pex-renderer v3

Physically based renderer (PBR) and scene graph for PEX.

This is an experimental API and it's likely to change in the future.

Key dependencies:



PEX Renderer v3 is currently in beta. You can install the latest version via npm:

npm i pex-renderer@next

This will install v3 with the beta release number after the dash e.g. pex-renderer@3.0.0-4.

PEX Renderer is a CommonJS module and you will need a bundler (e.g. Browserify) to run it in the browser.


Open live examples here.

const createContext = require('pex-context')
const createRenderer = require('pex-renderer')
const createSphere = require('primitive-sphere')

const ctx = createContext({ width: 800, height: 600 })

const renderer = createRenderer({
  ctx: ctx

const camera = renderer.entity([
  renderer.transform({ position: [0, 0, 3] }),{
    fov: Math.PI / 2,
    aspect: /,
    near: 0.1,
    far: 100

const cube = renderer.entity([
  renderer.transform({ position: [0, 0, 0] }),
    baseColor: [1, 0, 0, 1]

const skybox = renderer.entity([
    sunPosition: [1, 1, 1]

const reflectionProbe = renderer.entity([renderer.reflectionProbe()])

ctx.frame(() => {

You can find runnable examples in the /examples folder in this repository. To run an example install Node.js, clone or download this repository and then:

# go to the example folder
cd examples

# install dependencies
npm install

# start a webpack-dev-server to run all the examples
npm start



Main class responsible for managing scene hierarchy and rendering. You add your entities to the renderer and call draw every frame.

Note: PEX Renderer doesn't currently have a concept of a scene. This can be simulated by creating multiple root entities with their own scene hierarchies and adding / removing them as necessary.

renderer = createRenderer(opts)

const createRenderer = require('pex-renderer')
const renderer = createRenderer({
  shadowQuality: 2,
  rgbm: false,
  profile: false,
  pauseOnBlur: true
property info type default
ctx rendering context pex-context.Context null
shadowQuality shadow smoothness Integer 0-4 2
rgbm use RGBM color packing for rendering pipeline Boolean false
profile enable profiling Boolean false
pauseOnBlur stop rendering when window looses focus Boolean false
entities* list of entities in the scene Array of Entity []

 _ required  _ read only


function frame() {


// or using built-in frame() from pex-context
ctx.frame(() => {

Updates transforms, shadow-maps, reflection probes, materials, shaders, renders the scene and applies post-processing. Should be called every frame.


Entities are collection of components representing an object in the scene graph.

NOTE: It's worth mentioning that in its current form PEX Renderer doesn't implement Entity-Component-System architecture. Components are self contained and fully functional not merely buckets of data to be processed by a collection of systems. In that regard it's comparable to Unity and its GameObject and MonoBehaviour implementation.

entity = renderer.entity(components, tags)

Creates an entity from a list of components.

Note: entities are not added to the scene graph automatically.

Note on tagging: Camera component also accepts tags. Only entities matching one or more camera tags will be rendered. If camera doesn't have any tags only untagged entities will be rendered.

const entity = renderer.entity(
    renderer.transform({ position: [0, 1, 0] }),
    renderer.geometry({ positions: [], normals: [], cells: [] }),
    renderer.material({ baseColor: [1, 0, 0, 1] })
  ['opaque', 'debug-only']

entity = renderer.add(entity, parent)

Adds entity to the scene graph and attaches to a parent as a child.


Removes entity from the scene graph.


Adds component to an entity.

component = entity.getComponent(type)

const entity = renderer.entity([renderer.pointLight()])

Gets component by it's class name.


Removes entity from the scene and disposes all the components and their resources.


Components are bits of functionality (transform, light type, geometry, material etc) that are added to an entity.

Properties shared by all components:

property info type default
type* component class name String ''
entity* entity the component is attached to Entity null
changed* event emitted whenever component's property changes Signal null

* read only

Observing component changes

const entity = renderer.entity([renderer.transform()])
function onParamChange(name) {
  console.log(`param ${name} has changed`)

// start listening

// done internaly by transform whenever position changes

// stop listening

Update components

  position: [Math.cos(time), 0, 0]


Scene Components

transform = renderer.transform(opts)

const transform = renderer.transform({
  position: [0, 0, 0],
  scale: [1, 1, 1],
  rotation: [0, 0, 0, 1]
property info type default
position entity position relatively to it's parent Vec3 / [x, y, z] [0, 0, 0]
scale entity scale relatively to it's parent Vec3 / [x, y, z] [1, 1, 1]
rotation entity rotation relatively to it's parent Quat / [x, y, z, w] [0, 0, 0, 1]
parent entity's parent entity Entity null
enabled should the entity be rendered Boolean true
children* Array of Entity false

* read only

camera =

Defines rendering viewport and projection.

