VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter in Godot – Complete Guide

Diving into the world of shader programming can often seem intimidating, but it’s an essential skill for creating visually stunning games and interactive experiences. As you embark on this learning journey, mastering the use of 3D textures within the Godot engine’s visual shader graph becomes crucial. Among the powerful nodes that Godot 4 offers is the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter, which can elevate your shaders to new dimensions—literally! Whether you’re just starting or looking to polish your shader skills, understanding and utilizing this node will unlock new creative potentials in your projects.

What is this curious node, and how can it serve your game’s visual wizardry? Let’s find out together as we demystify the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter and show you how to command its capabilities to enhance your game’s aesthetics.

What is VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter?

The VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter is a special type of shader graph node within Godot 4. As its name implies, it allows you to integrate 3D textures into your shaders. These textures can then be manipulated and displayed to create complex visual effects that are essential for a more immersive gaming experience.

What is it for?

In simpler terms, the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter serves as a bridge between your 3D texture assets and the shaders you create. It translates your visual concepts into a form that the Godot shader language can understand, specifically uniform sampler3D, enabling you to put those concepts into action within your game.

Why Should I Learn It?

Learning to use the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter is beneficial for several reasons:

– It gives you the power to create intricate and dynamic visuals that can set your game apart.
– Understanding 3D textures and how to manipulate them within shaders is a sought-after skill in the game industry.
– It can significantly enhance the environmental depth and realism of your game, contributing to a more engaging player experience.

With these thoughts in mind, let’s roll up our sleeves and start experimenting with the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter in our practical coding tutorial sections to come!

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Setting Up Your Godot Project

Before diving into shader programming, you need to set up your Godot project to use VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter. Here’s how to get started:

# Create a new 3D scene
var scene = new PackedScene()

# Add a MeshInstance node
var mesh_instance = MeshInstance.new()
mesh_instance.mesh = new CubeMesh() # Choose the mesh that fits your project
scene.add_child(mesh_instance)

# Assign the ShaderMaterial to the MeshInstance
var material = ShaderMaterial.new()
mesh_instance.material_override = material

# Save the scene
scene.save("res://your_scene_path.tscn")

Next, let’s create the material and the visual shader where we will add our VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter.

# Create a VisualShader
var shader = VisualShader.new()

# Assign the VisualShader to the ShaderMaterial
material.shader = shader

Now that we have set up our material and shader, we can move forward to implement the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter.

Adding The VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter

To add a 3D texture to our shader, we first need to create a VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter node and set its parameter name.

# Create a VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter
var texture_param = VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter.new()
texture_param.parameter_name = "my_3d_texture"

# Add the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter to our VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_param, Vector2(0, 0))

For our VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter to be effective, we need to supply it with a 3D texture. Here is an example of how you can load a 3D texture and assign it to the “my_3d_texture” parameter.

# Load a 3D texture (ensure you have a valid 3D texture in your project)
var my_texture = preload("res://path_to_your_texture.tex")

# Set the 3D texture to the ShaderMaterial as a parameter
material.set_shader_param("my_3d_texture", my_texture)

Using the 3D Texture in the Shader

We also need to use a VisualShaderNodeUV input node to pass UV coordinates to our 3D texture parameter node. Here’s how you can set it up:

# Create a UV input node
var uv_input = VisualShaderNodeUV.new()

# Add the UV input node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, uv_input, Vector2(-200, 0))

# Connect the UV output to the UV input of our texture parameter node
shader.node_connect(uv_input.get_output_port_by_name("uv"), texture_param.get_input_port_by_name("uv"))

Finally, let’s utilize the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter to sample the 3D texture and output it to the shader’s fragment color.

# Create a VisualShaderNodeOutput for the fragment shader
var output_node = VisualShaderNodeOutput.new()

# Add the output node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, output_node, Vector2(200, 0))

# Connect the texture parameter RGB output to the output Albedo
shader.node_connect(texture_param.get_output_port_by_name("rgb"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))

Your mesh should now display the 3D texture! We’ve just scratched the surface—stay tuned as we continue our exploration with even more shader examples in the next part of our tutorial.

