A few people have commented on how heavy the past two tutorials have been, and frankly, I agree - modelview is quite a difficult subject to wrap your head around (questions or comments are still welcome!), so I thought it might be an idea to step it down a notch and look at a different topic that I've also been asked a few questions about in the past few days: widget painting.

Qt provides an extensive collection of widgets by default, from push buttons and check boxes to sliders, labels, combo boxes, pretty much everything you see in a standard application of the past 10 or so years. But frequently, you'll want to do something a bit different: whether that is just customising the appearance of an existing widget to creating one from scratch, you don't want to be limited to standard UI controls.

Qt, of course, doesn't limit you - at all. ;)

In this tutorial, you'll discover the basics of painting, and learn to create your own simple (yes, ugly, I didn't bother to make it look pretty. ;)) widget which doesn't do a great deal.

As always, feedback is welcome.

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
# Written by Robin Burchell
# No licence specified or required, but please give credit where it's due,
# and please let me know if this helped you. Feel free to contact with corrections or suggestions.
# We're using PySide, Nokia's official LGPL bindings.
# You can however easily use PyQt (Riverside Computing's GPL bindings) by
# commenting these and fixing the appropriate imports.
from PySide.QtCore import *
from PySide.QtGui import *
#from PyQt4 import *
#from PyQt4.QtCore import *
#from PyQt4.QtGui import *
import sys

# As always, Qt allows us to subclass objects to override behaviour and generally monkey around
# with them how we want. This is the exact way that custom widget painting operates:
# you subclass the widget that you want as your base, and override paintEvent() to do your own painting.
class CustomWidget(QWidget):
# We're taking a number and displaying it twice in different formats. Nothing complicated.
def __init__(self, parent, anumber):
QWidget.__init__(self, parent)

# store the passed number
self._number = anumber

# This is where our custom painting happens. Qt calls paintEvent() whenever this widget needs
# to repaint itself.
# If you ever need to force a widget to repaint, which you will if you e.g. change any data the widget
# displays, you shouldn't invoke paintEvent manually: instead, you should use QWidget::update().
# For more information on invoking a repaint, see:
# http://doc.trolltech.com/4.6/qwidget.html#update
# For more information on paintEvent, see:
# http://doc.trolltech.com/4.6/qwidget.html#paintEvent
def paintEvent(self, ev):
# We first need to create a painter. Think of the painter as the brains of the rendering operation:
# they control the pen, and the brush, in order to do the actual drawing operations. More on them later.
# We pass 'self' to QPainter so it knows what it is painting on.
# You can also use QPainter::begin() and QPainter::end(), but this method is easier since it will
# automatically end() when it deallocates.
# See also:
# http://doc.trolltech.com/4.6/qpainter.html
p = QPainter(self)

# Simple operation here. Let's paint the background spotted red, so we can see that painting
# is actually occuring. This will look hideous, but feel free to experiment.
# This demonstrates the first use of QBrush - QBrush is used for any fill operations performed
# by QPainter. In terms of painting a picture, think of it like this: a painter will pick up a brush
# to paint broad strokes of the background etc.
# QBrush is very versatile, you can do all sorts of things with it like drawing textures.
# For more information on QBrush, see:
# http://doc.trolltech.com/4.6/qbrush.html
# This also demonstrates another aspect of the painting system: that of rects. Painting in Qt is done
# around the concept of small areas where painting occurs, we're using a convenience method here (QWidget::rect())
# to get the entire area of the widget, but you can define and adjust rects yourself.
# We'll go into more detail on that another time.
# For more information on QRect, see:
# http://doc.trolltech.com/4.6/qrect.html
p.fillRect(self.rect(), QBrush(Qt.red, Qt.Dense2Pattern))

# Now, we're going to draw the number we were passed. This won't be using the brush, but the
# pen: more on that later. Let's just draw some text in the middle left of the widget for now.
# Thankfully, Qt provides a way to do this for us, so we don't need to do any work on adjusting the rect.
# For more information on drawing text, see:
# http://doc.trolltech.com/4.6/qpainter.html#drawText
p.drawText(self.rect(), Qt.AlignLeft | Qt.AlignVCenter, str(self._number))

# Now, let's draw a different number (just for demonstration purposes) with a different colour.
# To do this, we first need to set a new pen - but now you're probably wondering what that is.
# A pen is, like it's real world counterpart, used to draw fine detail, like text, lines, and outlines.
# It is the emphasis, where the brush is the background.
# For more information on QPen, see:
# http://doc.trolltech.com/4.6/qpen.html
# QColor is fairly simplistic here, so I won't go into it. We're just using the RGB constructor to create
# a grey color.
# For more information, see:
# http://doc.trolltech.com/4.6/qcolor.html#QColor-2
p.setPen(QColor(220, 220, 220))

# Now we've set our grey pen, let's take the value we have, multiply it by two, and draw it on the right hand
# side of the widget.
p.drawText(self.rect(), Qt.AlignRight | Qt.AlignVCenter, str(self._number * 2))

class MyMainWindow(QMainWindow):
def __init__(self, parent):
QMainWindow.__init__(self, parent)

# Add content
central = CustomWidget(self, 666)

if __name__ == '__main__':
app = QApplication(sys.argv)
sw = MyMainWindow(None)