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Converting GLSL to Godot shaders

This document explains the differences between Godot's shading language and GLSL and gives practical advice on how to migrate shaders from other sources, such as Shadertoy and The Book of Shaders, into Godot shaders.

For detailed information on Godot's shading language, please refer to the Shading Language reference.


Godot uses a shading language based on GLSL with the addition of a few quality-of-life features. Accordingly, most features available in GLSL are available in Godot's shading language.

Shader programs

In GLSL, each shader uses a separate program. You have one program for the vertex shader and one for the fragment shader. In Godot, you have a single shader that contains a vertex and/or a fragment function. If you only choose to write one, Godot will supply the other.

Godot allows uniform variables and functions to be shared by defining the fragment and vertex shaders in one file. In GLSL, the vertex and fragment programs cannot share variables except when varyings are used.

Vertex attributes

In GLSL, you can pass in per-vertex information using attributes and have the flexibility to pass in as much or as little as you want. In Godot, you have a set number of input attributes, including VERTEX (position), COLOR, UV, UV2, NORMAL. Each shaders' page in the shader reference section of the documentation comes with a complete list of its vertex attributes.


gl_Position receives the final position of a vertex specified in the vertex shader. It is specified by the user in clip space. Typically, in GLSL, the model space vertex position is passed in using a vertex attribute called position and you handle the conversion from model space to clip space manually.

In Godot, VERTEX specifies the vertex position in model space at the beginning of the vertex function. Godot also handles the final conversion to clip space after the user-defined vertex function is run. If you want to skip the conversion from model to view space, you can set the render_mode to skip_vertex_transform. If you want to skip all transforms, set render_mode to skip_vertex_transform and set the PROJECTION_MATRIX to mat4(1.0) in order to nullify the final transform from view space to clip space.


Varyings are a type of variable that can be passed from the vertex shader to the fragment shader. In modern GLSL (3.0 and up), varyings are defined with the in and out keywords. A variable going out of the vertex shader is defined with out in the vertex shader and in inside the fragment shader.


In GLSL, each shader program looks like a self-contained C-style program. Accordingly, the main entry point is main. If you are copying a vertex shader, rename main to vertex and if you are copying a fragment shader, rename main to fragment.


The Godot shader preprocessor supports the following macros: * #define / #undef * #if, #elif, #else, #endif, defined(), #ifdef, #ifndef * #include (only .gdshaderinc files and with a maximum depth of 25) * #pragma disable_preprocessor, which disables preprocessing for the rest of the file


GLSL has many built-in variables that are hard-coded. These variables are not uniforms, so they are not editable from the main program.






out vec4


Output color for each pixel.




For full screen quads. For smaller quads, use UV.




Position of Vertex, output from Vertex Shader.




Size of Point primitive.




Position on point when drawing Point primitives.




True if front face of primitive.


gl_FragCoord in GLSL and FRAGCOORD in the Godot shading language use the same coordinate system. If using UV in Godot, the y-coordinate will be flipped upside down.


In GLSL, you can define the precision of a given type (float or int) at the top of the shader with the precision keyword. In Godot, you can set the precision of individual variables as you need by placing precision qualifiers lowp, mediump, and highp before the type when defining the variable. For more information, see the Shading Language reference.


Shadertoy is a website that makes it easy to write fragment shaders and create pure magic.

Shadertoy does not give the user full control over the shader. It handles all the input and uniforms and only lets the user write the fragment shader.


Shadertoy uses the webgl spec, so it runs a slightly different version of GLSL. However, it still has the regular types, including constants and macros.


The main point of entry to a Shadertoy shader is the mainImage function. mainImage has two parameters, fragColor and fragCoord, which correspond to COLOR and FRAGCOORD in Godot, respectively. These parameters are handled automatically in Godot, so you do not need to include them as parameters yourself. Anything in the mainImage function should be copied into the fragment function when porting to Godot.


In order to make writing fragment shaders straightforward and easy, Shadertoy handles passing a lot of helpful information from the main program into the fragment shader for you. A few of these have no equivalents in Godot because Godot has chosen not to make them available by default. This is okay because Godot gives you the ability to make your own uniforms. For variables whose equivalents are listed as "Provide with Uniform", users are responsible for creating that uniform themselves. The description gives the