Alpha Channel of texture

Hi there,

for 2 days i am trying to get a texture with aplha channel loaded, but i am not familiar enough with file formats to get it done.
i tryed .raw, .bmp, .png but could never get my load_img() function work right.

The best i could get was a whith spot where transparency should be… but i guess its because the .raw format does not support alpha channes …

i know there are libs out there that offer easy load of texture, but i wanne understand it…

has anyone a example code that loads a .png file and uses alpha channes … so i can use:

glTexImage2D( GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_RGBA, width, height, 0, GL_RGBA, GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE, png_data);

thanx a lot

I would just use DevIL unless you have something against using a open source library. DevIL handles a lot of formats including png. It uses libpng under the hood.

You can use libpng directly if you want but the API is ugly and requires a LOT of function calls. On the plus side, they have code examples so you can almost copy and paste. It is also a open source library.

Thanx for the answer,

but has nobody here done a texture with alpha channes ?
or how does the ‘data’ need to look like that i pass to
glTexImage2D() as the last parameter when i use GL_RGBA ?

can someone give me a hint pls


OpenGL doesn’t have any functions to load textures from compressed formats. You could in theory open a raw RGBA type format - look for the NeHe tutorials, I think one does that.

For something like PNG, you are best to use a library - especially if you may need multiple formats.

But - was your initial code maybe OK? What should be showing through, if those are transparent objects, maybe it’s white behind? Do you also have blending enabled properly?


OpenGL can read compressed formats. Just not typical image compression formats like PNG or JPEG. It uses S3TC/RGTC/BPTC.

The simplest way to load a texture with alpha is to load .TGA files. HeNe give tutorials that show how to load such a file (which is basically a 12-byte header, followed by the raw data).
glTexImage2D( GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_RGBA8, width, height, 0, GL_RGBA, GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE, data).