SDL Wiki
(This is the documentation for SDL3, which is under heavy development and the API is changing! SDL2 is the current stable version!)


Read pixels from the current rendering target.

Header File

Defined in <SDL3/SDL_render.h>


SDL_Surface * SDL_RenderReadPixels(SDL_Renderer *renderer, const SDL_Rect *rect);

Function Parameters

SDL_Renderer * renderer the rendering context.
const SDL_Rect * rect an SDL_Rect structure representing the area in pixels relative to the to current viewport, or NULL for the entire viewport.

Return Value

(SDL_Surface *) Returns a new SDL_Surface on success or NULL on failure; call SDL_GetError() for more information.


The returned surface should be freed with SDL_DestroySurface()

WARNING: This is a very slow operation, and should not be used frequently. If you're using this on the main rendering target, it should be called after rendering and before SDL_RenderPresent().


This function is available since SDL 3.0.0.

CategoryAPI, CategoryAPIFunction, CategoryRender

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