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Using an OpenGL 3D engine to render to a pbuffer

Posted on 2004-08-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
Is there anyway i can use an OpenGL 3D to render to a pbuffer?  Is it possible for me to use this engine to animate a 3D model, and then set the world matrix from my code?  If so, how do i get this engine?
Question by:davidastle
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 11794363
Off-screen Rendering Using Pixel Buffers sample at:

about halfway down the page.

You can also certainly use any of the OpenGL based opensource game engines to do things like this.  I can't tell from your question what experience you have with opengl and what you are trying to do, but that link is one decent starting example.

That page has a lot of good sample code for OpenGL us.  The other good tutorial site is:


Author Comment

ID: 11794536
Basically my problem is that I have an artist who needs to export something from Maya, and I need to be able to run the animation in OpenGL... on a pbuffer.  This is a nightmarish task, and I want to get it done with as little pain as possible.
One of the possibilities that came up is to try to use a 3RD party 3D engine to render the animations on a black background to the pbuffer.  If this works, we may be able to cut out a lot of code.
Would this work?  Could i use a 3RD party 3D engine to do this and still control the OpenGL camera position / model position at any time?
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 11794685
Wow.  Yes, that IS a nightmarish task!  From scratch, that's no small job you've got ahead of you...

Yes.  Check out any of the open-source projects on sourceforge.net for Maya support... Plus google is your friend.  You want a free codebase that provides the Maya export/import connection, with animation support.  I don't know of anything off the top of my head.  You might find that some of the cheaper commercial engines (like garagegames.com Torque engine, etc.) might have the needed Maya support, but that's a big piece.


Author Comment

ID: 11794852
I've already done the code for rendering non animated Maya objects (obj files), and i have MD3 animations working.  Would it be easier to go for the engine, change my code to load a new animation format (i can reeuse a lot of the MD3 SLERP animation code), make a maya plugin that exports to our own format, or change the MD3 file format to suite my needs (there is a plugin for maya that supposedly exports to MD3, although i havent gotten it to work)?  I dont want to use MD3 since it doesnt really support skeletal animation.  People say that it does, but i ran some tests, and the only joints are the entire lower half of the, the torso, the gun, and the head.  It is a nightmare to try to add support for more joints; i would have to change the file format.
LVL 17

Accepted Solution

davebytes earned 1000 total points
ID: 11827804
If you want to really own the code, you probably want to either adopt a different 'open' object/animation format, or just bite the bullet and write your own format/exporter/importer.  Trying to extend MD3 seems a fruitless endeavor.  Using an existing engine would certainly be a fine approach if you found something that meets your needs for free -- not that many solutions out ther for certain.

Do you want to own the code?  If so, your answer is pretty much there for you: write your own exporter & format to meet your own needs -- or find an alternate existing format/exporter you can adapt (less likely...).


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