ffff843 Nov 16, 2018
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This tutorial will describe how to create the redball demo, introducing you to materials and textures.

For starters, create a text file called redball.html and copy over the HTML that we used in the previous tutorial. Change the last script tag from triangle.js to redball.js.

Next you'll need to get a couple command-line tools: matc and cmgen. You can find these in the appropriate Filament release. You should choose the archive that corresponds to your development machine rather than the one for web.

Define plastic material

The matc tool consumes a text file containing a high-level description of a PBR material, and produces a binary material package that contains shader code and associated metadata. For more information, see the official document describing the Filament Material System.

Let's try out matc. Create the following file in your favorite text editor and call it plastic.mat.

material {
    name : Lit,
    shadingModel : lit,
    parameters : [
        { type : float3, name : baseColor },
        { type : float,  name : roughness },
        { type : float,  name : clearCoat },
        { type : float,  name : clearCoatRoughness }

fragment {
    void material(inout MaterialInputs material) {
        material.baseColor.rgb = materialParams.baseColor;
        material.roughness = materialParams.roughness;
        material.clearCoat = materialParams.clearCoat;
        material.clearCoatRoughness = materialParams.clearCoatRoughness;

Next, invoke matc as follows.

matc -O -a opengl -p mobile -o plastic.filamat plastic.mat

You should now have a material archive in your working directory, which we'll use later in the tutorial.

Bake environment map

Next we'll use Filament's cmgen tool to consume a HDR environment map in latlong format, and produce two cubemap files: a mipmapped IBL and a blurry skybox.

Download pillars_2k.hdr, then invoke the following command in your terminal.

cmgen -x . --format=ktx --size=256 --extract-blur=0.1 pillars_2k.hdr

You should now have a pillars_2k folder containing a couple KTX files for the IBL and skybox, as well as a text file with spherical harmonics coefficients. You can discard the text file because the IBL KTX contains these coefficients in its metadata.

Create JavaScript

Next, create redball.js with the following content.

const environ = 'pillars_2k';
const ibl_url = `${environ}/${environ}_ibl.ktx`;
const sky_url = `${environ}/${environ}_skybox.ktx`;
const filamat_url = 'plastic.filamat'

Filament.init([ filamat_url, ibl_url, sky_url ], () => {
  // Create some global aliases to enums for convenience.
  window.VertexAttribute = Filament.VertexAttribute;
  window.AttributeType = Filament.VertexBuffer$AttributeType;
  window.PrimitiveType = Filament.RenderableManager$PrimitiveType;
  window.IndexType = Filament.IndexBuffer$IndexType;
  window.Fov = Filament.Camera$Fov;
  window.LightType = Filament.LightManager$Type;

  // Obtain the canvas DOM object and pass it to the App.
  const canvas = document.getElementsByTagName('canvas')[0]; = new App(canvas);
} );

class App {
  constructor(canvas) {
    this.canvas = canvas;
    const engine = this.engine = Filament.Engine.create(canvas);
    const scene = engine.createScene();

    // TODO: create material
    // TODO: create sphere
    // TODO: create lights
    // TODO: create IBL
    // TODO: create skybox

    this.swapChain = engine.createSwapChain();
    this.renderer = engine.createRenderer(); = engine.createCamera();
    this.view = engine.createView();
    this.render = this.render.bind(this);
    this.resize = this.resize.bind(this);
    window.addEventListener('resize', this.resize);

  render() {
    const eye = [0, 0, 4], center = [0, 0, 0], up = [0, 1, 0];
    const radians = / 10000;
    vec3.rotateY(eye, eye, center, radians);, center, up);
    this.renderer.render(this.swapChain, this.view);

  resize() {
    const dpr = window.devicePixelRatio;
    const width = this.canvas.width = window.innerWidth * dpr;
    const height = this.canvas.height = window.innerHeight * dpr;
    this.view.setViewport([0, 0, width, height]);, width / height, 1.0, 10.0, Fov.VERTICAL);

The above boilerplate should be familiar to you from the previous tutorial, although it loads in a new set of assets. We also added some animation to the camera.

