Dynamic Textures

A dynamic texture works by creating a canvas onto which you can draw using all the facilities of the HTML5 Canvas.

dynamic texture

Creating and Applying

This is simply achieved using the dynamicTexture function with just three parameters,

var myDynamicTexture = new BABYLON.DynamicTexture(name, option, scene);

though the existing default values of minmaps, sampling mode and texture format can be overwritten by their addition.

Whereas the name and scene parameters are obvious, the option parameter, which determines the width and height of the dynamic texture, can be one of three values:

  1. An already created canvas, in which case canvas.width and canvas.height are used;
  2. An object having the properties width and height;
  3. A number, in which case both width and height are set to this number.

Once created, the dynamic texture is used as the diffuseTexture for a material in the usual way:

var myMaterial = new BABYLON.StandardMaterial("Mat", scene);
myMaterial.diffuseTexture = myDynamicTexture;
mesh.material = myMaterial;

Writing Text

A drawText method is available so that text can be written directly onto the dynamic texture.

myDynamicTexture.drawText(text, x, y, font, color, canvas color, invertY, update);

Here are the parameters:

  • text: string, the words to be written;
  • x: number, distance from the left-hand edge;
  • y: number, distance from the top or bottom edge, depending on invertY;
  • font: string, font definition in the form font-style, font-size, font_name;
  • invertY: boolean, true by default in which case y is the distance from the top, when false, y is distance from the bottom and the letters reversed;
  • update: boolean, true by default, the dynamic texture will immediately be updated.
Drawing Text

Canvas Methods

You can obtain the canvas context using

var ctx = myDynamicTexture.getContext();

exposing all the possibilities of the HTML5 canvas element.

Drawing Curves

As an example, drawing using a quadratic curve

ctx.moveTo(75, 25);
ctx.quadraticCurveTo(25, 25, 25, 62.5);
ctx.quadraticCurveTo(25, 100, 50, 100);
ctx.quadraticCurveTo(50, 120, 30, 125);
ctx.quadraticCurveTo(60, 120, 65, 100);
ctx.quadraticCurveTo(125, 100, 125, 62.5);
ctx.quadraticCurveTo(125, 25, 75, 25);

To apply the drawing, the dynamic texture needs updating


Note: use update(false) if you do not want to use invertY.

Drawing A Curve


Images can be added to fill part or the whole of the canvas using the drawImage method. Remember that you will have to wait for the image to load before assigning it to the canvas and update the dynamic texture afterwards.

For whole image

var img = new Image();
img.src = 'PATH TO IMAGE';
img.onload = function() {
ctx.drawImage(this, 0, 0);

For part of the image scaled onto part of the canvas

var img = new Image();
img.src = 'PATH TO IMAGE';
img.onload = function() {
ctx.drawImage(this, image start x, image start y, image width, image height, canvas to x, canvas to y, destination width, destination height);
Adding An Image

Playground Combination

This playground combines all the above techniques.

All Dynamic Texture Techniques

Text and Area Matching

For a single line of text it is possible to fit the text into a specified area or to fit an area to a specified text.

Fit Text Into an Area.

You have a plane with width and height, planeWidth and planeHeight, to form the width and height of the dynamic texture multiply both the plane width and height by the same number to maintain aspect ratio. The number to multiply by defines the sharpness of the text, low numbers produce blurred text. Now you can create the dynamic texture.

var DTWidth = planeWidth * 60;
var DTHeight = planeHeight * 60;
var dynamicTexture = new BABYLON.DynamicTexture("DynamicTexture", {width:DTWidth, height:DTHeight}, scene);

For the next stage using any size of font write and measure the width of text on the dynamic texture.

var ctx = dynamicTexture.getContext();
var size = 12; //any value will work
ctx.font = size + "px " + font_type;
var textWidth = ctx.measureText(text).width;

The ratio of text width to size of font applied can be applied to the dynamic texture width to determine the font size that will fit the plane.

var ratio = textWidth/size;
var font_size = Math.floor(DTWidth / ratio);

If you wish you can apply a multiplier to the ratio, the larger the multiplier the smaller the text and bigger margins.

var font_size = Math.floor(DTWidth / (ratio * 1.1));

Now set the font and draw the text

var font = font_size + "px " + font_type;
dynamicTexture.drawText(text, null, null, font, "#000000", "#ffffff", true);

Finally set and apply the material for the plane.

var mat = new BABYLON.StandardMaterial("mat", scene);
mat.diffuseTexture = dynamicTexture;
plane.material = mat;
Fit Text To Plane

Fit an Area to Text

Take a plane mesh of fixed height, planeHeight and text with a set font size you can then calculate how wide the plane must be for the text to fit in. In order to do this you need to know the width the text will take up on a dynamic texture. This is calculated using a temporary dynamic texture and measuring the text.

var temp = new BABYLON.DynamicTexture("DynamicTexture", 64, scene);
var tmpctx = temp.getContext();
tmpctx.font = font;
var DTWidth = tmpctx.measureText(text).width;

Choose a height for the dynamic texture, DTHeight and to maintain the aspect ratio of the plane to the dynamic texture:

  1. calculate the ratio planeHeight:DTHeight;
  2. use the ratio to calculate the width of the planeWidth = DTWidth * ratio;
  3. create the dynamic texture to use as material with width and height, DTWidth and DTHeight;
  4. draw text on dynamic texture;
  5. create the plane with width and height planeWidth and planeHeight.
var planeHeight = 3;
var DTHeight = 256; //or set as wished
var ratio = planeHeight/DTHeight;
var planeWidth = DTWidth * ratio;
var dynamicTexture = new BABYLON.DynamicTexture("DynamicTexture", {width:DTWidth, height:DTHeight}, scene, false);
var mat = new BABYLON.StandardMaterial("mat", scene);
mat.diffuseTexture = dynamicTexture;
dynamicTexture.drawText(text, null, null, font, "#000000", "#ffffff", true); //use of null, null centers the text
var plane = BABYLON.MeshBuilder.CreatePlane("plane", {width:planeWidth, height:planeHeight}, scene);
plane.material = mat;
Fit Plane To Text


The dynamic texture can be serialized with the scene using SceneSerializer.Serialize() or a mesh using SceneSerializer.SerializeMesh().

Note: Be sure that the scene is ready before serialization.

This playground demonstrates serializing a dynamic texture associated with a material on a mesh:

Drawing Text and a Curve Texture Serialized Mesh