Color Write Masks
Color write masks enable you to block writes to the Red, Green, Blue, or Alpha channels of the framebuffer. This is not a frequently-used capability, but it
does have a few applications:
- When using red-blue 3D glasses, you might want to render the red image, then the blue image. (In fact, Panda uses this technique automatically when you set red-blue-stereo 1 in your Config.prc file.)
- Battletech Battle Pods connect 3 black-and-white monitors to a single R,G,B video card output (really!) With the help of color write masks, you could update an individual monitor.
- Sometimes, one wants to store data in the alpha-channel of the framebuffer. Using a color mask can avoid accidentally overwriting that data.
Using a color write-mask is not free. During normal rendering, each pixel written to the frame buffer requires a memory write. With a color-mask active, a memory read-modify-write cycle is needed, which is more expensive.
By default, color write masks are off.
Turning on the Color Mask
To enable writes to all the channels of the framebuffer, use this:
bits = ColorWriteAttrib.CAlpha
bits |= ColorWriteAttrib.CRed
bits |= ColorWriteAttrib.CGreen
bits |= ColorWriteAttrib.CBlue
To disable writes to one or more channels, omit that bit. You can also use:
To enable all bits.