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Core in version 4.6
Core since version 4.2
Core ARB extension ARB_shader_image_load_store

glBindImageTexture: bind a level of a texture to an image unit

Function Definition

 void glBindImageTexture(GLuint unit​, GLuint texture​, GLint level​, GLboolean layered​, GLint layer​, GLenum access​, GLenum format​);
Specifies the index of the image unit to which to bind the texture
Specifies the name of the texture to bind to the image unit.
Specifies the level of the texture that is to be bound.
Specifies whether a layered texture binding is to be established.
If layered​ is GL_FALSE, specifies the layer of texture​ to be bound to the image unit. Ignored otherwise.
Specifies a token indicating the type of access that will be performed on the image.
Specifies the format that the elements of the image will be treated as for the purposes of formatted stores.


glBindImageTexture binds a single level of a texture to an image unit for the purpose of reading and writing it from shaders. unit​ specifies the zero-based index of the image unit to which to bind the texture level. texture​ specifies the name of an existing texture object to bind to the image unit. If texture​ is zero, then any existing binding to the image unit is broken. level​ specifies the level of the texture to bind to the image unit.

If texture​ is the name of a one- or two-dimensional array texture, a 3D texture, a cube map or cube map array texture, or a two-dimensional multisample array texture, then it is possible to bind either the entire array, or only a single layer of the array to the image unit. In such cases, if layered​ is GL_TRUE, the entire array is attached to the image unit and layer​ is ignored. However, if layered​ is GL_FALSE then layer​ specifies the layer of the array to attach to the image unit. If the texture is not one of the types listed above, then the value of layered​ has no effect.

Layers of a one-dimensional array texture are treated as one-dimensional images. Layers of two-dimensional multisample array textures are treated as two-dimensional multisample textures. All of the others are treated as two-dimensional textures.

access​ specifies the access types to be performed by shaders and may be set to GL_READ_ONLY, GL_WRITE_ONLY, or GL_READ_WRITE to indicate read-only, write-only or read-write access, respectively. Violation of the access type specified in access​ (for example, if a shader writes to an image bound with access​ set to GL_READ_ONLY) will lead to undefined results, possibly including program termination.

format​ specifies the format that is to be used when performing formatted stores into the image from shaders. format​ must be compatible with the texture's internal format and must be one of the formats listed in the following table.

V · E
Image Unit Format Format Qualifier Image Unit Format Format Qualifier
GL_RGBA32F rgba32f GL_RGBA32UI rgba32ui
GL_RGBA16F rgba16f GL_RGBA16UI rgba16ui
GL_RG32F rg32f GL_RGB10_A2UI rgb10_a2ui
GL_RG16F rg16f GL_RGBA8UI rgba8ui
GL_R11F_G11F_B10F r11f_g11f_b10f GL_RG32UI rg32ui
GL_R32F r32f GL_RG16UI rg16ui
GL_R16F r16f GL_RG8UI rg8ui
GL_RGBA16 rgba16 GL_R32UI r32ui
GL_RGB10_A2 rgb10_a2 GL_R16UI r16ui
GL_RGBA8 rgba8 GL_R8UI r8ui
GL_RG16 rg16 GL_RGBA32I rgba32i
GL_RG8 rg8 GL_RGBA16I rgba16i
GL_R16 r16 GL_RGBA8I rgba8i
GL_R8 r8 GL_RG32I rg32i
GL_RGBA16_SNORM rgba16_snorm GL_RG16I rg16i
GL_RGBA8_SNORM rgba8_snorm GL_RG8I rg8i
GL_RG16_SNORM rg16_snorm GL_R32I r32i
GL_RG8_SNORM rg8_snorm GL_R16I r16i
GL_R16_SNORM r16_snorm GL_R8I r8i

When a texture is bound to an image unit, the format​ parameter for the image unit need not exactly match the texture internal format as long as the formats are considered compatible as defined in the OpenGL Specification. The matching criterion used for a given texture may be determined by calling glGetTexParameter with value​ set to GL_IMAGE_FORMAT_COMPATIBILITY_TYPE, with return values of GL_IMAGE_FORMAT_COMPATIBILITY_BY_SIZE and GL_IMAGE_FORMAT_COMPATIBILITY_BY_CLASS, specifying matches by size and class, respectively.


The glBindImageTexture is available only if the GL version is 4.2 or greater.


GL_INVALID_VALUE is generated if unit​ greater than or equal to the value of GL_MAX_IMAGE_UNITS.

GL_INVALID_VALUE is generated if texture​ is not the name of an existing texture object.

GL_INVALID_VALUE is generated if level​ or layer​ is less than zero.

GL_INVALID_ENUM is generated if access​ or format​ is not one of the supported tokens.

Associated Gets

glGet with argument GL_IMAGE_BINDING_NAME.

glGet with argument GL_IMAGE_BINDING_LEVEL.

glGet with argument GL_IMAGE_BINDING_LAYERED.

glGet with argument GL_IMAGE_BINDING_LAYER.

glGet with argument GL_IMAGE_BINDING_ACCESS.

glGet with argument GL_IMAGE_BINDING_FORMAT.

See Also

glBindImageTextures, glCompressedTexImage1D, glCompressedTexImage3D, glCompressedTexImage3D, glMemoryBarrier, glTexImage1D, glTexImage2D, glTexImage2DMultisample, glTexImage3D, glTexImage3DMultisample, glTexStorage1D, glTexStorage2D, glTexStorage2DMultisample, glTexStorage3D, glTexStorage3DMultisample


Copyright © 2011 Khronos Group. This material may be distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v 1.0, 8 June 1999.