Shading language


Godot uses a shading language similar to GLSL ES 3.0. Most datatypes and functions are supported, and the few remaining ones will likely be added over time.

If you are already familiar with GLSL, the Godot Shader Migration Guide is a resource that will help you transition from regular GLSL to Godot's shading language.

Data types

Most GLSL ES 3.0 datatypes are supported:




Void datatype, useful only for functions that return nothing.


Boolean datatype, can only contain true or false.


Two-component vector of booleans.


Three-component vector of booleans.


Four-component vector of booleans.


Signed scalar integer.


Two-component vector of signed integers.


Three-component vector of signed integers.


Four-component vector of signed integers.


Unsigned scalar integer; can't contain negative numbers.


Two-component vector of unsigned integers.


Three-component vector of unsigned integers.


Four-component vector of unsigned integers.


Floating-point scalar.


Two-component vector of floating-point values.


Three-component vector of floating-point values.


Four-component vector of floating-point values.


2x2 matrix, in column major order.


3x3 matrix, in column major order.


4x4 matrix, in column major order.


Sampler type for binding 2D textures, which are read as float.


Sampler type for binding 2D textures, which are read as signed integer.


Sampler type for binding 2D textures, which are read as unsigned integer.


Sampler type for binding 2D texture arrays, which are read as float.


Sampler type for binding 2D texture arrays, which are read as signed integer.


Sampler type for binding 2D texture arrays, which are read as unsigned integer.


Sampler type for binding 3D textures, which are read as float.


Sampler type for binding 3D textures, which are read as signed integer.


Sampler type for binding 3D textures, which are read as unsigned integer.


Sampler type for binding Cubemaps, which are read as floats.


Just like GLSL ES 3.0, implicit casting between scalars and vectors of the same size but different type is not allowed. Casting of types of different size is also not allowed. Conversion must be done explicitly via constructors.


float a = 2; // invalid
float a = 2.0; // valid
float a = float(2); // valid

Default integer constants are signed, so casting is always needed to convert to unsigned:

int a = 2; // valid
uint a = 2; // invalid
uint a = uint(2); // valid


Individual scalar members of vector types are accessed via the "x", "y", "z" and "w" members. Alternatively, using "r", "g", "b" and "a" also works and is equivalent. Use whatever fits best for your needs.

For matrices, use the m[column][row] indexing syntax to access each scalar, or m[idx] to access a vector by row index. For example, for accessing the y position of an object in a mat4 you use m[3][1].


Construction of vector types must always pass:

// The required amount of scalars
vec4 a = vec4(0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0);
// Complementary vectors and/or scalars
vec4 a = vec4(vec2(0.0, 1.0), vec2(2.0, 3.0));
vec4 a = vec4(vec3(0.0, 1.0, 2.0), 3.0);
// A single scalar for the whole vector
vec4 a = vec4(0.0);

Construction of matrix types requires vectors of the same dimension as the matrix. You can also build a diagonal matrix using matx(float) syntax. Accordingly, mat4(1.0) is an identity matrix.

mat2 m2 = mat2(vec2(1.0, 0.0), vec2(0.0, 1.0));
mat3 m3 = mat3(vec3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0), vec3(0.0, 1.0, 0.0), vec3(0.0, 0.0, 1.0));
mat4 identity = mat4(1.0);

Matrices can also be built from a matrix of another dimension. There are two rules:

1. If a larger matrix is constructed from a smaller matrix, the additional rows and columns are set to the values they would have in an identity matrix. 2. If a smaller matrix is constructed from a larger matrix, the top, left submatrix of the larger matrix is used.

mat3 basis = mat3(MODEL_MATRIX);
mat4 m4 = mat4(basis);
mat2 m2 = mat2(m4);


It is possible to obtain any combination of components in any order, as long as the result is another vector type (or scalar). This is easier shown than explained:

vec4 a = vec4(0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0);
vec3 b = a.rgb; // Creates a vec3 with vec4 components.
vec3 b = a.ggg; // Also valid; creates a vec3 and fills it with a single vec4 component.
vec3 b = a.bgr; // "b" will be vec3(2.0, 1.0, 0.0).
vec3 b =; // Also rgba, xyzw are equivalent.
vec3 b = a.stp; // And stpq (for texture coordinates).
float c = b.w; // Invalid, because "w" is not present in vec3 b.
vec3 c = b.xrt; // Invalid, mixing different styles is forbidden.
b.rrr = a.rgb; // Invalid, assignment with duplication.
b.bgr = a.rgb; // Valid assignment. "b"'s "blue" component will be "a"'s "red" and vice versa.


