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How do I import and attach a PNG or GIF to a shape in Box2dWeb?

The best resource I could find online is at:

However, this "tutorial" doesn't give much explanation about how images are actually used. So it is clearly possible, but I can't get the userData trick to work.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

You are generally responsible for rendering the state of your box2d world - the "userData trick" you refer to is not really to do with the box2d framework.

userData is a placeholder for arbitrary data that you want to associate to a body. This could be anything - a string, function, object, etc. This data is typically used to help you render your world during the update loop, which is exactly what the resource you linked to does - If you look at the processObjects function it uses the imgsrc value to create an Image object and draws it onto the canvas at the correct location. (This isn't really a good idea because the image is created once per object per iteration - I would suggest it should only be created once)

Here's a quick sample that shows how you can use a PNG to represent a box2d object - you'll need an 50x50px image called "image.png" and the box2web javascript file from the project site in the same folder as the html.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html xmlns="">
    <canvas id="canvas" width="1024" height="700" />

    <!-- Get this from the box2dweb project site -->
    <script type="text/javascript" src="Box2dWeb-2.1.a.3.min.js"></script>

    <script type="text/javascript">
    var CANVAS_WIDTH = 1024, CANVAS_HEIGHT = 700, SCALE = 30;

    var b2Vec2 = Box2D.Common.Math.b2Vec2
            , b2BodyDef = Box2D.Dynamics.b2BodyDef
            , b2Body = Box2D.Dynamics.b2Body
            , b2FixtureDef = Box2D.Dynamics.b2FixtureDef
            , b2Fixture = Box2D.Dynamics.b2Fixture
            , b2World = Box2D.Dynamics.b2World
            , b2MassData = Box2D.Collision.Shapes.b2MassData
            , b2PolygonShape = Box2D.Collision.Shapes.b2PolygonShape
            , b2CircleShape = Box2D.Collision.Shapes.b2CircleShape
            , b2DebugDraw = Box2D.Dynamics.b2DebugDraw;

    var canvas = document.getElementById("canvas");
    var context = canvas.getContext("2d");

    var world = new b2World(new b2Vec2(0, 2), true);

    // Create some objects in the world
    var fixDef = new b2FixtureDef();
    fixDef.density = 1.0;
    fixDef.friction = 0.5;
    fixDef.restitution = 1;
    var bodyDef = new b2BodyDef();

    for (var i = 0; i < 40; i++) {
        bodyDef.type = b2Body.b2_dynamicBody;
        bodyDef.position.Set((Math.random() * 400) / SCALE, (Math.random() * 400) / SCALE);
        bodyDef.linearVelocity.Set((Math.random() * 12) + 2, (Math.random() * 12) + 2);

        fixDef.shape = new b2PolygonShape();
        fixDef.shape.SetAsBox(25 / SCALE, 25 / SCALE);

    // This is where you load the image data - make it a 50px x 50px image
    // You should use some sort of pre-loader to make sure the image is loaded prior to 
    // using it.
    var image = new Image();
    image.src = "image.png";

    // Set up the game loop - you might want to look into using window.requestAnimationFrame
    // or some variation of that.
    window.setInterval(gameLoop, 1000 / 60);

    function gameLoop() {
        // Update the box2d world
        world.Step(1 / 60, 8, 3);

        context.clearRect(0, 0, CANVAS_WIDTH, CANVAS_HEIGHT);

        for (b = world.GetBodyList() ; b; b = b.GetNext()) {
            if (b.GetType() == b2Body.b2_dynamicBody) {
                var pos = b.GetPosition();

                context.translate(pos.x * SCALE, pos.y * SCALE);
                context.drawImage(image, -25, -25);


Hope that helps!

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You are a god! I really appreciate your help. This gives me a great starting point and moving forward I think Cocos2d may be the best solution for a more advanced project. – VinLucero Apr 25 '12 at 21:29
I read several tutorials, and reverse engineered so many box2d examples when all it took to learn was play with your short and simple code. – justanotherhobbyist Jul 24 '12 at 3:44
Glad I could help! – Mike Goatly Jul 24 '12 at 9:32
I found this file and I cannot get it to work. I download the Box2dWeb file and saved it as a .js (javascript) file. What should I do next. I am new to the Box2dWeb code. – user45402 Jun 25 '14 at 15:33

Maybe this can help too. Have a look.

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