Using Compressed Textures (Direct3D 9)

Determining Support for Compressed Textures

To test the adapter, specify any pixel format that uses the DXT1, DXT2, DXT3, DXT4, or DXT5. If IDirect3D9::CheckDeviceFormat returns D3D_OK, the device can create texture directly from a compressed texture surface that uses that format. If so, you can use compressed texture surfaces directly with Direct3D by calling the IDirect3DDevice9::SetTexture method. The following code example shows how to determine if the adapter supports a compressed texture format.

BOOL IsCompressedTextureFormatOk( D3DFORMAT TextureFormat, 
                                  D3DFORMAT AdapterFormat ) 
    HRESULT hr = pD3D->CheckDeviceFormat( D3DADAPTER_DEFAULT,

    return SUCCEEDED( hr );

If the device does not support texturing from compressed texture surfaces, you can still store texture data in a compressed format surface, but you must convert any compressed textures to a supported format before they can be used for texturing.

Creating Compressed Textures

After creating a device that supports a compressed texture format on the adapter, you can create a compressed texture resource. Call IDirect3DDevice9::CreateTexture and specify a compressed texture format for the Format parameter.

Before loading an image into a texture object, retrieve a pointer to the texture surface by calling the IDirect3DTexture9::GetSurfaceLevel method.

Now you can use any D3DXLoadSurfacexxx function to load an image to the surface that was retrieved by using IDirect3DTexture9::GetSurfaceLevel. These functions handle conversion to and from compressed texture formats.

You can create and convert compressed texture (DDS) files using the DirectX Texture Editor (Dxtex.exe) supplied with the DirectX SDK. You can get Dxtex.exe and learn about it from the DirectX SDK. For info about the DirectX SDK, see Where is the DirectX SDK?.

The advantage of this behavior is that an application can copy the contents of a compressed surface to a file without calculating how much storage is required for a surface of a particular width and height in the specific format.

The following table shows the five types of compressed textures. For more information about how the data is stored, see Compressed Texture Formats (Direct3D 9). You only need this information if you are writing your own compression routines.

FOURCCDescriptionAlpha premultiplied?
DXT1Opaque/1-bit alphaN/A
DXT2Explicit alphaYes
DXT3Explicit alphaNo
DXT4Interpolated alphaYes
DXT5Interpolated alphaNo


When you transfer data from a nonpremultiplied format to a premultiplied format, Direct3D scales the colors based on the alpha values. Transferring data from a premultiplied format to a nonpremultiplied format is not supported. If you try to transfer data from a premultiplied alpha source to a nonpremultiplied alpha destination, the method returns D3DERR_INVALIDCALL. If you transfer data from a premultiplied alpha source to a destination that has no alpha, the source color components, which have been scaled by alpha, are copied as is.

Decompressing Compressed Texture Surfaces

As with compressing a texture surface, decompressing a compressed texture is performed through Direct3D copying services.

To copy a compressed texture surface to a uncompressed texture surface, use the function D3DXLoadSurfaceFromSurface. This functions handles compression to and from compressed and uncompressed surfaces.

Related topics

Compressed Texture Resources