View Full Version : Depth pre-pass: does OpenGL still execute fragment shader if color mask is GL_FALSE?

03-20-2014, 11:36 AM
Supposing I set up as:

glFramebufferDrawBufferEXT(id, GL_NONE); // id is currently bound framebuffer object

If the bound fragment shader does not explicitly write to gl_FragDepth, will it still be executed, given that the color mask is false and the draw buffer is nil? Or can I assume the driver will be smarter than that?
Is it better to simply not have an active fragment shader, or will that cause the fixed function fragment processing to be substituted?
Overall, what's the best approach here? Should I have a separate version of each shader for the depth pre-pass, or rely on the driver being smart enough to cull unnecessary computations (including vertex shader outputs which end up not being used in subsequent stages, like normals, for example)?

Ilian Dinev
03-20-2014, 01:33 PM
1) All drivers will be smart enough to disable fragment-shader invocation, unless you use any of: gl_FragDepth, discard/coverage/samplemask, atomics. Because this is a very common thing, when drawing a shadowmap.
2) A fixed-func shader will be generated

A simple and decent solution is to just use your normal fragment+vertex shaders and disable color-write. The best solution is to use a special frag+vert pair, that has no varyings or extra fluff. This will accelerate vertex processing and triangle setup. Also, because the shader is so simple, you will probably only have 2-3 such GLSL programs total. One for solids, one for alphatested/discarded stuff, one for things that write to gl_FragDepth. Versus the hundreds/thousands of programs of your material-library. So, switching between these programs will be rare and very fast.