Transparent FrameBuffer background in OpenGL

I want to use glClear and glClearColor to fill a frame buffer with a colour including alpha transparency. However the framebuffer always renders as opaque when binded to a texture which is rendered to the screen.

I want everything which is rendered to the framebuffer to kept their transparency. I just want to change the background.

See the following code:

def create_texture(surface):
surface.texture = glGenTextures(1)
glMatrixMode(GL_MODELVIEW)
glLoadIdentity() #Loads model matrix
glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, surface.texture) #Binds the current 2D texture to the texture to be drawn
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_MAG_FILTER, GL_LINEAR) #Required to be set for maping the pixel data
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_MIN_FILTER, GL_LINEAR) #Similar as above
glTexImage2D(GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_RGBA, surface.surface_size[0], surface.surface_size[1], 0, GL_RGBA,GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE, surface.data) #Put surface pixel data into texture
if surface.data == None:
    setup_framebuffer(surface)
    c = [float(sc)/255.0 for sc in surface.colour] #Divide colours by 255 because OpenGL uses 0-1
    if surface.background_alpha:
        c[3] = float(surface.background_alpha)/255.0
    glClearColor(*c)
    glClear(GL_COLOR_BUFFER_BIT)
    end_framebuffer()
Surface.texture_ready.append(surface)
def setup_framebuffer(surface):
#Create texture if not done already
if surface.texture == None:
    create_texture(surface)
#Render child to parent
if surface.frame_buffer == None:
    surface.frame_buffer =  glGenFramebuffersEXT(1)
glBindFramebufferEXT(GL_FRAMEBUFFER_EXT, surface.frame_buffer)
glFramebufferTexture2DEXT(GL_FRAMEBUFFER_EXT, GL_COLOR_ATTACHMENT0_EXT, GL_TEXTURE_2D, surface.texture, 0)
glPushAttrib(GL_VIEWPORT_BIT)
glViewport(0,0,surface._scale[0],surface._scale[1])
glMatrixMode(GL_PROJECTION)
glLoadIdentity() #Load the projection matrix
gluOrtho2D(0,surface._scale[0],0,surface._scale[1])
def end_framebuffer():
    glPopAttrib()
    glBindFramebufferEXT(GL_FRAMEBUFFER_EXT, 0)
    glMatrixMode(GL_PROJECTION)
    glLoadIdentity() #Load the projection matrix
    gluOrtho2D(0,1280,720,0) #Set an orthorgraphic view

surface.background_alpha should be the transparency for the framebuffer background. Here is my initialization code:

def __init__(self,title,game_size,on_exit = sys.exit):
        self.keys = [False] * 323
        self.events = []
        pygame.font.init()
        pygame.mixer.init()
        self.title = title
        self.game_size = game_size
        self.first_screen = (1280,720) #Take 120 pixels from the height because the menu bar, window bar and dock takes space
        glutInit(sys.argv)
        glutInitWindowPosition(0,0)
        glutInitWindowSize(*game_size)
        glutInitDisplayMode(GLUT_DOUBLE | GLUT_RGBA)
        glutGameModeString("1280x720:32@60") #720 HD
        glutCreateWindow(title)
        glutSetIconTitle(title)
        self.callbacks()
        self.game_gap = (0,0)
        self.on_exit = on_exit
        self.mod_key = 1024 if sys.platform == "darwin" else 64
        Surface.__init__(self,game_size)
        self.screen_change = True
        self.frames = [time.time()]
        self.fps = 60
        self.last_time = 0
        self.fade_surface = Surface([1280,720])
    def callbacks(self):
        glutReshapeFunc(self.reshaped)
        glutKeyboardFunc(self.keydown)
        glutKeyboardUpFunc(self.keyup)
        glutSpecialFunc(self.specialdown)
        glutSpecialUpFunc(self.specialup)
        glutDisplayFunc(self.game_loop)
        glutIdleFunc(self.game_loop)
        glutMouseFunc(self.mouse_func)
        glutPassiveMotionFunc(self.mouse_move)
        glViewport(0,0,self.first_screen[0],self.first_screen[1]) #Creates the viewport which is mapped to the window
        glEnable(GL_BLEND) #Enable alpha blending
        glEnable(GL_TEXTURE_2D) #Enable 2D Textures
        glEnable(GL_POLYGON_SMOOTH) #Enable antialiased polygons
        glHint(GL_POLYGON_SMOOTH_HINT, GL_NICEST)
        glHint(GL_LINE_SMOOTH_HINT, GL_NICEST)
        glBlendFunc(GL_SRC_ALPHA, GL_ONE_MINUS_SRC_ALPHA)
        glMatrixMode(GL_PROJECTION)
        glLoadIdentity() #Load the projection matrix
        gluOrtho2D(0,1280,720,0) #Set an orthorgraphic view

The code is a little messy because I have made lots of adjustments to get things to work and I haven't properly tidied everything up.

If anyone can help me, I thank you greatly.


Asked by: Max943 | Posted: 30-11-2021






Answer 1

I think there's a basic misunderstanding of the framebuffer here. The framebuffer is not really a buffer of data in itself, it does not hold any data. You attach buffers TO it (like a texture) so that you can render to offscreen buffers in the same manner you draw to the screen. So when you say you want to "glClear and glClearColor to fill a frame buffer with a colour including alpha transparency", it doesn't quite make sense because the framebuffer does not hold any color data itself.

When you attach the texture to the framebuffer with this call:

glFramebufferTexture2DEXT(GL_FRAMEBUFFER_EXT, GL_COLOR_ATTACHMENT0_EXT, GL_TEXTURE_2D, surface.texture, 0)

You're making the "surface.texture" the rendering destination of the framebuffer. In other words, you're essentially saying "When I draw to this framebuffer, draw into this texture.".

Answered by: Wilson208 | Posted: 01-01-2022



Answer 2

If you are trying to make the framebuffer transparent so you can render an object on top of your Desktop, you must know that that's not possible through Glut.

This kind of effect is specific to the platform you are using. What is it? Linux? Windows? Mac OS X? You'll have to get your hands dirty (drop Glut out of the equation) and understand a little more about building windows.

By the way, if your target is Windows you should check this:

(win32) How to make an OpenGL rendering context with transparent background?

Answered by: Melissa289 | Posted: 01-01-2022



Answer 3

The clear color alpha of the FBO must be equal to 0 :

glColorMask(TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE);
glClearColor(0, 0, 0, 0);
glClear(GL_COLOR_BUFFER_BIT);

Answered by: Walter154 | Posted: 01-01-2022



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