Next let's create a material instance from the package that we built at the beginning the tutorial. Replace the create material comment with the following snippet.

const material = engine.createMaterial(filamat_url);
const matinstance = material.createInstance();

const red = [0.8, 0.0, 0.0];
matinstance.setColorParameter('baseColor', Filament.RgbType.sRGB, red);
matinstance.setFloatParameter('roughness', 0.5);
matinstance.setFloatParameter('clearCoat', 1.0);
matinstance.setFloatParameter('clearCoatRoughness', 0.3);

The next step is to create a renderable for the sphere. To help with this, we'll use the IcoSphere utility class, whose constructor takes a LOD. Its job is to subdivide an icosadedron, producing three arrays:

  • icosphere.vertices Float32Array of XYZ coordinates.
  • icosphere.tangents Uint16Array (interpreted as half-floats) encoding the surface orientation as quaternions.
  • icosphere.triangles Uint16Array with triangle indices.

Let's go ahead use these arrays to build the vertex buffer and index buffer. Replace create sphere with the following snippet.

const renderable = Filament.EntityManager.get().create();

const icosphere = new Filament.IcoSphere(5);

const vb = Filament.VertexBuffer.Builder()
  .vertexCount(icosphere.vertices.length / 3)
  .attribute(VertexAttribute.POSITION, 0, AttributeType.FLOAT3, 0, 0)
  .attribute(VertexAttribute.TANGENTS, 1, AttributeType.SHORT4, 0, 0)

const ib = Filament.IndexBuffer.Builder()

vb.setBufferAt(engine, 0, icosphere.vertices);
vb.setBufferAt(engine, 1, icosphere.tangents);
ib.setBuffer(engine, icosphere.triangles);

  .boundingBox([ [-1, -1, -1], [1, 1, 1] ])
  .material(0, matinstance)
  .geometry(0, PrimitiveType.TRIANGLES, vb, ib)
  .build(engine, renderable);

At this point, the app is rendering a sphere, but it is black so it doesn't show up. To prove that the sphere is there, you can try changing the background color to blue via setClearColor, like we did in the first tutorial.

Add lighting

In this section we will create some directional light sources, as well as an image-based light (IBL) defined by one of the KTX files we built at the start of the demo. First, replace the create lights comment with the following snippet.

const sunlight = Filament.EntityManager.get().create();
  .color([0.98, 0.92, 0.89])
  .direction([0.6, -1.0, -0.8])
  .build(engine, sunlight);

const backlight = Filament.EntityManager.get().create();
        .direction([-1, 0, 1])
        .build(engine, backlight);

The SUN light source is similar to the DIRECTIONAL light source, but has some extra parameters because Filament will automatically draw a disk into the skybox.

Next we need to create an IndirectLight object from the KTX IBL. One way of doing this is the following (don't type this out, there's an easier way).

const format = Filament.PixelDataFormat.RGBM;
const datatype = Filament.PixelDataType.UBYTE;

// Create a Texture object for the mipmapped cubemap.
const ibl_package = Filament.Buffer(Filament.assets[ibl_url]);
const iblktx = new Filament.KtxBundle(ibl_package);

const ibltex = Filament.Texture.Builder()

for (let level = 0; level < iblktx.getNumMipLevels(); ++level) {
  const uint8array = iblktx.getCubeBlob(level).getBytes();
  const pixelbuffer = Filament.PixelBuffer(uint8array, format, datatype);
  ibltex.setImageCube(engine, level, pixelbuffer);

// Parse the spherical harmonics metadata.
const shstring = iblktx.getMetadata('sh');
const shfloats = shstring.split(/\s/, 9 * 3).map(parseFloat);

// Build the IBL object and insert it into the scene.
const indirectLight = Filament.IndirectLight.Builder()
  .irradianceSh(3, shfloats)


Filament provides a JavaScript utility to make this simpler, simply replace the create IBL comment with the following snippet.

const indirectLight = engine.createIblFromKtx(ibl_url);

Add background

At this point you can run the demo and you should see a red plastic ball against a black background. Without a skybox, the reflections on the ball are not representative of its surroundings. Here's one way to create a texture for the skybox:

const sky_package = Filament.Buffer(Filament.assets[sky_url]);
const skyktx = new Filament.KtxBundle(sky_package);
const skytex = Filament.Texture.Builder()

const uint8array = skyktx.getCubeBlob(0).getBytes();
const pixelbuffer = Filament.PixelBuffer(uint8array, format, datatype);
skytex.setImageCube(engine, 0, pixelbuffer);

Filament provides a Javascript utility to make this easier. Replace create skybox with the following.

const skybox = engine.createSkyFromKtx(sky_url);

That's it, we now have a shiny red ball floating in an environment! The complete JavaScript file is available here.

In the next tutorial, we'll take a closer look at textures and interaction.