VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our latest tutorial where we’ll explore the power of Godot 4’s VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose class. If you’re an aspiring game developer or a seasoned coder looking to enhance your skillset, understanding how to manipulate 3D transformations within Godot’s visual shader graph is a fundamental building block for creating advanced graphics in your games. The world of shaders can be complex, but with this guide, we’ll make it accessible, and you’ll be composing transform matrices like a pro in no time!

What is VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose?

The VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose is a node within the Visual Shader Editor in Godot 4 that simplifies the complex task of creating Transform3D matrices. These matrices are essential for defining spatial transformations such as translation, rotation, and scaling in 3D space.

What is it for?

This specialized node is designed to make it easier to create and manipulate Transform3D matrices without delving deep into shader programming. With VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose, you can intuitively construct a Transform3D matrix using individual Vector3 components, streamlining the process of 3D transformations in shaders for game objects.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding how to use the VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose class can massively enhance your game development process. Whether you need to animate game characters or control camera movements, knowing how to craft a transform matrix is essential. By mastering this node, you’ll gain deeper insights into 3D rendering, improving your game’s visuals, and elevating your development skillset.

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Getting Started with VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose

To kick things off, we need to set up a basic Transform3D that we’ll then manipulate using the VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose. Here’s how you can create a basic visual shader and add the TransformCompose node:

// Create a new ShaderMaterial in your project
var material = ShaderMaterial.new()

// Create a new VisualShader and set it to the material
var shader = VisualShader.new()
material.shader = shader

// Create the TransformCompose node
var trans_compose_node = VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.new()

// Add the node to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, trans_compose_node, Vector2(10, 10))

Once added, the node will appear in your VisualShader graph, and you can start composing your transformations.

Composing a Translation Matrix

First up, let’s create a translation matrix using the TransformCompose node. A translation matrix allows you to move an object to a different position in the 3D space.

// Assume we want to translate an object along the X-axis by 3 units
var translation = Vector3(3, 0, 0)

// Set the translation vector to the TransformCompose node
trans_compose_node.set_input_port_value(VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.IN_VEC3_TRANSLATION, translation)

This code sets the IN_VEC3_TRANSLATION input port of our TransformCompose node with the desired translation vector.

Setting Up Rotation

Next, let’s apply rotation. Here we will define a Vector3 that specifies rotation in radians around each of the three axes: X, Y, and Z.

// Rotate around the Y-axis by 45 degrees (converted to radians)
var rotation_degrees = Vector3(0, 45, 0)
var rotation_radians = rotation_degrees * (PI / 180.0)

// Set the rotation vector to the TransformCompose node
trans_compose_node.set_input_port_value(VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.IN_VEC3_ROTATION, rotation_radians)

Using radians is necessary as Godot’s shader language relies on them for rotation values.

Adjusting Scale

Last but not least, let’s control the scaling of an object. Scale is represented by a Vector3, with each component corresponding to the scale along that axis.

// Set the object to be twice as large on all axes
var scale = Vector3(2, 2, 2)

// Set the scale vector to the TransformCompose node
trans_compose_node.set_input_port_value(VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.IN_VEC3_SCALE, scale)

With this, we’ve now set up a basic Transform3D with translation, rotation, and scale using the VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose node.

Linking the Composed Transform to Output

Finally, let’s connect our composed Transform3D to the shader’s output to affect the vertices of our object.

// Create an output node
var output_node = VisualShaderNodeOutput.new()

// Add it to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, output_node, Vector2(200, 10))

// Connect the TransformCompose node's output to the vertex port of the Output node
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, trans_compose_node, VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.OUT_TRANSFORM, output_node, VisualShaderNodeOutput.IN_VEC3_VERTEX)

With these connections, the shader will now transform the vertices of the object according to the provided Transform3D matrix. Remember, these are just the basics to get you started on using VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose in Godot 4. In our next segment, we’ll dive into more complex examples and see how these matrices interact with other shader components. Stay tuned!Fantastic! Now that we’ve covered the essentials of using the VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose, let’s expand our knowledge by delving into more practical examples. These will help deepen your understanding of how transform matrices can interact with lighting, textures, and more to create dynamic visual effects.

// Let's add a World Uniform node to access the world's information, like camera position.
var world_uniform = VisualShaderNodeGlobalUniform.new()

// First, we define the global uniform for the camera position
world_uniform.set_global_type(VisualShaderNodeGlobalUniform.TYPE_TRANSFORM)
world_uniform.set_name("CameraPosition")

// Now add it to the VisualShader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, world_uniform, Vector2(10, 200))

// We can also obtain the world matrix for more complex transformations.
var world_matrix = VisualShaderNodeGlobalUniform.new()
world_matrix.set_global_type(VisualShaderNodeGlobalUniform.TYPE_TRANSFORM)
world_matrix.set_name("WorldMatrix")
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, world_matrix, Vector2(50, 200))

By introducing a World Uniform, we can gather information directly from the global scope, such as the camera’s position or the world matrix, which is very useful, especially for effects that depend on the viewer’s perspective or object’s location.

