Some time ago a colleague of mine showed me a web browser addin called PicLens, that did some very funky 3D visualization of searched results.




I got quite jealous about this and had a think about it and set to work trying to give it a go in WPF. I think I actually got pretty close to the PicLens version and the only areas where I think it could be improved are in the following areas:

  • Virtualization, such that item out of view are removed from the 3D viewport
  • Video support, though I did figure a way to get YouTube videos into WPF using a WebBrowser component. Unfortunately the WebBrowser component is a Window based HWnd control, so doesn’t work like other WPF controls, and as such was unsuitable for being hosted in a 3D viewport.


Here is a screen shot of MarsaX running.








Ill just give you a brief run down of how it all hangs together


  1. The top right hand buttons use a StoryBoard to show a hidden search area panel.
  2. The search area panel contains buttons, which allow the user to search RSS feeds using XLINQ, which are read in asynchronously using a ThreadPool
  3. The search results are then used to create a new 3D item which is put into a 3D container
  4. The bottom control is a simple Slider control which has been Styled to look like this. When you move the slider the 3D container is animated around an angle and distance
  5. There is another Styled slider which can be used to zoom in/out of the 3D scene
  6. When a 3D item is clicked on it shows a popup window from where the user may save the image
  7. The application uses various different configuration items to control how it works


I did get some help with this article from a fellow geek called Marlon Grech whom I think is a uber smart kid. Marlon wrote some of the Styles that the control use and helped with some code areas.

All in all both Marlon and I were pretty happy with the results of this article.


Go check it out at the MarsaX link over at Codeproject



  1. Hey Lex

    Thanks yeah I think its close to PicLens.

    “But most XP users don’t have .NET 3.0 installed so they cannot enjoy this if they refuse to install that big mess.”

    Man .NET 3.0 is the mutts nutts, its like the best improvement of an already cool framework ever.

    Just install it, its no mess man


  2. Hy Sacha,
    I got a problem (totally unrelated, but I didn’t know how to contact you else) and maybe you can help me:

    I’m using Bea Costa’s DragDrop classes, which work really great, but while dragging I get not a single event. I wanted to get a KeyPressed or a MouseWheel event. I even tried to attach to the adorner layer, but it simply isn’t fired while a drag/drop is in progress…

    Any thoughts on this?

    Warm Regards,


  3. Martin

    I dont use Beas Drag&Dtop classes so couldnt possibly comment. Try contact Bea through her Blog


  4. hi
    I have just downloaded it for me at home.
    it work and i want add some text in every picture


    you can see every picture have text to comment

    in top or under

    i try to do it but not successful

    i just do WPF 5 days ago

    you can help me

    p/s: your Excellent , i like it


  5. It’s really a great and useful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.


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