Shader Odyssey

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https://vimeo.com/144074794

A tribute to Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterpiece, Shader Odyssey is a two-minute movie entirely done in one fragment shader, which is a kind of program that runs on the GPU (graphics processing unit) of the computer. All the graphics are computer-generated in real time — no 3D modeling or pre-rendered texture is used. The blending and timing are done in the shader as well.

One of the characteristics of shader programs is that in each frame, the color of all the pixels are computed in parallel (simultaneously), which makes it feasible (not computation-heavy) to scale the canvas and duplicate the content to a great degree. That's one of the reason why this movie includes so many repeating patterns—by duplicating things, I also want to evoke a feeling from the audience about how tiny and insignificant we human-beings are in front of the cosmos.

The original shader code can be accessed via GitHub.

(Music credit: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2002.)