VisualShaderNodeColorConstant in Godot – Complete Guide

Embarking on the journey of game development often leads to an encounter with the vibrant, visual aspects of design. Godot Engine, with its powerful capabilities, offers the “VisualShaderNodeColorConstant” class, a feature that can significantly enhance the visual appeal of a game. Whether you’re a seasoned coder or just starting out, understanding and utilizing this class can elevate the visual dynamics of your creations, transforming basic projects into eye-catching experiences.

What Is VisualShaderNodeColorConstant?

VisualShaderNodeColorConstant is a class in Godot 4 designed specifically for the visual shader graph. Visual shaders allow you to construct graphics shaders using a node-based interface.

What Is It For?

At its core, the VisualShaderNodeColorConstant class is used to introduce solid colors into shaders. It’s an essential tool for defining and manipulating color properties graphically, ensuring that developers can tailor the aesthetics down to the exact RGB and alpha values they envision for their games.

Why Should I Learn It?

Grasping the concept and application of VisualShaderNodeColorConstant empowers you to:
– Add visual depth and detail to your game environment.
– Enhance game assets with precise coloring that elevates the user experience.
– Make real-time adjustments to colors within the visual shader graph that reflect immediately in the game scene.

By incorporating this knowledge into your Godot toolkit, you’ll be well-equipped to bring your games to life in vibrant and dynamic ways.

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In this segment, we’re diving into practical examples demonstrating how to use the VisualShaderNodeColorConstant in Godot Engine. Let’s ensure we cover the basics, so you can confidently integrate vibrant colors into your game’s visual shaders.

Creating a VisualShaderNodeColorConstant

To begin with, you need to create a VisualShaderNodeColorConstant. This can be done easily in the visual shader editor.

var color_constant = VisualShaderNodeColorConstant.new()
color_constant.constant = Color(1.0, 0.0, 0.0) # This sets the constant to red

This snippet creates a new VisualShaderNodeColorConstant instance and sets its color to red.

Adding to a VisualShader

Once you have a VisualShaderNodeColorConstant, you must add it to your VisualShader in order to use it within your material.

var shader = VisualShader.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant, Vector2(0, 0))

The example adds the previously created color constant node to the fragment shader type at the editor’s coordinate (0,0).

Connecting Nodes

To see the color in action, you need to connect your VisualShaderNodeColorConstant to a shader output. For instance, you can connect it to an output node to directly affect the final color.

var output_node = VisualShaderNodeOutput.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, output_node, Vector2(200, 0))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant, "rgb", output_node, "COLOR")

This connects the color constant node’s RGB output to the main COLOR input of the shader’s output node.

Altering Node Properties

You might want to change the properties of your VisualShaderNodeColorConstant. Here’s how to adjust the RGB values and alpha dynamically.

color_constant.set_constant(Color(0.0, 1.0, 0.0)) # Change the color to green
color_constant.constant.a = 0.5 # Adjust the alpha value to be half-transparent

The first line changes the color to green, while the second line adjusts the alpha transparency.

Creating Multiple Color Constants

For a more complex shader, you may need several constants representing different colors.

var color_constant_blue = VisualShaderNodeColorConstant.new()
color_constant_blue.constant = Color(0.0, 0.0, 1.0) # Set to blue

var color_constant_yellow = VisualShaderNodeColorConstant.new()
color_constant_yellow.constant = Color(1.0, 1.0, 0.0) # Set to yellow

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_blue, Vector2(0, 100))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_yellow, Vector2(0, 200))

Each new instance is set to a different solid color, blue and yellow, which are then added to the shader.

Using Color Constants in Expressions

Furthermore, you can use your color constants when creating complex expressions in your shaders.

var multiply_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.new()
multiply_node.op = VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.OP_MUL

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, multiply_node, Vector2(200, 100))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_blue, "rgb", multiply_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_yellow, "rgb", multiply_node, "b")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, multiply_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

This code multiplies the RGB values of the blue and yellow color constants using a scalar multiply operation node. The result is then connected to the output color of the shader.In this continuation, we delve further into the Godot Engine’s VisualShaderNodeColorConstant with practical and advanced examples. These snippets showcase the versatility of color constants in visual shaders.

