Graphics Libraries

This post summarizes libraries to create 3D or 2D graphics and sound.

For those libraries to create both graphics and sound toghether, you can check this post.

Graphics and multimedia libraries should not be confused with game engines. You can read more about game engines on this post.

Advantages of using Graphics Libraries

Using multimedia libraries allow to create applications that work on different hardware and operating systems (cross-platform).

List of Multimedia Libraries

List of multimedia libraries:

  • OpenGL
  • OpenGL ES
  • Vulkan
  • Direct3D
  • Metal


OpenGraphics Library (OpenGL) is a graphics library. It is developed by the Kronos Group, that is a non-profit technology consortium.

Since its released in 1992 is very established.

It has been around for decades and has gone through various versions and extensions. OpenGL provides a higher level of abstraction, making it easier for developers to work with graphics hardware without needing to manage every detail. It is widely used for 2D and 3D graphics and can target various platforms, including desktop, mobile, and embedded systems.

It is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

Official link


OpenGL Embedded Systems is OpenGL ES is a graphics library library specific for embedded systems.

It is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

Official link


Vulkan is an effort to combine OpenGL and OpenGL ES, and it is not backwards compatible. It is also developed by the Kronos Group.

It was released in 2016.

It is designed with a focus on high performance, efficiency, and parallelism, making it well-suited for applications that demand the utmost control over graphics processing. It is often used in complex 3D games, simulations, and applications where performance optimization is a critical concern.

It is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

Official link


Direct3D is a graphics library for Windows products. It is developed by American company Microsoft.

It is a component of the library DirectX, also referred as DX.

DirectX SDK is included in Windows SDK since Windows 8. You can read more about it on this external link.

It is proprietary.


Metal is an graphics API for Apple products. It is developed by Apple.

It is proprietary.

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External References

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