A Decal is basically a Sprite that can be manipulated and rendered in 3D space. They allow you to draw a 2D texture within your 3D world very efficiently using a DecalBatch, with an API similar to that of the Sprite and SpriteBatch.


A Decal represents a sprite in 3d space. Typical 3d transformations such as translation, rotation and scaling are supported.


A Decal requires a DecalMaterial to do anything meaningful. While it’s possible to instantiate a DecalMaterial directly, it’s far simpler to use one of the helpful newDecal methods of the Decal class. For example, if we have a TextureRegion:

Decal decal = Decal.newDecal(textureRegion);

If you have a texture that uses transparency, then you can use an alternative method:

Decal decal = Decal.newDecal(textureRegion, true);

Additional methods are available for further specifying the size and blending properties of the region.


There are many methods for transforming a Decal in 3D space. Some examples:

  • Translation: translate(x, y, z), translateX(x), etc
  • Rotation: rotate(x, y, z), rotateX(), etc
  • Scale: setScale(x, y), setScale(x), etc
  • Position: setPosition(x, y, z), setPosition(Vector3), etc

For a more complete list of available methods, see here.


If we wanted a decal to always face a PerspectiveCamera, we can easily do this using the lookAt method.

// For perspective camera
decal.lookAt(camera.position, camera.up);


Similar to SpriteBatch, we can use a DecalBatch to batch together many Decals for efficient rendering. The DecalBatch will allow us to queue as many Decals as we need before pushing big chunks of geometry to the graphics pipeline. We should create a DecalBatch only once, rather than every game loop.

// e.g. called at start of scene
DecalBatch decalBatch = new DecalBatch(groupStrategy);

Group Strategy

The way a batch handles things depends on the GroupStrategy. Different strategies can be used to customize shaders, states, culling etc. Essentially, a GroupStrategy evaluates the group a sprite falls into, and adjusts settings before and after rendering a group.

For ease of use, the following GroupStrategy implementations exist:

CameraGroupStrategy is likely the most appropriate. You can pass it a Camera instance and it will handle the rest.

decalBatch = new DecalBatch(new CameraGroupStrategy(camera));

Adding Decals

Unlike a SpriteBatch, we do not need to call a begin method. Instead, we just add decals to the batch.


It typically does not matter what order we add the decals to the batch, as the GroupStrategy and depth buffer will handle overlapping decals.


Once we have added all our decals, we should tell the DecalBatch to flush them to the graphics pipeline.


The DecalBatch will then process all queued decals and render them.

Performance Tweaking

The default decal pool size is 1000. Adding more than this many decals in one go will trigger the DecalBatch to submit a chunk. If it is known before hand that not as many decals be needed on average the batch can be downsized to save memory.

We can set the pool size in the constructor:

DecalBatch decalBatch = new DecalBatch(500, groupStrategy);

Complete Example

You can see a working example that shows off the correct usage of Decals here: