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glClear — clear buffers to preset values

C Specification

void glClear(GLbitfield mask);



Bitwise OR of masks that indicate the buffers to be cleared. The three masks are GL_COLOR_BUFFER_BIT, GL_DEPTH_BUFFER_BIT, and GL_STENCIL_BUFFER_BIT.


glClear sets the bitplane area of the window to values previously selected by glClearColor, glClearDepth, and glClearStencil. Multiple color buffers can be cleared simultaneously by selecting more than one buffer at a time using glDrawBuffer.

The pixel ownership test, the scissor test, dithering, and the buffer writemasks affect the operation of glClear. The scissor box bounds the cleared region. Alpha function, blend function, logical operation, stenciling, texture mapping, and depth-buffering are ignored by glClear.

glClear takes a single argument that is the bitwise OR of several values indicating which buffer is to be cleared.

The values are as follows:


Indicates the buffers currently enabled for color writing.


Indicates the depth buffer.


Indicates the stencil buffer.

The value to which each buffer is cleared depends on the setting of the clear value for that buffer.


If a buffer is not present, then a glClear directed at that buffer has no effect.


GL_INVALID_VALUE is generated if any bit other than the three defined bits is set in mask.

Associated Gets

glGet with argument GL_DEPTH_CLEAR_VALUE

glGet with argument GL_COLOR_CLEAR_VALUE

glGet with argument GL_STENCIL_CLEAR_VALUE

See Also

glClearColor, glClearDepth, glClearStencil, glColorMask, glDepthMask, glDrawBuffer, glScissor, glStencilMask


Copyright © 1991-2006 Silicon Graphics, Inc. This document is licensed under the SGI Free Software B License. For details, see