Graphics Pipeline Stages
The Graphics Pipeline Stages window, which is one of the Graphics Diagnostics tools in Visual Studio, can help you understand how a particular draw event moves through the graphics pipeline.
This is the Graphics Pipeline Stages window:
Starting in Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, the Graphics Diagnostics tool windows are hosted in an independent copy of the Visual Studio shell. This customized shell, called Graphics Analysis, eliminates unnecessary menus and options, but otherwise the graphics pipeline stages window and workflow are the same as before. For more information about this change, see Graphics Diagnostics Overview.
The Graphics Pipeline Stages window can help you analyze the output of each stage of the graphics pipeline that applies to a specific object that was rendered. In particular, you can identify stages in which the data was misinterpreted or transformed incorrectly—for example, you can investigate whether a vertex shader stage caused an object to be drawn off-screen. When you have identified the pipeline stage in which the problem occurs, you can use the other Graphics Diagnostics tools to examine how the data was interpreted or transformed. Rendering problems that appear in the pipeline stages are often related to incorrect vertex format descriptors, buggy shader programs, or misconfigured device state.
The Graphics Pipeline Stages window displays graphics data only for the stages of the pipeline that were active during the draw call. To use the graphics tools in Visual Studio to examine the output of each displayed stage, choose the associated thumbnail in the Graphics Pipeline Stages window.
Compute shaders are not supported in the Graphics Pipeline Stages window.
You can view the code for a Vertex Shader, Hull Shader, Domain Shader, Geometry Shader, or Pixel Shader, or debug it, by using the controls below the pipeline stage that's associated with the shader.
To view a shader's source code
Below the pipeline stage that's associated with the shader that you want to view, choose the title of the pipeline stage—for example, choose Vertex Shader to view the vertex shader source code.
To debug a shader
Below the shader stage that's associated with the shader that you want to debug, below the title of the pipeline stage, choose Start Debugging. This entry point into the HLSL debugger debugs only the first shader invocation for the corresponding stagethat is, the first vertex, primitive, or pixel that is processed. Other invocations of these shader stages can be accessed by using the Graphics Pixel History.