A Minimal Components GUI for Pixel Bender shaders
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A Minimal Components GUI for Pixel Bender shaders

Pixel Bender shaders can be used in Photoshop, After Effects and Flash Player. While Photoshop and After Effects provides a GUI, there are no helper GUI classes for actionscript.

PBGUI generates a simple interface using Keith Peters' Minimal Comps.

Most of the sample images ship with Pixel Bender by default. For more Pixel Bender shaders checkout the Pixel Bender Exchange

More info...




While the PBGUI class provides a basic example of Pixel Bender parameters + a means to load shaders and images for preview, the aim is to provide a simple class that draws a GUI and handles input for shaders. This is achieved using the ShaderControls class:

//shader is a reference to an initialized Shader instance
var controls:ShaderControls = new ShaderControls(shader);
//changes are handled through callbacks
controls.onToggle = onToggle;
controls.onUpdate = onUpdate;
controls.onReset = onReset;

//name = shader parameter name and value is the array of values for the updated parameter
//preview = a DisplayObject used for previewing/applying the filters
function onUpdate(name : String, value : Array) : void {
    shader.data[name].value = value;
    preview.loader.filters = [shaderFilter];
function onReset():void{
    preview.loader.filters = [shaderFilter];    
function onToggle(on:Boolean):void{
    preview.loader.filters = on ? [shaderFilter]:[];    

Here is an expanded example :

package {
    import com.disturbmedia.pb.utils.ShaderControls;

    import flash.display.DisplayObject;
    import flash.display.Shader;
    import flash.display.Sprite;
    import flash.filters.ShaderFilter;

     * @author George Profenza
     * This example shows how you would the ShaderControls in a project.
     * PBGUI.as is there to easily load assets, kernels and test them, outsite your project
     * The goal of this project is to generate a GUI for your PixelBender shaders
     * that you can hook up to your project. This is achieved through the ShaderControls class and it's callbacks
     * ShaderControls draws a draggable window which can be minimized so you can view your project easily
     * Maximize the window when you want to use the shader controls
    public class Example extends Sprite {

        [Embed(source="../bin/assets/kernels/Bloom.pbj", mimeType="application/octet-stream")]  
        private var ShaderClass : Class;
        private var shader:Shader;
        private var shaderFilter:ShaderFilter;

        private var ImageClass:Class;       
        private var preview:DisplayObject;
        private var controls:ShaderControls;

        public function Example() {

        private function init() : void {
            preview = new ImageClass();
            addChild(preview);//add some content you want to preview the filter on

            //intialize the filter
            shader = new Shader(new ShaderClass());
            shaderFilter = new ShaderFilter(shader);

            //intialize the controls
            controls = new ShaderControls(shader);
            controls.onUpdate = updateFilter;
            controls.onToggle = toggleFilter;
            controls.onReset = applyFilter;
        //update the shader and re-apply the filter. The callback returns the name of the changed parameter and the values array
        private function updateFilter(name : String, value : Array) : void {
            shader.data[name].value = value;
            preview.filters = [shaderFilter];
        //This is called when the "activated" checkbox is toggled
        private function toggleFilter(on:Boolean) : void {
            preview.filters = on ? [shaderFilter] : [];
        //This is called when the "Reset to Defaults" button is pressed
        private function applyFilter() : void {
            preview.filters = [shaderFilter];


Not all controls have been thoroughly tested, so watch out, here be bugs! In case you run into any, plase provide details on the Issues page.


  • tested controls - added VarTest kernel to test parameters
  • added ControlsContainer - if your filter has A LOT of parameters, you can set a maximum height for the controls area(default is 180) anything larger is accessed through scrolling. Use browse filter and VarTest.pbj to see this.