VisualShaderNodeTexture3D in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our exploration of the VisualShaderNodeTexture3D in Godot 4, a powerful tool for game developers who aim to create stunning 3D visual effects. Godot’s VisualShaderNode system allows artists and programmers to craft complex graphics without writing a single line of code. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll not only understand what VisualShaderNodeTexture3D is and how to use it, but you’ll see its potential to bring your games to life.

What Is VisualShaderNodeTexture3D?

VisualShaderNodeTexture3D is a class within the visual shader graph of Godot Engine that allows developers to sample 3D textures in their shaders. Shaders are essential for rendering a variety of effects on the screen, and with this node, you can leverage the power of 3D textures to add depth and realism to your game.

What is it for?

This node is specifically used for executing texture lookups on 3D textures. It provides support for multiple texture sources, enabling more dynamic and textured visual presentations in a 3D space. 3D textures can be especially useful for volumetric effects, such as smoke, fire, clouds, or any visual effect that requires a sense of volume and gradation.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding how to use the VisualShaderNodeTexture3D class expands your visual programming repertoire in Godot 4. It allows you to create more immersive and interactive 3D environments and entities. As visuals become ever more critical in game development, mastering nodes like this will give your projects a professional edge. Learning it can be an exciting step forward for developers aiming to bring their artistic vision to fruition with less coding and more visual designing.

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Creating a Basic 3D Texture Shader

To start with VisualShaderNodeTexture3D, it’s essential to become familiar with creating a simple shader that utilizes a 3D texture. Here’s an example of a basic VisualShader that applies a 3D texture to an object:

// Create a new ShaderMaterial
var material = ShaderMaterial.new()

// Create the VisualShader
var shader = VisualShader.new()
var texture_3d_node = VisualShaderNodeTexture3D.new()

// Add the Texture3D node to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_3d_node, 1)

// Connect the node to output color
shader.node_connect(1, texture_3d_node, "output", shader.node_get_output_port_index(Shader.NODE_OUTPUT, "color"))

// Assign the shader to the material
material.shader = shader

Remember to load your 3D texture into the VisualShaderNodeTexture3D node. This is a foundational example to set the groundwork for more complex 3D texture utilizations.

Manipulating UV Coordinates

UV mapping is the 3D modeling process of projecting a 2D image to a 3D model’s surface. In contrast, with 3D textures, you work with a 3D coordinate system. Here’s how you can modify the UVs to control where your texture displays on the object:

// Assuming you have a Texture3D node connected
var uv_input_node = VisualShaderNodeUV.new()

// Add the UV input node
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, uv_input_node, 2)

// Connect UV to Texture3D
shader.node_connect(2, uv_input_node, "output", 1, texture_3d_node, "uv")

// Assuming you have a transformation node if you want to manipulate the UVs
var transform_node = VisualShaderNodeTransformVecMult.new()

// Add it to the shader graph
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, transform_node, 3)

// Connect UVs into the transform node, then to the Texture3D uv input
shader.node_connect(2, uv_input_node, "output", 3, transform_node, "vector")
shader.node_connect(3, transform_node, "output", 1, texture_3d_node, "uv")

Manipulating UVs allows you to translate, rotate, scale, or otherwise change the texture projection onto the surface.

Adding 3D Texture Transformations

Now, let’s create a node setup that transforms the 3D texture throughout our object. We can use spatial operations to achieve animations within the texture:

// Create Transform Vec Mult node for animating the texture coordinates
var transform_vec_mult_node = VisualShaderNodeTransformVecMult.new()

// Use TIME to animate the texture
var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new()

// Add nodes to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, transform_vec_mult_node, 4)
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, 5)

// Connect TIME node to the Transform node
shader.node_connect(5, time_node, "output", 4, transform_vec_mult_node, "transform")

// Finally, connect the Transform Vec Mult to the Texture3D node
shader.node_connect(4, transform_vec_mult_node, "output", 1, texture_3d_node, "uv")

This setup will animate the 3D texture coordinates using the time elapsed since the start of the game, creating a dynamic visual effect.

