Color attachments#


Texture is “attached”#

The data is passed from shader to shader using color attachments.

There are at least 4 for all machines. For machines that can support it, there are up to 16.


MacOS is limited to 8 color attachments, even with a modern GPU

In the deferred, composite, and final shaders, these are referenced by the gcolor, gdepth, gnormal, composite, gaux1, gaux2, gaux3, and gaux4 uniforms.


colortex0 to colortex15 can be used instead of gcolor, gdepth, etc.

Despite the naming, gnormal and onward are the same and can be used for any purpose, gcolor and gdepth have meaning:

  • The first one, gcolor, has its color cleared to the current fog color before rendering.

  • The second one, gdepth, has its color cleared to solid white before rendering and uses a higher precision storage buffer suitable for storing depth values.

  • The rest have their color cleared to black with 0 alpha.

Each color attachment uses 2 buffers (A and B) with logical names "main" and "alt", which can be used as ping-pong buffers. When the buffers are flipped, the mapping between main/alt and A/B is reversed.

Gbuffer programs always read from main (only gaux1-4) and write to main buffers (they shouldn’t read and write to the same buffer at the same time).

Deferred/composite programs always read from main and write to alt buffers. After a deferred/composite program is rendered, the buffers that it writes to are flipped so the next programs can see the current output as input.

The property flip.<program>.<buffer>=<true|false> can be used to enable or disable the flip, independent of the buffer write. The virtual programs “deferred_pre” and “composite_pre” can be used for buffer flipping before the deferred/composite pass.

Output color attachments are configured with the “/* DRAWBUFFERS:XYZ */” or “/* RENDERTARGETS: X,Y,Z */” comment, placed in the fragment shader. Gbuffers, deferred and composite programs can write to any color attachment, but no more than 8 at the same time.

If the output color attachments are not configured, then the program will write to the first 8 color attachments.

When writing to the color attachments in the composite shader, blending is disabled. Writing to color attachments that the composite shader also reads from will generate artifacts, unless the original contents are simply copied.

🆚️ This documentation assumes the latest OptiFine version. Notes are not made for legacy versions (1.8).
🔙️ This documentation is updated to commit 8410499f.
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