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Home < Documentation < Labs < VTK8

This page documents the update of Slicer to use VTK 8.0.

Status on this page is out-of-date. Since VTK8 transition will happen in conjunction with Qt5, see detailed TODO lists on Documentation/Labs/Qt5


It is planned to update the version of VTK that Slicer uses from 7.1 to 8.0.


   Generic Warning: In C:\path\to\S\VTKv7\Rendering\OpenGL\vtkOpenGLDisplayListPainter.cxx, line 52
   failed after ReleaseAllLists 16 OpenGL errors detected
   0 : (1282) Invalid operation
   1 : (1282) Invalid operation
   15 : (1282) Invalid operation
  • VTK8 requires C++11. Because Slicer includes custom VTK classes, Slicer should also be compiled with C++11.
  • On Mac, if targeting 10.7 or 10.8, likely will need to set CMAKE_CXX_FLAGS=-stdlib=libc++ for C++11 support. Note that this would require Qt build with libc++, which is officially supported by Qt5. Note: Qt 5.7.1 minimum officially supported deployment target is 10.8. Resolution: target 10.9.
  • There may be picking issues with widgets. For example, the slice view ROI handles don't work correctly.
  • * Windows (VS2013) may have a dependency issue related to Python wrapping. At first, wrapping seems to not use the hierarchy files or runs before they are available. Building again generates the wrapped classes correctly. (resolved)
  • Update "VTKv7" project name to "VTKv8".
  • Add Slicer_VTK_VERSION_MAJOR option to support building with VTK7 and VTK8, as was done for VTK5/6 in VTK7 wrapping should not build the hierarchy files.
  • EMSegment remote module will require updates to fix vtkDebugLeaks output. (updated in r17131)

Branches/Merge Requests



Outstanding VTK issues

Slicer-specific VTK commits

Slicer's VTK 8.0 branch includes fixes/changes that aren't in upstream:

Test results


Test results:


Test results:


Test results:

  • TBD

Rendering backend

Although VTK 7 changed the default setting of VTK_RENDERING_BACKEND to OpenGL2, Slicer still explicitly sets it to OpenGL. The rendering backend in Slicer is set using Slicer_VTK_RENDERING_BACKEND.

OpenGL2 backend known issues


The transition plan was announced on the Slicer forum:

Future work

Future work in Slicer related to VTK 8 could include:

  • Remove BTX/ETX markers.
  • Check for and resolve build warnings in Slicer VTK classes.
  • Check that settings in External_VTKv8.cmake are all still necessary, specifically VTK_USE_PARALLEL, and anything related to Qt.