is that this approach is quite complicated; another disadvantage is that for many buttons the overall sequence duration differs from the duration as originally intended for these buttons. Further, the publication does not address the problem that, on the basis of a user action, a different button animation sequence may start for a certain button while the other button animation sequences are already running.

An important objective of the present invention is to ensure synchronization between a plurality of buttons, irrespective of changes caused by user actions.

Further, the present invention aims to allow an author of button animations to create a button animation sequence such that this button animation sequence is displayed in synchronization with one or more other button animation sequences, without the author necessarily having to know these other button animation sequences. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an important aspect of the present invention, a button animation sequence having NP pictures is started at picture jx, jx being calculated according to jx = [(CC-Q) mod NP] + 1; wherein CC indicates a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at a predefined animation frame rate, and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will be further explained by the following description with reference to the drawings, in which same reference numerals indicate same or similar parts, and in which:

Fig. 1 schematically shows a block diagram of a computer system;

Fig. 2A schematically shows a display with buttons in 3 fields; Fig. 2B shows a sequence of pictures;

Fig. 3 schematically illustrates six series of four button pictures each;

Fig. 4 is a table illustrating a sequence of displayed pictures;

Fig. 5 is a table illustrating a sequence of displayed pictures in accordance with the present invention ; Fig. 6 schematically illustrates six series of two, four and six button pictures each;

Fig. 7 is a table illustrating a sequence of displayed pictures in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Fig. 1 schematically shows a block diagram of a computer system 1, comprising a control system 10, an associated memory 11, a display device 12 such as a monitor, and an input device 13 such as a keyboard, a mouse, etc. The memory 11 may comprise solid state memory, hard disk memory, CD-ROM memory, DVD-ROM memory, BD-ROM memory, etc.

Fig. 2 A shows the display device 12 on a larger scale, illustrating that the control system 10 is capable of defining on the display 12 a plurality of fields A, B, C; in this example, three fields are shown. Each field comprises an image displayed in the display 12. The fields A, B, C are animated fields, meaning that the image of a field is not stationary but varies with time. To this end, the memory 11 contains, for each field A, B, C, at least one series of field pictures having a predetermined order, the pictures for instance being defined in the form of a bit map.

By way of example, Fig. 2B shows a series of six different field pictures, each illustrated as a square with certain contents, and numbered 1 to 6. Thus, the number of pictures in this series is equal to 6, but it should be clear that this number is just an example. For the field corresponding to this series, the control system displays the pictures always in the said predetermined order, that is picture 4 follows picture 3, and then picture 5 is displayed, and so on, as illustrated by arrows. After having displayed the last picture (number 6 in this example), display continues with the first picture (repeated display).

For at least one field, display of the said series of field pictures starts at a moment that is not known in advance, for instance because it depends on some action of the control system 10, or on some action of the user. Before the start of the display of the said series of field pictures, the image of the field may be stationary. It is also possible that, before the start of the display of the said series of field pictures, the image of the field is varying with time by a different series of pictures. Thus, it is possible that the memory 11 contains two or more series of field pictures for a certain field. The different series of field pictures correspond to different states of a field. A field can change state caused by some action of the control system 10, or by some action of the user, for instance by placing a graphic pointer 15 on the field, by moving the pointer 15 over the field, by "clicking" the field, etc.

Normally, when display of a series of pictures is started, display starts at number 1. In accordance with the present invention, display may start at a specific number differing from 1, for instance picture number 3, as illustrated by an arrow marked "start" in Fig. 2B. In the following, it is assumed that each field is a button. Further, it is assumed that each button has two states, and a button may change from one state to the other on a mouse click. It is noted, however, that these assumptions are for the sake of explaining the invention, but not for limiting the scope of the invention. Further, the following notation will be used: In the following, a button X appearing in a first or second (and so on) state will be indicated as X[I] or X[2], etc. The number of button pictures in the series corresponding to a button state X[i] will be indicated as NP(X,i). In each series, button pictures will be numbered 1, 2, ... NP. The jth button picture of button X in state [i] will be indicated as BP {X,ij}. FIRST EXAMPLE

In the present example of three buttons, where each button has two states, there are six series of button pictures in all. It is further assumed that all series contain the same number of button pictures, this number being indicated as NP; for instance NP = 4. These six series are illustrated in Fig. 3.