Manipulating Textures with Transform

Shaders are not only about moving and rotating 3D objects. They can be quite powerful when applied to textures. Let’s see how you can manipulate texture coordinates with your composed transform matrix.

// Add a UV Input node to get the UV coordinates from the texture
var uv_input = VisualShaderNodeUV.new()

// Add this node to capture the UV from the material's texture
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, uv_input, Vector2(50, 300))

// Next, we'll compose a matrix for texture transformation
var texture_transform = VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.new()

// Set a small rotation for the texture
texture_transform.set_input_port_value(VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.IN_VEC3_ROTATION, Vector3(0, 0, 0.1))

// Add this new transform node
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, texture_transform, Vector2(100, 300))

// You can now connect the composed transformation to the UV input
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, texture_transform, VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.OUT_TRANSFORM, uv_input, VisualShaderNodeUV.IN_VEC2_UV)

This can be particularly effective for creating animated textures, such as flowing water or shifting sand, by constantly updating the rotation, translation, or scale factors within the TransformCompose node.

Integrating Lighting

Transformation matrices can also be crucial when customizing how lighting interacts with your object’s surface in shaders. For instance, consider adjusting normals to change the light reflection.

// For lighting, let's create a NormalMap node
var normal_map = VisualShaderNodeNormalMap.new()

// And position it in our graph
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_map, Vector2(300, 100))

// Connect the composed transform to alter the normal map with the transform
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, trans_compose_node, VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.OUT_TRANSFORM, normal_map, VisualShaderNodeNormalMap.IN_VEC3)

// Finally, the NormalMap node can be connected to the output node's normal port
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_map, VisualShaderNodeNormalMap.OUT_VEC3, output_node, VisualShaderNodeOutput.IN_NORMAL)

With the normal map now affected by the transform, any changes in your matrix can have dynamic effects on the object’s appearance under different lighting conditions.

Combining Transforms for Complex Effects

Shaders can really show their power when you start combining multiple transformations for more complex effects. Let’s combine a scaling transformation with our previously composed rotation and translation.

// Let's assume we have two TransformCompose nodes: trans_compose_node1 and trans_compose_node2
// First, we need to create a TransformMult node to combine them
var transform_mult = VisualShaderNodeTransformMult.new()

// Add it to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, transform_mult, Vector2(200, 400))

// Connect the two transforms to the TransformMult node to multiply them
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, trans_compose_node1, VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.OUT_TRANSFORM, transform_mult, VisualShaderNodeTransformMult.IN_A)
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, trans_compose_node2, VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.OUT_TRANSFORM, transform_mult, VisualShaderNodeTransformMult.IN_B)

// Now take the result of the TransformMult node directly to the output
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, transform_mult, VisualShaderNodeTransformMult.OUT_TRANSFORM, output_node, VisualShaderNodeOutput.IN_VEC3_VERTEX)

By combining different transformations, we can create an intricate chain of effects that allow for more creative freedom. From here, feel free to experiment further, perhaps integrating time-based functions for animations or using conditional nodes to create interactive effects. The potential is immense, limited only by your imagination and the power of the VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose class in Godot 4.

We hope you find this tutorial exciting and educational. At Zenva, we are passionate about providing you with the tools and knowledge to advance your coding skills and create amazing things. Happy coding, and stay tuned for more inspiring lessons in game development!As you continue to expand your shader toolkit, you might be wondering how to animate these transformations over time or react to user input. Here, we’ll illustrate how you can use the Godot’s built-in ‘TIME’ uniform to create time-based animations and how to use ‘if’ statements within your VisualShaderNodes for responsive effects.

// Create a Time node to get the shader's current time
var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new()

// Add it to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, time_node, Vector2(200, 10))

// To rotate our object over time, let's create another TransformCompose node
var animated_transform = VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, animated_transform, Vector2(200, 200))

// We'll connect the time node to the rotation input of the TransformCompose node
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, time_node, VisualShaderNodeTime.OUT_TIME, animated_transform, VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.IN_VEC3_ROTATION)

// Finally, we loop the rotation over time by using the sine function for smooth oscillation
animated_transform.set_input_port_value(VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose.IN_VEC3_ROTATION, Vector3(sin(time_node.get_shader_param("time")), 0, 0))

This will rotate the object back and forth with a sine wave pattern, creating a smooth oscillating effect over time. By manipulating the sine wave function, you can achieve a variety of time-based transformations.