Remember, mastering shaders takes time and experimentation, so don’t hesitate to tweak parameters and node connections to achieve the visual effects you desire for your project!Certainly! After setting up our basic shader to use a 3D texture, let’s delve deeper and manipulate our texture to achieve various effects. We will use the capabilities of the VisualShader to create transformations and color adjustments.

First, let’s modify our UV coordinates to animate our texture. This is particularly useful for effects like flowing water or shifting sand.

# Create a Time input node
var time_input = VisualShaderNodeTime.new()

# Add the Time input node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_input, Vector2(-400, 0))

# Create an operation node to modify the UVs over time
var op_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
op_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_ADD

# Add the operation node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, op_node, Vector2(-200, -100))

# Connect the Time output to one of the Operation node inputs
shader.node_connect(time_input.get_output_port_by_name("time"), op_node.get_input_port_by_name("a"))

# We connect the previous UV input to the another Operation node input
shader.node_connect(uv_input.get_output_port_by_name("uv"), op_node.get_input_port_by_name("b"))

# And then connect the Operation output back to our texture parameter node
shader.node_connect(op_node.get_output_port_by_name("vector"), texture_param.get_input_port_by_name("uv"))

Now the 3D texture will scroll over time. Next, let’s look at how to scale our UVs to repeat our texture across the surface.

# Create a VectorUniform to control the scale
var uv_scale = VisualShaderNodeVectorUniform.new()
uv_scale.set_name("uv_scale")
uv_scale.default_value = Vector3(2, 2, 2) # Example scale value to repeat the texture

# Add the VectorUniform node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, uv_scale, Vector2(-400, -100))

# Create an operation node to multiply the UVs by the scale
var scale_op_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
scale_op_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_MUL

# Add the scaling operation node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, scale_op_node, Vector2(-200, -200))

# Connect the scale uniform to the multiplication node
shader.node_connect(uv_scale.get_output_port_by_name("vec3"), scale_op_node.get_input_port_by_name("a"))

# Connect the UV input to the multiplication node
shader.node_connect(uv_input.get_output_port_by_name("uv"), scale_op_node.get_input_port_by_name("b"))

# Update the previous connections to use the new scaling
shader.node_disconnect(uv_input.get_output_port_by_name("uv"), texture_param.get_input_port_by_name("uv"))
shader.node_connect(scale_op_node.get_output_port_by_name("vector"), texture_param.get_input_port_by_name("uv"))

Now our texture scale can be controlled via the uniform “uv_scale”.

We may also want to alter the texture color. Let’s create a color adjustment.

# Create a ColorUniform to control the texture color
var color_uniform = VisualShaderNodeColorUniform.new()
color_uniform.set_name("texture_color")

# Add the ColorUniform node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_uniform, Vector2(-400, 200))

# Multiply our texture's RGB with the color uniform to tint it
var color_mult_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
color_mult_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_MUL

# Add the color multiplication node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_mult_node, Vector2(-200, 100))

# Connect the texture color output to the multiplication node
shader.node_connect(color_uniform.get_output_port_by_name("color"), color_mult_node.get_input_port_by_name("a"))

# Connect the texture parameter RGB to the multiplication node
shader.node_disconnect(texture_param.get_output_port_by_name("rgb"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))
shader.node_connect(texture_param.get_output_port_by_name("rgb"), color_mult_node.get_input_port_by_name("b"))

# Finally, connect the result to the shader output
shader.node_connect(color_mult_node.get_output_port_by_name("vector"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))

Now the shader will tint the texture with the color from the “texture_color” uniform.

As we layer these adjustments, our visual shader becomes more potent and customizable. With each node we add and every parameter we tweak, we unlock a new visual feature.