Thus, in the example of Fig. 3:

- each button A, B, C can appear in two states;

- NP(A5I) = NP(A,2) = NP = 4 - NP(B5I) = NP(B,2) = NP = 4

- NP(C5I) = NP(C,2) = NP = 4

Thus, memory 11 contains: button pictures BP(A5I5I } to BP{A,1,4}5 button pictures BP{A,2,1} to BP{A,2,4}5 button pictures BP{B,1,1} to BP{B,1,4}, button pictures BP{B,2,1} to BP{B,2,4}, button pictures BP(C, 1,1} to BP(C, 1,4}, and button pictures BP(C,2,1} to BP(C,2,4}.

When a button X is in a certain button state i, the control system 10 is designed to display successively and repeatedly the corresponding button pictures BP(X,ij=l to NP}. The transition from one button picture BP(X,ij} to the next button picture BP(X,i,j+l } takes place at regular intervals, which may be expressed as time intervals or as a number of displayed frames; these intervals define the display duration Δt of each button picture. It should be clear that, in a system where the display device 12 has a frame rate of 50 frames per second, a display duration of e.g. 5 frames corresponds to 0.1 sec.

Further, it is to be noted that, in this example, the transition from one button picture BP(X,i,j} to the next button picture BP(X,ij+l } takes place at the same moment for all buttons.

Assume that the animation of buttons A, B and C is started at time tl, with each button in its first state. The control system 10 accordingly displays button pictures BP(A5I5I }, BP(B5I5IJ5 BP(C5I5IJ5 until transition time t2 = tl + Δt, when these button pictures are replaced by BP{A,1,2}5 BP{B,1,2}5 BP{C,1,2}5 respectively. And so on. The resulting sequence of displayed pictures is shown in the table of Fig. 4. In the top half of this table, down to time tx, it can be seen that the picture series of all buttons are synchronized, in that all animations start and end at the same moment, as indicated by thick horizontal lines Ll. At all times until time tx, all animations are in phase with each other, or, in other words, if BP{A,l,i}, BP(B5I j}, and BP{C,l,k} are displayed at the same time, i=j=k applies.

Assume that, at an arbitrary time tx determined by the user, the user uses the input device 13 to input a command, changing the status of (at least) one button, starting a new picture sequence for this button. For instance, assume that tx is some time between tl4 and tl5, and that the second button B changes from its first state to its second state (for instance: from an inactive state to an active state): in response to receiving the user command, the control system 10 starts displaying the series of second state button pictures BP {B,2 j } for this button B .

Displaying the series of second state button pictures BP{B,2 j} may be instantaneous, i.e. immediately after receiving the user command, before the next transition time (here: tl5). It is also possible that the start of the series of second state button pictures BP{B,2j} is always delayed until the next transition time. It is also possible that the control system 10 is capable of calculating the time left between the user command and the next transition time, and to make a choice depending on the amount of time left: if this amount of time left is less than a predetermined threshold, the control system 10 may wait until the next transition time, whereas, if the amount of time left is more than said predetermined threshold, the control system 10 may start immediately. A suitable threshold would be 100 ms, for example. In the following, it will be assumed that a new series is always started at the next transition time, but the necessary modifications, if any, will be clear to a person skilled in the art.

When the control system 10 starts display of a new series (in this case: the series of second state button pictures BP{B,2j}), the control system 10 has to make a decision as to which specific button picture to start with; this starting picture will be indicated as BP{B,2 jx}, jx being the ranking number of the starting picture in the series BP{B,2,1 } to BP{B,2,NP(B,2)}. Thus, 1 <jx < NP(B,2) applies. In the illustration of Fig. 2B, jx would be equal to 3. Normally, without special measures in accordance with the invention, the control system 10 will start displaying the series of second state button pictures BP{B,2j} with the first picture as obvious start picture: jx = 1. This picture is indicated in Fig. 4 by a broken line in the shape of an ellipse. As a consequence, the synchronization is lost in that the animation of button B starts and ends different from buttons A and C, as indicated by thick lines L2 in Fig. 4.

