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:sparkles: A node.js-style module system for GLSL!


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A node.js-style module system for GLSL!

This module contains glslify's command-line interface (CLI) and browserify transform. It forms one of the core components of the ecosystem, allowing you to install GLSL modules from npm and use them in your shaders. This makes it trivial to piece together different effects and techniques from the community, including but certainly not limited to fog, noise, film grain, raymarching helpers, easing functions and lighting models.

A full list can be found on the packages list under the "Shader Components" category.

Because glslify just outputs a single shader file as a string, it's easy to use it with any WebGL framework of your choosing, provided they accept custom shaders. Integration is planned for three.js and pex, with more on the way! Open an issue here if you'd like to discuss integrating glslify with your platform of choice.

If you're interested in playing around with glslify, you should check out it's a fragment shader sandbox similar to Shadertoy and GLSL Sandbox with built in support for glslify.



To install the command-line interface, install glslify globally like so:

npm install -g glslify

To install glslify for use as a browserify transform, you should install it locally instead:

npm install glslify

Getting Started


The CLI can take a file as its first argument, and output to a file using the -o flag:

glslify index.glsl -o output.glsl

It can also read input from stdin and output to stdout:

cat index.glsl | glslify > output.glsl

Browserify Transform

If using browserify from the command-line, simply pass glslify in as a transform using the -t/--transform flag:

browserify -t glslify index.js -o bundle.js

Alternatively, you may include glslify as a browserify.transform in your package.json file:

  "name": "my-app",
  "dependencies": {
    "glslify": "^2.0.0"
  "browserify": {
    "transform": ["glslify"]

When writing your app, you should be able to require and call glslify like so:

// index.js
var glslify = require('glslify')

var src = glslify(__dirname + '/shader.glsl')


Your glslify calls will be replaced with bundled GLSL strings at build time automatically for you!

// index.js
var src = "#define GLSLIFY 1\n\nprecision mediump float; ..."


Inline mode

By passing the inline option as true, you can write your shader inline instead of requiring it to be in a separate file:

var glslify = require('glslify')

var src = glslify(`
  precision mediump float;

  void main() {
    gl_FragColor = vec4(1.0);
`, { inline: true })

Webpack Loader

You can use the glslify-loader module to bundle shaders through glslify with Webpack. Check out the repository for further information.


Installing a GLSL Module

Much like plain JavaScript modules, GLSL modules are stored on npm. The main difference is that GLSL modules contain an index.glsl file instead of an index.js. Generally, these modules start with glsl- in their name.

To install glsl-noise in your current directory:

npm install glsl-noise

This will download glsl-noise and any of its dependencies, placing them in a node_modules directory for glslify to use.

Importing a GLSL Module

You can import a module using the following #pragma syntax:

#pragma glslify: noise = require(glsl-noise/simplex/2d)

void main() {
  float brightness = noise(gl_FragCoord.xy);

  gl_FragColor = vec4(vec3(brightness), 1.);

Shader dependencies are resolved using the same algorithm as node, so the above will load ./node_modules/simplex/2d.glsl from the shader's directory.

The above example would result in the following output:

#define GLSLIFY 1

// Description : Array and textureless GLSL 2D simplex noise function.
//      Author : Ian McEwan, Ashima Arts.
//  Maintainer : ijm
//     Lastmod : 20110822 (ijm)
//     License : Copyright (C) 2011 Ashima Arts. All rights reserved.
//               Distributed under the MIT License. See LICENSE file.

vec3 mod289_1_0(vec3 x) {
  return x - floor(x * (1.0 / 289.0)) * 289.0;

vec2 mod289_1_0(vec2 x) {
  return x - floor(x * (1.0 / 289.0)) * 289.0;

vec3 permute_1_1(vec3 x) {
  return mod289_1_0(((x*34.0)+1.0)*x);

float snoise_1_2(vec2 v)
  const vec4 C = vec4(0.211324865405187,  // (3.0-sqrt(3.0))/6.0
                      0.366025403784439,  // 0.5*(sqrt(3.0)-1.0)
                     -0.577350269189626,  // -1.0 + 2.0 * C.x
                      0.024390243902439); // 1.0 / 41.0
// First corner
  vec2 i  = floor(v + dot(v, C.yy) );
  vec2 x0 = v -   i + dot(i, C.xx);