Note: camera position/rotation are derived from entity.transform.position/rotation. It's probably easier to use Orbiter component at the moment.

const camera ={
  fov: Math.PI / 4,
  aspect: /,
  near: 0.1,
  far: 100
property info type default
projection camera projection type 'perspective' | 'orthographic' 'perspective'
viewport camera viewport Array [x, y, width, height] [0, 0, gl.drawingBufferWidth, gl.drawingBufferHeight]
near near plane distance Number 0.1
far far plane distance Number 100
aspect aspect ratio Number 1
exposure exposure value Number 1
fov perspective vertical field of view (yfov) Number [rad] Math.PI / 41
focalLength focal length of the camera lens [10mm - 200mm] Number [mm] 50
fStop ratio of camera lens opening, f-number, f/N, aperture [1.2 - 32] Number 2.8
sensorSize physical camera sensor or film size [sensorWidth, sensorHeight] Vec2 [mm, mm] [36, 24]
sensorFit how camera frame matches sensor frame 'vertical' | 'horizontal' | 'fit' | 'overscan' 'vertical'
left, right, top, bottom orthographic frustum bounds Number 1
zoom orthographic zoom Number 1

* read only 1 depends on viewport aspect ratio, focalLength and sensorFit

postProcessing = renderer.postProcessing(opts)

Defines rendering post-processing.

const postProcessing = renderer.postProcessing({
  fxaa: true,
  ssao: true,
  dof: true,
  bloom: true


property info type default
fxaa FXX antaliasing on/off Boolean false

Screen Space Ambient Occlusion

property info type default
ssao SSAO on/off Boolean false
ssaoIntensity SSAO shadows Number 5
ssaoRadius SSAO shadows Number 12
ssaoBias SSAO shadows Number 0.01
ssaoBlurRadius SSAO shadows Number 2
ssaossaoBlurSharpnessBias SSAO shadows Number 10

Depth Of Field

property info type default
dof DoF on/off Boolean false
dofFocusDistance Distance to focus plane Number [meters] 5


property info type default
bloom Bloom on/off Boolean false
bloomRadius Amount of bloom blur Number 1
bloomThreshold Bloom color cut off (default 1 = only "hdr" colors will bloom) Number 1
bloomIntensity Amount of the bloom to add to the scene Number 0.1


TODO: fog, fogColor, fogStart, fogDensity, inscatteringCoeffs, sunPosition, sunColor, sunDispertion, sunIntensity

orbiter = renderer.orbiter(opts)

Orbiter controller for camera component.

Note: orbiter actually doesn't modify the camera but the entity's transform therefore both Orbiter and Camera should be attached to the same entity.

const orbiter = renderer.orbiter({
  target: [0, 0, 0],
  position: [1, 1, 1],
  lat: 0,
  lon: Math.PI / 2,
  easing: 0.1

overlay = renderer.overlay(opts)

Flat 2D overlay, useful for tex and logos.

const overlay = renderer.overlay({
  x: 0,
  y: 0,
  width: 1,
  height: 1,
  texture: ctx.Texture

Geometry Components

geometry = renderer.geometry(opts)

Represents 3d mesh geometry attributes.

const geometry = renderer.geometry({
  positons: [[0, 0, 1], [1, 2, 3], ...[]],
  normals: [[0, 0, 1], [0, 0, 1], ...[]],
  uvs: [[0, 0], [0, 1], ...[]],
  indices: [[0, 1, 2], [3, 4, 5], ...[]],
  offsets: { data: [[0, 0, 0], [0, 1, 0], ...[]], divisor: 1 }
property info type default
positions vertex positions Array of Vec3 [x, y, z] null
normals vertex normals Array of Vec3 [x, y, z] null
texCoords vertex tex coords Array of Vec2 [u, v] null
uvs1 alias of texCoords Array of Vec2 [u, v] null
colors vertex colors Array of Vec4 [r, g, b, a] null
indices indices Array of Vec3 null
cells1 geometry faces Array of Vec3 of Int [i, j, j] null
offsets2 instances offsets Array of Vec3 [x, y, z] null
rotations2 instances rotations Array of Quat/Vec4 [x, y, z, w] null
scales2 instances scales Array of Vec3 [x, y, z] null
tints2 instanced rotations Array of Color/Vec4 [r, g, b, a] null

