ImageTexture3D in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on understanding and utilizing the ImageTexture3D class in Godot 4. If you’re a coder looking to breathe dynamic, dimensional life into your game environments, you’re in the right place! Here, we’ll explore the depths of 3D textures and how they transform virtual worlds. Ready to dive into three dimensions of texture magic?

What is ImageTexture3D?

ImageTexture3D is a powerful resource in Godot 4 designed for three-dimensional texturing. Unlike traditional 2D textures, this class allows developers to think outside the flat world and work with depth, truly enhancing the visual dynamics of a game.

What is it for?

The uses for ImageTexture3D are diverse and intriguing. They can be applied for volumetric effects, like fog, or used for practical reasons such as vector fields in particle systems, color grading through LUTs, or collision maps. This makes the class a versatile tool for game developers to achieve more immersive environments.

Why should I learn it?

Learning to work with ImageTexture3D is essential for any game developer wanting to push the boundaries of their creative work. By employing 3D textures, you can create more convincing and organic scenes, enhance gameplay mechanics with environmental interaction, and unlock new realms of visual expression. Let’s embark on this journey to master 3D texturing in Godot!

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Loading and Creating ImageTexture3D

First, let’s dive into how to load an existing ImageTexture3D asset into your project, as well as how to create a new one programmatically. We’ll begin by setting up a 3D texture from an existing asset:

var texture_3d = preload("res://path_to_your_texture.dat")

Now, if you want to create an ImageTexture3D from code, here’s how you’d go about it:

var image =
image.create_from_data(width, height, depth, format, data)

var texture_3d =

In the above example, ‘width’, ‘height’, and ‘depth’ are the dimensions of the texture, ‘format’ is the data format (i.e., RGBA8), and ‘data’ is a PoolByteArray containing your texture data.

Setting Texture Parameters

Textures often require fine-tuning to achieve the desired look and performance. Let’s set some common parameters on our 3D texture:

texture_3d.set_flags(ImageTexture3D.FLAG_REPEAT | ImageTexture3D.FLAG_FILTER)
texture_3d.set_wrap_mode(ImageTexture3D.WRAP_MODE_REPEAT, axis)

Here, we set the texture to repeat rather than clamp, compress it to an S3TC format for better performance, and define how the texture should wrap along each axis.

Sampling the Texture in Shaders

Once your texture is set up, you’ll likely want to sample it within a shader to actually use it in your materials. Here’s a basic shader snippet that samples an ImageTexture3D:

// Your shader code
shader_type spatial;

uniform sampler3D my_tex_3d;

void fragment() {
    vec4 color = texture(my_tex_3d, vec3(UV, depth));
    ALBEDO = color.rgb;

This shader samples the 3D texture at the given UV coordinates and a depth value, outputting the resultant color to the fragment’s albedo.

Manipulating Image Data Directly

In some cases, you may need to manipulate the image data directly. Let’s look at how to lock the Image for direct pixel access and then how to modify its data:

var image = texture_3d.get_data()

for z in range(image.get_depth()):
    for y in range(image.get_height()):
        for x in range(image.get_width()):
            var color = image.get_pixel(x, y, z)
            // Perform some operation with color
            image.set_pixel(x, y, z, new_color)


In this loop, we iterate over each pixel in the texture’s depth, height, and width, get its current color, perform an operation, and then set a new color. This allows for dynamic modifications to textures at runtime.

With these fundamental tools and examples, you can start incorporating ImageTexture3D into your Godot 4 projects! Remember, experimentation is key to understanding and leveraging these concepts to their fullest potential in your games.

Great, let’s build further upon our understanding of using ImageTexture3D in Godot with some practical code examples. We’ll be exploring advanced techniques that can really open up the capabilities of this powerful class.

Applying a 3D Texture to a Material

Firstly, to apply a 3D texture to a material, you’ll typically adjust the material’s shader parameters. Here’s an example of setting the shader param for a 3D texture:

var mat = mesh_instance.get_surface_material(0)
mat.set_shader_param("my_tex_3d", texture_3d)

This code snippet targets the first material of a mesh instance and sets the shader parameter ‘my_tex_3d’ (previously defined in the shader) to our texture_3d.

Now, let’s see how this works with an emission texture to create a volumetric light effect:

mat.set_shader_param("emission", texture_3d)
mat.emission_energy = 1.0

By setting the ’emission’ parameter and adjusting the ’emission_energy’, we’re applying the 3D texture in a way that it emits light from the material itself.

Texture Scaling and Offset

Adjusting 3D texture scales and offsets can be crucial for fine-tuning how the texture is mapped onto your objects. Here’s how you can manipulate these properties:

mat.set_shader_param("scale", Vector3(1.0, 1.0, 1.0))
mat.set_shader_param("offset", Vector3(0.0, 0.0, 0.0))

This adjusts the scaling and offset of the texture in all three axes uniformly, with Vector3 values, allowing detailed control over texture mapping.

Updating 3D Texture in Real-time

For dynamic effects, you might want to update your 3D texture during runtime. Here’s a simple update example:

func _process(delta):
    // Let's say we want to scroll the texture along the z-axis
    var offset = mat.get_shader_param("offset")
    offset.z += delta * 0.1
    mat.set_shader_param("offset", offset)

This code snippet will make the texture appears to move or ‘scroll’ along the z-axis, giving the illusion of motion within the material.

