Texture system

Make sure your PixelsWorld version is v3.3.0+

This section gives a detailed introduction of Texture system in PixelsWorld.

Texture id

In PixelsWorld, every texture is represented as an integer. It is called texId. The basic texIds provided by PixelsWorld are as followed.

texId Globals in Lua Globals in GLSL Globals Shadertoy Description
-3 OUTPUT Inaccessible Inaccessible Output texture
-2 TEMP PW_TEMP_LAYER _PixelsWorld_PW_TEMP_LAYER Cache texture
-1 INPUT AE_INPUT_LAYER _PixelsWorld_AE_INPUT_LAYER Input texture
0 PARAM0 0 0 Layer parameter 0 texture
1 PARAM1 1 1 Layer parameter 1 texture
... PARAM... ... ... ...
9 PARAM9 9 9 Layer parameter 9 texture

You can also create your texId. The method will be covered below.

How they work

Normally, Ae sends a picture to PixelsWorld to process. PixelsWorld loads it to the INPUT texId, writes the result to OUTPUT texId. Finally blits all pixels to Ae.

What is TEMP texId

Because OpenGL doesn't support read and write to the same texture at the same time. PixelsWorld provides TEMP texId to hold the last shading results (Means the TEMP texId only makes sense in Lua mode and you called glsl function twice or more). You can use getColor(PW_TEMP_LAYER,uv); in glsl code to sample colors in TEMP texId.

Create texture

Use newTex(width,height) to create a texture. Returns a texId. (a random integer)

Delete texture

Use delTex(id) to delete a texture.

In most cases, you don't have to delete texture by yourself. PixelsWorld will release all texture memory at the end of each frame.

Size of texture

Use getSize(id) to get the size of a texture.


mytex = newTex(512,256)
w,h = getSize(mytex)
println("Width of mytex is: " .. w)
println("Height of mytex is: " .. h)


Swap textures

Use swapTex(id1,id2) to swap the pixels data of id1 and id2.


tex1 = newTex(128,128)
tex2 = newTex(256,256)
w,h = getSize(tex1)
println("tex1 size: " .. w .. ", ".. h)
w,h = getSize(tex1)
println("tex1 size after swapped: " .. w .. ", ".. h)


Set drawTo

Use drawTo(id) to set the texture the objs would be drawn. The default drawTo texId is OUTPUT. Note that PixelsWorld only blits pixels in OUTPUT to Ae, no matter what the drawTo texId is. Here are 3 approaches you can send pixels in other texId to OUTPUT:

  1. drawTo(OUTPUT)+image
  2. castTex
  3. swapTex

Cast texture

Use castTex(toTexId,fromTexId) to cast pixels data from fromTexId to toTexId. E.g. You can cast pixels in PARAM0 to OUTPUT.



You can also specify the cast range. (The origin is left top corner)

  • castTex(toTexId,fromTexId,to1x,to1y,to2x,to2y)
  • castTex(toTexId,fromTexId,to1x,to1y,to2x,to2y,from1x,from1y,from2x,from2y)

Cast all pixels by default.


Blend textures

Use blendTex(toTexId,fromTexId,blendRule) to blend fromTex to toTex by rule blendRule

  2. blendRule can be blend rule(string).
    • A menas input pixels of toTexId
    • B means input pixels of fromTexId
    • C means output pixels of toTexId E.g. you can specify your rule to blend PARAM0 and INPUT.


castTex(OUTPUT,INPUT) -- Cast INPUT texture to OUTPUT firstly. 
blendTex(OUTPUT,PARAM0,"C=A+B") -- Blend PARAM0 to OUTPUT.

Indeed, the "C=A+B" will be processed to the following code inside PixelsWorld.


#version 330 core
out vec4 outColor;
in vec2 uv;
in vec2 uv2;
uniform sampler2D inLayerA;
uniform sampler2D inLayerB;
void main(){
    vec4 A = texture(inLayerA,uv);
    vec4 B = texture(inLayerB,uv2);
    vec4 C = A;
    C=A+B // Your blend rule is combined here. 
    outColor = C;

Same with castTex, blendTex also supports range specifying:

  • blendTex(toTexId,fromTexId,blendRule,to1x,to1y,to2x,to2y)
  • blendTex(toTexId,fromTexId,blendRule,to1x,to1y,to2x,to2y,from1x,from1y,from2x,from2y)


Copy texture

Use copyTex(refTexId) to copy texture. Returns new texId.

Fetch texture at any time

Use fetchTex(layerId, time) to obtain the specified layer pixels at the specified time. It returns a random texture ID.

  • layerId: Only PARAM0~PARAM9 are accepted.
  • time: The double layer time in seconds.
  • Note: Use of this function would cause wrong caching. Please purge the chache while you are using this function.
  • New in v3.4.3+.

Texture IO

Use savePNG(utf8Path,texId),loadPNG(utf8Path) to save or load PNG image.

Use saveEXR(utf8Path,texId),loadEXR(utf8Path) to save or load EXR image.

Use saveRAW(utf8Path,texId),loadRAW(utf8Path) to save or load MiLai original raw memory image.

Supported image specifications are listed below.

Format Library Supported compression algorithms Color format
PNG cute_headers DEFLATE compliant decompressor zlib(RFC 1950) RGBA,clamped 8bit unsigned integer per channel.
EXR tinyexr NONE,RLE,ZIP,ZIPS,PIZ,ZFP RGBA,HDR 32bit floating point per channel.
RAW (None) MiLai original format. (See figure below) RGBA, HDR 32bit floating-point per channel.


Load PNG image to scene:


local mypng = loadPNG([[d:\test.png]]) -- Replace to your path. 
castTex(OUTPUT,mypng) -- Cast pixels from mypng to OUTPUT.

Save OUTPUT texId to local:



--Draw something to OUTPUT
--End drawing. 

savePNG([[d:\test.png]],OUTPUT) -- Save OUTPUT as PNG to local disc. Replace to your path here.
  • Change PNG to EXR to read/write EXR file.
  • Some local paths might need running Ae under the Administrator mode.

Edit texture

Use rotateTex(texId,times) to rotate texture 90*timesdegrees, rotateTex(texId) equals to rotateTex(texId,1)

Use flipTex(texId,flipV) to mirror flip a image. flipV is a boolean. When flipV is true, flip the image vertically, and horizontally otherwise.

Use resizeTex(texId,width,height) to resize texture.

Use trimTex(texId,p1x,p1y,p2x,p2y) to trim texture. The origin of p1x,p1y,p2x,p2y is left top corner.

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