Adjusting Brightness with Scalar Interpolation
Here’s how you can interpolate between two color constants to adjust brightness dynamically.

var interpolate_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarInterp.new()
var brightness_factor = 0.5 # Define your brightness factor between 0.0 (dark) and 1.0 (full color)

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, interpolate_node, Vector2(400, 100))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant, "rgb", interpolate_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_blue, "rgb", interpolate_node, "b")
interpolate_node.set_constant(brightness_factor)
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, interpolate_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

This code blends between a color and blue based on the specified brightness factor.

Mixing Colors with Vector Operation
You can mix two colors together using a vector operation node.

var mix_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
mix_node.op = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OP_ADD

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mix_node, Vector2(450, 200))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_blue, "rgb", mix_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_yellow, "rgb", mix_node, "b")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mix_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

The addition operation combines the RGB values of blue and yellow color constants resulting in a new mixed color.

Creating a Gradient with Two Color Constants
You can create a simple gradient effect by interpolating between two different colors across a texture coordinate.

var texture_coordinate = VisualShaderNodeTexCoord.new()
var gradient_interpolate_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorInterp.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_coordinate, Vector2(300, 100))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, gradient_interpolate_node, Vector2(550, 100))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant, "rgb", gradient_interpolate_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_blue, "rgb", gradient_interpolate_node, "b")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_coordinate, "uv", gradient_interpolate_node, "c")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, gradient_interpolate_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

This snippet uses the UV texture coordinate to determine the ratio of interpolation between the two color constants.

Utilizing Color Constant In A Custom Function
Advanced shaders may require custom functions. Let’s define one that uses a color constant.

var custom_function_node = VisualShaderNodeExpression.new()
custom_function_node.expression = "vec3 custom_multiply(vec3 color, float factor) { return color * factor; }"

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, custom_function_node, Vector2(300, 300))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_yellow, "rgb", custom_function_node, "arg0")
custom_function_node.set_input_port_default_value(1, 2.0) # Here, we're setting the factor by which we multiply our color
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, custom_function_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

This code creates a custom function that multiplies the RGB values of a color by a factor, potentially brightening it up. Here, we double the intensity of our yellow color constant.

Combining Nodes to Modify Texture Appearance
Let’s go beyond single colors and apply our color constants to modify a texture’s appearance.

var texture_node = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new()
var colorize_texture_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorMix.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_node, Vector2(400, 400))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, colorize_texture_node, Vector2(650, 400))
texture_node.texture = preload("path_to_your_texture.png") # Load your texture here
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_node, "rgb", colorize_texture_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_blue, "rgb", colorize_texture_node, "b")
colorize_texture_node.set_input_port_default_value(2, 0.5) # Blend factor between the original texture and the blue color
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, colorize_texture_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

By combining a texture node and a color constant, we can create a blend effect that tints the texture with the specified color.

Animating Color Constants
Did you know that color constants can also be animated within a shader? Let’s animate a color to smoothly transition between two values.

var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new()
var sine_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new()
sine_node.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_SIN

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, Vector2(700, 500))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, sine_node, Vector2(850, 500))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, "time", sine_node, "arg1")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, sine_node, "scalar", color_constant_yellow, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_yellow, "rgb", output_node, "COLOR")

This example causes the yellow color constant to pulse over time, creating a dynamic visual effect.

These examples illustrate the flexibility and power of VisualShaderNodeColorConstant within Godot. Experiment with these examples, tweak them according to your needs, and watch as they transform your game visuals into engaging, interactive, and visually stunning experiences.Continuing from our previous advanced examples, let’s dive into some additional ways to enhance your game visuals with Godot’s VisualShaderNodeColorConstant.

Layering Effects with Screen Texture
A common requirement is to apply an overall color tint to the game screen. By utilizing the screen texture and color constants, you can create an atmospheric overlay.

var screen_texture_node = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new()
screen_texture_node.texture_type = VisualShaderNodeTexture.TYPE_SCREEN
var blend_screen_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorMix.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, screen_texture_node, Vector2(50, 450))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, blend_screen_node, Vector2(200, 450))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, screen_texture_node, "rgb", blend_screen_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant, "rgb", blend_screen_node, "b")
blend_screen_node.set_input_port_default_value(2, 0.2) # Set the blend factor for the screen overlay
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, blend_screen_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

By using a VisualShaderNodeVectorMix, you can control the strength of the overlay created by the color constant.

