# In glsl, how do indices work?

I have made a vertex shader and fragment shader and kind of know how they work, and I know that you specify what index you want your vertices to be in inside the shader program. So if the vertex was at index 0, does each vertex take up 1 index? If each one took up an index, than how many indices would a matrix 4x4 take up? Sorry if thats confusing but I'm just starting and I don't really know how the indices within the shader works. So:

#version 140
in vec3 position; //This could be located at index 0
in mat4 randomMatrix; //If this came right after position, what index is it located at??
void main() {
gl_Position = vec4(position.x * 0.5, position.y * 0.5, position.z * 1, 1);
}


Tell me if I have this all wrong.

• You are using modern OpenGL so you can manually set uniform locations: Mar 16, 2014 at 18:52
• @SurvivalMachine So are indices 'bytes'? How many indices does a matrix 4x4 take up? Thats the main thing I need to know. Mar 16, 2014 at 18:54

The OpenGL wiki does a pretty good job of explaining it. I'd recommend specifying the inputs (for readability) with explicit locations:

#version 140
layout (location = 0) in vec3 position;
layout (location = 1) in mat4 randomMatrix;
void main() {
gl_Position = vec4(position.x * 0.5, position.y * 0.5, position.z * 1, 1);
}


Each index essentially takes a vec4, so if you pass a vec3 in [x, y, z], it's going to get padded internally to [x, y, z, 0]. Same with passing a float, it would be padded to [x, 0, 0, 0]. A mat4, on the other hand, takes up 4 * vec4 of space, thus it'll take up 4 indices. In your example, if you added one more variable, after the matrix, it would look like this:

#version 140
layout (location = 0) in vec3 position;
layout (location = 1) in mat4 randomMatrix;
layout (location = 5) in float foo;
void main() {
gl_Position = vec4(position.x * 0.5, position.y * 0.5, position.z * 1, 1);
}


The matrix uses attribute indices 1, 2, 3 and 4, one for each collumn.

• Thanks so much "Each index essentially takes a vec4" thats what im looking for! And also, opengl 3.1 doesn't support layout I'm pretty sure but I just use glBindAttribLocation which is the same. Mar 16, 2014 at 19:18