The present invention provides a control system which is designed to maintain animation synchronization. Particularly, the control system is designed to start the animation with a ranking number jx differing from one, jx being selected such that it is equal to the ranking number of the pictures of the other buttons.

One possible way of implementing the invention is for the control system to investigate the ranking number of the pictures of the other buttons, and to make jx equal to this ranking number as found. It is, however, easier to define a group sequence phase GSP as a separate parameter indicating the phase of the group of animations with respect to a group animation period GAP of the group of animations. In the present example, the control system 10 is designed to set the ranking number jx of the starting picture in accordance with the following formula:

Jx = GSP (1) In the present example, the group animation period GAP of the group of animations corresponds to the said lines Ll and has a length equal to NP. Thus, in this example, the group sequence phase GSP can have values 1, 2, 3, 4, as indicated in Fig. 4.

The group sequence phase GSP can for instance be implemented as a Common Counter 14 (see Fig. 1), which is incremented by 1 at the transition moments, and which is reset at the beginning of a new synchronization repetition period as indicated by the said lines Ll; in that case, the common counter 14 would count 0, 1, 2, 3, 0, 1, 2, 3, 0, etc. It is also possible that the Common Counter 14 is continuously incremented (so that it would count 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc), and that the group sequence phase GSP is calculated in accordance with the following formula: GSP = [CC mod NP] + 1 (2) wherein CC indicates the value of the Common Counter 14, and wherein mod indicates the modulo operation. It is noted that x mod x = 0, per definition.

Thus, in the same example, assume that, at some time tx between tl4 and tl5, the second button B changes from its first state to its second state. At time tl5, the control system 10 calculates jx in accordance with formula (1) and (2): jx = GSP = [14 mod

4] + 1 = 3. Accordingly, at time tl5, the control system 10 starts display of this series with button picture BP{B,2,3} for this button B. The effect is illustrated in Fig. 5, which is a table similar to Fig. 4, now for the series displayed in accordance with the present invention. It can clearly be seen, as indicated by horizontal lines Ll, that all animations are synchronized at all times, even after time tx.

It is noted that formula (2), and the illustrations of Figs. 4 and 5, apply for a counter which starts at zero; in case of a counter starting at 1, the formula should read: GSP = [(CC-I) mod NP] + 1 . A more general way of expressing formula (2) would be as follows:

GSP = [(CC-Q) mod NP] + 1 (3) wherein Q indicates the starting value of the counter. In the present explanation, it will be assumed that the counter starts at zero.

SECOND EXAMPLE

In the previous example, each series contained four button pictures. It is, however, not necessary that all button series have the same number of pictures. In the second example, it is assumed that the number of button pictures may differ from series to series, but they have a common iactor larger than one. For instance, assume that button A has two pictures, button B has four pictures, button C has six pictures. These series are illustrated in Fig. 6.

Thus, in the example of Fig. 6:

- each button A, B, C can appear in two states; - NP(A5I) = NP(A,2) = 2

- NP(B5I) = NP(B,2) = 4

- NP(C5I) = NP(C,2) = 6

Thus, memory 11 contains: button pictures BP { A51 , 1 } to BP { A51 ,2 } , button pictures BP{A,2,1 } to BP{A,2,2}, button pictures BP{B,1,1} to BP{B,1,4}, button pictures BP{B,2,1} to BP{B,2,4}, button pictures BP(C, 1,1} to BP(C, 1,6}, and button pictures BP(C,2,1} to BP(C,2,6}. Like in the first example, when a button X is in a certain button state i, the control system 10 is designed to display successively and repeatedly the corresponding button pictures BP(X,ij=l to NP(X,i)}. The transition from one button picture BP(X,ij} to the next button picture BP(X,i j+1 } takes place at regular intervals, which define the display duration Δt of each button picture. In this example, the transition from one button picture BP{X,i,j} to the next button picture BP{X,i j+1 } takes place at the same moment for all buttons.

