Well, I suppose it couldn’t wait much longer… I just had to get my hands on Pixel Bender and do some tryouts. Initially, I set out to make a simple Mandelbrot set, which was pretty darn speedy in the Toolkit. However, once I turned on the Flash error checks, a few disappointments smacked me in the face. When used with Flash, it doesn’t support loops! Furthermore, it seems you can’t make images from scratch without involving a source sample as your output pixel (I’m not too sure about this, tho, I still have some research to do). So far for the Mandelbrot, coz I’d need both.
But, I quickly accepted those limitations, and started doing an old demo-effect instead; water ripples! It’s a fairly simple algorithm using a displacement map. The map image (the actual ripples) is rendered by Pixel Bender, based on the previous two iterations of the ripple algorithm. I was very excited to see how fast the result was. I can’t wait to be able to use PB for ‘real world’ projects once Flash Player 10 is released and settled in. Anyway, if you have Flash Player 10 installed as a browser plug-in, check out the demo here (you know, right-click views source, including the pixel bender src). If you don’t, but have a stand-alone player, get the demo here, and the source view here.