[vtkusers] Detection of insufficient OpenGL

Ken Martin ken.martin at kitware.com
Wed May 10 09:00:44 EDT 2017

In the new OpenGL2 backend if any feature works, then basically every
feature in VTK works, or has a fallback that is reasonable. Unlike the old
backend there are no features that may or may not work. This is mostly
because OpenGL 3.2 (which is what the new backend uses) is a very capable

If you are looking to test if the system has support for the new backend
then there are some methods on RenderWindow you can use such as
SupportsOpenGL which will make sure it supports what is needed for that

If you are looking for extending VTK with new rendering techniques then you
can use glew which is built into VTK to test for features.

If you are looking for GPU memory limits we do not have a class that does
that, but OpenGL does have methods for querying limits that may work. I
believe the GPU volume renderer makes use of them.

On Wed, May 10, 2017 at 8:17 AM, Elvis Stansvik <
elvis.stansvik at orexplore.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'd like our application to do detection of OpenGL capabilities, to
> make sure the capabilities are sufficient for what we're using VTK for
> (volume rendering with vtkGPUVolumeRayCastMapper, OpenGL2 backend +
> some charts stuff with vtkChartXY, in the future maybe other things).
> Is there any provisions in VTK itself for doing OpenGL feature
> detection (maybe conditioned on the parts of VTK that is to be used)?
> I guess I could always dig into the VTK source myself, to deduce what
> features are needed, and probe for that manually somehow, but it feels
> a bit brittle. It would be better if VTK itself could report
> insufficient OpenGL support in way that I can intercept, to show a
> meaningful error message.
> Anyone been in the same situation? I found this Slicer bug
>    http://na-mic.org/Mantis/view.php?id=4252
> where in the comments the developers are also discussing the
> possibilities of detecting OpenGL capabilities.
> Thanks,
> Elvis
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Ken Martin PhD
Distinguished Engineer
Kitware Inc.
28 Corporate Drive
Clifton Park NY 12065

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