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GPGPU image processing basics using OpenCL.NET

Peer Reviewed by Michael Tanczos, jbadams, Dave Hunt

OpenCL Image Processing .NET GPGPU
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OpenCL is a cross-platform framework used mostly for GPGPU (General-purpose computing on graphics processing units). There are plenty of tutorials available on image processing with OpenCL using C/C++, however there's not much information that would cover OpenCL image processing with .NET.

I won't go into details about OpenCL kernels/queues/etc. (there's plenty of information available on the internet), however I'll provide you with a bare minimum code required to load an image from disk, process it with OpenCL on the GPU and save it back to a file.

Before we get started, make sure that you download the source code of OpenCL.NET from http://openclnet.codeplex.com/ and add it to your project.

We'll use a simple OpenCL kernel that converts an input image into a grayscale image. The kernel should be saved to a separate file.

Kernel source code:

__kernel void imagingTest(__read_only  image2d_t srcImg,
					   __write_only image2d_t dstImg)
  const sampler_t smp = CLK_NORMALIZED_COORDS_FALSE | //Natural coordinates
	CLK_ADDRESS_CLAMP_TO_EDGE | //Clamp to zeros
  int2 coord = (int2)(get_global_id(0), get_global_id(1));

  uint4 bgra = read_imageui(srcImg, smp, coord); //The byte order is BGRA

  float4 bgrafloat = convert_float4(bgra) / 255.0f; //Convert to normalized [0..1] float

  //Convert RGB to luminance (make the image grayscale).
  float luminance =  sqrt(0.241f * bgrafloat.z * bgrafloat.z + 0.691f * bgrafloat.y * bgrafloat.y + 0.068f * bgrafloat.x * bgrafloat.x);
  bgra.x = bgra.y = bgra.z = (uint) (luminance * 255.0f);

  bgra.w = 255;

  write_imageui(dstImg, coord, bgra);

Namespaces Used

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Drawing.Imaging;
using System.IO;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
using OpenCL.Net;

Error handling

Since OpenCL.NET is a wrapper for C API, we'll have to do all the error checking on our own. I'm using the following two methods:

private void CheckErr(Cl.ErrorCode err, string name)
	if (err != Cl.ErrorCode.Success) {
		Console.WriteLine("ERROR: " + name + " (" + err.ToString() + ")");

private void ContextNotify(string errInfo, byte[] data, IntPtr cb, IntPtr userData) {
	Console.WriteLine("OpenCL Notification: " + errInfo);

Setting Up

The following two variables should be declared in the class itself and will be shared across all of the methods:

private Cl.Context _context;
private Cl.Device _device;

And this is the method that sets up OpenCL:

private void Setup ()
	Cl.ErrorCode error;
	Cl.Platform[] platforms = Cl.GetPlatformIDs (out error);
	List<Cl.Device> devicesList = new List<Cl.Device> ();
	CheckErr (error, "Cl.GetPlatformIDs");
	foreach (Cl.Platform platform in platforms) {
		string platformName = Cl.GetPlatformInfo (platform, Cl.PlatformInfo.Name, out error).ToString ();
		Console.WriteLine ("Platform: " + platformName);
		CheckErr (error, "Cl.GetPlatformInfo");

		//We will be looking only for GPU devices
		foreach (Cl.Device device in Cl.GetDeviceIDs(platform, Cl.DeviceType.Gpu, out error)) {
			CheckErr (error, "Cl.GetDeviceIDs");
			Console.WriteLine ("Device: " + device.ToString ());
			devicesList.Add (device);
	if (devicesList.Count <= 0) {
		Console.WriteLine ("No devices found.");
	_device = devicesList[0];
	if (Cl.GetDeviceInfo(_device, Cl.DeviceInfo.ImageSupport, out error).CastTo<Cl.Bool>() == Cl.Bool.False)
		Console.WriteLine("No image support.");

