View Full Version : glGetAttribLocation returning -1

Guillaume G.
10-11-2009, 12:29 PM
Hello OGL Experts :)

I'm currently warming up to OGL3.2 / GLSL 1.5 in C#, using OpenTK Wrapper which is close enough to the real API to make me think my issue is more an OpenGL issue than an OpenTK one.

I have created a small vertex shader & fragment shader. My vertex shader has 3 input (color, normal, and of course, vertex) and 2 output (color, normal), which are used in my fragment shader.

My issue, in short, is that the following code (after linking of the "ShaderProgram", to which I attached my vertex and fragment shader)

int positionLocation = GL.GetAttribLocation(pipeline.ShaderProgram, "in_position");
int colorLocation = GL.GetAttribLocation(pipeline.ShaderProgram, "in_color");
int normalLocation = GL.GetAttribLocation(pipeline.ShaderProgram, "in_normal");

returns :

positionLocation = 0
colorLocation = 1
normalLocation = -1

The shader program compiled successfully, and glError contains "no error"...

The vertex shader program is as follow:

#version 150

precision highp float;

uniform mat4 projection_matrix;
uniform mat4 modelview_matrix;

in vec3 in_position;
in vec3 in_color;
in vec3 in_normal;

out vec3 normal;
out vec3 color;

void main(void)
//works only for orthogonal modelview
normal = (modelview_matrix * vec4(in_normal, 0)).xyz;

//send color information to fragment shader
color = in_color;

gl_Position = projection_matrix * modelview_matrix * vec4(in_position, 1);

So, a quite simple shader, and of course "in_normal" is there...

Also, if I don't call EnableVertexAttribArray(normalLocation), then the code runs fine, the vertex and colors are correct. Of course, not the normals...

Is there anything I need to set up to have more than 2 attribs?


Ilian Dinev
10-11-2009, 12:52 PM
This can only happen if in the frag-shader you're not _really_ using the "vec3 normal". Compilers can optimize-out its use, like in:

glFragColor = vec4(normal,1);
glFragColor = vec4(1,2,3,4); // now "normal" gets optimized-out

10-11-2009, 01:46 PM
Ilian is right, you are using "in_normal" to compute "normal" but then "normal" is not used for the computation of vertex shader output data. So the clever compiler just has discarded it at compilation time!

Guillaume G.
10-11-2009, 02:07 PM
Thank you Ilian and Dletozeun!

Ilian is right, you are using "in_normal" to compute "normal" but then "normal" is not used for the computation of vertex shader output data. So the clever compiler just has discarded it at compilation time!

Are you saying I got outsmarted by a Shader Compiler ?! :)

I'm not sure I understand : how am I then supposed to give data to that supposedly useless in_normal? Of course, I only use it in the Vertex Shader, not in the Fragment shader, but "normal" is used in the Fragment shader for (poor) light computations, like this :

#version 150

precision highp float;

const vec3 ambient = vec3(0.1, 0.1, 0.1);
const vec3 lightVecNormalized = normalize(vec3(0.5, 0.5, 2));
const vec3 lightColor = vec3(0.9, 0.9, 0.7);

in vec3 normal;
in vec3 color;

out vec4 gl_FragColor;

void main(void)
float diffuse = clamp(dot(lightVecNormalized, normalize(normal)), 0.0, 1.0);
gl_FragColor = normalize(vec4(color + ambient + diffuse * lightColor,1.0));

So, in the fragment shader, I use "normal" ... and since "normal" is an input, it must come from the vertex shader, and it's computed there from the "in_normal". In that regard, WHO is that compiler to flag "in_normal" as useless? :)

More importantly, what's the key difference between "in_color" and "in_normal" ? "in_color" is even less used in the Vertex Shader, but it gets a proper location... :(

Ilian Dinev
10-11-2009, 02:33 PM
The code looks alright, and "normal" is really used :S. Maybe we're missing something.
I generally use glBindAttribLoc instead of letting the linker decide.

Guillaume G.
10-11-2009, 02:44 PM

Out of sheer desperation, I added this before Linking my shader:

GL.BindAttribLocation(shaderProgram, 0, "in_position");
GL.BindAttribLocation(shaderProgram, 1, "in_color");
GL.BindAttribLocation(shaderProgram, 2, "in_normal");

And now, normalLocation gets the proper value, which is 2.

I feel that somehow, this shouldn't be necessary, a linker should be able to count inputs from 0 to 2 :) Is that some kind of bug in the linker? I thought I read somewhere in the specs that if no binding has been done, one will be provided anyway.

Thanks for the hint!


10-11-2009, 02:54 PM
Oh my mistake! Sorry. :( I missed the "in vec3 normal" ... So "normal" is used actually.

Binding an attribute name to a generic attribute index does not mean that your shaders are ok. Actually, you can bind any attribute name to a generic attribute index, including names that are not used in any vertex shader. Thus, the fact that Opengl did not bind the "normal" attribute is either a driver bug or something is wrong in the shader and Opengl has thrown a compile or link error. Have you checked that?