Individual Learning – Shadertoy

Last week I took a dive into Shadertoy, a website that allows users to write shaders and share them publicly, all within the browser. Many of the effects are truly awe inspiring with incredibly detailed, procedurally generated, 3D scenes ranging from lifelike forests as in the example below by Inigo Quilez (iq), the creator of shadertoy, to abstract and fractal, scenes like the following by Kali.

Rainforest Generators
Rainforest Generators

I created a more simple 2D shader rendering circles by following guides on youtube, mainly this one by iq

From there i started to draw more circles, adding some offsets using sine and cosine functions and i eventually came up with this cool perspective effect which makes a grayscale mask which i then mix between white and the default shader’s colour effect. (Click to see the shader on


I continued to experiment further, using some of the other inputs that shadertoy gives you and also by taking in feedback from the comments (which came in very quickly) to create these next shaders.

Using the Date input and the same circle drawing from the first shader to create a functional clock
Pixelation effect to make make it look like the resolution of the canvas is changing and get a pixel art effect. This shader also includes mouse input to adjust the resolution and the blur on the circle
A smoothstepped Value noise function is used to blend smoothly between two textures. Similar to an effect i have used in unity to blend cameras

Finally I took this one step further and implemented the first effect in a Unity shader so that it can be used as both a material on an object but also as a post process image effect. This wasn’t too difficult, even though Shadertoy uses GLSL and Unity used HLSL, they’re both very similar and most of the code worked fine bar a few vec2s needing to be float2s.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post, i certainly had a lot of fun researching the effects and demos that people have created using shadertoy, especially the 3D ones. If you would like to have a go at writing some shadertoy shaders i would recommend looking at iq‘s website here and The Art of Coding on YouTube.

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