Assume again that the animation of buttons A, B and C is started at time tl, with each button in its first state. The resulting sequence of displayed pictures is shown in the table of Fig. 7. It can clearly be seen that in this case a group animation period GAP has a length of 12 pictures, as indicated by horizontal lines L3. In general, a group animation period GAP has a length equal to the smallest common multiple of all numbers NP(X,i) of the buttons X in their new state i, which will be indicated as SCM{NP(X,i)}. In this example, SCM{2;4;6}=12. As in the first example, a group sequence phase GSP with respect to the group animation period GAP is defined, which group sequence phase GSP can now take values 1 to 12, as illustrated in Fig. 7. While, in the first example, NP(X,i) was equal to the length of the group animation period GAP for each button, in this example NP(X,i) may be smaller than the length of the group animation period GAP for one or more buttons. Therefore, in the present example, when a series is to be started, the control system 10 is designed to set the ranking number jx of the starting picture of this series in accordance with the following formula: jx = [(GSP- 1 ) mod NP(X,i)] + 1 (4)

Like in the first example, the group sequence phase GSP can for instance be implemented as a Common Counter 14 which is incremented by 1 at the transition moments, and which is reset at the beginning of a new synchronization repetition period. It is also possible that the Common Counter 14 is continuously incremented, and that the group sequence phase GSP is calculated in accordance with the following formula:

GSP = [(CC-Q) mod SCM{NP(X,i)}] +1 (5) Assume again that, at some time tx between tl4 and tl 5, the second button B changes from its first state to its second state. At time tl5, the control system 10 calculates jx in accordance with formula (4): jx = [(GSP-I) mod 4]+l = [2 mod 4]+l = 3.

Accordingly, the control system 10 starts display of this series with button picture BP{B,2,3 } for this button B. This is also illustrated in Fig. 7.

Or, assume that, at some time ty between t21 and t22, the third button C changes from its first state to its second state. At time t22, the control system 10 calculates jx in accordance with formula (4): jx = [(GSP-I) mod 6]+l = [9 mod 6]+l = 4. Accordingly, the control system 10 starts display of this series with button picture BP{C,2,4} for this button C. It can clearly be seen that, even after time tx and after time ty, the picture series of each button are synchronized with the longest sequence, in that all animations have a start coinciding with each second start of the animation of button C, as indicated by solid horizontal lines L3.

It is noted that, for button B at time tx, another choice for jx is also possible. It can be seen from Fig. 7 that, if button B is ignored, the remaining buttons A and C have a synchronization repetition period with a length of 6 pictures. If, at time tl5, display for button B is started with BP{B,2jx=l}, animation synchronization is achieved at tl9; thus, animation synchronization would be maintained, albeit at different synchronization times. These possibilities can be acknowledged in a formula, as follows.

For each button X, a remainder group RG(X) can always be defined as the group comprising all other buttons. For instance, for button B, the remainder group RG(B) consists of buttons A and C. Similarly, as the group animation period GAP defined for the entire group of buttons, a remainder group animation period RGAP(X) can be defined for each remainder group RG(X). Further, for each remainder group RG(X), a remainder group sequence phase RGSP(X) can be defined. The length of an animation period AP shall be indicated as L{AP}. In the case of the first example: L{RGAP} = L{GAP} and RGSP = GSP. In the case of the second example: L{RGAP(A)}=12, L{RGAP(B)}=6, L{RGAP(C)}=4.

Using a common counter as defined above, the remainder group sequence phase RGSP(X) of a remainder group RG(X) can be calculated as

RGSP(X) = [(CC-Q) mod SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)} ] +1 (6) wherein SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)} indicates the smallest common multiple of all numbers NP(Y,i) of the buttons Y in their new state i, but only for the buttons Y belonging to remainder group RG(X).