Combining 3D Textures with Other Nodes

What makes Godot’s VisualShaderNodes powerful is their composability. Here’s an example of combining a 3D texture with a procedural noise texture to create unique visual effects:

// Create a noise texture node
var noise_texture_node = VisualShaderNodeNoiseTexture.new()

// Add it to your shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, noise_texture_node, 6)

// Connect the noise as a factor to combine with the 3D texture
var mix_node = VisualShaderNodeMix.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mix_node, 7)

// Connect both the Texture3D and NoiseTexture to the Mix node
shader.node_connect(1, texture_3d_node, "output", 7, mix_node, "input1")
shader.node_connect(6, noise_texture_node, "output", 7, mix_node, "input2")

// And then the Mix output to the shader output
shader.node_connect(7, mix_node, "output", shader.node_get_output_port_index(Shader.NODE_OUTPUT, "color"))

This combination lets texture samples from the 3D texture be influenced by procedural noise, resulting in organic and lively patterns on your objects. Through these examples, we begin to witness the potential of VisualShaderNodeTexture3D in creating bespoke and intricate visual details with Godot 4.Here are further examples of what you can achieve with VisualShaderNodeTexture3D in Godot 4, demonstrating more complex uses and the node’s versatility.

Utilizing Conditionals with Texture3D

You can use conditional nodes to make decisions about which textures to sample based on certain criteria. Here’s how you might use a VisualShaderNodeIf to switch between different textures under specific conditions:

// Create a If node
var if_node = VisualShaderNodeIf.new()

// Add the If node to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, if_node, 8)

// Create a uniform to control the condition
var condition_uniform = shader.uniform_create()
shader.uniform_set_name(condition_uniform, "use_second_texture")
shader.uniform_set_default_value(condition_uniform, Vector3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0))

// Connect the uniform to the If condition
shader.node_connect(shader.node_get_output_port_index(Shader.NODE_INPUT, "use_second_texture"), 0, 8, if_node, "condition")

// Assuming second_texture is another texture you want to use
var second_texture_node = VisualShaderNodeTexture3D.new()

// Add the second texture to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, second_texture_node, 9)

// Connect both textures to the If node
shader.node_connect(1, texture_3d_node, "output", 8, if_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(9, second_texture_node, "output", 8, if_node, "b")

// Connect the If output to the shader output
shader.node_connect(8, if_node, "output", shader.node_get_output_port_index(Shader.NODE_OUTPUT, "color"))

This code snippet will switch between two 3D textures based on the uniform value provided.

Applying Color Modulation

Color modulation can bring more life to your materials. Here’s how to multiply your texture’s color to modulate the final output:

// Create the Color node
var color_node = VisualShaderNodeColor.new()

// Set the color you want to modulate with
color_node.set_constant(Color(1.0, 0.5, 0.0))

// Add the Color node to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_node, 10)

// Create a Multiply node to combine color and texture
var multiply_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()

// Set the operation to Multiply
multiply_node.set_operator(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATOR_MUL)

// Add the Multiply node to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, multiply_node, 11)

// Connect the Texture3D and Color nodes to the Multiply node
shader.node_connect(1, texture_3d_node, "output", 11, multiply_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(10, color_node, "output", 11, multiply_node, "b")

// Finally, connect the Multiply node to the shader output
shader.node_connect(11, multiply_node, "output", shader.node_get_output_port_index(Shader.NODE_OUTPUT, "color"))

This will modulate the texture colors with the chosen blend color.

Creating Volumetric Light Effects

Volumetric lighting is an advanced effect you can simulate by using a 3D texture to represent light scattering in the atmosphere or a material. The following example demonstrates how to add a volumetric light effect using the VisualShaderNodeTexture3D and VisualShaderNodeOutput:

// Start with texture sampling as shown in previous examples

// The Texture 3D sampling is in variable "texture_3d_node"

// Create an output node specifically for Godot's Volumetric Fog
var fog_output_node = VisualShaderNodeOutput.new()

// Set this node as the volumetric fog output
fog_output_node.set_output_port_for_preview(VisualShaderNodeOutput.TARGET_VOLUMETRIC_FOG)

// Add the output node to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, fog_output_node, 12)

// Connect the sampled texture 3D node directly to the fog output
shader.node_connect(1, texture_3d_node, "output", 12, fog_output_node, "fog")

// Now, your 3D texture will influence the appearance and intensity of volumetric fog!

