Version: 2018.4
GUI Layer (Legacy)
Writing Surface Shaders

Shader Reference

Shaders in the built-in render pipeline in Unity are written in the following ways:

  • as surface shadersA small script that contains the mathematical calculations and algorithms for calculating the Color of each pixel rendered, based on the lighting input and the Material configuration. More info
    See in Glossary
  • as vertex and fragment shadersThe “per-pixel” part of shader code, performed every pixel that an object occupies on-screen. The fragment shader part is usually used to calculate and output the color of each pixel. More info
    See in Glossary
    , or
  • as fixed function shaders.

To determine which shader best fits your needs, consult the shader tutorial.

Regardless of type, shader code is always wrapped by the ShaderLabUnity’s declarative language for writing shaders. More info
See in Glossary
language, which organizes the shader structure. Here is an example of creating ShaderLab wrapper without shader code:

Shader "MyShader" {
    Properties {
        _MyTexture ("My Texture", 2D) = "white" { }
        // place other properties here, such as colors or vectors.
    __SubShader__Each shader in Unity consists of a list of subshaders. When Unity has to display a mesh, it will find the shader to use, and pick the first subshader that runs on the user's graphics card. [More info](SL-SubShader.html)<span class="tooltipGlossaryLink">See in [Glossary](Glossary.html#subshader)</span> {
        // place the shader code here for your:
        // - __surface shader__Unity's code generation approach that makes it much easier to write lit shaders than using low level vertex/pixel shader programs. [More info](SL-SurfaceShaders.html)<span class="tooltipGlossaryLink">See in [Glossary](Glossary.html#surfaceshader)</span>,
        // - vertex and program shader, or
        // - fixed function shader
    SubShader {
        // a simpler version of the subshader above goes here.
        // this version is for supporting older graphics cards.

To learn about shader basics and fixed function shaders, consult the ShaderLab syntax section. For other supported shader types, see either Writing Surface Shaders or Writing vertex and fragment shaders. You can also use post-processing effects with shaders to create full-screen filters and other interesting effects.

See Also

GUI Layer (Legacy)
Writing Surface Shaders
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