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OpenGL reading a specific pixel out of a file

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i hope i post this in the right forum. I want to read the colorvalue out of pixel x,y of a file(i would prefer tga but bmp is ok also) in runtime. I can think of a couple of uses for this but to name one Im writing a very small texturefontengine and would like to define the spacing between the fonts with specially colored pixels. I have very little clue how image loading exactly works and havent found a good explanation in the net, I handle my textureloading with the free library DevIL. I guess I could parse the files myself(eventhough I wouldnt know how to yet) but Im not sure if this is efficient, i think devil does already do this (and better than I would) and opengl knows the colorvalues since it draws them. So how do you do this? links to tutorials are also welcome. ALSO: if an image is "loaded", what exactly does this mean? If an compressed tga gets loaded into ram, is it still compressed and is it still in the tga format or is it like decoded to something straight forward the graphic card could interpret without further conversion?

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