In general, when display of a sequence of button pictures BP{X,ij} is to be started for a certain button in state i, synchronization is achieved or maintained if display starts at button pictures BP{X,ijx} with starting number jx calculated according to jx = [(RGSP(X) + n-L{RGAP(X)} -1) mod NP(X,i)] +1 (7) wherein n is an integer. It should be clear to a person skilled in the art that the time until the next synchronization moment depends on the selection of n. For instance, using this formula (7) for calculating jx for button C at time t22 in Fig. 7, if it is desired that the original synchronization moment at time t25 is maintained, n should be selected to be equal to 2. Further, using this approach involves the problem that, each time a certain button X makes a change of state, the remainder group RG(X) must be established and the parameters RGSP(X) and L (RGAP(X) } must be determined.

Thus, the approach of formula (4) is preferred. It is noted that the Common Counter is common to all buttons whose animations are to be synchronized. It may be that a second group of buttons is present, whose animations also are to be synchronized, but independently from the buttons of the first group.

It is further noted that the Common Counter may be actually implemented as one counter, as illustrated in Fig. 1. Alternatively, however, it is possible to have separate counters for different buttons, as long as the separate counters are mutually synchronized.

A further elaboration of the present invention relates to the Common Counter. In theory, a counter may be incremented indefinitely. In practice, however, a counter is implemented as the contents of a memory location, the memory location containing a fixed number of bits which sets an upper limit to the contents of the memory location, hence an upper limit to the maximum counter value. For instance, in the case of a 16 bit counter, and an animation rate of 30 pictures per second, the counter will reach its maximum value after approximately 36 minutes: then, the counter resets to zero (or to one, depending on design). After such a reset, the calculations based on the common counter are not reliable any more.

The present invention provides several possible solutions. A first solution is to use a counter with a large maximum value. For instance, using a 32 bit counter will result in a counter reset after approximately 4.5 years only, so that the chance that a user actually is confronted with a counter reset in practice is negligible.

In a second solution, the control system 10 is designed to calculate a common multiple of the numbers of button pictures NP of all button states. For instance, in a case with three buttons, the first having an animation sequence with 3 button pictures (NP=3), the second having an animation sequence with 4 button pictures (NP=4), the third having an animation sequence with 5 button pictures (NP=5), the smallest common multiple SCM is equal to 3x4x5 = 60. The control system 10 is further designed to reset the counter CC each time its value reaches the smallest common multiple (or, if desired, a common multiple larger than the smallest common multiple, yet smaller than the maximum counter value).

In the above, an embodiment is described where the ranking number of a button picture to be displayed is always incremented by one at a transition time, and is only calculated in accordance with the invention in the case of a transition from one button state to another. A third solution to the above-mentioned problem is to always calculate the ranking number of a button picture to be displayed in accordance with the above formulas at each transition time. An advantage is that the control system 10 does not need to perform differently after a button state change. A further advantage is that the button animations are always synchronized, even after a clock reset, whether occurring after reaching the maximum clock value or occurring due to any other reason.

This is illustrated in the lower half of Fig. 5. Assume that, at some moment between t26 and t27, the counter is reset from 25 to zero. Then, at t27, the control system 10 calculates the ranking numbers of the button pictures to be displayed, resulting in jx=l for all picture sequences. In other words, all animations reset to their first picture. A user carefully watching the screen might notice a "blink" at time t27 when all animations suddenly present their first picture while the third picture was expected. But, important to note, synchronization between the animations is preserved, as clearly indicated in Fig. 5.

Without reset, such blink is expected each time the counter reaches its maximum value. In the case of a 16 bit counter, assuming an animation rate of 30 pictures per second, the blink occurs once every thirty minutes, which may be found acceptable; in the case of a 32 bit counter, a blink occurs only once every 4.5 years. Of course, it is to be noted that no visible blink would occur if each sequence contains 2 or 4 or 8 or 16 etc pictures, as in this example.