1 write only aliases, uvs data will be stored in texCoords, cells data will be stored in indices

2 those attributes are always instanced and need to be defined with a divisor and additionally number of instances needs to be specified:

const offsets = [[x, y, z], ...[]]
const g = renderer.geometry({
  positions: [[x, y, z], ...[]],
  offsets: { data: offsets, divisor: 1 },
  instances: offsets.length

material = renderer.material(opts)

Physically based material description. Default to a Metallic Roughness workflow but can also use a Specular Glossiness workflow or even be unlit.

const material = renderer.material({
  baseColor: [1, 1, 1, 1],
  emissiveColor: [0, 0, 0, 1],
  metallic: 0.8,
  roughness: 0.2,
  castShadows: false,
  receiveShadows: false,
  alphaTest: 0.5,
  alphaMap: ctx.Texture2D
property info type default
baseColor albedo Color/Vec4 [r, g, b, a] [1, 1, 1, 1]
baseColorMap base color texture. Multiplied by baseColor. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
unlit no lighting / shadowing. Use baseColor. Boolean false
metallic metallic factor. Used if no metallicMap is provided. Number 1
metallicMap metallic texture. Used if no metallicRoughnessMap is provided. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
roughness roughness factor. Used if no roughnessMap is provided. Number 1
roughnessMap roughness texture. Used if no metallicRoughnessMap is provided. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
metallicRoughnessMap metallic (b channel) and roughness (g channel) combined in a texture. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
useSpecularGlossinessWorkflow use a specular/glossiness PBR workflow instead of above Metallic/Roughness Boolean false
diffuse diffuse color. Used if no uDiffuseMap is provided. Color/Vec4 [r, g, b, a] 1
diffuseMap specular (b channel) and roughness (g channel) combined in a texture. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
specular specular color. Used if no specularGlossinessMap is provided. Color/Vec3 [r, g, b] 1
glossiness glossiness or smoothness. Used if no specularGlossinessMap is provided. Number 1
specularGlossinessMap specular and glossiness combined in a texture. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
normalMap normal texture. Doesn't modify vertices positions, only impacts lighting. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
normalScale normal factor. Control how much the normalMap affects lighting. Number 1
displacementMap displacement texture. Modifies vertices positions (r channel). ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
displacement displacement factor. Control how much the displacementMap affects vertices. Number 0
emissiveColor light emitted Color/Vec4 [r, g, b, a] null
emissiveIntensity emissive factor Number 1
emissiveColorMap base color texture. Multiplied by emissiveColor and emissiveIntensity. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
occlusionMap occlusion texture. Indicates areas of indirect lighting. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
reflectance control specular intensity on non-metallic surfaces. Number 0-1 0.5
clearCoat strength of the clear coat layer. Number 0-1 null
clearCoatRoughness roughness of the clear coat layer. Number 0-1 null
clearCoatNormalMap normal texture for the clear coat layer. ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
clearCoatNormalMapScale clear coat normal factor. Number 1
alphaMap alpha texture. Impacts opacity (r channel). ctx.Texture | TextureMap null
alphaTest value against which to test alpha. Number 0-1 true
depthWrite depth write mask Boolean true
depthTest depth test on/off Boolean true
depthFunc depth test function ctx.DepthFunc ctx.DepthFunc.LessEqual
blend blending on/off Boolean false
blendSrcRGBFactor blending source color factor ctx.BlendFactor ctx.BlendFactor.One
blendSrcAlphaFactor blending source alpha factor ctx.BlendFactor ctx.BlendFactor.One
blendDstRGBFactor blending destination color factor ctx.BlendFactor ctx.BlendFactor.One
blendDstAlphaFactor blending destination alpha factor ctx.BlendFactor ctx.BlendFactor.One
cullFace face culling on/off Boolean false
cullFaceMode face culling mode ctx.Face ctx.Face.Back
pointSize set gl_PointSize for ctx.Primitive.Points Number 1
castShadows impact shadow casting Boolean false
receiveShadows receive potential shadowing Boolean false

Texture transforms are achieved by optionally passing a TextureMap object with offset, rotation and/or scale alongside the texture itself: { texture: ctx.Texture, offset?: Vec2 [x, y], rotation?: Radians, scale?: Vec2 [x, y] }

_The reflectance value represents a remapping of a percentage of reflectance (with a default of 4%: 0.16 _ pow(0.5, 2) = 0.04) and replaces an explicit index of refraction (IOR)*

animation = renderer.animation(opts)

Geometry attribute animations based on glTF 2.0 Spec / Animations.

