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Open Shading Language Node in Cycles


Thomas Dinges demonstrates the Open Shading Language node - it allows you to write your own shaders, compile them and connect them in the node editor.

From the blog:

The Cycles render engine has two shader systems.

SVM (Shader Virtual Machine) is the default shader system but the engine also has support for OSL (Open Shading Language).

The OSL shader system was working on a basic level back in April 2011 when Cycles got released, but afterwards it was not updated as Cycles itself was very young and needed to mature still. There would have been no benefit in supporting both backends from the very beginning.

Lukas Tönne and myself updated the OSL backend in Cycles for the last couple of weeks and brought it up to speed again. We had to fix a bunch of compiler errors first, as the OSL API itself changed as well over the past year.


About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-)


  1. This just may be the incentive I need to start using Cycles. Cycles nodes just don't have the flexibility of BI's, but this could potentially change that...

    • Kirill Poltavets on

      Actually Cycles nodes have a lot of flexibility. :) Cycles just don't have some cruicial BI features (like SSS, volumetrics and hair) but generally it surpasses BI. It works in realtime so it's crucial for a speedup for most of artists. And now I'm really happy I've bought that 100-bucks NVidia card that works now like a computer renderfarm few years ago.

  2. Remembers me of BMRT(Pixar). But that was decades ago. Is it limited to materials or can you create geometry with it (real time 3d for example defines shading a little bit different nowadays)?

  3. Kirill Poltavets on

    Thomas, it looks very promising! I've thought it will be a bit slower. Wonder what's the specs of that PC. And the code doesn't look scary! :)

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