U2U Blog

for developers and other creative minds

Importing PSD in Blend 3, Black and White

One of the cool new features in Blend 3 is the option to import Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop files. This makes the interaction between Designer and Developer even better.

Today I had a question concerning an adjustment layer applied in Photoshop that Blend didn’t recognize. Okay, not everything can be imported from Photoshop, but you can try to find a workaround for it.

So what was the question. This guy wanted to create something like an Image Viewer, and when you didn’t hover over the picture, it was Black and White when hovering all the colors needed to show up.

To change an image to BW is pretty easy in Photoshop by using the Channel Mixer and selecting the monochrome option.


What you do basically is applying an adjustment layer on the image. When you save this one to PSD and import  it into Blend, Blend will tell you that some of the features are not supported and that it will be ignored:


The workaround for this problem is to make a copy of the image in Photoshop, applying the adjustment layer on the copy and than merge the copy with the adjustment layer.

So Duplicate the image in Photoshop:


Apply the adjustment on the copy of the image


Now right-click the adjustment layer and the copy and merge the layers


Save this and close Photoshop.

Open Blend 3, make a new project and open the Import the PSD in Blend


When Blend opens the PSD, you can choose if you want to have all the layers separately or as 1 image. If you want to adjust the layers afterwards go for option 1. We will also go for this option because we need to have the layers separated from each other. To import the two layers, select both checkboxes. Don’t check the Compatibility layer, because that one will flat everything.


Click on OK and have a look at your objects and timeline pane:


For the mouse over effect, you can use the Visual State Manager. Set the visibility option for the Channel Mixer to Collapsed or you can play with the Opacity, which can give you some amazing results :-)


Laurent Bugnion @ Besug

On Monday 18th of May, Laurent Bugnion ( Silverlight MVP and author of Silverlight 2 unleashed book ) will give answers to all your questions about Silverlight.

  • Where: PIH Kortrijk
  • When: 18:30

Hope to see you there…

Simplify your life; Get the CRM Developer Toolkit

The Dynamics CRM Engineering for Enterprise (CRM E2) Team has released the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer Toolkit this week. This toolkit has some really nice features integrated right into Visual Studio 2008!

* Image Source: Customizing CRM By Using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Development Toolkit.

One of the three components of the toolkit is the CRM Solution Framework. You could see this framework as a Visual Studio Solution template for Dynamics CRM Development. Using a command line tool it generates a solution with a bunch of Visual Studio projects. These help you organize your Dynamics CRM extensions.

A second aspect of the CRM Solution Framework is its integration with MSBuild scripts to enable Dev and Daily Builds and support Continuous Integration techniques. Amongst others, these make sure that the entire development team is performing the tasks they are expected to do before checking in any of the code in a source control system (getting the latest version, importing CRM configuration & data, Code & Source Analysis, Plugin registration, Unit testing, …) and thus simplifying teamwork and collaboration on your CRM extensions.

Note: Although the CRM Solution Framework offers you a really fine project structure, it might seem quite heavy and complex at first (especially if you are not accustomed to similar enterprise environments). As an alternative I can definitely recommend the solution architecture described by David Yack in his book: CRM as a Rapid Development Platform. What’s more, I can actually recommend the entire book to any  Dynamics CRM Developer.  I think this is the only IT book I have ever read from beginning to end.

By the way: The chapter describing that structure, The Developer and Team Workspace, is available as a free chapter here


Furthermore, the generated projects in the CRM Solution Framework also contain helper and wrapper classes. They get you started even faster! You can generate more of them by using the CRM Explorer. Having said that, you now probably realize that the CRM Explorer is much more than a tool to explore your CRM environment. As you can see in the next screenshot, it also allows you to

  • Execute all standard CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations on the CRM schema from within Visual Studio.
  • Configure Security Roles and Business Units.
  • Import, Export and Publish Customizations.
  • Generate wrapper classes to simplify development against Dynamics CRM entities.
  • Generate Plugin code, ready-made for a selected entity and operation.

* Image Source: Customizing CRM By Using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Development Toolkit.

A third component is the Deployment Tool. I have not looked at this one yet, so here is how the documentation describes it:
The Deployment Tool provided with the CRM Toolkit assists in deployment and maintenance of Windows installer packages across multiple environments.

Next Steps?
1. Read the details about the components of the Dynamics CRM Development Kit in the white paper Customizing CRM By Using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Development Toolkit.
2. Download the Dynamics CRM Developer Toolkit from the MSDN Code Gallery and get your hands dirty! :)

Thanks Microsoft CRM E² Team!

Best Of Dynamics CRM

Yesterday, together with Bart Vierbergen,  I hosted an half hour session at the annual event of the Belgian Dynamics Community. We talked about all the things you shouldn't have missed last year: the bits, the updates, the accelerators, the CRM list web part, CRM Mobile Express, the Developer Toolkit and the tools…

Download the slides here:  PowerPoint 2007 format (pptx) or PowerPoint 2003 (ppt)


Also, make sure to keep an eye on the website of the Belgian Dynamics Community: we are planning a great session about Dynamics CRM Project Guidance.