	_context = Cl.CreateContext(null, 1, new[] { _device }, ContextNotify, IntPtr.Zero, out error);	//Second parameter is amount of devices
	CheckErr(error, "Cl.CreateContext");

The Image Processing Part

The main problem is that OpenCL.NET is a wrapper around C API of OpenCL, so it can only work with unmanaged memory. However, all of the data in .NET is managed, so we'll have to marshal the data between managed/unmanaged memory. Usually it would be much easier to handle the RGBA color components in float [0..1] space. However, the input image should be in byte[] array, because it would really affect the performance to do the byte=>float conversion on the CPU (we would have to divide each component by 255 for every pixel of the image twice - once before the image processing and once after).

public void ImagingTest (string inputImagePath, string outputImagePath)
	Cl.ErrorCode error;

	//Load and compile kernel source code.
	string programPath = Environment.CurrentDirectory + "/../../ImagingTest.cl";	//The path to the source file may vary
	if (!System.IO.File.Exists (programPath)) {
		Console.WriteLine ("Program doesn't exist at path " + programPath);
	string programSource = System.IO.File.ReadAllText (programPath);
	using (Cl.Program program = Cl.CreateProgramWithSource(_context, 1, new[] { programSource }, null, out error)) {
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.CreateProgramWithSource");

		//Compile kernel source
		error = Cl.BuildProgram (program, 1, new[] { _device }, string.Empty, null, IntPtr.Zero);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.BuildProgram");

		//Check for any compilation errors
		if (Cl.GetProgramBuildInfo (program, _device, Cl.ProgramBuildInfo.Status, out error).CastTo<Cl.BuildStatus>()
			!= Cl.BuildStatus.Success) {
			CheckErr(error, "Cl.GetProgramBuildInfo");
			Console.WriteLine("Cl.GetProgramBuildInfo != Success");
			Console.WriteLine(Cl.GetProgramBuildInfo(program, _device, Cl.ProgramBuildInfo.Log, out error));

		//Create the required kernel (entry function)
		Cl.Kernel kernel = Cl.CreateKernel(program, "imagingTest", out error);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.CreateKernel");
		int intPtrSize = 0;
		intPtrSize = Marshal.SizeOf(typeof(IntPtr));

		//Image's RGBA data converted to an unmanaged[] array
		byte[] inputByteArray;
		//OpenCL memory buffer that will keep our image's byte[] data.
		Cl.Mem inputImage2DBuffer;

		Cl.ImageFormat clImageFormat = new Cl.ImageFormat(Cl.ChannelOrder.RGBA, Cl.ChannelType.Unsigned_Int8);

		int inputImgWidth, inputImgHeight;
		int inputImgBytesSize;

		int inputImgStride;

		//Try loading the input image
		using (FileStream imageFileStream = new FileStream(inputImagePath, FileMode.Open) ) {
			System.Drawing.Image inputImage = System.Drawing.Image.FromStream( imageFileStream );
			if (inputImage == null) {
				Console.WriteLine("Unable to load input image");
			inputImgWidth = inputImage.Width;
			inputImgHeight = inputImage.Height;
			System.Drawing.Bitmap bmpImage = new System.Drawing.Bitmap(inputImage);

			//Get raw pixel data of the bitmap
			//The format should match the format of clImageFormat
			BitmapData bitmapData = bmpImage.LockBits( new Rectangle(0, 0, bmpImage.Width, bmpImage.Height),
													  ImageLockMode.ReadOnly, PixelFormat.Format32bppArgb);//inputImage.PixelFormat);

			inputImgStride = bitmapData.Stride;
			inputImgBytesSize = bitmapData.Stride * bitmapData.Height;
			//Copy the raw bitmap data to an unmanaged byte[] array
			inputByteArray = new byte[inputImgBytesSize];
			Marshal.Copy(bitmapData.Scan0, inputByteArray, 0, inputImgBytesSize);

