VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to this tutorial where we will dive into the intricacies of the VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc class within the Godot 4 engine. Mastering this node can greatly enhance your abilities in creating stunning visual effects and understanding the mathematical backbone of 3D transformations in visual shaders. Whether you’re just beginning your journey into game development, or you’re a seasoned programmer looking to polish your skills, this article will provide valuable insights into Transform3D functions. So stay tuned as we explore not only the “what” but also the “why” and “how” of using VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc in Godot 4.

What is VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc?

VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc is a class within the Godot 4 engine designed for performing specific functions on Transform3D matrices within a visual shader graph. Visual shaders in Godot are a powerful way to create effects through a node-based system, without writing shader code directly. This node, in particular, is crucial for manipulating 3D transformations, allowing for operations such as inverses and transposes.

What is it for?

The VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc is used to alter a Transform3D matrix, which is a fundamental operation when dealing with 3D graphics. A Transform3D matrix encapsulates translation, rotation, and scaling which define how objects are situated and oriented in a 3D space. The node’s functions can be used for various purposes, like correcting normal vectors in lighting calculations or creating complex geometric transformations dynamically.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding and utilizing the VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc is essential for several reasons:

– It enables the creation of high-quality visual effects by manipulating objects in 3D space.
– It is a stepping stone to mastering visual shaders in Godot, which can make your games stand out.
– A solid grasp of matrix transformations is a valuable skill in any game developer’s toolkit, laying a foundation for advanced graphics programming.

By the end of this tutorial, you will have a clearer view of how Transform3D functions work within Godot’s visual shaders and how they can be creatively applied to your projects. So, let’s begin this exciting exploration into the world of visual shader transformation nodes!

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Creating a Simple Translation Transformation

To begin, we’ll explore how to use the VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc to translate an object in your scene. This is the act of moving an object from one point to another.

var translation = Transform( Vector3(1, 0, 0) ) 
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSLATE)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, translation)

In this example, we’re using the `set_function` method to specify that we want to perform a translation, and then we’re creating a new Transform with a vector that moves the object along the x-axis.

Rotating an Object

Next, we’ll take a look at rotating an object using matrices. Rotation is key in giving life and dynamic actions to objects.

var rotation = Transform().rotated(Vector3(0, 1, 0), deg2rad(90))
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_ROTATE)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, rotation)

Here, we rotate the object 90 degrees around the y-axis. We first create a transform with no translation or scaling, then use the `rotated` method along with `deg2rad` to define a rotation angle in radians.

Scaling an Object Uniformly

To adjust the size of an object, a scaling transformation can be applied. Here’s how to scale an object uniformly in all directions.

var scale = Transform().scaled(Vector3(2, 2, 2))
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_SCALE)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, scale)

In this sample code, we make the object twice as large in all dimensions by applying a scaling matrix with a vector `(2, 2, 2)`.

Combining Transformations

More complex transformations can be achieved by combining translation, rotation, and scaling. Here’s how to combine them to create a complex transformation.

var combined = Transform().translated(Vector3(2, 0, 0))
combined = combined.rotated(Vector3(0, 1, 0), deg2rad(90))
combined = combined.scaled(Vector3(1, 0.5, 2))
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSFORM)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, combined)

In this example, we create a Transform and apply translation, rotation, and then scaling sequentially. With the `set_function` method, we pass the combined transform to be applied to the object.

Inverting a Transformation

At times, you might want to invert a transformation, effectively undoing its effects. The VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc class makes this easy.

var transform = Transform().translated(Vector3(3, 0, 0))
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_INVERSE)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, transform)

By choosing the `FUNC_INVERSE` function, we take a matrix representing the translation of an object by 3 units along the x-axis and calculate its inverse, which would translate it back by the same distance.

With these examples, you should now be able to effectively apply basic Transform3D functions within Godot 4’s visual shader graphs. These operations are fundamental building blocks for any 3D game or application, and understanding them is crucial to harness the full potential of Godot’s visual shader system.

Transposing a Transformation Matrix

Transposition of a matrix is a vital operation, particularly when working with normals in 3D space, as it can correct issues that arise from non-uniform scaling of objects.

var original_transform = Transform().scaled(Vector3(1, 2, 3))
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSPOSE)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, original_transform)

The `FUNC_TRANSPOSE` function is applied to the original transformation matrix to transpose it, exchanging rows for columns.

Matrix Transformation for Normals

To adjust normals properly in shaders, a special transformation is often required. This is especially true after non-uniform scaling, as it can distort normal vectors.

var normal_matrix = Transform().scaled(Vector3(1, 0.5, 2)).inverse().transposed()
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_NORMAL_TRANSFORM)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, normal_matrix)

Here, the transformation matrix suitable for normals is created by inverting and then transposing the scaling transformation we applied to the object.

Applying Transformations to Vectors

The VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc can also be used for applying transformations to vectors, like vertices or normals directly.

var vertex_shader_node = VisualShaderNodeTransformVec()
var transform = Transform().rotated(Vector3(0, 1, 0), deg2rad(45))
vertex_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformVec.FUNC_TRANSFORM)
vertex_shader_node.set_input_port_value(1, transform)

With the `FUNC_TRANSFORM` function of the `VisualShaderNodeTransformVec`, we rotate vertex positions by 45 degrees around the y-axis using a transform matrix.

