An effective composition method for novice shader programmers

Quintijn Hendrickx, Ruben M. Smelik, Rafael Bidarra
Proceedings of 2nd Annual Student Research Conference - nov 2011
Download the publication : HSB11a.pdf [1.1Mo]  
Shader programming has become an increasingly important and complex task in computer graphics. Because of the in depth knowledge required to write effective and efficient shader programs, novice users are finding it increasingly harder to construct these programs manually. As a result, several tools have been developed to assist developers in producing shader programs more efficiently and easily than writing them with traditional text-based editors. Graphbased composition tools have been proposed as an attractive alternative, as shader programs are intuitively represented as a graph structure. However, such tools do not usually exploit the structural and semantic information implicitly available in the graph to assist building, understanding and debugging shader programs. This paper presents a composition method that allows novice shader programmers to quickly and interactively prototype shader programs. This method takes advantage of a graph based composition, allowing developers to design their shaders at various levels of abstraction, effectively promoting node reusability. Furthermore, consistently building upon the graph’s structure and semantics, the method significantly eases shader program debugging and provides very helpful insight into its workings, as demonstrated by the results of the open source prototype system implemented. It is concluded that this method provides an efficient and very intuitive alternative for developing shaders. It is therefore particularly appropriate for novice shader programmers and students.

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BibTex references

@InProceedings { HSB11a,
  author       = "Hendrickx, Quintijn and Smelik, Ruben M. and Bidarra, Rafael",
  title        = "An effective composition method for novice shader programmers",
  booktitle    = "Proceedings of 2nd Annual Student Research Conference",
  month        = "nov",
  year         = "2011",
  address      = "Eindhoven, The Netherlands",
  url          = ""

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» Quintijn Hendrickx
» Ruben M. Smelik
» Rafael Bidarra