Reading CVPixelBuffer in Objective-C

I wanted to inspect individual pixels in a CVPixelBuffer, but I couldn’t find a recipe online, so after figuring it out, here it is. You can adjust this code to iterate through the CVPixelBuffer too if that’s what you need!

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    CVPixelBufferRef pixelBuffer = _lastDepthData.depthDataMap;
   
    CVPixelBufferLockBaseAddress(pixelBuffer, 0);
   
    size_t cols = CVPixelBufferGetWidth(pixelBuffer);
    size_t rows = CVPixelBufferGetHeight(pixelBuffer);
    size_t bytesPerRow = CVPixelBufferGetBytesPerRow( pixelBuffer );
    uint8_t *baseAddress = CVPixelBufferGetBaseAddress( pixelBuffer );
   
    // This next step is not necessary, but I include it here for illustration,
    // you can get the type of pixel format, and it is associated with a kCVPixelFormatType
    // this can tell you what type of data it is e.g. in this case Float32

    OSType type = CVPixelBufferGetPixelFormatType( pixelBuffer);
   
    if (type != kCVPixelFormatType_DepthFloat32) {
        NSLog(@"Wrong type");
    }
   
    // Arbitrary values of x and y to sample
    int x = 20; // must be lower that cols
    int y = 30; // must be lower than rows
   
    // Get the pixel.  You could iterate here of course to get multiple pixels!
    int baseAddressIndex = y  * bytesPerRow + x  * sizeof(Float32);
    const Float32 pixel = *(Float32*)(&baseAddress[baseAddressIndex]);

    CVPixelBufferUnlockBaseAddress( pixelBuffer, 0 );

Note that the first thing you need to determine is what type of data is in the CVPixelBuffer – if you don’t know this then you can use CVPixelBufferGetPixelFormatType() to find out. In this case I am getting depth data at Float32, if you were using another type e.g. Float16, then you would need to replace all occurrences of Float32 with that type.

Note that it’s important to lock and unlock the base address using CVPixelBufferLockBaseAddress and CVPixelBufferUnlockBaseAddress.

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