Projection Transform Function

Sometimes, projections transform functions are necessary, especially when dealing with camera operations or perspective manipulations.

var projection_transform = some_camera.get_projection()
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_PROJECTION_MATRIX)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, projection_transform)

We set the function to `FUNC_PROJECTION_MATRIX` and pass a projection matrix obtained from a camera node to project our transformations correctly.

Blur Transform Function

Creating a blur effect on an object or texture can be achieved by manipulating their transform in the shader.

var blur_strength = Vector3(5.0, 5.0, 0)
var transform = Transform().scaled(blur_strength)
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSFORM)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, transform)

This code applies a scaling matrix to the object or texture that, under certain conditions, can create a blur-like effect depending on the implementation in the shader.

Through understanding and utilizing these transform functions within Godot’s VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc, you gain deeper control over the mathematical operations that affect how objects are redrawn in a scene. The flexibility of visual shaders with nodes like VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc allows for a high degree of customization and fine-tuning, which are vital for achieving the precise look and feel you envision for your game or application. Whether you’re looking to create complex animations, immersive environments, or simply understand the raw power of 3D transformations, these examples should put you on the right track.In visual shaders, we often manipulate vertices and their associated data to achieve a variety of effects. The VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc provides a versatile set of tools to create these effects with just a few nodes. Here, we will go through more practical examples to leverage the potential of transformation functions. Let’s enhance our capabilities further and explore additional code examples illustrating how you can apply these functions in Godot 4 visual shaders.

Working with View Transform in Shaders

When applying view-dependent effects, such as screen-space reflections or billboarding, we need to use the view matrix.

var view_transform = some_camera.get_view_transform()
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_VIEW_MATRIX)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, view_transform)

By using `FUNC_VIEW_MATRIX`, we assign the camera’s view matrix to the node, ensuring our effects respond correctly to the camera’s perspective and position.

Implementing a Custom Transformation

For many creative effects, we may wish to combine matrices in a custom manner, beyond what’s provided by default functions.

var custom_transform = Transform(Basis(), Vector3(0, 10, 0))
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSFORM)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, custom_transform)

This snippet showcases how to apply a custom transformation where we create a transform with an identity Basis (no rotation or scaling) and only a translation along the y-axis.

Creating a World Transform for Objects

Applying world transformations is essential for positioning objects correctly within the game world, especially when applying global effects or positioning UI elements in 3D space.

var world_transform = some_object.get_global_transform()
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_WORLD_MATRIX)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, world_transform)

We gather the global transform of the object and use the `FUNC_WORLD_MATRIX` to apply it to the shader, ensuring the object’s visuals match its physical location.

Creating An Animated Vertex Shader

Vertex shaders can be animated to create dynamic, moving surfaces. VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc can be used to create such animations by manipulating vertices over time.

var time = some_timing_node.get_time_sec()
var sin_time = Vector3(sin(time), 0, 0)
var wobble_transform = Transform().translated(sin_time)
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSFORM)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, wobble_transform)

In this case, we use the sine of time to create a wobbling effect, translating vertices back and forth along the x-axis to simulate a wave.

Orbiting an Object Around a Point

To make an object orbit around a point in 3D space, you can use a rotation transform.

var time = some_timing_node.get_time_sec()
var rotation_speed = 1.0
var orbit_transform = Transform().rotated(Vector3(0, 1, 0), time * rotation_speed)
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSFORM)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, orbit_transform)

We create a time-dependent rotation around the y-axis, making the object orbit at a fixed speed.

Mirror Effect Using Transformation

We can create a mirror effect by scaling an object with a negative scale factor along one axis.

var mirror_transform = Transform().scaled(Vector3(-1, 1, 1))
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSFORM)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, mirror_transform)

This snippet shows how we achieve a mirror effect across the x-axis. This flips the object as though it’s been reflected on a mirror.

Distorting Textures with Transformations

You can use transformations to alter the way textures are applied to a surface, creating effects like swirling patterns or animated waves.

var twist_strength = rad2deg(time) % 360
var twist_transform = Transform().rotated(Vector3(0, 0, 1), twist_strength)
visual_shader_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc.FUNC_TRANSFORM)
visual_shader_node.set_input_port_value(0, twist_transform)

Here, we apply a twisting transformation around the z-axis over time, which can be especially effective for creating shader-based animations on flat surfaces like water or vortex effects.

Mastering these transformations enables you to develop highly interactive and immersive worlds in Godot 4, giving you the ability to simulate complex graphics with relative ease and efficiency. As you progress and combine these techniques, remember that the limit is only your imagination. Happy shading!

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Conclusion

Throughout this tutorial, we’ve explored the potent capabilities of the VisualShaderNodeTransformFunc within Godot 4, providing a solid foundation on which to build complex and visually appealing 3D transformations in your games. Remember, what we covered here is just the tip of the iceberg. Each function holds the potential to bring your creative visions to life, and the only limit is your imagination.

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