Lastly, let’s look into how we can localize texture changes using a masking technique.

# Create a TextureUniform to hold our mask texture
var mask_uniform = VisualShaderNodeTextureUniform.new()
mask_uniform.set_name("mask_texture")

# Add the TextureUniform node for masking to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mask_uniform, Vector2(-600, 0))

# Use a mix node to mix our original texture with a color based on the mask
var mix_node = VisualShaderNodeMix.new()

# Add the mix node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mix_node, Vector2(-200, 300))

# Connect the mask texture to the mix factor
shader.node_connect(mask_uniform.get_output_port_by_name("rgb"), mix_node.get_input_port_by_name("weight"))

# Connect our original texture color to one of the mix inputs
shader.node_connect(color_mult_node.get_output_port_by_name("vector"), mix_node.get_input_port_by_name("a"))

# Connect a new color to mix based on the mask to the second mix input
var new_color_input = VisualShaderNodeColorUniform.new()
new_color_input.set_name("new_color")
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, new_color_input, Vector2(-600, 400))
shader.node_connect(new_color_input.get_output_port_by_name("color"), mix_node.get_input_port_by_name("b"))

# Finally, update our output node to use the mixed result
shader.node_disconnect(color_mult_node.get_output_port_by_name("vector"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))
shader.node_connect(mix_node.get_output_port_by_name("vec3"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))

By implementing these snippets, you create layers of interaction between textures, colors, and time, deepening the sophistication of your shaders. It’s through exploration and iteration that you can truly harness the power of shaders in Godot. Keep experimenting with different node combinations to discover the full potential of your visual effects!Adding lighting and shadows to our shaders can make them look more dynamic and realistic. In this section, we dive into how we can use the Godot Visual Shader language to add lighting effects to our 3D textures.

First, let’s implement a simple way to affect our texture based on light direction. We can use a built-in light direction vector for this purpose.

# Create a Light Direction input node
var light_dir_input = VisualShaderNodeInput.new()
light_dir_input.input_name = VisualShaderNodeInput.LIGHT_DIRECTION

# Add the node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, light_dir_input, Vector2(-800, 0))

# Add a dot product node to determine the light's impact based on its direction
var dot_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.new()
dot_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.OPERATION_DOT

# Add the node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, dot_node, Vector2(-600, -100))

# Connect the light direction to the dot operation node
shader.node_connect(light_dir_input.get_output_port_by_name("light"), dot_node.get_input_port_by_name("a"))

# Use the normal as the second value for the dot product
var normal_input = VisualShaderNodeInput.new()
normal_input.input_name = VisualShaderNodeInput.NORMAL

# Add the node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_input, Vector2(-800, -200))
shader.node_connect(normal_input.get_output_port_by_name("normal"), dot_node.get_input_port_by_name("b"))

Now that we have the light’s effect on the normal stored in the form of a dot product, we can use this to modify the texture’s appearance based on light.

# Create a Multiply node to apply the light influence on the texture
var light_influence_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorMix.new()

# Add the node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, light_influence_node, Vector2(-400, -100))

# Connect the dot product node to the mix ratio
shader.node_connect(dot_node.get_output_port_by_name("scalar"), light_influence_node.get_input_port_by_name("mix"))

# Connect our previous color output to the first mix input
shader.node_connect(color_mult_node.get_output_port_by_name("vector"), light_influence_node.get_input_port_by_name("a"))

Now, we’ll blend this effect with a darker color to simulate shadows when light is not directly hitting the surface.

# Create a ColorUniform to specify the shadow color
var shadow_color = VisualShaderNodeColorUniform.new()
shadow_color.set_name("shadow_color")
shadow_color.default_value = Color(0.2, 0.2, 0.2) # Example shadow color value

# Add the shadow color node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, shadow_color, Vector2(-600, -300))

# Connect the shadow color to the second mix input
shader.node_connect(shadow_color.get_output_port_by_name("color"), light_influence_node.get_input_port_by_name("b"))

With the light influence mixed in, let’s update our output to reflect this new effect.