It is possible to add precision modifiers to datatypes; use them for uniforms, variables, arguments and varyings:

lowp vec4 a = vec4(0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0); // low precision, usually 8 bits per component mapped to 0-1
mediump vec4 a = vec4(0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0); // medium precision, usually 16 bits or half float
highp vec4 a = vec4(0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0); // high precision, uses full float or integer range (default)

Using lower precision for some operations can speed up the math involved (at the cost of less precision). This is rarely needed in the vertex processor function (where full precision is needed most of the time), but is often useful in the fragment processor.

Some architectures (mainly mobile) can benefit significantly from this, but there are downsides such as the additional overhead of conversion between precisions. Refer to the documentation of the target architecture for further information. In many cases, mobile drivers cause inconsistent or unexpected behavior and it is best to avoid specifying precision unless necessary.


Arrays are containers for multiple variables of a similar type.

Local arrays

Local arrays are declared in functions. They can use all of the allowed datatypes, except samplers. The array declaration follows a C-style syntax: [const] + [precision] + typename + identifier + [array size].

void fragment() {
    float arr[3];

They can be initialized at the beginning like:

float float_arr[3] = float[3] (1.0, 0.5, 0.0); // first constructor

int int_arr[3] = int[] (2, 1, 0); // second constructor

vec2 vec2_arr[3] = { vec2(1.0, 1.0), vec2(0.5, 0.5), vec2(0.0, 0.0) }; // third constructor

bool bool_arr[] = { true, true, false }; // fourth constructor - size is defined automatically from the element count

You can declare multiple arrays (even with different sizes) in one expression:

float a[3] = float[3] (1.0, 0.5, 0.0),
b[2] = { 1.0, 0.5 },
c[] = { 0.7 },
d = 0.0,

To access an array element, use the indexing syntax:

float arr[3];

arr[0] = 1.0; // setter

COLOR.r = arr[0]; // getter

Arrays also have a built-in function .length() (not to be confused with the built-in length() function). It doesn't accept any parameters and will return the array's size.

float arr[] = { 0.0, 1.0, 0.5, -1.0 };
for (int i = 0; i < arr.length(); i++) {
    // ...


If you use an index either below 0 or greater than array size - the shader will crash and break rendering. To prevent this, use length(), if, or clamp() functions to ensure the index is between 0 and the array's length. Always carefully test and check your code. If you pass a constant expression or a number, the editor will check its bounds to prevent this crash.

Global arrays

You can declare arrays at global space like:

shader_type spatial;

const lowp vec3 v[1] = lowp vec3[1] ( vec3(0, 0, 1) );

void fragment() {
  ALBEDO = v[0];


Global arrays have to be declared as global constants, otherwise they can be declared the same as local arrays.


Use the const keyword before the variable declaration to make that variable immutable, which means that it cannot be modified. All basic types, except samplers can be declared as constants. Accessing and using a constant value is slightly faster than using a uniform. Constants must be initialized at their declaration.

const vec2 a = vec2(0.0, 1.0);
vec2 b;

a = b; // invalid
b = a; // valid

Constants cannot be modified and additionally cannot have hints, but multiple of them (if they have the same type) can be declared in a single expression e.g

const vec2 V1 = vec2(1, 1), V2 = vec2(2, 2);

Similar to variables, arrays can also be declared with const.

const float arr[] = { 1.0, 0.5, 0.0 };

arr[0] = 1.0; // invalid

COLOR.r = arr[0]; // valid

Constants can be declared both globally (outside of any function) or locally (inside a function). Global constants are useful when you want to have access to a value throughout your shader that does not need to be modified. Like uniforms, global constants are shared between all shader stages, but they are not accessible outside of the shader.

shader_type spatial;

const float PI = 3.14159265358979323846;

Constants of the float type must be initialized using . notation after the decimal part or by using the scientific notation. The optional f post-suffix is also supported.

