UIVisualEffects in 10mins

31 Oct 2014

Slides from a talk I gave at Boulder iOS October Meetup


With iOS 8, Apple has provided a new technology which makes it very easy to create frosted, translucent overlays. These overlays are interactive and will reflect the state of activity beneath. This is an upgrade from previous technigues which involved creating static images and applying blur effects.


Instantiate an instance of UIVisualEffectView and hand it an effect. Presently, the only effects available are instances of either UIBlurEffect or UIVibrancyEffect.

UIBlurEffects can be configured for dark, light, or extra light. Apply a tintColor to UIVisualEffectView to make it fit properly in a colorscheme.

UIBlurEffect *blur = [UIBlurEffect effectWithStyle:UIBlurEffectStyleDark];
    UIVisualEffectView *blurView = [[UIVisualEffectView alloc] initWithEffect:blur];
    blurView.frame = self.hudView.bounds;
    [self.view addSubview:blurView];

UIVibrancyEffect is best used with text, or other controls that need to remain readable, as frosted overlays can obscure important details in the foreground.

Apply Vibrancy

To apply vibrancy, create another UIVisualEffectView with an instance of UIVibrancyEffect. note Vibrancy needs to know about the current UIBlurEffect settings. Add the second UIVisualEffectView configured for vibrancy as a subview of the first. Just like UITableViewCell, the UIVisualEffectView has a contentView property for subviews.

UIVisualEffectView *vibrantView = [[UIVisualEffectView alloc] initWithEffect:[UIVibrancyEffect effectForBlurEffect:blur]];
vibrantView.frame = blurView.bounds;
UILabel *label = [[UILabel alloc] init];
[label setFont:[UIFont fontWithName:@"HelveticaNeue" size:33]];
label.frame = CGRectMake(8, 30, 400, 500);
label.numberOfLines = 0;
label.text = @"THIS IS VIBRANT TEXT!";
[vibrantView.contentView addSubview:label];

// add vibrantView to first blurView
[blurView.contentView addSubview:vibrantView];

Working Example

A working example complete with animations, blur and vibrancy effects is available here : UISpookyEffects on Github

One .each func to rule them all

24 Jul 2014

While translating some project code into Swift for fun, I started getting sick of using a ‘for’ loop to iterate over collection objects like Array, Dictionaries or tuples. There must be a better way!

Collection Each adds several methods via extensions to Dictionary and Array. This is a reasonable approach, but requires separate extensions for each class.

Luckily, there is one function to rule all Sequences :

func each<S:Sequence, T where T==S.GeneratorType.Element>(sequence: S, callback:(T) -> Void) {
        for item in sequence {

The beginning type specifiers are a little weird, so let’s walk through it. First, S is expected to be a type of Sequence. This represents a Tuple, Array, Dictionary, or any other class which implements the Sequence protocol. Sequences implement a generator which returns the next item in the sequence, or nil. Sequence.GeneratorType.Element is a type which corresponds to the ‘type’ of object within the sequence.

I first tried a simple (T) type with no specifiers, but this did not work, unfortunately. Our one .each method is callable with a trailing closure as:

[1,2,3,"bench!"].each {println($0)}

References: Mostly Software, Playing With Swift

Easy Core Data Observer

02 May 2014

Slides are from a lightning talk I did at Boulder iOS Meetup

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