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Introduction to the shader programming language

4.0.1. Analogy between a shader and a material

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According to its terminology,

“Materials are definitions of how a surface should be rendered, including references to textures, tiling, offset, color and more. The options of a material depend on which shader is being used”. 

How can we translate the above definition to a practical level? Let’s think of a material as “the container of a shader”, this means that we have the program that is performing the surface calculations (shader) and the container (material) that is capable of reading these calculations. 

A material alone cannot perform any operations. If it doesn’t have a shader it will not know how it should be rendered, likewise, a shader cannot be applied to an object if it is not through a material, therefore, the analogy between a material and a shader is a “graphical preview of mathematical calculations”.

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We are a team of indie developers with more than 9 years of experience in video games. As an independent studio, we have developed Nom Noms in which we published with Hyperbeard in 2019. We are currently developing The Unity Shader Bible.

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