OpenGL 3.1 introduced two new sources from where shaders can retrieve their data, namely uniform buffers and texture buffers. These can be used to accelerate rendering when heavy usage of application provided data happens like in case of skeletal animation, especially when combined with geometry instancing. However, even if the functionality is in the core specification for about a year now, there are few demos out there to show their usage, as so, there is a big confusion around when to use them and which one is more suitable for a particular use case.

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