Introduction to Shaders for Programmers
– Gray Area Festival Workshop

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Introduction to Shaders for Programmers
– Gray Area Festival Workshop

In this workshop, you will learn how to livecode shaders by creating a visual composition with GPU code and a little bit of math. Livecoding is a method of programming in which one’s changes to the code are realized immediately and in real-time. This is an ideal way to create music visualizers, or any interactive abstract graphics of the sort. We will briefly go over how to use the shaders we create in a variety of other real-time engines like Unity, p5.js & touch designer.

You will learn about where the shader exists in the graphics pipeline, the basics of how the language works, and how to quickly iterate on writing your shader using livecoding tools. You will also be given a plethora of tools to build upon what you learn, so you can keep learning and practicing beyond this workshop.

This workshop is part of the Gray Area Festival 2022: Distant Early Warnings.

Now in its 8th year, this year’s Gray Area Festival partners with the McLuhan Institute to explore artistic practice as an important sensing agent in a world of rapidly evolving media and technology. Building off work by media theorist Marshall McLuhan, who in 1964 compared artists to Cold War–era distant early warning systems which were designed to raise alarms at signs of impending nuclear catastrophe, this festival stakes a role for arts and technology experimentation as a critical research & development department for society.

Course Logistics

Dates
Monday, September 26, 2022

Location

Gray Area
2665 Mission Street
San Francisco

Time
6PM – 9PM

Cost
$80 for a 3hr hands-on workshop (Limited to 16 students)

We also offer Diversity Scholarships, find out more and apply here

Experience level: Intermediate

Course Requirements:
Programming experience is required. We will not cover topics like variables, if statements, and for loops.

Course Outline

Introduction to the graphics pipeline, concepts, and context.

Guided hands on creation in GLSL, application of concepts. This includes converting coordinate system to transform space, using basic trig functions to create shapes, and color palette functions to have more control over the look of your shader.

We break off into smaller groups and explore the code.

Show off your shader creation(s)!

Go over templates provided for Unity, Touch Designer and p5.

Exploring next steps, including introduction to online shader communities and tips for exporting and sharing your creation online!

Education Goals

You will learn about where the shader exists in the graphics pipeline, the basics of how the language works, and how to quickly iterate on writing your shader using livecoding tools. You will also be given a plethora of tools to build upon what you learn, so you can keep learning and practicing beyond this workshop.

About Technologies

In this workshop you will be introduced to GLSL, GLSL is the OpenGL Shading Language, a C-like programming language that allows you to code powerful graphics programs directly on your computer’s graphics card.


Instructor(s)

Char Stiles is an artist, educator and programmer based in Brooklyn, NY. She works creatively in the lower levels of computational systems to bring to light how computers work. Char works and collaborates across mediums such as interactive installation, video, performance and web. She is a part of the Livecode.nyc collective, where she organizes shows, and livecodes music and visuals. She has given talks and led workshops at Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, University of Limerick, MIT and NYU. She is currently at an NEA-funded artist residency at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University to develop an open-source GLSL editor tool for artists.