float a = 1.0;
float b = 1.0f; // same, using suffix for clarity
float c = 1e-1; // gives 0.1 by using the scientific notation

Constants of the uint (unsigned int) type must have a u suffix to differentiate them from signed integers. Alternatively, this can be done by using the uint(x) built-in conversion function.

uint a = 1u;
uint b = uint(1);


Structs are compound types which can be used for better abstraction of shader code. You can declare them at the global scope like:

struct PointLight {
    vec3 position;
    vec3 color;
    float intensity;

After declaration, you can instantiate and initialize them like:

void fragment()
    PointLight light;
    light.position = vec3(0.0);
    light.color = vec3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0);
    light.intensity = 0.5;

Or use struct constructor for same purpose:

PointLight light = PointLight(vec3(0.0), vec3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0), 0.5);

Structs may contain other struct or array, you can also instance them as global constant:

shader_type spatial;


struct Scene {
    PointLight lights[2];

const Scene scene = Scene(PointLight[2](PointLight(vec3(0.0, 0.0, 0.0), vec3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0), 1.0), PointLight(vec3(0.0, 0.0, 0.0), vec3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0), 1.0)));

void fragment()
    ALBEDO = scene.lights[0].color;

You can also pass them to functions:

shader_type canvas_item;


Scene construct_scene(PointLight light1, PointLight light2) {
    return Scene({light1, light2});

void fragment()
    COLOR.rgb = construct_scene(PointLight(vec3(0.0, 0.0, 0.0), vec3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0), 1.0), PointLight(vec3(0.0, 0.0, 0.0), vec3(1.0, 0.0, 1.0), 1.0)).lights[0].color;


Godot shading language supports the same set of operators as GLSL ES 3.0. Below is the list of them in precedence order:




1 (highest)

parenthetical grouping




+, -, !, ~



/, *, %



+, -


bit-wise shift

<<, >>



<, >, <=, >=



==, !=


bit-wise AND



bit-wise exclusive OR



bit-wise inclusive OR



logical AND


12 (lowest)

logical inclusive OR


Flow control

Godot Shading language supports the most common types of flow control:

// `if` and `else`.
if (cond) {

} else {


// Ternary operator.
// This is an expression that behaves like `if`/`else` and returns the value.
// If `cond` evaluates to `true`, `result` will be `9`.
// Otherwise, `result` will be `5`.
int result = cond ? 9 : 5;

// `switch`.
switch (i) { // `i` should be a signed integer expression.
    case -1:
    case 0:
        return; // `break` or `return` to avoid running the next `case`.
    case 1: // Fallthrough (no `break` or `return`): will run the next `case`.
    case 2:
    default: // Only run if no `case` above matches. Optional.

// `for` loop. Best used when the number of elements to iterate on
// is known in advance.
for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {


// `while` loop. Best used when the number of elements to iterate on
// is not known in advance.
while (cond) {


// `do while`. Like `while`, but always runs at least once even if `cond`
// never evaluates to `true`.
do {

} while (cond);

Keep in mind that, in modern GPUs, an infinite loop can exist and can freeze your application (including editor). Godot can't protect you from this, so be careful not to make this mistake!

Also, when comparing floating-point values against a number, make sure to compare them against a range instead of an exact number.

A comparison like if (value == 0.3) may not evaluate to true. Floating-point math is often approximate and can defy expectations. It can also behave differently depending on the hardware.

Don't do this.

float value = 0.1 + 0.2;

// May not evaluate to `true`!
if (value == 0.3) {
    // ...

Instead, always perform a range comparison with an epsilon value. The larger the floating-point number (and the less precise the floating-point number, the larger the epsilon value should be.

const float EPSILON = 0.0001;
if (value >= 0.3 - EPSILON && value <= 0.3 + EPSILON) {
    // ...

See for more information.


When exporting a GLES2 project to HTML5, WebGL 1.0 will be used. WebGL 1.0 doesn't support dynamic loops, so shaders using those won't work there.


Fragment and light functions can use the discard keyword. If used, the fragment is discarded and nothing is written.


It is possible to define functions in a Godot shader. They use the following syntax:

ret_type func_name(args) {
    return ret_type; // if returning a value

// a more specific example:

int sum2(int a, int b) {
    return a + b;

You can only use functions that have been defined above (higher in the editor) the function from which you are calling them.

