© 2019

Practical Shader Development

Vertex and Fragment Shaders for Game Developers


  • Teaches what you need to know about shaders through an example-based approach that is fun and doesn’t require a lot of 3D math or in-depth graphics knowledge

  • Shows you how to apply what is learned about shaders for the major gaming engines: Unity, Unreal Engine 4, and Godot

  • Leaves you with a foundation in shader development that can be carried into a career in vfx or graphics development


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 1-15
  3. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 17-36
  4. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 37-64
  5. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 65-87
  6. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 89-111
  7. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 113-128
  8. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 129-135
  9. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 137-160
  10. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 161-179
  11. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 181-200
  12. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 201-216
  13. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 217-248
  14. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 249-270
  15. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 271-282
  16. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 283-298
  17. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 299-325
  18. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 327-349
  19. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 351-368
  20. Kyle Halladay
    Pages 369-374

About this book


It’s time to stop thinking that shaders are magical. You can use shaders to turn data into stunning visual effects, and get your hands dirty by building your own shader with this step-by-step introduction to shader development for game and graphics developers. Learn how to make shaders that move, tint, light up, and look awesome, all without cracking open a math textbook.

Practical Shader Development teaches the theory behind how shaders work. The book also shows you how to apply that theory to create eye-popping visual effects. You’ll learn to profile and optimize those effects to make sure your projects keep running quickly with all their new visuals. You’ll learn good theory, good practices, and without getting bogged down in the math. 

Author Kyle Halladay explains the fundamentals of shader development through simple examples and hands-on experiments. He teaches you how to find performance issues in shaders you are using and then how to fix them. Kyle explains (and contrasts) how to use the knowledge learned from this book in three of the most popular game engines today. 

What You'll Learn:
  • Understand what shaders are and how they work
  • Get up to speed on the nuts and bolts of writing vertex and fragment shaders
  • Utilize color blending and know how blend equations work
  • Know the coordinate spaces used when rendering real-time computer graphics
  • Use simple math to animate characters, simulate lights, and create a wide variety of visual effects
  • Find and fix performance problems in shaders
  • See how three popular game engines (Unity, UE4, Godot) handle shaders


GSLS Video Games Visual Effects VFX OpenFrameworks HLSL GPU Graphics Development Computer Graphics OpenGL Mesh Textures Projection Matrices Lighting Reflectivity and Reflection Translucancy Unity Unreal Engine

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.BristolUK

About the authors

Kyle Halladay is a professional game programmer living in Chicago. He has more than seven years of experience writing about shaders and building graphics technology for games and architectural visualizations.

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