Using the TipTile editor is very simple, as you can see on the Quick Start page.
This manual gives an indepth description of the functionality.
Creating a TipTile
Adding an image
Replacing an image
Selecting visible part
Video file format
Audio file format
Installing a TipTile
Preparing for installation
Tiptile consists of 2 parts: a viewer and an editor. The viewer is used to show TipTiles on a MS Pixelsense computer. But first you’ll use the editor to make TipTiles on a regular MS Windows computer, using the keyboard and mouse.
Plug the TipTile USB stick in a USB port and open it. Start tiptilemaker.exe to use the editor. WIth it you can make and edit TipTiles. When you’re done, you’ll use the the TipTile stick to install your TipTile on a MS Pixelsense computer.
Note: if you select the random order in the properties panel the exact layout in the viewer will of course be different.
The details panel at the bottom left gives access to the specifics of a selected tile. You can move a tile, change the content, add or change text and select a cutout part that will be visible in a closed tile in the TipTile.
The preview panel displays the image as it will be shown in an opened tile. A red square indicates the part that will be visible when the tile is closed. If there is text you can see how large the text panel will be, compared to the entire image.
Note: if you doubleclick the image in the preview panel a resizable window will open with the image and the image size. In a custom version this window could have extra functionality, like cropping the image or adding a logo.
Creating a TipTile
With the Pixelsense screen having a 4 : 3 aspect ratio, the 8 x 4 and 12 x 9 grid sizes fill the entire screen. Other sizes leave small margins around the long or short sides of the screen.
Having a large number of tiles means you can put a lot of content into one application. This may also be a drawback, especially with large images. The TipTile viewer will load all the images which takes a lot of memory and slows down the startup process.
Note: There is no real limitation to the grid sizes. The dropdown list contains a number of sizes that work best, but you can contact us if you want a custom size added.
The project name for your TipTile is the name as it will appear in the TipTile editor. This will be the default name of the TipTile as it will appear in the Pixelsense launcher but you can edit this later in the properties window.
Having a long name here is not very practical. The dropdown list at the top left of the screen will display the names, but truncate the longer ones. A short descriptive name, possibly with a date or version number works best.
Note: The project name is also the name of the folder that all data are stored in on the USB stick. So if you want to browse the imported data you can find it in the Data/ProjectName folder.
It goes without saying that you need to save your work if you want to use it in the future. So don’t forget to click Save once in a while, especially since the editor doesn’t have a backup or redo function.
When the project is being saved all content files will be imported, that is to say, they will be copied to the USB-stick and, in the case of large images, be resized. This may take a while, from a couple of seconds to a minute or even more (large video files take long to copy). The editor may look idle but give it some time and it will give you a message when it saving is finished.
To get a preview of the Tiptile, use the “Test” button. Because all content is retrieved form the USB stick, it can take a while to render the preview. The touch functionality of the Pixelsense is simulated through mouse controls. Scaling can be controlled with a slide control or the scroll wheel.
Note: You can back up a TipTile by simply copying the entire folder /Data/projectname containing the data for your TipTile to a location of your choice. Put back the folder data to restore the TipTile. The editor will automatically recognize the restored TipTile when it starts up next.
You can browse these files, but you shouldn’t really touch these files and folders, doing so may cause the editor to crash.
Note: it may be necessary to edit content files for certain reasons, for instance a batch resize on all images if they are too large. If the filenames are unaltered this should work.
You can also select a range of images which will be placed in the next empty tiles.
If the selected tile already has an image, you will see the filename in the Details panel at the bottom left. Click Select to the right of the file name to go to the dialog window where you can pick a new image.
Note: the filename will be displayed in red if a file is new to the project. Saving the project will import the image, the filename will now be blue.
When a tile is opened it can be stretched to zoom in on an image. For design reasons there is a maximum limit to this, so that a tile can never completely fill the screen. This means that an image will be displayed with a maximum size of 1024 pixels, width or height.
For large images this means that it is not necessary to be much larger then that. To keep the amount of memory needed for a TipTile down to a reasonable level large images will be automatically rescaled to an optimal size before loading in the viewer.
With small images the image quality may be an issue. The scaling algorithm can handle smooth photographs or sharp graphics, but jaggy image with lots of artefacts (highly compressed jpgs for instance) will look very bad. It is good to keep this in mind when selecting source material.