			//Allocate OpenCL image memory buffer
			inputImage2DBuffer = Cl.CreateImage2D(_context, Cl.MemFlags.CopyHostPtr | Cl.MemFlags.ReadOnly, clImageFormat,
												(IntPtr)bitmapData.Width, (IntPtr)bitmapData.Height,
												(IntPtr)0, inputByteArray, out error);
			CheckErr(error, "Cl.CreateImage2D input");

		//Unmanaged output image's raw RGBA byte[] array
		byte[] outputByteArray = new byte[inputImgBytesSize];

		//Allocate OpenCL image memory buffer
		Cl.Mem outputImage2DBuffer = Cl.CreateImage2D(_context, Cl.MemFlags.CopyHostPtr | Cl.MemFlags.WriteOnly, clImageFormat,
													  (IntPtr)inputImgWidth, (IntPtr)inputImgHeight, (IntPtr)0, outputByteArray, out error);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.CreateImage2D output");

		//Pass the memory buffers to our kernel function
		error = Cl.SetKernelArg(kernel, 0, (IntPtr)intPtrSize, inputImage2DBuffer);
		error |= Cl.SetKernelArg(kernel, 1, (IntPtr)intPtrSize, outputImage2DBuffer);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.SetKernelArg");
		//Create a command queue, where all of the commands for execution will be added
		Cl.CommandQueue cmdQueue = Cl.CreateCommandQueue(_context, _device, (Cl.CommandQueueProperties)0, out error);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.CreateCommandQueue");

		Cl.Event clevent;

		//Copy input image from the host to the GPU.
		IntPtr[] originPtr = new IntPtr[] { (IntPtr)0, (IntPtr)0, (IntPtr)0 };	//x, y, z
		IntPtr[] regionPtr = new IntPtr[] { (IntPtr)inputImgWidth, (IntPtr)inputImgHeight, (IntPtr)1 };	//x, y, z
		IntPtr[] workGroupSizePtr = new IntPtr[] { (IntPtr)inputImgWidth, (IntPtr)inputImgHeight, (IntPtr)1 };
		error = Cl.EnqueueWriteImage(cmdQueue, inputImage2DBuffer, Cl.Bool.True, originPtr, regionPtr, (IntPtr)0, (IntPtr)0, inputByteArray, 0, null, out clevent);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.EnqueueWriteImage");

		//Execute our kernel (OpenCL code)
		error = Cl.EnqueueNDRangeKernel(cmdQueue, kernel, 2, null, workGroupSizePtr, null, 0, null, out clevent);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.EnqueueNDRangeKernel");

		//Wait for completion of all calculations on the GPU.
		error = Cl.Finish(cmdQueue);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.Finish");

		//Read the processed image from GPU to raw RGBA data byte[] array
		error = Cl.EnqueueReadImage(cmdQueue, outputImage2DBuffer, Cl.Bool.True, originPtr, regionPtr,
									(IntPtr)0, (IntPtr)0, outputByteArray, 0, null, out clevent);
		CheckErr(error, "Cl.clEnqueueReadImage");

		//Clean up memory

		//Get a pointer to our unmanaged output byte[] array
		GCHandle pinnedOutputArray = GCHandle.Alloc(outputByteArray, GCHandleType.Pinned);
		IntPtr outputBmpPointer = pinnedOutputArray.AddrOfPinnedObject();

		//Create a new bitmap with processed data and save it to a file.
		Bitmap outputBitmap = new Bitmap(inputImgWidth, inputImgHeight, inputImgStride, PixelFormat.Format32bppArgb, outputBmpPointer);
		outputBitmap.Save(outputImagePath, System.Drawing.Imaging.ImageFormat.Png);


Now you should have a good foundation for more complex image processing effects on the GPU.


May 16 2013 12:33 AM

Thx for your share.I am doing image processing using C#.NET ,and I am not quite familiar with OpenCL.If you could provide me some available source codes inC#.NET ,it well be highly appreciated.AND I have tried trival image pocessing component,I just need more without spending money.


best regards

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