Function arguments can have special qualifiers:

  • in: Means the argument is only for reading (default).

  • out: Means the argument is only for writing.

  • inout: Means the argument is fully passed via reference.

  • const: Means the argument is a constant and cannot be changed, may be combined with in qualifier.

Example below:

void sum2(int a, int b, inout int result) {
    result = a + b;


To send data from the vertex to the fragment (or light) processor function, varyings are used. They are set for every primitive vertex in the vertex processor, and the value is interpolated for every pixel in the fragment processor.

shader_type spatial;

varying vec3 some_color;

void vertex() {
    some_color = NORMAL; // Make the normal the color.

void fragment() {
    ALBEDO = some_color;

void light() {
    DIFFUSE_LIGHT = some_color * 100; // optionally

Varying can also be an array:

shader_type spatial;

varying float var_arr[3];

void vertex() {
    var_arr[0] = 1.0;
    var_arr[1] = 0.0;

void fragment() {
    ALBEDO = vec3(var_arr[0], var_arr[1], var_arr[2]); // red color

It's also possible to send data from fragment to light processors using varying keyword. To do so you can assign it in the fragment and later use it in the light function.

shader_type spatial;

varying vec3 some_light;

void fragment() {
    some_light = ALBEDO * 100.0; // Make a shining light.

void light() {
    DIFFUSE_LIGHT = some_light;

Note that varying may not be assigned in custom functions or a light processor function like:

shader_type spatial;

varying float test;

void foo() {
    test = 0.0; // Error.

void vertex() {
    test = 0.0;

void light() {
    test = 0.0; // Error too.

This limitation was introduced to prevent incorrect usage before initialization.

Interpolation qualifiers

Certain values are interpolated during the shading pipeline. You can modify how these interpolations are done by using interpolation qualifiers.

shader_type spatial;

varying flat vec3 our_color;

void vertex() {
    our_color = COLOR.rgb;

void fragment() {
    ALBEDO = our_color;

There are two possible interpolation qualifiers:




The value is not interpolated.


The value is interpolated in a perspective-correct fashion. This is the default.


Passing values to shaders is possible. These are global to the whole shader and are called uniforms. When a shader is later assigned to a material, the uniforms will appear as editable parameters in it. Uniforms can't be written from within the shader.


Uniform arrays are not implemented yet.

shader_type spatial;

uniform float some_value;

You can set uniforms in the editor in the material. Or you can set them through GDScript:

material.set_shader_param("some_value", some_value)


The first argument to set_shader_param is the name of the uniform in the shader. It must match exactly to the name of the uniform in the shader or else it will not be recognized.

Any GLSL type except for void can be a uniform. Additionally, Godot provides optional shader hints to make the compiler understand for what the uniform is used.

shader_type spatial;

uniform vec4 color : source_color;
uniform float amount : hint_range(0, 1);
uniform vec4 other_color : source_color = vec4(1.0);

It's important to understand that textures that are supplied as color require hints for proper sRGB->linear conversion (i.e. hint_albedo), as Godot's 3D engine renders in linear color space.

Full list of hints below:




vec3, vec4


Used as color.

int, float

hint_range(min, max[, step])

Used as range (with min/max/step).



Used as albedo color.



Used as normalmap.



As value or albedo color, default to white.



As value or albedo color, default to black.



As flowmap, default to right.


hint_roughness[_r, _g, _b, _a, _normal, _gray]


filter[_nearest, _linear][_mipmap][_aniso]

Enabled specified texture filtering.


repeat[_enable, _disable]

Enabled texture repeating.

GDScript uses different variable types than GLSL does, so when passing variables from GDScript to shaders, Godot converts the type automatically. Below is a table of the corresponding types:

GDScript type

GLSL type


















Be careful when setting shader uniforms from GDScript, no error will be thrown if the type does not match. Your shader will just exhibit undefined behavior.

Uniforms can also be assigned default values:

shader_type spatial;

uniform vec4 some_vector = vec4(0.0);
uniform vec4 some_color : source_color = vec4(1.0);

Built-in variables

A large number of built-in variables are available, like UV, COLOR and VERTEX. What variables are available depends on the type of shader (spatial, canvas_item or