In a preferred embodiment, the second and third solutions are combined. In the above explanation it was assumed that the animations of all buttons should be synchronized with each other. It is however also possible that there are two or more subgroups of buttons, the buttons in one group Gl being synchronized with each other, the buttons in a second group G2 being also synchronized with each other but not with the buttons of the first group Gl. In such case, different and independently running counters may be used for the different subgroups. The definition of the subgroups may be predetermined and fixed, but it may also be changed. In an exemple of embodiment, the first group Gl may contain all buttons having a first status, for example "unselected". In another exemple of embodiment, the first group Gl may contain all buttons X which, in the current status i, have the same value NP(X,i). For instance, it is possible that the animation of a button X comprises three pictures for the selected state and five pictures for the unselected state. A first counter CCl is running for all buttons having animations with three pictures, a second counter CC2 is running for all buttons having animations with five pictures. When this button X changes from selected to unselected, the next picture is calculated in accordance with the formula jx = [CC2 mod(5)] + 1 ; when this button X changes from unselected to selected, the next picture is calculated in accordance with the formula jx = [CCl mod(3)] + 1. It is also possible that each button has a synchronization parameter associated with it. Values of the synchronization parameters for at least some buttons, but preferably all buttons, are stored in the memory 11. In a possible embodiment, the buttons have a button identifier ID in the form of a 16-bit word, in which case the most significant bit of this identifier can be used as a synchronization parameter, having a value either 1 or 0. Normally, if a button is defined with a tool not implemented in accordance with the present invention, the synchronization parameter will be 0 (default value). In this embodiment, the control system 10 is designed to read the synchronization parameter of the buttons, and the operation of the control system 10 in relation to a certain button depends on the value of the synchronization parameter for that button. If the synchronization parameter has a first value, the control system 10 is designed to always set the ranking number jx of the starting picture in accordance with formula (1), otherwise the control system 10 is designed to always set the ranking number jx = 1 (or another constant value). In the preferred embodiment, the first value of the synchronization parameter is equal to the default value.

It should be clear to a person skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to the exemplary embodiments discussed above, but that several variations and modifications are possible within the protective scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

For instance, in the above the present invention has been explained for animated buttons. However, the use of the present invention is not restricted to buttons: the present invention can be used in relation to any animated object, even individual characters.

Further, in the above examples, all buttons have only two states. However the present invention is also applicable to cases where one or more buttons have three or more states.

Further, in the above examples, for each button the number of button pictures in one state is the same as the number of button pictures in the other state. However, this is not essential: for one or more buttons X, NP(X5I) may differ from NP(X,2).

Further, in the above examples, it is assumed that all buttons have the same display duration for the pictures. As a consequence, all pictures are changed at the same transition times. For instance, the display duration may be 5 frames, corresponding to 0.1 sec in a 50 frames/second display system; then, an animation comprising 6 pictures has an animation period of 0.6 sec, and, in the case of example 2 of Fig. 7, a group animation period of 1.2 sec. However, it is not necessary that all buttons have the same display duration for the pictures. It should be clear to a person skilled in the art how the formulas given in the above examples should be adapted to a case with mutually differing picture display durations. For instance, assume that button B would have a display duration twice as long as buttons A and C. Referring to Fig. 7, button C would only change pictures at times tl, t3, t5, t7, etc. This would be equivalent to having a series of eight pictures BP(B,i,l) to BP(B,i,8), so that NP(B,i)=8, wherein two subsequent pictures are identical. Based on this equivalence, such cases with different display durations are considered to be covered by the claims.

Further, although the present invention can be specifically used in relation to menus of a BD-ROM player, the present invention is not so restricted. For instance, the present invention can also be used in relation to a presentation on an internet page.

