Crate luminance [] [src]

What is this? License

luminance is an effort to make graphics rendering simple and elegant. The aims of luminance are:

  • making unsafe and stateful APIs (e.g. OpenGL) safe and stateless;
  • providing a simple API; that is, exposing core concepts without anything extra – just the bare stuff;
  • easy to read with a good documentation and set of tutorials, so that new comers don’t have to learn a lot of new concepts to get their feet wet.

Safety disclaimer

In strict terms, luminance is not safe, because it depends on several assumptions (OpenGL context, mostly). However, most of the rest of the library is safe – it’s way safer than issuing raw OpenGL calls. Work is yet to decide how to cope with those safety problems, but in the end, it’ll end up in luminance when time comes.

What’s included?

luminance is a rendering framework, not a 3D engine. As so, it doesn’t include stuff like lights, materials, asset management nor scene description. It only provides a rendering framework you can plug in whatever libraries you want to.

There are several so-called 3D-engines out there on Feel free to have a look around.

Features set

  • buffers: buffers are way to communicate with the GPU; they represent regions of memory you can write to and read from. There’re several kinds of buffers you can create, among vertex and index buffers, shader buffer, compute buffer, and so on and so forth…;
  • framebuffers: framebuffers are used to hold renders. Each time you want to perform a render, you need to perform it into a framebuffer. Framebuffers can then be combined with each other to produce nice effects;
  • shaders: luminance supports five kinds of shader stages:
    • tessellation control shaders;
    • tessellation evaluation shaders;
    • vertex shaders;
    • geometry shaders;
    • fragment shaders;
  • vertices, indices, primitives and tessellations: those are used to define a shape you can render into a framebuffer;
  • textures: textures represent information packed into arrays on the GPU, and can be used to customize a visual aspect or pass information around in shaders;
  • blending: blending is the process of taking two colors from two framebuffers and mixing them between each other;
  • and a lot of other cool things like GPU commands, pipelines, uniform interfaces and so on…

Current implementation

Currently, luminance is powered by OpenGL 3.3. It might change, but it’ll always be in favor on supporting more devices and technologies – a shift to Vulkan is planned.


luminance does not provide a way to create windows because it’s important that it not depend on windowing libraries – so that end-users can use whatever they like. Furthermore, such libraries typically implement windowing and events features, which have nothing to do with our initial purpose.

Keep in mind that you could, in theory, create a context for luminance on your own. Currently, this is highly unsafe, as you must only allocate the right context (an OpenGL 3.3, Core profile) and leave OpenGL calls to luminance. Some work is planned to give luminance a backend interface and make the whole thing cleaner and safer.

How to dig in?

luminance is written to be fairly simple. The documentation is very transparent about what the library does and several articles will appear as the development goes on. Keep tuned! The online documentation is also a good link to have around. As a start off, you need to have a look at the pipeline module.



That module exports blending-related types and functions.


Static GPU typed arrays.


Framebuffers and utility types and functions.


Generalized free tuples.


Aliases types used to make it easier using long linear algebra types.


Dynamic rendering pipelines.


Pixel formats types and function manipulation.


Shader-related modules.


Tessellation features.


This module provides texture features.


Vertex formats, associated types and functions.



Generalized free tuple macro.


Create a new struct that represents a uniform interface and automatically derive the impl for UniformInterface.