const animation = renderer.animation({
  channels: [], // Array of Channels
  autoplay: true,
  loop: true
// const Channel = {
//   input: null,
//   output: null,
//   interpolation: null,
//   target: null,
//   path: null,
// }

morph = renderer.morph(opts)

Geometry morph targets based on glTF 2.0 Spec / Morph Targets.

const morph = renderer.morph({
  sources: { positions, normals, tangents, ...attributes },
  targets: { positions, normals, tangents, ...attributes },
  weights: [0.0, 0.0, ...weights]

skin =

Geometry vertex skin based on glTF 2.0 Spec / Skin.

const skin ={
  joints: [entity, entity, ...entities],
  inverseBindMatrices: [mat4, mat4, ...mat4]

Lighting Components

Components representing light sources used for rendering of the scene.

Note on position and orientation of lights: Similar as camera light components position and orientation is controlled via transform component of the entity the light is attached to.

const directionalLightEnity = renderer.entity([
    rotation: quat.fromAxisAngle(quat.create(), [0, 0, 1], Math.PI / 2)
    color: [1, 1, 1, 1],
    intensity: 1,
    castShadows: true

ambientLight = renderer.ambientLight(opts)

const ambientLight = renderer.ambientLight({
  color: [1, 1, 1, 1],
  intensity: 1

directionalLight = renderer.directionalLight(opts)

const directionalLight = renderer.directionalLight({
  color: [1, 1, 1, 1],
  intensity: 1,
  castShadows: true

Note: directionalLight direction is derived from entity.transform.rotation

areaLight = renderer.areaLight(opts)

Rectangular area light.

const areaLight = renderer.areaLight({
  color: [1, 1, 1, 1],
  intensity: 1

Note: areaLight position/rotation/size are derived from entity.transform.position/rotation/scale

spotLight = renderer.spotLight(opts)

const spotLight = renderer.spotLight({
  color: [1, 1, 1, 1],
  intensity: 1

Note: spotLight direction is derived from entity.transform.rotation

skybox = renderer.skybox(opts)

const skybox = renderer.skybox({
  sunPosition: [1, 1, 1], // sky gradient used for reflections
  texture: ctx.texture2D(), // used for reflections instad of sky
  backgroundTexture: ctx.texture2D(), // used for background rendering, not reflections,
  backgroundBlur: 0 // if set to 1, blurs texture for background rendering, not reflections

Note: By default a sky background is rendered unless hdr equirect panorama texture is provided. Note: Skybox orientation differ from engine to engine; to update it, set the entity's transform component rotation and set any reflection probe to dirty.

reflectionProbe = renderer.reflectionProbe(opts)

Captures environmental map of the scene for Image Based Lighting (IBL) specular reflection and irradiance diffuse. Currently requires Skybox component to be present in the scene as only Skybox background is captured.

const reflectionProbe = renderer.reflectionProbe({})

Note: Due to the cost of updating and pre-filtering environment map the ReflectionProbe is no updated automatically and requires reflectionProbe.set({ dirty: true }) whenever Skybox changes. The dirty flag is true by default so the Reflection Probe will get updated once on init.


scene = renderer.loadScene(url, opts)

Load a 3D model as a scene: an object containing a root entity hierarchy that you can add to the renderer like any other entity.

const scene = await renderer.loadScene('model.gltf')

Note: Currently only glTF is supported (JSON, binary and Embedded).

Creating Custom Components

Start by creating new class as follows:

// MyComponent.js
const Signal = require('signals')

function MyComponent(opts) {
  this.type = 'MyComponent'
  this.entity = null
  this.numberParameter = 1
  this.stringParameter = 'some text'
  this.changed = new Signal()
  this.dirty = false

// this function gets called when the component is added
// to an enity
MyComponent.prototype.init = function(entity) {
  this.entity = entity

MyComponent.prototype.set = function(opts) {
  Object.assign(this, opts)
  this.dirty = true
  Object.keys(opts).forEach((prop) => this.changed.dispatch(prop))

MyComponent.prototype.update = function() {
  if (!this.dirty) return
  this.dirty = false

  const transform = this.entity.transform
  // do sth with transform

  const geom = this.entity.getComponent('Geometry')
  // do sth with geom

// by pex-renderer convention we export factory function
// instead of the class type
module.exports = function createMyComponent(opts) {
  return new MyComponent(opts)

Create instance of your component and add it to an entity.

const createMyComponent = require('/path/to/MyComponent')

const myComponent = createMyComponent({ numberParameter: 1 })
const entity = renderer.entity([myComponent])


MIT, see for details.