Combining Multiple 3D Textures

Sometimes, you’ll want your material to combine multiple textures to create a more complex effect, such as a terrain with varying features at different depths. Here’s a shader example that combines two 3D textures:

shader_type spatial;

uniform sampler3D texture1;
uniform sampler3D texture2;

void fragment() {
    vec4 color1 = texture(texture1, vec3(UV, depth));
    vec4 color2 = texture(texture2, vec3(UV, depth));
    vec4 combined_color = mix(color1, color2, 0.5); // blend the two textures 50/50
    ALBEDO = combined_color.rgb;

This code takes two 3D textures and mixes them evenly. You could modify the ‘mix’ value or use a different blend mode for a variety of effects.

Armed with these additional examples, you’re well on your way to mastering ImageTexture3D in Godot 4. Remember, the key to truly understanding these systems is to get hands-on and start applying them to real-world scenarios in your projects. Happy coding!

As you can see, whether it’s fine-tuning materials or crafting real-time updates, ImageTexture3D has a plethora of applications. We at Zenva encourage you to experiment with these examples to discover the vast creative potential that Godot 4’s 3D texturing offers. With every new project, challenge yourself to innovate and push your texturing skills to the next level. Discover, learn, and grow with us, as we guide you towards becoming a top-tier game developer!

Continuing with our deep dive into the ImageTexture3D class in Godot 4, let’s explore additional practical code examples. These examples will further illustrate the flexibility of this class and how it can be harnessed to elevate your game development projects.

Creating a noise-based volumetric effect can give an ethereal touch to your games. Let’s start by generating a noise texture in Godot:

var noise_tex =
var noise =
noise.seed = randi()

var noise_image =
noise_image.create(noise_size, noise_size, noise_size, Image.FORMAT_R8, Image.FLAG_REPEAT)

for z in range(noise_size):
    for y in range(noise_size):
        for x in range(noise_size):
            var noise_value = noise.get_noise_3d(x, y, z)
            noise_image.set_pixel(x, y, z, Color(noise_value, noise_value, noise_value))


In this snippet, we generate a 3D noise texture using the OpenSimplexNoise class, create an image to hold the texture, and apply noise values to each pixel.

When it comes to animating 3D textures for a dynamic fluid experience, a periodic update of your texture data can be used. Take a look at how you might do this:

func _process(delta):
    var offset = time_passed * 0.01 // Adjust the speed as desired
    var image = texture_3d.get_data()

    var new_image =
    new_image.scroll(offset, offset, offset)

    time_passed += delta

This example scrolls the texture data each frame by a small offset, giving the appearance that your texture is moving or ‘flowing’ continuously.

Manipulating light absorption in volumetric materials can lead to stunning visual effects. Let’s see how you might use a 3D texture to dynamically change the absorption of light at different points:

shader_type spatial;

uniform sampler3D absorption_tex;

void fragment() {
    float absorption = texture(absorption_tex, vec3(UV, depth)).r;
    ALBEDO *= (1.0 - absorption);

Here, we sample an “absorption” texture that controls how much light is absorbed at varying points, affecting the final albedo color.

Combining ImageTexture3D with particle systems can also create complex and interesting effects. You can use a 3D texture to inform the behavior of particles in a system:

// Assuming the shader is attached to a ParticlesMaterial
shader_type particles;

uniform sampler3D velocity_field;

void particle() {
    vec3 velocity = texture(velocity_field, TRANSFORM[3].xyz).rgb;
    VELOCITY = velocity * scale_factor;

This shader applies a velocity field texture to each particle, deciding its velocity based on the particle’s current position within the texture.

Remember that testing and iteration are your best tools for mastering the potential of ImageTexture3D. Feel free to mix and match approaches from the examples we’ve shared, and don’t be afraid to combine them with other Godot features to create truly unique aspects in your game. We at Zenva are thrilled to be part of your learning journey. Dive into these techniques, experiment boldly, and let the magic of 3D texturing in Godot 4 inspire your creative game development endeavors!

Embarking on the journey of mastering Godot and its ImageTexture3D class is just the beginning. There’s a universe of knowledge and skills waiting for you to discover, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way. If you’re eager to continue expanding your game development prowess, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect next step.

This comprehensive curriculum is tailor-made to fuel your growth from beginner to professional. You’ll delve into creating both 2D and 3D games using Godot’s expansive features, such as stunning graphics, powerful performance, and the versatile GDScript language. From platformers to RPGs, each course is packed with essential knowledge and hands-on projects that will cement your coding skills and boost your confidence in game creation.

To broaden your learning horizon even further, explore our full range of Godot courses at Zenva’s Godot Courses. Here, you’ll find an array of resources that cater to various aspects of game development, ensuring that there’s always something new to learn and master. Remember, whether you’re just starting out or building on your existing expertise, Zenva is your trusted partner in taking your game development journey to new heights.


Equipped with the knowledge and applications of ImageTexture3D in Godot 4, you’re well on your way to transforming your game environments and mechanics into immersive, interactive experiences. Remember, what you’ve learned here is just the beginning. Dive into implementing these techniques, experiment with confidence, and continue to forge your path in the game development world. With every challenge you overcome and every project you complete, you’ll be one step closer to mastering this craft.

Should you yearn for more knowledge and wish to elevate your skills further, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree awaits you. It’s your gateway to becoming all that you can be in the realm of game design and programming. At Zenva, we’re proud to support and inspire coders like you. Continue to create, innovate, and inspire. The journey doesn’t end here, it only gets more exciting!

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