Modern OpenGL binding for python
Latest commit e8f2d16 Sep 2, 2018



pip install ModernGL


  • GPU accelerated high quality graphics
  • Rendering modern OpenGL scenes with less headache
  • Simpler and faster than PyOpenGL
  • Can render without a window
  • 100% Pythonic

Sample usage

>>> import moderngl
>>> ctx = moderngl.create_standalone_context()
>>> buf = ctx.buffer(b'Hello World!')  # allocated on the GPU
b'Hello World!'

For complete examples please visit the Examples.

Easy to use with Pillow and Numpy

>>> img ='texture.jpg')
>>> ctx.texture(img.size, 3, img.tobytes())
<Texture: 1>
>>> ctx.buffer(np.array([0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 1.0], dtype='f4'))
<Buffer: 1>

Compared to PyOpenGL

With the original OpenGL API you have to write a couple of lines to achieve a simple task like compiling a shader or running a computation on the GPU. With ModernGL you will need just a few lines to achieve the same result.

Using PyOpenGL

vbo1 = glGenBuffers(1)
GL.glBindBuffer(GL_ARRAY_BUFFER, vbo1)
GL.glBufferData(GL_ARRAY_BUFFER, b'Hello World!', GL_STATIC_DRAW)

vbo2 = glGenBuffers(1)
GL.glBindBuffer(GL_ARRAY_BUFFER, vbo2)
GL.glBufferData(GL_ARRAY_BUFFER, b'\x00' * 1024, GL_DYNAMIC_DRAW)

Using ModernGL

vbo1 = ctx.buffer(b'Hello World!')
vbo2 = ctx.buffer(reserve=1024, dynamic=True)


build build

python build_ext --inplace


Is ModernGL faster than PyOpenGL?

In some cases yes, the core functions of ModernGL are written in C++, OpenGL functions are called in quick succession so these calls together count as a single python function call.

What version of OpenGL is used?

Most of the calls only require OpenGL 3.3 but Subroutines and Compute Shaders require OpenGL 4.0 and OpenGL 4.3

Is my old PC supported?

OpenGL 3.3 came out in February 2010. With up to date drivers you will be able to use the most of the ModernGL functions, even on integrated graphics cards. (No, Compute Shaders won't work)

Where can I use ModernGL?

Anywhere where OpenGL is supported. ModernGL is capable of rendering using a standalone_context as well. Rendering to a window only requires a valid OpenGL context.

Can ModernGL create a Window?

NO, Window creation is up to you. You can choose from a large variety of modules that can create a window: PyQt5, pyglet, pygame, GLUT and many others.

Limitations using ModernGL over PyOpenGL?

All the neccessary calls are (or can be) implemented in ModernGL. However you can interract with the ModernGL objects from PyOpenGL. If something is missing write an issue or raise a PR.

Supported platforms

  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Mac

Installing from source

Installing on Ubuntu from source

apt-get install python3-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libx11-dev
python3 install

Building the sphinx documentation

pip install -r docs/requirements.txt
python build_sphinx

Running tests


Some of the tests may be skipped when the supported OpenGL version is below the requirements of the given test.

Headless rendering

apt-get install xvfb
alias xpy='xvfb-run -s "-screen 0 1x1x24" python3'
xpy -m ModernGL

Code quality

Code is tested with pep8, flake8, prospector and pylint



and many others

Thank You!

Contributions are welcome. (Please add yourself to the list)