With WebGL 1 we can use WEBGL_draw_buffers extension which lets us use a texture as the depth attachment on the frame buffer.

And we can chose to use LINEAR or NEAREST as the filtering method.

gl.texImage2D(gl.TEXTURE_2D, 0, gl.DEPTH_COMPONENT, width, height, 0, gl.DEPTH_COMPONENT, gl.UNSIGNED_SHORT, null);
gl.texParameteri(gl.TEXTURE_2D, gl.TEXTURE_MIN_FILTER, gl.LINEAR);
gl.texParameteri(gl.TEXTURE_2D, gl.TEXTURE_MAG_FILTER, gl.LINEAR);

WebGL 2 doesn't require an extension for this, but as soon as I switched to WebGL 2 I noticed that nothing happens unless I use NEAREST as the filtering method.

gl.texImage2D(gl.TEXTURE_2D, 0, gl.DEPTH_COMPONENT24, width, height, 0, gl.DEPTH_COMPONENT, gl.UNSIGNED_INT, null);
gl.texParameteri(gl.TEXTURE_2D, gl.TEXTURE_MIN_FILTER, gl.LINEAR); // wont work
gl.texParameteri(gl.TEXTURE_2D, gl.TEXTURE_MAG_FILTER, gl.LINEAR); // has to be NEAREST

Is there something I have to do to make this possible?

The only workaround for this that I know of would be to draw this depth texture onto another texture, but that seems like a waste of time.

  • $\begingroup$ If linear is not supported then you could read 4 texels and then do bilinear interpolation of the values yourself in the shader ? $\endgroup$
    – PaulHK
    Apr 14, 2020 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ have you tried enabling the extensions OES_texture_half_float_linear and OES_texture_float_linear? $\endgroup$
    – user13167
    Apr 14, 2020 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Marvin I have, nothing changed, even after I switched to DEPTH_COMPONENT32F it still only works with NEAREST. But from your tone it sounds like it should have worked. All examples I managed to find used NEAREST, but maybe you know some examples that don't? $\endgroup$
    – zoran404
    Apr 14, 2020 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ @PaulHK Are you suggesting that 4 reads per fragment would be faster than drawing the depth texture onto another l texture that has a linear filter? $\endgroup$
    – zoran404
    Apr 14, 2020 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @zoran404 not really, I just came across this question and thought it was worth a quick check before I looked any further (I've not really worked with textures yet, so this is a learning exercise for me too). $\endgroup$
    – user13167
    Apr 14, 2020 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


The spec says depth textures are not filterable.



Using the preceding definitions, a texture is complete unless any of the following conditions hold true:

  • The effective internal format specified for the texture arrays is a sized internal depth or depth and stencil format (see table 3.14), the value of TEXTURE_COMPARE_MODE is NONE, and either the magnification filter is not NEAREST or the minification filter is neither NEAREST nor NEAREST_- MIPMAP_NEAREST

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