Preferred minimum is 640 x 480 pixels for photographs, for images containing printed text it should be larger.
A closed tile in a TipTile will only show a section of the entire image. On opening the image will “grow”to display the whole image. This preview part can be one of nine alignments: left, middle, right and top, middle, bottom. You can select the visible part with the button grid in the Details panel.
Note: the cutout in the viewer may not be exactly (pixel precise) the same as in the preview panel. This may be relevant in certain cases where a logo or piece of text should be exactly visible (or invisible) in a closed tile.
Click on a tile in the TipTile preview tableau to select it. If it is still empty a dialog window will open which lets you select a file. Change the file type to video / sound and select a video file.
The size of the image is important, it will define the size of the opened tile and thus the size of the video screen. For video files the aspect ratio is often a problem (4 : 3 or 16 : 9) and players have different ways to handle them. The TipTile viewer gives you control over this by stretching the video to fit the size of the still image.
Note: video files may show different aspect ratios, for instance a 4 : 3 PAL screen will be 720 x 576 pixels. These “non-square” pixels can often be confusing.
WMV comes in several versions and all should work, but for the best results the compression rate should be low.
Note:An easy way to convert video clips to WMV is to use Windows Movie Maker. As a simple editing tool it does exactly what it is supposed to do and is quite powerful in handling all sorts of MPG and AVI files as input.
Click on a tile in the TipTile preview tableau to select it. If it is still empty a dialog window will open which lets you select a file. Change the file type to video / sound and select an audio file.
Note: if you need a different format, either for audio or video, contact us for the possibilities of a custom version
A tile with an image can display a text when a user touches the text button. The is an overlay on the image and is originally meant to be a short description, but you can use it for any purpose you like (comment, quiz question, reference, copyright info).
Click Change text to open a window where you can enter your text. Click Save to close the window.
The Preview panel will display how the text will look like in the TipTile viewer. The text field will be a the bottom, scaled to fit the image width. The text size will always be the same.
Note: if you have a lot of text it will cover a large part of your image. Consider if this is what you want. If you need additional text options contact us.
Click Delete text to remove your text. Deleting the text in the text editing window will leave an empty text field.
You can also copy and paste your text (special characters or just plain text) from any other source, but you will lose all formatting.
Here you can set the actual title of your TipTile as it will be displayed in the Pixelsense menu. Don’t make it too long because the menu will only show one line of text. Long titles will be truncated.
The Pixelsense menu displays large icons for each application. You can take an image from your TipTile or create a custom icon. For best results you need a square image, not too small (200 x 200 or larger). Larger images will be resized to fit.
Important: an icon image has to be in a PNG file, other formats will not show up in the menu.
The background will be visible in the preview on the main window. If you decide you don’t want to use the background you chose after all click Clear.
Note: most of the time only a small portion of the background will be visible, so a pattern or colour for the background works best.
If you decide that having background music isn’t really a good idea after all click Clear to remove the it.
Note:The sound file will play in a continuous loop and will only pause when the application is deactivated (the Pixelsense returns to the many) or a video or audio file is played. It is good to keep this in mind when deciding on adding a background sound – hearing the same tune over and over again can be quite annoying.
By default the tiles will show up in the viewer at the same place you put them in the editor. This is most practical for creating and testing. Part of the TipTile concept however is that it shouldn’t make a difference where a tile is placed or which way it is turned.
When you check the Random order check box the viewer will place the tiles on a random place each time the TipTile is opened.
Installing a TipTile
Since Pixelsense runs on Windows Vista and this OS has some very strict safety measures, access to certain folders will be restricted (unless you have already removed this restriction). To circumvent this do the following:
– plug the USB-stick in the Pixelsense unit
– navigate to the TipTile editor and rightclick on it
– from the popup menu choose “run as administrator”
– now you can load your TipTile and click Install
When you click Install the installation window will pop up. This will show you the target location and give you the option to change it. If you have more then one TipTile on your Pixelsense you can all install them in the same folder. This way they will share the executable for the viewer.
If you choose to install your TipTile on a different location from earlier TipTiles you can still choose to use the installed viewer (TipTile.exe) or install a copy at the new location.
Press Confirm to start the installation and wait for the editor to give the message that the installation is complete. During the installation all the content files will be copied to the Pixelsense unit so this may take a while.