opengl Texturing Using PBOs


Example

If you bind a buffer to GL_PIXEL_UNPACK_BUFFER then the data parameter in glTexImage2D is a offset into that buffer.

This means that the glTexImage2D doesn't need to wait for all the data to be copied out of the application's memory before it can return, reducing overhead in the main thread.

glGenBuffers(1, &pbo);
glBindBuffer(GL_PIXEL_UNPACK_BUFFER, pbo);
glBufferData(GL_PIXEL_UNPACK_BUFFER, width*height*3, NULL, GL_STREAM_DRAW);
void* mappedBuffer = glMapBuffer(GL_PIXEL_UNPACK_BUFFER, GL_WRITE_ONLY);

//write data into the mapped buffer, possibly in another thread.
int width, height;
unsigned char* image = SOIL_load_image("image.png", &width, &height, 0, SOIL_LOAD_RGB);
memcpy(mappedBuffer, image, width*height*3);
SOIL_free_image(image);

// after reading is complete back on the main thread
glBindBuffer(GL_PIXEL_UNPACK_BUFFER, pbo);
glUnmapBuffer(GL_PIXEL_UNPACK_BUFFER);
glTexImage2D(GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_RGB, width, height, 0, GL_RGB, GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE, 0);

But where PBOs really shine is when you need to read the result of a render back into application memory. To read pixel data into a buffer bind it to GL_PIXEL_PACK_BUFFER then the data parameter of glGetTexImage will be an offset into that buffer:

glGenBuffers(1, &pbo);
glBindBuffer(GL_PIXEL_PACK_BUFFER, pbo);
glBufferData(GL_PIXEL_PACK_BUFFER, buf_size, NULL, GL_STREAM_COPY);

glActiveTexture(GL_TEXTURE0);
glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, texture);

glGetTexImage(GL_TEXTURE_2D,
              0,
              GL_RGBA,
              GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE,
              null);
//ensure we don't try and read data before the transfer is complete
GLsync sync = glFenceSync(GL_SYNC_GPU_COMMANDS_COMPLETE, 0);

// then regularly check for completion
GLint result;
glGetSynciv(sync, GL_SYNC_STATUS, sizeof(result), NULL, &result);
if(result == GL_SIGNALED){
    glBindBuffer(GL_PIXEL_PACK_BUFFER, pbo);
    void* mappedBuffer = glMapBuffer(GL_PIXEL_PACK_BUFFER, GL_READ_ONLY);

    //now mapped buffer contains the pixel data

    glUnmapBuffer(GL_PIXEL_PACK_BUFFER);

}