[Sidefx-houdini-list] ubershaders

Ivan DeWolf ivan at martian-labs.com
Mon Oct 1 02:07:38 EDT 2007

UGH! I realize I may be almost alone in this, but the "uber surface shader" 
is one of the worst ideas I have ever had the displeasure to deal with. 
These multi-thousand line monstrosities are usually built up over several years
by a slew of freelance coders that never think or code in a similar
fashion, and are now unavailable for questions.

I have been handed several "ubershaders" at different facilities- "hey Ivan,
this feature isn't working. You can fix this, right?"

turns out all they needed was a 5-line shader, but they only knew to use their
"ubershader" for everything. Like trying to ride a bicycle with a semi. SUV,
helicopter, and rocket duct taped to it. ugh. and know I have to fix the
helicopter so it doesn't mess up the bicycle. Pass the osciloscope.

I know, it is becoming the "industry standard" way of dealing with shaders, but
couldn't we all just learn to link up a few VOPs at least?
an uber-library instead would RULE! you just have to do a tiny bit of work
assembling the specific parts, instead of using some do-every-damn-thing shader
that nobody actually comprehends....


oh well. I'm just asking for too much.

Quoting Jordi Bares <jordibares at the-mill.com>:

> I am using H8.1 for the project I am working, and specially on the shader
> area I feel a bit weird, specially because doesn't seem to have a monolithic
> general purpose shader that can cope with everydays' basic stuff.
> I am using VEX Layered surface I was expecting to have other tools also like
> simple translucency, incandescence...
> Is there anything I have missed? Would you recommend me to use another vex
> shader for the translucency? If so, which one, doesn't seem to be one.
> On another note, may be a community OTL that has wrapped this?
> Just as suggestion, here at The Mill we use all the time a monolithic and
> very optimized supershader that does all sorts of things, from blurry
> reflections, thin film, incandescence, transparency tricks, multiple mixed
> specular calculations (blinn, phong, etc..) plus we have setup a bunch of
> presets that do the job 95% of the cases with minor tweaks, probably one of
> the most productive tools we have.
> Any chance the Houdini community has developed something similar to share?
> In any case, I would like to ask specially about the translucency effect,
> anyone could point me in the right direction?
> Thanks in advance
> jb
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"Perfection is achieved when nothing else can be removed"
-Yvon Chouinard

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