How can I access the nth element in a texture2d from a pixel shader? For example if I wanted to get the 5th vector4 from 10 x 10 texture2d


1 Answer 1


2D textures usually aren't addressed in terms like the "nth element". The whole point of a 2D texture is that you want to access it using 2D coordinates. If you want to send a 1D array to the shader I'd use a 1D texture.

That being said, you can compute it by something like this:

int x = n % textureWidth;
int y = n / textureWidth;                            // integer division
float u = (float(x) + 0.5) / float(textureWidth);    // map into 0-1 range
float v = (float(y) + 0.5) / float(textureHeight);
float4 result = tex2D(sampler, float2(u, v));

(This assumes you already know how to set up a sampler parameter in the shader and bind a texture to it from the application side.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ A 1d texture sounds perfect for my situation. How does use them in XNA? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mr Bell
    Nov 16, 2011 at 23:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shouldn't you add 0.5 to float(x) and float(y) before dividing? Otherwise you will get off-by-one errors, especially on a 10×10 texture. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2011 at 7:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamHocevar, good catch! I'll edit to add that. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2011 at 18:19

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