In the above, the present invention has been explained with reference to block diagrams, which illustrate functional blocks of the device according to the present invention. It is to be understood that one or more of these functional blocks may be implemented in hardware, where the function of such functional block is performed by individual hardware components, but it is also possible that one or more of these functional blocks are implemented in software, so that the function of such functional block is performed by one or more program lines of a computer program or a programmable device such as a microprocessor, microcontroller, digital signal processor, etc.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. Method of displaying a group of animated fields (A, B, C) on a display (12) in a synchronized manner, at least one field (B) being associated with at least two sequences of pictures, each sequence being associated with a certain status of the corresponding field; wherein, when a field is in a certain status, the pictures of the corresponding sequence are displayed sequentially and repeatedly in a predetermined order, starting again with the first picture after having displayed the last picture; wherein, at least when a field (X) changes from a current status to a second status (i), display of the sequence associated with the second status starts with the picture having ranking number jx satisfying the formula: jx = [(RGSP(X) + n-L{RGAP(X)} -1) mod NP(X,i)] +1 n being an integer; wherein NP(X,i) indicates the number of pictures in the sequence associated with status i of field X; wherein RGAP(X) indicates an animation period of a remainder group RG(X) of fields, being defined as the said group with the said field X being excluded; wherein L (RGAP(X) } indicates the length of the said remainder group animation period RGAP(X); wherein RGSP(X) indicates a group sequence phase of the said remainder group RG(X) with respect to said remainder group animation period RGAP(X).
2. Method according to claim 1, wherein the remainder group sequence phase RGSP(X) is calculated as
RGSP(X) = [(CC-Q) mod SCM(RG(X)) (NP(Y,i)}] +1 wherein SCM(RG(X)) (NP(Y,i)} indicates the smallest common multiple of all numbers NP(Y,i) of the buttons Y in their new state i, but only for the buttons Y belonging to remainder group RG(X); wherein CC indicates the value of a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at picture display transition moments, the counter being common to all fields belonging to said group; and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter.
3. Method of displaying a group of animated fields (A, B, C) on a display (12) in a synchronized manner, at least one field (B) being associated with at least two sequences of pictures, each sequence being associated with a certain status of the corresponding field; wherein, when a field is in a certain status, the pictures of the corresponding sequence are displayed sequentially and repeatedly in a predetermined order, starting again with the first picture after having displayed the last picture; wherein, at least when a field (X) changes from a current status to a second status (i), display of the sequence associated with the second status starts with the picture having ranking number jx satisfying the formula: jx = [(GSP-I) mod NP(X,i)] + 1 wherein NP(X,i) indicates the number of pictures in the sequence associated with status i of field X; and wherein GSP indicates a group synchronization phase of the said group of fields with respect to a synchronization repetition period of the said group of fields.
4. Method according to claim 3, wherein the group sequence phase GSP is calculated as
GSP = [(CC-Q) mod SCM{NP(X,i)} ] + 1 wherein SCM{NP(X,i)} indicates the smallest common multiple of all numbers NP(X,i) of the buttons X in their new state i; wherein CC indicates the value of a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at picture display transition moments, the counter being common to all fields belonging to said group; and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter.
5. Method of displaying a group of animated fields (A, B, C) on a display (12) in a synchronized manner, at least one field (B) being associated with at least two sequences of pictures, each sequence being associated with a certain status of the corresponding field, all sequences having the same number of pictures (NP); wherein, when a field is in a certain status, the pictures of the corresponding sequence are displayed sequentially and repeatedly in a predetermined order, starting again with the first picture after having displayed the last picture; wherein, at least when a field (X) changes from a current status to a second status (i), display of the sequence associated with the second status starts with the picture having ranking number jx satisfying the formula: jx = GSP wherein GSP indicates a group synchronization phase of the said group of fields with respect to a synchronization repetition period of the said group of fields.
6. Method according to claim 5, wherein the group sequence phase GSP is calculated as
GSP = [(CC-Q) mod NP] + 1 wherein CC indicates the value of a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at picture display transition moments, the counter being common to all fields belonging to said group; and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter.
7. Method according to claim 1 or 3, wherein the number (NP(X5I)) of pictures in a first sequence corresponding to a first status of one animated field (X) differs from the number (NP(X,2)) of pictures in a second sequence corresponding to a second status of the same animated field (X).
8. Method according to claim 1 or 3, wherein the number (NP(A5I)) of pictures in a first sequence corresponding to a first status of one animated field (A) differs from the number (NP(B5I)) of pictures in a second sequence corresponding to a first status of a second animated field (B).
