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Using Color on Components

Using color on components is an important part of creating effective HMIs. While static colors can help identify specific features on the screen, dynamic colors can help draw the users attention to certain areas. Making color type properties such as Fill Paint dynamic works a little bit differently than other properties with simple types. There typically aren't tags of type color, so the way we set up bindings on these types of properties works a little bit differently, and we have a few options available to us.

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Using Expression Bindings

You can use the expression language to calculate a value using the color() function.  If you have a color that depends on multiple properties, then using an express is recommended to evaluate correctly. This first example returns a static color using the Fill Color property.

// binding on the Fill Color property
color(255,0,0) // static red color

This example takes a Tag value and translates it to a color that ranges from white to blue as the Tag value increases.

// binding on the Fill Color property
color(255,255,255-({tag value}/100*255)) // fades from white to blue when Tag value goes from 0 to 100 %

If you have multiple properties or Tags, you can use the logic Expression Functions to select between a few colors.

Custom Properties
		3, // if tag1>50 and tag2 is true
		1), // if tag1>50 and tag2 is false
		2, // if tag1<=50 and tag3 is true
		0)) // if tag1<=50 and tag3 is false

This example takes one integer value and selects from several options.

Expression Referencing a Tag
 // binding on the fill color property
switch({HOA tag},
	0,1,2, // off, on, hand
	color(255,0,0), color(0,255,0), color(255,255,0), // red, green, yellow
	color(0,0,0)) // black (fallback color)

The Number to Color Translator

The Fill Paint property uses the Number-to-Color Translation table in Ignition, commonly known as Color Mapping.  This is where you map a value to a color.  For every number range there is a set color. You can choose a different color for each value, and even make it blink between two different colors. If you need to add or remove a value, simply use the add row  and remove row icons  on the right side of the Number-to-Color Translation table. In this SVG example, value '0' is set to red, value '1' is set to green, and value '2' is set to blink between yellow and orange. If you are using this as a tint overlay, make sure each color is semi-transparent so you can see the actual symbol behind it. There is a Low Fallback Color option so when a value falls below your lowest value, a default color can be set.

Style Customizer

Many Vision components support the Style Customizer, which lets you define a set of visual styles that change based on a single Driving Property. Typically, you'll have a property on your component that you want to use as a driving property (like a discrete state), which then drives multiple visual properties, like the font, border, and foreground color, to change to a specific style that was setup per state beforehand. Style Customizer lets you define these relationships all at once, and lets you preview them too! Without styles, you would have to go to every property and bind them all individually.


Component Styles

Style Customizer Window

The Style Customizer window has multiple parts to it.

  • Driving Property - The value of the selected property will be used to determine the style used. Only certain properties on the component can be used as drivin properties, but the most common are discrete state properties. Custom Properties can also be used here.
  • Styled Properties - Here you can select which properties will be used in the styles. Any properties that are in the left panel are available to be used in the styles, while properties in the right panel are already being used in the style. Properties can be moved between the panels by selecting it and clicking the appropriate arrow button.
  • Styles - The list of styles that will be available for this component. Each style has a Value property on the left. When the value of the Driving Property is greater than or equal to the value of a style, that style will be applied to the component. Each style gives a preview of what it looks like, and can be expanded to edit the properties within that style. You will notice in the example below that the properties being used in the Styled Properties are the Background Color, Border, Foreground Color, and Text, which corresponds to the properties we have available within each style in the Styles area. Each style can also be animated by clicking the animation checkbox. This allows you to add different steps to the style, where each step of the style can have its own unique style. Each step also gains a Step Duration (ms) property that is used to determine how long the step is active for. This is typically used to create a flashing effect, where the component will flash between two different colors.

Value Conflict

You can bind a property that is already being used by a style, but a warning icon will appear on the property, and the property name turns red in the In the Property Editor. This means there is a conflict between the binding on the property, and the style on the component. As a general practice, only the style or binding should write to the property, not both. 

Style Customizer Example

The best example of the Style Customizer in action is the Multi-State Indicator, as this component uses the style customizer to work properly and switch between different states, so it can be used as an example already built in. However, the many other components can use the Style Customizer, so this example will set up styles for a Cylindrical Tank.

  1. Add a Cylindrical Tank component to the window, and right click on it and go to Customizers > Style Customizer.
  2. Select a Driving Property. Here, the Value is a good choice as we can change the tank to flash when the contents get too high.
  3. We can then select the Styled Properties. I have selected the Border, Liquid Color, and Show Value.

  4. Lastly, we need to set up the different styles. I have added three styles, and set the values to be 0.00, 50.00, and 90.00.
    1. For the style at 0 and above, I have left everything at the default, so that the tank looks normal.
    2. For the style at 50 and above, I have added a large yellow border. This way, it is obvious the tank is filling up.
    3. For the style at 90 and above, I have animated the style, and created two steps, to alert the user that the tank is almost full.
      1. The first step has a duration of 500ms, a red border, an orange liquid color, and I have opted to show the value of the tank.
      2. The second step has a duration of 1000ms, an orange border, a red liquid color, and is also showing the value of the tank.
  5. Once we have saved our style, we can try it out by changing the value of the tank.


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