# Update our output node to use the light-influenced color
shader.node_disconnect(color_mult_node.get_output_port_by_name("vector"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))
shader.node_connect(light_influence_node.get_output_port_by_name("vec3"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))

Finally, to give our shader a more three-dimensional feel, we can also add some ambient occlusion to mimic how light behaves in crevices and edges.

# Create an Ambient Occlusion input node
var ao_input = VisualShaderNodeInput.new()
ao_input.input_name = VisualShaderNodeInput.AMBIENT_OCCLUSION

# Add the AO input node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, ao_input, Vector2(-800, 200))

# Create a mix node to apply the ambient occlusion to the final color
var ao_mix_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorMix.new()

# Add the AO mix node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, ao_mix_node, Vector2(-400, 200))

# Connect the AO input to the mix ratio
shader.node_connect(ao_input.get_output_port_by_name("ambient_occlusion"), ao_mix_node.get_input_port_by_name("mix"))

# Connect the light-influenced color to the first input
shader.node_connect(light_influence_node.get_output_port_by_name("vec3"), ao_mix_node.get_input_port_by_name("a"))

# Connect our shadow color to the second mix input to deepen the shadows in areas of occlusion
shader.node_connect(shadow_color.get_output_port_by_name("color"), ao_mix_node.get_input_port_by_name("b"))

# Update our shader output to use the AO mixed color
shader.node_disconnect(light_influence_node.get_output_port_by_name("vec3"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))
shader.node_connect(ao_mix_node.get_output_port_by_name("vec3"), output_node.get_input_port_by_name("albedo"))

This ambient occlusion effect will make the lighting on our texture appear more natural by simulating the subtle shadows found in areas that are less exposed to light.

These examples just begin to illustrate the power of using VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter within Godot’s shader graph. By understanding how to layer effects and manipulate lighting, you’ll be able to create an array of stunning visual effects for your 3D games that can truly captivate your audience. Keep iterating and testing your shaders, as the best learning comes through hands-on practice and a willingness to explore new techniques.

Where to Go Next in Your Shader Programming Journey

You’ve made significant strides in exploring the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter with Godot 4, but this is just the beginning of your game development journey. To continue enhancing your skills and knowledge, consider delving into the comprehensive Godot Game Development Mini-Degree offered by us at Zenva Academy. This series of carefully curated courses will guide you through creating your own games with Godot 4, teaching valuable concepts such as 2D and 3D assets, gameplay mechanics, and UI systems. Embark on this learning path to build a portfolio that showcases your ability to bring gaming visions to life.

For a broader look at what’s available, our range of Godot courses spans various topics and levels. Whether you’re still grappling with the basics or ready to tackle more complex challenges, our content is designed to propel learners from all backgrounds towards proficiency in game development and coding.

Embrace this opportunity to shape your future in game development with Zenva—where learning is flexible, accessible, and always within your reach. As you continue to learn and grow, remember that each new skill you acquire is a step closer to your goal of becoming a proficient game developer. Good luck, and happy coding!

Conclusion

Congratulations on taking this immersive dive into the world of shaders with Godot 4, and more specifically, mastering the VisualShaderNodeTexture3DParameter. As you’ve seen, the power of shaders is vast and can significantly impact the feel and aesthetic of your games. The journey through shader programming is one of creativity and technical prowess, and you’ve equipped yourself with knowledge that stands as testament to your dedication and skill as a developer.

Don’t let your learning stop here. With the ever-evolving nature of game technology, there’s always more to discover. We encourage you to continue honing your craft with Zenva Academy, where you can build upon what you’ve learned and expand your capabilities. Embark on the Godot Game Development Mini-Degree to further your command of Godot’s robust capabilities, and join a community of like-minded individuals all striving towards becoming the game creators of tomorrow. Your journey is just beginning, and we can’t wait to see the worlds you’ll create!

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