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OpenGL Issues

Ben Fry edited this page Oct 5, 2019 · 4 revisions

OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) is a cross-platform graphics interface for 3D and 2D graphics. This library allows Processing programs to utilize the speed of an OpenGL accelerated graphics card. This expands the potential for drawing more to the screen and creating larger windows. Processing interfaces with OpenGL through JOGL, an initiative formerly from the Game Technology Group at Sun. For more information, please visit the OpenGL and JOGL websites.

Changes in Processing 2.0

In Processing 2.0, a new version of the OpenGL library replaces the one found in 1.x releases:

  • It requires a more recent version of OpenGL, which may cause problems on older hardware and/or out-of-date drivers
  • it is now part of the core (no need to use Import Library → OpenGL). This simplifies things (enormously), and brings better parity with other platforms like Android. This makes exported applications larger, but the benefits are worth it.
  • The new library is based on Andres Colubri's Android work (and his experiences developing the GLGraphics library). All the great things from Android have now been back-ported to the desktop version of Processing, so we have a super fast OpenGL library.


  • Try updating your graphics card drivers. If you're getting a blank screen with sketch that uses OpenGL, or the sketch is hanging or starting very slowly, you likely need to update your drivers. On Windows, updated drivers are available from your machine's vendor, Windows Update, or the manufacturer of your graphics card. On Mac OS X, use Software Update to make sure your system is up to date. On Linux, try the non-free version of a driver.

  • On Windows, if you're getting a lot of OpenGL crashing, blue screens, or other mess, your driver might be bad (really!) For instance, if you're using a Dell, use the driver they provide ( instead of what might be a more recent driver obtained directly from

  • If you're getting a blank screen or strange graphics on Windows, try messing with your graphics card settings (or even with a different graphics card). There are lots of options that can cause trouble (if you run into such a situation, please post to the forum on how you got it fixed).

  • If you've recently updated, you may, on the other hand, need to downgrade your drivers. Sometimes experimental drivers (or the “free” drivers on Linux) contain issues. Try different versions that might be available for your system.

  • Almost all EXCEPTION_ACCESS_VIOLATION crashes with OpenGL are driver problems, and we cannot fix them.

  • We don't recommend running other OpenGL programs while running Processing in OpenGL mode. GL tends takes charge of things so results will be unexpected (windows from the other app showing through to the Processing window, etc.)

  • The integrated graphics chipsets that Apple has been using on their "low end" machines (such Intel GMA 950) really stink for OpenGL. Some don't support anti-aliasing at all. These cards are found in the Mac Mini (the Intel version only, the PPC versions had nice graphics), some iMacs, and the MacBook (but no the MacBook Pro). The same chipsets are used in many budget PCs, to which the same disclaimer applies.

  • The new version of the OpenGL library requires drivers that support OpenGL 2.0. This allows us to keep OpenGL support for desktop and Android in sync with one another. Unfortunately this means that some older cards and drivers (particularly on Linux) will not work, and that Processing 2.0 on such machines will be limited to 2D graphics. But the OpenGL library is developed by a single person (Andres Colubri), who works on this in his free time, and he can't support two separate video libraries with radically different implementations. Keep in mind you can always use Processing 1.5.1 to continue 3D development, though it will not be updated further, and we won't be accepting bug reports for it.

Known Issues