Graphic Buffer and Surface

Mobile nativeWearable native


  • Tizen 2.4 and Higher for Mobile
  • Tizen 2.3.1 and Higher for Wearable


Related Info

The Tizen Buffer Manager (TBM) surface allows you to manage the graphic buffer in Tizen. The TBM provides an abstraction interface for the graphic buffer and a user interface for the TBM surface. It supports the RGB and YUV graphic formats, as well as multiple plane graphic buffers.

The TBM surface provides the following main features:

  • Creating a surface with a defined width, height, and format

    The TBM surface provides various format definitions. However, before using a specific graphic format, make sure that the system supports it.

  • Getting a format list
  • Accessing the surface
  • Getting surface and plane information

    Get the details using the tbm_surface_map() or the tbm_surface_get_info() function. The surface information is assigned to the tbm_surface_info_s struct (in mobile and wearable applications).

    The surface information contains the surface width, height, BPP, size, and the number of planes, while the plane information includes the plane size, offset, stride, and pointer. For more information on the surface and plane details, see _tbm_surface_info struct (in mobile and wearable applications) and _tbm_surface_plane struct (in mobile and wearable applications).

To store data in the low-level graphic buffer, get a plane pointer in the surface and use the pointer of each plane.


To use the functions and data types of the TBM Surface API (in mobile and wearable applications, include the <tbm_surface.h> header file in your application:

#include <tbm_surface.h>

Managing the TBM Surface

To create the TBM surface:

  1. Query the formats supported by the system using the tbm_surface_query_formats() function. Free the array of formats after viewing the formats.

    tbm_format *formats;
    uint32_t format_num;
    if (tbm_surface_query_formats(&formats, &format_num) != TBM_SURFACE_ERROR_NONE)
        dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "Failed to get formats supported by the system\n");
  2. Create the TBM surface (tbm_surface) and define its format, height, and width:

    int i;
    tbm_surface_h surface = NULL;
    for (i = 0; i < format_num; i++) {
        if (formats[i] == TBM_FORMAT_ARGB8888) {
            surface = tbm_surface_create(128, 128, TBM_FORMAT_ARGB8888);
            if (surface == NULL)
                dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "Failed to create tbm_surface\n");
    if (i == format_num)
        dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "format not supported\n");
  3. Map the TBM surface with the access option. After the surface is mapped, the tbm_surface information is saved in the tbm_surface_info structure:

    tbm_surface_info_s surface_info;
    if (tbm_surface_map(surface, TBM_SURF_OPTION_READ|TBM_SURF_OPTION_WRITE, &surface_info) != TBM_SURFACE_ERROR_NONE)
        dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "Failed to map tbm_surface\n");
  4. Store data at the tbm_surface instance by using a pointer of each plane:

    for (i = 0; i < surface_info.num_planes; i++)
        memset(surface_info.planes[i].ptr, 0x0, surface_info.planes[i].size);
  5. When no longer needed, unmap and destroy the tbm_surface instance:
    if (tbm_surface_unmap(surface) != TBM_SURFACE_ERROR_NONE)
        dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "Failed to unmap tbm_surface\n");
    if (tbm_surface_destroy(surface) != TBM_SURFACE_ERROR_NONE)
        dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "Failed to destroy tbm_surface\n");