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Shader Forge
Volume 2
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Course Description
Shader Forge Volume 2 picks up where we left off in the Getting Cozy with Shader Forge course, and begins to extend and expand your shader construction knowledge with Shader Forge. In this course we dive deeper into the knowledge of the different nodes, available in Shader Forge, and gives you a better understanding of just how some more advanced shader techniques are accomplished.
Throughout this course we will learn how to do effects such as Refraction, the ins and outs of uv’s, and how to create FX such as a peel away dissolve, seen in many of todays games. By the end of this course you will have created a Glass shader, a Matcap shader, and a translucency shader as well as learned some tips and tricks of shader construction.
Course Details
Difficulty: Intermediate
Total Lessons: 9 Lessons
Running Time: 2:42:59
Date: 4/4/15
Course Lessons

1. Creating Translucency

Lesson 1, Creating Translucency
In our first lesson, we will dive into Shader Forge and learn the math and techniques needed in order to create a translucent effect for our models surfaces. We will learn a bit more about how to create these types of view dependent tricks, so as to arm you with the knowledge of combining techniques to create your own effects.

2. Creating the Matcap Effect

Lesson 2, Creating the Matcap Effect
Matcaps are a very popular shader effect to render models in many applications, but most notably Pixologic’s ZBrush. Matcaps are very flexible and produce very real results with one catch…the lighting is static. that being said it is a good technique to understand and to utilize for things such as static 3D scenes in Unity or for 3D UI. Anything where the lighting doesn’t need to change dramatically. By the end of Lesson 002 you will understand how to use Shader Forge to create the matcap effect seen in Zbrush.

3. Creating Glass and Refraction

Lesson 3, Creating Glass and Refraction
You will almost always come across a point in which you will need to create some sort of glass shader for your interactive applications. In lesson 003 we will take a look at a way to create glass, with shader forge and how to add refraction so the background is distorted when looking through the model. By the end you will have an awesome looking glass shader that can be used for any application.

4. Alpha Clipping and a Dissolve Effect

Lesson 4, Alpha Clipping and a Dissolve Effect
Lets have some fun and start to learn how we can use shaders to help us create FX for game play. Many games employ some sort of dissolve effect to peel away the surface of a model, to indicate some sort of state change. In this lesson we are going to learn how to use alpha clipping to create a dissolve effect, then hook it up to some code so it can be triggered!

5. UVs and Their Role in Shaders

Lesson 5, UVs and Their Role in Shaders
You might not realize it, but the uvs of a model can also provide us with data, that can produce a wide range effects. While most of us in the CG world understand what uv’s are, very few realize their power when creating shaders, and how they can be used to create effects for you, without the need of creating more textures. By the end of this lesson we will looked at ways in which we can manipulate uv information, from a model, to provide us the data to produce awesome effects!

6. UV Distortion

Lesson 6, UV Distortion
Now that we have seen and understood the power of UV’s, lets take a look at how we can extend our knowledge to create a distortion effect which allow us to create a procedural texture. By the end of this lesson, you will understand how to utilize, already existing data, to achieve new textures and effects.

7. UV Techniques Cont’d

Lesson 7, UV Techniques Cont’d
Now that we have covered the ins and outs of UV manipulation, lets take a look at hwo we can use uv’s to produce a faked refraction effect. By the end of this lesson, you will have a nice faked glass effect that can be used for many interactive applications.

8. Creating a Specular Map from our Diffuse

Lesson 8, Creating a Specular Map from our Diffuse
When it comes to being efficient in the shader world, we always have to utilize our arsenal of shader techniques to reduce the amount of memory the shaders take up. In this lesson we are going to start to take a look at how we can create a flexible specular map from the diffuse map entirely. This helps reduce the amount of textures you have in your game, and also does not impair the artists from achieving the look they want..

9. Conclusion

Lesson 9, Conclusion
Let’s re-cap what we have learned, and how we can take it further. We are still at the very beginnings of shader creation. In Volume 3 and 4 we will start to look at ways to produce different BRDF lighting models, understand the PBR / PBL shader creation process, and really start to translate our knowledge of creating shader in Shader Forge to actually programming them ourselves. Thanks so much!