Book Image

OpenGL 4.0 Shading Language Cookbook

Book Image

OpenGL 4.0 Shading Language Cookbook

Overview of this book

The OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) is a programming language used for customizing parts of the OpenGL graphics pipeline that were formerly fixed-function, and are executed directly on the GPU. It provides programmers with unprecedented flexibility for implementing effects and optimizations utilizing the power of modern GPUs. With version 4.0, the language has been further refined to provide programmers with greater flexibility, and additional features have been added such as an entirely new stage called the tessellation shader. The OpenGL Shading Language 4.0 Cookbook provides easy-to-follow examples that first walk you through the theory and background behind each technique then go on to provide and explain the GLSL and OpenGL code needed to implement it. Beginning level through to advanced techniques are presented including topics such as texturing, screen-space techniques, lighting, shading, tessellation shaders, geometry shaders, and shadows. The OpenGL Shading Language 4.0 Cookbook is a practical guide that takes you from the basics of programming with GLSL 4.0 and OpenGL 4.0, through basic lighting and shading techniques, to more advanced techniques and effects. It presents techniques for producing basic lighting and shading effects; examples that demonstrate how to make use of textures for a wide variety of effects and as part of other techniques; examples of screen-space techniques, shadowing, tessellation and geometry shaders, noise, and animation. The OpenGL Shading Language 4.0 Cookbook provides examples of modern shading techniques that can be used as a starting point for programmers to expand upon to produce modern, interactive, 3D computer graphics applications.
Table of Contents (16 chapters)
OpenGL 4.0 Shading Language Cookbook
About the Author
About the Reviewers

Sending data to a shader using uniform variables

Vertex attributes provide one avenue for providing input to shaders, a second technique is uniform variables. Uniform variables are intended to be used for data that may change relatively infrequently compared to per-vertex attributes. In fact, it is simply not possible to set per-vertex attributes with uniform variables. For example, uniform variables are well suited for the matrices used for modeling, viewing, and projective transformations.

Within a shader, uniform variables are read-only. Their values can only be changed from outside the shader, via the OpenGL API. However, they can be initialized within the shader by assigning to a constant value along with the declaration.

Uniform variables can appear in any shader within a shader program, and are always used as input variables. They can be declared in one or more shaders within a program, but if a variable with a given name is declared in more than one shader, its type must be the same in all shaders. In other words, the uniform variables are held in a shared uniform namespace for the entire shader program.

In this recipe, we'll draw the same triangle as in previous recipes in this chapter, however, this time we'll rotate the triangle using a uniform matrix variable.

Getting ready

We'll use the following vertex shader.

#version 400

layout (location = 0) in vec3 VertexPosition;
layout (location = 1) in vec3 VertexColor;

out vec3 Color;

uniform mat4 RotationMatrix;

void main()
    Color = VertexColor;
    gl_Position = RotationMatrix * vec4(VertexPosition,1.0); 

Note the variable RotationMatrix is declared using the uniform qualifier. We'll provide the data for this variable from the OpenGL program. The RotationMatrix is used to transform VertexPosition before assigning it to the default output position variable gl_Position.

We'll use the same fragment shader as in previous recipes.

#version 400

in vec3 Color;

layout (location = 0) out vec4 FragColor;

void main() {
    FragColor = vec4(Color, 1.0);

Within the main OpenGL code, we determine the rotation matrix and send it to the shader's uniform variable. To create our rotation matrix, we'll use the GLM library (see: Using the GLM library for mathematics in this chapter). Within the main OpenGL code, add the following include statements:

#include <glm/glm.hpp>
using glm::mat4;
using glm::vec3;

#include <glm/gtc/matrix_transform.hpp>

We'll also assume that code has been written to compile and link the shaders, and to create the vertex array object for the color triangle. We'll assume that the handle to the vertex array object is vaoHandle, and the handle to the program object is programHandle.

How to do it...

Within the render method, use the following code.


mat4 rotationMatrix = glm::rotate(mat4(1.0f), angle, 

GLuint location =glGetUniformLocation(programHandle,

if( location >= 0 )
    glUniformMatrix4fv(location, 1, GL_FALSE, 

glDrawArrays(GL_TRIANGLES, 0, 3 );

How it works...

The steps involved with setting the value of a uniform variable include finding the location of the variable, and then assigning a value to that location using one of the glUniform functions.

In this example, we start by clearing the color buffer, then creating a rotation matrix using GLM. Next, we query for the location of the uniform variable by calling glGetUniformLocation. This function takes the handle to the shader program object and the name of the uniform variable, and returns its location. If the uniform variable is not an active uniform variable, the function returns -1.

We then assign a value to the uniform variable using glUniformMatrix4fv. The first argument is the uniform variable's location. The second is the number of matrices that are being assigned (the uniform variable could be an array). The third is a Boolean value indicating whether or not the matrix should be transposed when loaded into the uniform variable. With GLM matrices, a transpose is not required, so we use GL_FALSE here. If you were implementing the matrix using an array, and the data was in row-major order, you might need to use GL_TRUE for this argument. The last argument is a pointer to the data for the uniform variable.

There's more...

Of course uniform variables can be any valid GLSL type including complex types such as arrays or structures. OpenGL provides a glUniform function with the usual suffixes, appropriate for each type. For example, to assign to a variable of type vec3, one would use glUniform3f or glUniform3fv.

For arrays, we can use the functions ending in "v" to initialize multiple values within the array. Note that if it is desired, we can query for the location of a particular element of the uniform array using the [] operator. For example, to query for the location of the second element of MyArray we will query in the following way:

 GLuint location = 
     glGetUniformLocation( programHandle, "MyArray[1]" );

For structures, the members of the structure must be initialized individually. As with arrays, one can query for the location of a member of a structure using something like the following:

GLuint location = 
     glGetUniformLocation( programHandle, 
                           "MyMatrices.Rotation" );

Where the structure variable is MyMatrices and the member of the structure is Rotation.

See also

  • Compiling a shader

  • Linking a shader program

  • Sending data to a shader using per-vertex attributes and vertex buffer objects