Retained mode

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In computing, retained mode rendering is a style for application programming interfaces of graphics libraries, in which the libraries retain a complete model of the objects to be rendered.[1]


By using a "retained mode" approach, client calls do not directly cause actual rendering, but instead update an internal model (typically a list of objects) which is maintained within the library's data space. This allows the library to optimize when actual rendering takes place along with the processing of related objects.[1]

Some techniques to optimize rendering include:[citation needed]

Immediate mode is an alternative approach; the two styles can coexist in the same library and are not necessarily exclusionary in practice. For example, OpenGL has immediate mode functions that can use previously defined server side objects (textures, vertex and index buffers, shaders, etc.) without resending unchanged data.[citation needed]

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