[Beginner] Help with simple Ray Marching shader deformation on a cube

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:bust_in_silhouette: Asked By Xqua


So I am learning shader code, and I am trying to get Ray Marching to work!
I’ve gotten pretty far, but I have one small “bug” in the shader and I don’t know why it would do this.

The shader is applied to a cube, and it is a simple sphere signed distance function.

When I look at it from the side (aka facing a face) it looks great! But from an angle, I get weird cubic deformations!

Shader bug

Here is the shader code:

shader_type spatial;

render_mode unshaded, cull_disabled;

uniform int NUMBER_OF_STEPS = 32;
//varying vec3 camera_origin;

// params:
// p: arbitrary point in 3D space
// c: the center of our sphere
// r: the radius of our sphere
float distance_from_sphere(in vec3 p, in vec3 c, float r)
	return length(p - c) - r;

float map_the_world(in vec3 p, float time)
		//float displacement = sin(5.0 * p.x) * sin(5.0 * p.y) * sin(5.0 * p.z) * 0.25;
		//displacement *= cos(time);
    float sphere_0 = distance_from_sphere(p, vec3(0.0), 1.0);

    // Later we might have sphere_1, sphere_2, cube_3, etc...

//    return sphere_0 + displacement;
    return sphere_0;

vec3 calculate_normal(in vec3 p, float time)
    const vec3 small_step = vec3(0.001, 0.0, 0.0);

    float gradient_x = map_the_world(p + small_step.xyy, time) - map_the_world(p - small_step.xyy, time);
    float gradient_y = map_the_world(p + small_step.yxy, time) - map_the_world(p - small_step.yxy, time);
    float gradient_z = map_the_world(p + small_step.yyx, time) - map_the_world(p - small_step.yyx, time);

    vec3 normal = vec3(gradient_x, gradient_y, gradient_z);

    return normalize(normal);

vec3 ray_march(in vec3 ro, in vec3 rd, float time, out bool hit)
    float total_distance_traveled = 0.0;
    const float MINIMUM_HIT_DISTANCE = 0.001;
    const float MAXIMUM_TRACE_DISTANCE = 1000.0;

    for (int i = 0; i < NUMBER_OF_STEPS; ++i)
        vec3 current_position = ro + total_distance_traveled * rd;

        float distance_to_closest = map_the_world(current_position, time);

        if (distance_to_closest < MINIMUM_HIT_DISTANCE) // hit
						// Let's return a diffuse from a fake light
						vec3 normal = calculate_normal(current_position, time);

						// For now, hard-code the light's position in our scene

				    vec3 light_position = vec3(2.0, -5.0, 3.0);

				    // Calculate the unit direction vector that points from
				    // the point of intersection to the light source
				    vec3 direction_to_light = normalize(current_position - light_position);

				    float diffuse_intensity = max(0.0, dot(normal, direction_to_light));
						hit = true;
				    return vec3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0) * diffuse_intensity;

        if (total_distance_traveled > MAXIMUM_TRACE_DISTANCE) // miss

        // accumulate the distance traveled thus far
        total_distance_traveled += distance_to_closest;

    // If we get here, we didn't hit anything so just
    // return a background color (black)
	hit = false;
    return vec3(0.0);

void fragment() {
	// Get Cameran origin
	vec3 ro = (CAMERA_MATRIX * vec4(0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0)).xyz;
	// Get Ray direction (From camera to vertex)
	vec3 rd = (CAMERA_MATRIX * vec4(VERTEX, 1.0)).xyz;
	bool hit;
	vec3 color = ray_march(ro, rd, TIME, hit);

	if (hit) {
		ALBEDO = color;
		ALPHA = 1.0;
	else {
		ALPHA = 0.0;
:bust_in_silhouette: Reply From: Thalikoth

The issue is in calculating the camera’s direction vector.

    // Get Ray direction (From camera to vertex)
vec3 rd = (CAMERA_MATRIX * vec4(VERTEX, 1.0)).xyz;

In order to calculate the direction, you will need to substract the position of the camera from the position of the fragment.

The position of the camera is your ‘ro’ vector, and the position of the fragment is your ‘rd’ vector. Note that this is not the ray direction yet, you still have to substract the two vectors in order to get the direction:

    // Get camera position in World space coordinates
vec3 ro = (CAMERA_MATRIX * vec4(0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0)).xyz;

// Get fragment position in world space coordinates
vec3 p = ((CAMERA_MATRIX * vec4(VERTEX, 1.0)).xyz);

// Get the camera direction by sustracting the camera position from the fragment position
vec3 rd = normalize(p - ro);

It’s also important to note that you will have to normalze the ray direction vector, because in the ray marching function you use it to calculate the length of the ray.

Hello @Thalikoth,

I am trying to do the following in Godot. This is in Unity and I am a little unsure about how to proceed with getting how to get the OrthoParams of the camera. Do I even need to? Or does the camera matrix do it for me?

if(unity_OrthoParams.w == 0)
    // Perspective
    return normalize(ObjSpaceViewDir(float4(vertexLocal, 0.0f)));
    // Orthographic
    float3 camfwd = mul((float3x3)unity_CameraToWorld, float3(0,0,-1));
    float4 camfwdobjspace = mul(unity_WorldToObject, camfwd);
    return normalize(camfwdobjspace);

bigvalthoss | 2022-09-27 17:27