This technique can provide your scenes with a more atmospheric and dynamic look.

Creating a Distortion Effect

Distortion effects are useful for creating heat haze, water ripples, or other warping effects. Here’s how you can create a simple distortion effect leveraging VisualShaderNodeTexture3D:

// Assuming you have a basic shader set up with the material and texture nodes

// Additional noise to be used for distortion
var noise_texture_node = VisualShaderNodeNoiseTexture.new()

// Add the noise texture node for distortion
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, noise_texture_node, 13)

// Assuming you have a screen texture node for screen-based distortions
var screen_texture_node = VisualShaderNodeScreenTexture.new()

// Add the screen texture node to fetch current screen texture
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, screen_texture_node, 14)

// Create a Vector Operator node to distort UVs
var vector_op_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()

// Set the operator to add - we'll use this to modify screen UVs
vector_op_node.set_operator(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATOR_ADD)

// Add the Vector Op node to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vector_op_node, 15)

// Connect noise to vector node, and then vector op node to screen texture's UV
shader.node_connect(13, noise_texture_node, "output", 15, vector_op_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(15, vector_op_node, "output", 14, screen_texture_node, "uv")

// At this stage, the screen texture will use distorted UVs based on noise texture

Distortions can leave a powerful visual impact and are widely used for various artistic effects in games. Each of these examples demonstrates more advanced usage of VisualShaderNodeTexture3D, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. As you become more comfortable with these nodes, you can experiment and blend different techniques to create your unique visual effects tailored to your game’s artistic needs. Keep exploring and practicing, and you’ll soon be crafting visually stunning experiences with Godot’s powerful shader system.Absolutely, let’s delve deeper into the more nuanced capabilities of VisualShaderNodeTexture3D to really enhance the visuals in Godot 4.

Combining visual shader nodes can give rise to complex effects. Here are a few more examples to inspire and guide you through the process.

Generating Animated 3D Noise

Animating noise within your 3D textures can produce effects like flowing water or shifting fog. Let’s animate a noise texture over time and apply it to a 3D model.

// Assuming you have your shader and noise texture node set up

// Use the Time node for animation
var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, 16)

// Create a Vector Uniform to control animation speed and direction
var speed_uniform = shader.uniform_create()
shader.uniform_set_name(speed_uniform, "speed")
shader.uniform_set_default_value(speed_uniform, Vector3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0))

// Create a Vector Operation node to accumulate time
var op_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
op_node.set_operator(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATOR_MUL)
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, op_node, 17)

// Connect Time and Speed nodes to the Operation node
shader.node_connect(16, time_node, "output", 17, op_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(shader.node_get_output_port_index(Shader.NODE_INPUT, "speed"), 0, 17, op_node, "b")

// Connect the result to the UV coordinate of your noise texture
shader.node_connect(17, op_node, "output", shader.node_get_input_port_index(13, noise_texture_node, "uv"))

The “speed” uniform allows you to control the direction and velocity of the animation.

Blending Between Texture Channels

You can use different channels of a texture to blend between various materials or effects. The following example demonstrates how to blend between the R and G channels of a texture.

// Assuming you have a Texture3D node

// Create a Color Ramp to interpret the channels as factors
var color_ramp_node = VisualShaderNodeColorRamp.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_ramp_node, 18)

// Connect the Red channel of your 3D Texture to the Color Ramp
shader.node_connect(1, texture_3d_node, "output:r", 18, color_ramp_node, "input")

// Now use the ramp output as a blending factor between two other textures or colors
// [...] (Your blend logic here. For example, mix with another texture.)

Color ramps are quite powerful for creating smooth transitions or generating masks based on texture channels.

Creating a Dissolve Effect Using Textures

A dissolve effect, often seen in sci-fi or magic-themed games, can be created by using a texture to control the opacity of an object over time.