Creating a Color Transition Based on Camera Distance
Have you thought of changing the color of an object based on its distance from the camera? With Godot’s visual shader nodes, this is achievable.

var depth_node = VisualShaderNodeInput.new()
depth_node.input_name = "VIEW_DEPTH"
var depth_to_color_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorMix.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, depth_node, Vector2(300, 600))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, depth_to_color_node, Vector2(450, 600))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, depth_node, "depth", depth_to_color_node, "ratio") # Use depth as mix ratio
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_blue, "rgb", depth_to_color_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_yellow, "rgb", depth_to_color_node, "b")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, depth_to_color_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

This shader varies the final color between blue and yellow, depending on the view depth, which correlates to the camera’s distance.

Implementing Conditional Coloring with If Nodes
Sometimes game logic requires conditionally changing colors, such as indicating health or status with visual cues.

var if_node = VisualShaderNodeIf.new()
var scalar_uniform = VisualShaderNodeScalarUniform.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, scalar_uniform, Vector2(400, 300))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, if_node, Vector2(550, 300))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, scalar_uniform, "scalar", if_node, "condition") # Use a uniform as a condition
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant, "rgb", if_node, "a") # Color for if true
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_constant_blue, "rgb", if_node, "b") # Color for if false
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, if_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

A VisualShaderNodeIf lets you output a color based on a condition, switching between two color constants.

Simulating Seasonal Changes with Color Ramp
For dynamic environments, simulating seasonal changes can be highly engaging. By interpolating among multiple color constants, a color ramp effect can be created.

var color_ramp_node = VisualShaderNodeColorRamp.new()
var time_of_year = 0.25 # Represents the current season, 0.0 to 1.0

color_ramp_node.ramp.add_point(0.0, Color(1, 0, 0)) # Add color points for different seasons, such as red for autumn
color_ramp_node.ramp.add_point(0.5, Color(0, 1, 0)) # Green for spring
color_ramp_node.ramp.add_point(1.0, Color(1, 1, 0)) # Yellow for summer
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_ramp_node, Vector2(400, 700))
color_ramp_node.set_offset(time_of_year) # Set the season
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_ramp_node, "result", output_node, "COLOR")

With VisualShaderNodeColorRamp, you can have a shader that evolves over time, reflecting the in-game season with precise color adjustments.

Using Color Constants to Create a Glow Effect
Lastly, let’s implement a simple glow effect using color constants to modify textures.

var texture_emission_node = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new()
texture_emission_node.texture = preload("path_to_your_emission_texture.png")
var emission_blend_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorMix.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_emission_node, Vector2(550, 550))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, emission_blend_node, Vector2(700, 550))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_node, "rgb", emission_blend_node, "a") # Original texture
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_emission_node, "rgb", emission_blend_node, "b") # Emission texture
emission_blend_node.set_input_port_default_value(2, 1.0) # Blend factor for emission strength
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, emission_blend_node, "rgb", output_node, "COLOR")

This effect combines a given texture with an emission map texture, using a color constant as the emission color, contributing to a glow effect around textured objects.

These examples further illustrate the creative potential of the VisualShaderNodeColorConstant. Experiment with different configurations and discover new ways to add depth and life to your Godot projects with the art of shader programming.

Continuing Your Game Development Journey with Godot

Diving into Godot’s VisualShaderNodeColorConstant is just the beginning of a thrilling development adventure. Whether you’ve grasped the basics or are already crafting intricate visual effects, there’s always more to explore in the world of game creation.

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Conclusion

Embarking on the path to mastery in game development is an exciting and creative pursuit, one that’s ever-evolving with new techniques and tools. Traversing the landscape of visual effects with Godot’s VisualShaderNodeColorConstant opens up a universe of possibilities, enabling you to paint your virtual worlds with the colors of imagination. Remember, the skills you acquire through hands-on experimentation and learning are your stepping stones to crafting experiences that resonate with players worldwide.

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