Let’s now look at how we might use conditional logic to affect our VisualShaderNodes. Godot’s visual shaders do not support typical ‘if’ statements as seen in GDScript or other programming languages. Instead, we use a combination of nodes to simulate conditional branching.

// Add a Uniform node to take user input
var user_input = VisualShaderNodeUniform.new()

// Set its type to 'Vec4' and name it "UserInput"
user_input.set_uniform_type(VisualShaderNodeUniform.TYPE_VEC4)
user_input.set_name("UserInput")
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, user_input, Vector2(50, 500))

// Now add a ScalarOp node to determine the condition
var condition_op = VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.new()
condition_op.set_operator(VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.OPERATOR_GREATER_THAN)

// Add it after setting up the operator
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, condition_op, Vector2(150, 500))

// We connect the user's input (let's say the 'y' component) to the ScalarOp node
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, user_input, VisualShaderNodeUniform.OUT_VEC4, condition_op, VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.IN_A)
condition_op.set_input_port_default_value(VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.IN_A, 1.0)

// We'll also create a TransformVec node to affect the object's transform
var transform_vec = VisualShaderNodeTransformVec.new()

// Setting up the transform based on the condition we defined
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, transform_vec, Vector2(300, 500))
shader.set_uniform_default_value(user_input.get_parameter(),  Vector4(0.5, 0.5, 0.5, 1.0))
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, condition_op, VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.OUT, transform_vec, VisualShaderNodeTransformVec.IN_VEC)

// Now let's connect the output of this transformation to the vertex position of our object to see the conditioned effect
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, transform_vec, VisualShaderNodeTransformVec.OUT_VEC, output_node, VisualShaderNodeOutput.IN_VEC3_VERTEX)

This setup uses a ScalarOp node to create a condition based on the input’s ‘y’ value. If the condition is true, it affects the object’s transformation.

Another feature to consider is the ability to capture and respond to the screen coordinates with visual shaders, which can be especially useful for creating screen-space effects.

// Let's add a ScreenUV node to get the UV coordinates on the screen
var screen_uv = VisualShaderNodeScreenUV.new()

// Add this node to capture the screen UV
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, screen_uv, Vector2(100, 600))

// We can then use a Texture node to fetch the current screen texture
var texture_fetch = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new()
texture_fetch.set_source(VisualShaderNodeTexture.SOURCE_SCREEN)

// Add the Texture node to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_fetch, Vector2(300, 600))

// Now let's connect the ScreenUV output to the Texture node's UV input
shader.interconnect_nodes(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, screen_uv, VisualShaderNodeScreenUV.OUT_VEC2, texture_fetch, VisualShaderNodeTexture.IN_UV)

Capturing screen UVs is the first step to creating post-processing effects such as vignettes, color grading, and perhaps even more creative distortions based on screen position.

As you continue to experiment with these examples, remember that the world of shaders is vast. Each node and operation in the Godot VisualShader graph opens up possibilities for dynamic and responsive game graphics that can react not only to time and player input but also to game events and physics.

At Zenva, we strive to empower you on your journey to becoming an expert game developer. We believe that understanding the inner workings of shaders, particularly in a versatile engine like Godot, is a powerful addition to any developer’s arsenal. Practice with these examples, test out your own ideas, and don’t forget to share your achievements with the community. Keep coding and creating, and watch your game worlds come to life with incredible effects!

Where to Go Next in Your Game Development Journey

With the power of Godot 4 and VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose at your fingertips, the next steps in your game development journey are bound to be exhilarating. As you continue to experiment and build your skillset, we invite you to explore our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive course collection is designed to take beginners and elevate them to the realm of professional game developers, covering a broad spectrum of topics from 2D and 3D fundamentals to advanced gameplay mechanics.

Whether you’ve just started your adventure in game development or you’re looking to refine your expertise, our Mini-Degree will provide you with valuable insights, practical examples, and step-by-step guidance. Meanwhile, our extensive selection of Godot courses cater to those ready to dive deeper into specific aspects of game creation. So, take the next step with us at Zenva, enhance your knowledge, and translate your vision into enthralling game experiences. The path from beginner to professional awaits, and we’re excited to be a part of your journey!

Conclusion

As we come to the end of our exploration into the captivating world of Godot 4’s VisualShaderNodeTransformCompose, we must reflect on the incredible potential and creative freedom it provides. Mastery of visual shaders is an invaluable asset in a game developer’s toolkit—opening the door to crafting games with rich, dynamic visuals that captivate players. Here at Zenva, we are committed to offering you the resources and support to unlock this potential.

If you’re inspired to delve deeper into game development with Godot and harness the full power of shaders and beyond, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect next step. Discover engaging tutorials, expand your expertise, and propel your game creation journey to new heights. Join us in shaping vibrant worlds that leave lasting impressions on gamers everywhere. Your path to becoming a game development pro is clearer than ever with Zenva by your side.

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