// We'll be using previously created nodes and adding a Noise Texture node to control the dissolve

// Adjust the noise scale and other parameters to your needs
var dissolve_noise_texture = VisualShaderNodeNoiseTexture.new()
dissolve_noise_texture.set_as_white_noise(true)
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, dissolve_noise_texture, 19)

// Blend the noise with Time to animate the dissolve
var dissolve_time_blend = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
dissolve_time_blend.set_operator(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATOR_ADD)
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, dissolve_time_blend, 20)

// Connect Time to the blend
shader.node_connect(16, time_node, "output", 20, dissolve_time_blend, "a")
shader.node_connect(19, dissolve_noise_texture, "output", 20, dissolve_time_blend, "b")

// Apply it to the Alpha output for transparency effect
var output_node = VisualShaderNodeOutput.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, output_node, 21)
shader.node_connect(20, dissolve_time_blend, "output", 21, output_node, "alpha")

This code will gradually dissolve the object using an animated noise texture.

Implementing a Simple Lighting Model

For this advanced use case, let’s see how you could use your 3D texture along with lighting information to create a more sophisticated visual effect.

// Starting from the initial set up with your Texture3D sampled

// Input node for Light Data
var light_node = VisualShaderNodeLight.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, light_node, 22)

// A Dot Product can be used to calculate light direction impact
var dot_product_node = VisualShaderNodeDotProduct.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, dot_product_node, 23)

// Connect light normal and vertex normal
shader.node_connect(shader.node_get_output_port_index(Shader.NODE_INPUT, "normal"), 0, 23, dot_product_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(22, light_node, "light", 23, dot_product_node, "b")

// Mix light data with texture using a Vector Multiply node
var vector_mul_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
vector_mul_node.set_operator(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATOR_MUL)
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vector_mul_node, 24)

// Connect Dot Product to one input and Texture3D to the other input
shader.node_connect(23, dot_product_node, "output", 24, vector_mul_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(1, texture_3d_node, "output", 24, vector_mul_node, "b")

// Now, blend this with your original color output
// [...] (Your blend logic here)

The resulting effect will shade your texture based on the angle to the light source, which can be used to simulate simple lighting models in a custom shader.

These examples illustrate just how much control VisualShaderNodeTexture3D offers when designing visual elements of a game. By understanding these more advanced concepts, you’re well on your way to harnessing the full power of Godot’s shading language for high-quality game visuals. Remember, the key to mastering visual shaders is experimentation; don’t hesitate to try new combinations and approaches to achieve the desired effect for your game.

Where to Go Next

The world of game development is vast and constantly evolving. While you now have a solid understanding of VisualShaderNodeTexture3D in Godot 4, there’s always more to learn and create. To continue refining your skills and expanding your knowledge, consider exploring the robust Godot Game Development Mini-Degree from Zenva Academy. This comprehensive program is a treasure trove of knowledge for game developers looking to tackle new challenges and bring their creative concepts to life.

The great thing about our Mini-Degree is that it’s designed to accommodate learners at various stages — from those just starting out to seasoned programmers looking to specialize in Godot. Each course is filled with practical projects that equip you with the skills to build your own cross-platform games. From 2D and 3D asset handling, mastering GDScript, to implementing sophisticated game mechanics, our curriculum is tailored to turn you into a well-rounded game developer.

We’re proud of the diversity and depth of our course offerings. If you’re seeking to delve deeper into the realm of Godot, check out our wider range of Godot courses. Whichever path you choose, we’re here to support your journey in game development. Keep learning, keep creating, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve with Godot and Zenva.

Conclusion

As you continue to harness the capabilities of VisualShaderNodeTexture3D and other visual shaders in Godot 4, you’re embarking on a journey of limitless creative potential. Remember, these tools are designed to blend codeless design with intricate visual effects, enabling you to bring the most vivid and dynamic environments to life. Whether you’re animating realistic textures or crafting immersive worlds, the skills you build today will shape the games of tomorrow.

At Zenva Academy, we are enthusiastic about your progress and are committed to providing you with the best learning materials to fulfill your aspirations. So take your newfound knowledge, experiment with confidence, and continue your educational adventure with us. Through perseverance and practice, you may well be on your way to becoming a standout developer in the gaming community. Keep learning, keep experimenting, and let your creativity soar!

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