The personal website of Scott W Harden

Use Maui.Graphics to Draw 2D Graphics in Any .NET Application

How to use Microsoft.Maui.Graphics to draw graphics in a .NET console application and save the output as an image file using SkiaSharp

This week Microsoft officially released .NET Maui and the new Microsoft.Maui.Graphics library which can draw 2D graphics in any .NET application (not just Maui apps). This page offers a quick look at how to use this new library to draw graphics using SkiaSharp in a .NET 6 console application. The C# Data Visualization site has additional examples for drawing and animating graphics using Microsoft.Maui.Graphics in Windows Forms and WPF applications.

The code below is a full .NET 6 console application demonstrating common graphics tasks (setting colors, drawing shapes, rendering text, etc.) and was used to generate the image above.

// These packages are available on NuGet
using Microsoft.Maui.Graphics;
using Microsoft.Maui.Graphics.Skia;

// Create a bitmap in memory and draw on its Canvas
SkiaBitmapExportContext bmp = new(600, 400, 1.0f);
ICanvas canvas = bmp.Canvas;

// Draw a big blue rectangle with a dark border
Rect backgroundRectangle = new(0, 0, bmp.Width, bmp.Height);
canvas.FillColor = Color.FromArgb("#003366");
canvas.StrokeColor = Colors.Black;
canvas.StrokeSize = 20;

// Draw circles randomly around the image
for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++)
    float x = Random.Shared.Next(bmp.Width);
    float y = Random.Shared.Next(bmp.Height);
    float r = Random.Shared.Next(5, 50);

    Color randomColor = Color.FromRgb(
        red: Random.Shared.Next(255),
        green: Random.Shared.Next(255),
        blue: Random.Shared.Next(255));

    canvas.StrokeSize = r / 3;
    canvas.StrokeColor = randomColor.WithAlpha(.3f);
    canvas.DrawCircle(x, y, r);

// Measure a string
string myText = "Hello, Maui.Graphics!";
Font myFont = new Font("Impact");
float myFontSize = 48;
canvas.Font = myFont;
SizeF textSize = canvas.GetStringSize(myText, myFont, myFontSize);

// Draw a rectangle to hold the string
Point point = new(
    x: (bmp.Width - textSize.Width) / 2,
    y: (bmp.Height - textSize.Height) / 2);
Rect myTextRectangle = new(point, textSize);
canvas.FillColor = Colors.Black.WithAlpha(.5f);
canvas.StrokeSize = 2;
canvas.StrokeColor = Colors.Yellow;

// Daw the string itself
canvas.FontSize = myFontSize * .9f; // smaller than the rectangle
canvas.FontColor = Colors.White;
canvas.DrawString(myText, myTextRectangle, 
    HorizontalAlignment.Center, VerticalAlignment.Center, TextFlow.OverflowBounds);

// Save the image as a PNG file

Multi-Platform Graphics Abstraction

The Microsoft.Maui.Graphics namespace a small collection of interfaces which can be implemented by many different rendering technologies (SkiaSharp, SharpDX, GDI, etc.), making it possible to create drawing routines that are totally abstracted from the underlying graphics rendering system.

I really like that I can now create a .NET Standard 2.0 project that exclusively uses interfaces from Microsoft.Maui.Graphics to write code that draws complex graphics, then reference that code from other projects that use platform-specific graphics libraries to render the images.

When I write scientific simulations or data visualization code I frequently regard my graphics drawing routines as business logic, and drawing with Maui.Graphics lets me write this code to an abstraction that keeps rendering technology dependencies out of my business logic - a big win!

Rough Edges

After working with this library while it was being developed over the last few months, these are the things I find most limiting in my personal projects which made it through the initial release this week. Some of them are open issues so they may get fixed soon, and depending on how the project continues to evolve many of these rough edges may improve with time. I’m listing them here now so I can keep track of them, and I intend to update this list if/as these topics improve:

Again, I’m pointing these things out the very first week .NET Maui was released, so there’s plenty of time and opportunity for improvements in the coming weeks and months.

I’m optimistic this library will continue to improve, and I am very excited to watch it progress! I’m not aware of the internal pressures and constraints that led to the library being released like it was this week, but I want to end by complimenting the team on their great job so far and encourage everyone (at Microsoft and in the open-source community at large) to keep moving this library forward. The .NET Maui team undertook an ambitious challenge by setting-out to implement cross-platform graphics support, but achieving this goal elegantly will be a huge accomplishment for the .NET community!