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DrawingContext Class

Describes visual content using draw, push, and pop commands.

Namespace: System.Windows.Media
Assembly: PresentationCore (in presentationcore.dll)
XML Namespace:

public abstract class DrawingContext : DispatcherObject, IDisposable
public abstract class DrawingContext extends DispatcherObject implements IDisposable
public abstract class DrawingContext extends DispatcherObject implements IDisposable
This class is abstract; see Inheritance Hierarchy for derived non-abstract classes usable in XAML.

Use a DrawingContext to populate a Visual or a Drawing with visual content.

Although the DrawingContext draw methods appear similar to the draw methods of the System.Drawing.Graphics type, they function very differently: DrawingContext is used with a retained mode graphics system, while the System.Drawing.Graphics type is used with an immediate mode graphics system. When you use a DrawingContext object's draw commands, you are actually storing a set of rendering instructions (although the exact storage mechanism depends on the type of object that supplies the DrawingContext) that will later be used by the graphics system; you are not drawing to the screen in real-time. For more information about how the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) graphics system works, see the Visual Layer Overview.

You never directly instantiate a DrawingContext; you can, however, acquire a drawing context from certain methods, such as DrawingGroup.Open and DrawingVisual.RenderOpen.

The following example retrieves a DrawingContext from a DrawingVisual and uses it to draw a rectangle.

// Create a DrawingVisual that contains a rectangle.
private DrawingVisual CreateDrawingVisualRectangle()
    DrawingVisual drawingVisual = new DrawingVisual();

    // Retrieve the DrawingContext in order to create new drawing content.
    DrawingContext drawingContext = drawingVisual.RenderOpen();

    // Create a rectangle and draw it in the DrawingContext.
    Rect rect = new Rect(new Point(160, 100), new Size(320, 80));
    drawingContext.DrawRectangle(Brushes.LightBlue, (Pen)null, rect);

    // Persist the drawing content.

    return drawingVisual;

The next example demonstrates the PushOpacity, PushEffect, and Pop commands. The DrawingContext is obtained from a DrawingGroup and displayed using an Image control.

using System;
using System.Windows;
using System.Windows.Controls;
using System.Windows.Media;
using System.Windows.Media.Animation;
using System.Windows.Navigation;
using System.Windows.Media.Effects;

namespace SDKSample

    public class PushEffectExample : Page

        public PushEffectExample()
            Pen shapeOutlinePen = new Pen(Brushes.Black, 2);

            // Create a DrawingGroup
            DrawingGroup dGroup = new DrawingGroup();

            // Obtain a DrawingContext from 
            // the DrawingGroup.
            using (DrawingContext dc = dGroup.Open())
                // Draw a rectangle at full opacity.
                dc.DrawRectangle(Brushes.Blue, shapeOutlinePen, new Rect(0, 0, 25, 25));

                // Push an opacity change of 0.5. 
                // The opacity of each subsequent drawing will
                // will be multiplied by 0.5.

                // This rectangle is drawn at 50% opacity.
                dc.DrawRectangle(Brushes.Blue, shapeOutlinePen, new Rect(25, 25, 25, 25));

                // Blurs subsquent drawings. 
                dc.PushEffect(new BlurBitmapEffect(), null);

                // This rectangle is blurred and drawn at 50% opacity (0.5 x 0.5). 
                dc.DrawRectangle(Brushes.Blue, shapeOutlinePen, new Rect(50, 50, 25, 25));

                // This rectangle is also blurred and drawn at 50% opacity.
                dc.DrawRectangle(Brushes.Blue, shapeOutlinePen, new Rect(75, 75, 25, 25));

                // Stop applying the blur to subsquent drawings.

                // This rectangle is drawn at 50% opacity with no blur effect.
                dc.DrawRectangle(Brushes.Blue, shapeOutlinePen, new Rect(100, 100, 25, 25));

            // Display the drawing using an image control.
            Image theImage = new Image();
            DrawingImage dImageSource = new DrawingImage(dGroup);
            theImage.Source = dImageSource;

            this.Content = theImage;




More Code

How to: Draw Text to a Visual

The following example shows how to draw text to a DrawingVisual using a DrawingContext object. A drawing context is returned by calling the RenderOpen method of a DrawingVisual object. You can draw graphics and text into a drawing context.


Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 98, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows CE, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 is supported on Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP SP2, and Windows Server 2003 SP1.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.0

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