This article is part II in a series on building better LabVIEW UIs. Here, build on what you learned about alpha masks in part I and walk through how to create a user interface (UI) element with a drop shadow effect using the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). Then learn how to bring the UI element into NI LabVIEW software.
Previously, we discussed how you can use alpha masks to gray out an interface to bring attention to a pop-up dialog window. By adding a drop shadow to a UI element, you can achieve a similar effect without graying out the rest of the interface. In this article, focus on the use case of creating a vertical menu bar that moves in and out of the field of view, depending on where the operator’s mouse is on the interface. Learn how you can use a drop shadow effect to draw attention to the menu bar when it is in the field of view.
Also explore how to use GIMP, a free third-party application, to create a UI element that you can import into LabVIEW. You can download GIMP at www.gimp.org
. This tutorial uses GIMP; however, you can duplicate these ideas in the image manipulation editor of your choice.