Shader-generated backgrounds for the Web
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Shader-generated backgrounds for the Web.

Shaderback.js is a really simple javascript library that allows animated backgrounds to be added to HTML5 Web pages. The backgrounds are generated using shaders, and should work on any WebGL compatible device with a suitably powerful GPU.


You can see some examples of Shaderback.js usage here:

  1. My website with a simple background:
  2. impress.js presentation slides
  3. Shaderback.js testing page.

The code for these is in the examples folder.


Simply add the following code inside the header of the webpage you want the background on.

<script type="text/javascript" src="shaderback.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
window.onload = shaderback.loadURL("shader.txt");

Where shader.txt is the URL of the fragment shader file on your webserver.

Alternatively, you can include the shader code in a script element on your page, and tell shaderback.js to use this instead by passing the ID of the script:

<script id="shader-id" type="x-shader/x-fragment">
	precision highp float;

	varying vec2 fragCoord;
	uniform float iGlobalTime;
	uniform vec3 iResolution;

	void main(void) {
		// The actual shader code goes here
		// See the example folder for some examples 
		float line = (iResolution.x * (0.5 - fragCoord.x)) * sin(0.8 + (iGlobalTime / 30000.0));
		line -= (iResolution.y * (0.5 - fragCoord.y)) * cos(0.8 + (iGlobalTime / 30000.0));
		float cycle = (1.0 + sin(line)) / 2.0;

		vec4 colour = (cycle * vec4(0.6, 0.6, 0.6, 1.0)) + ((1.0 - cycle) * vec4(0.9, 0.9, 0.9, 1.0));
		gl_FragColor = colour;

<script type="text/javascript" src="shaderback.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
window.onload = shaderback.loaddiv("shader-id");

In this second case shader-id is the element ID of the script tag containing the fragment shader code.

Finally, if you have your shader code stored as a string, you can use:

<script type="text/javascript" src="shaderback.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
window.onload = shaderback.loadtext(text);

Where text is a string containing the fragment shader code.

Shader Inputs/Outputs

When creating a fragment shader for use with shaderback.js, you need to include three variables to accept state values, as detailed below. The output colour of the current fragment is returned in gl_FragColor as usual.

These values are compatible with Shadertoy, although at present we don't support all of the Shadertoy inputs (e.g. no channels, mouse position, etc.).


uniform highp float iGlobalTime

Current time in seconds since midnight January 1, 1970 (GMT), modulo 18000. The use of world time allows synchronisation across separate instances. The modulo is to avoid float overflow/innacuracy errors and essentially means the time will loop back to zero every 5 hours.

uniform vec3 iResolution

Viewport resolution, with x, y being width and height respectively, and z being the pixel aspect ratio (currently always 1). Note that the height and width will be half the pixel resolution of the current visible body area of the page (since the resultion is set to half this for performance reasons).

varying vec2 fragCoord

Coordinate of the current fragment to be rendered. The x and y values will be in the range [0, iResolution.x) and [0, iResolution.y) respectively. If you want to convert them to texture uv coordinates in the range [0, 1), simply dividte by iResolution.xy.



Use this to output the colour of the current fragment. The alpha channel is used to blend with the background of thee page. All colour values are in the range [0, 1], including alpha.

Error Handling

By default shaderback.js will skip any errors (whether from WebGL, Javascript or the shader code) and silently deactivate itself. This is important for production sites, since not all browsers or machines will support GPU rendering. End users shouldn't be presented with errors, and sites should cleanly degrade if the capabilities aren't supported.

However, during development it can be helpful to receive error notifications. To this end, you can turn on error messages with the setDebug(active) method. Ensure you call it before attempting to load your shader, as follows:

window.onload = shaderback.loadURL("shader.txt");


It's been tested on the following browsers, and seems to work fine on all of them:

  1. Firefox 36.01 under Linux and Windows
  2. Chrome 41.something on Windows
  3. Chromium 41.something on Linux
  4. IE 11 on Windows
  5. Jolla Sailfish browser 1.0 (Mozilla based)
  6. Android 4.4.2 Chrome 40.something

However, it's only been tested in pretty limited circumstances (only on a few Web pages), so don't expect too much of it.


Shaderback.js is released under an MIT License. See the LICENSE file for the full details.

Contact and Links

More information will eventually be added to:

The source code can be obtained from GitHub:

I can be contacted via one of the following.