9. Method according to claim I5 wherein the group sequence phase RGSP is calculated as
RGSP(X) = [(CC-Q) mod SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)}] +1 wherein SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)} indicates the smallest common multiple of all numbers NP(Y,i) of the buttons Y in their new state i, but only for the buttons Y belonging to remainder group RG(X); wherein CC indicates the value of a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at picture display transition moments, the counter being common to all fields belonging to said group; and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter; wherein the number (NP(X5I)) of pictures in a first sequence corresponding to a first status of one animated field (X) differs from the number (NP(X,2)) of pictures in a second sequence corresponding to a second status of the same animated field (X); wherein the common clock CC is common to both the first and second sequences.
10. Method according to claim 1, wherein the group sequence phase RGSP is calculated as
RGSP(X) = [(CC-Q) mod SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)}] +1 wherein SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)} indicates the smallest common multiple of all numbers NP(Y,i) of the buttons Y in their new state i, but only for the buttons Y belonging to remainder group RG(X); wherein CC indicates the value of a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at picture display transition moments, the counter being common to all fields belonging to said group; and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter; wherein the number (NP(A5I)) of pictures in a first sequence corresponding to a first status of one animated field (A) differs from the number (NP(B5I)) of pictures in a second sequence corresponding to a first status of a second animated field (B); wherein the common clock CC is common to both the first and second sequences.
11. Method according to claim 1 , wherein the group sequence phase RGSP is calculated as
RGSP(X) = [(CC-Q) mod SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)}] +1 wherein SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)} indicates the smallest common multiple of all numbers NP(Y,i) of the buttons Y in their new state i, but only for the buttons Y belonging to remainder group RG(X); wherein CC indicates the value of a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at picture display transition moments, the counter being common to all fields belonging to said group; and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter; wherein the number (NP(X5I)) of pictures in a first sequence corresponding to a first status of one animated field (X) differs from the number (NP(X,2)) of pictures in a second sequence corresponding to a second status of the same animated field (X); wherein a first common clock CCl is used for all sequences having the same number (NP(X5I); NP(A5I)) of pictures as the first sequence, and wherein a second common clock CC2 is used for all sequences having the same number (NP(X,2); NP(B5I)) of pictures as the second sequence.
12. Method according to claim I5 wherein the group sequence phase RGSP is calculated as
RGSP(X) = [(CC-Q) mod SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)}] +1 wherein SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)} indicates the smallest common multiple of all numbers NP(Y,i) of the buttons Y in their new state i, but only for the buttons Y belonging to remainder group RG(X); wherein CC indicates the value of a Common Counter which is incremented by 1 at picture display transition moments, the counter being common to all fields belonging to said group; and wherein Q indicates the starting value or reset value of the common counter; wherein the number (NP(A5I)) of pictures in a first sequence corresponding to a first status of one animated field (A) differs from the number (NP(B5I)) of pictures in a second sequence corresponding to a first status of a second animated field (B); wherein a first common clock CCl is used for all sequences having the same number (NP(X5I); NP(A5I)) of pictures as the first sequence, and wherein a second common clock CC2 is used for all sequences having the same number (NP(X,2); NP(B5I)) of pictures as the second sequence.
13. Method according to claim 1 or 3, wherein a first sequence contains a first number of pictures, wherein a second sequence contains a second number of pictures, and wherein the second number divided by the first number equals an integer larger than 1.
14. Method according to claim 2, wherein the counter is reset when reaching a counter value equal to a common multiple of the numbers NP(Y,i) of the buttons Y in their new state i, the buttons Y belonging to remainder group RG(X), this common multiple preferably being the smallest common multiple SCM(RG(X)) {NP(Y,i)} of these numbers.
15. Method according to claim 4, wherein the counter is reset when reaching a counter value equal to a common multiple of the numbers NP(X,i) of pictures of all field states associated with this counter, this common multiple preferably being the smallest common multiple SCM{NP(X,i)} of these numbers.
16. Method according to claim 6, wherein the counter is reset when reaching a counter value equal to a multiple of NP, preferably when reaching a counter value equal to of NP.
17. Method according to any of claims 1, 3, 5, wherein a field comprises a button.
18. Apparatus (1), comprising: a control system (10); an associated memory (11); a display device (12) such as a monitor; the control system (10) being designed to perform the method according to any of claims 1-17.
PCT/IB2005/054279 2004-12-21 2005-12-16 Method and device for displaying animated buttons WO2006067711A2 (en)

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