// Other corners
  vec2 i1;
  //i1.x = step( x0.y, x0.x ); // x0.x > x0.y ? 1.0 : 0.0
  //i1.y = 1.0 - i1.x;
  i1 = (x0.x > x0.y) ? vec2(1.0, 0.0) : vec2(0.0, 1.0);
  // x0 = x0 - 0.0 + 0.0 * C.xx ;
  // x1 = x0 - i1 + 1.0 * C.xx ;
  // x2 = x0 - 1.0 + 2.0 * C.xx ;
  vec4 x12 = x0.xyxy + C.xxzz;
  x12.xy -= i1;

// Permutations
  i = mod289_1_0(i); // Avoid truncation effects in permutation
  vec3 p = permute_1_1( permute_1_1( i.y + vec3(0.0, i1.y, 1.0 ))
    + i.x + vec3(0.0, i1.x, 1.0 ));

  vec3 m = max(0.5 - vec3(dot(x0,x0), dot(x12.xy,x12.xy), dot(,, 0.0);
  m = m*m ;
  m = m*m ;

// Gradients: 41 points uniformly over a line, mapped onto a diamond.
// The ring size 17*17 = 289 is close to a multiple of 41 (41*7 = 287)

  vec3 x = 2.0 * fract(p * C.www) - 1.0;
  vec3 h = abs(x) - 0.5;
  vec3 ox = floor(x + 0.5);
  vec3 a0 = x - ox;

// Normalise gradients implicitly by scaling m
// Approximation of: m *= inversesqrt( a0*a0 + h*h );
  m *= 1.79284291400159 - 0.85373472095314 * ( a0*a0 + h*h );

// Compute final noise value at P
  vec3 g;
  g.x  = a0.x  * x0.x  + h.x  * x0.y;
  g.yz = a0.yz * x12.xz + h.yz * x12.yw;
  return 130.0 * dot(m, g);

void main() {
  float brightness = snoise_1_2(gl_FragCoord.xy);

  gl_FragColor = vec4(vec3(brightness), 1.);

Exporting a GLSL Module

You can export a token from a module using the glslify: export pragma, like so:

float myFunction(vec3 normal) {
  return dot(vec3(0, 1, 0), normal);

#pragma glslify: export(myFunction)

This means that when you import this module file elsewhere, you'll get myFunction in return:

#pragma glslify: topDot = require(./my-function.glsl)

topDot(vec3(0, 1, 0)); // 1

If you check the output shader source, you'll notice that variables have been renamed to avoid conflicts between multiple shader files.

You're not limited to exporting functions either: you should be able to export any GLSL token, such as a struct for reuse between your modules:

struct Light {
  vec3 position;
  vec3 color;

#pragma glslify: export(Light)

Source Transforms

Source transforms are a feature inspired by browserify, allowing you to modify your GLSL source at build time on a per-package basis. This is useful both for transpilation (e.g. converting from or to HLSL) or for making incremental improvements to GLSL syntax. (e.g. you can use glslify-hex to include CSS-style hex strings for colors in place of vec3s).

There are three kinds of source transform:

  • Local transforms, the default. These are applied per-file, and only applied to a single package. If you're defining it via the CLI using -t it'll only apply itself to files outside of node_modules, but you can include it in package.json too: these will be applied only to that package without interfering with any of the package's parents or children.
  • Global transforms are applied after local transforms to every file, regardless of whether or not it's a dependency.
  • Post transforms are applied to the entire output file once it's been bundled. Generally, you want to reserve this for very specific use cases such as whole-shader optimisation.

There are a number of ways to use a transform. Start by installing it in your project:

npm install --save glslify-hex

The preferred way to enable a transform is through your project's package.json file's glslify.transform property, like so:

  "name": "my-project",
  "dependencies": {
    "glslify-hex": "^2.0.0",
    "glslify": "^2.0.0"
  "glslify": {
    "transform": ["glslify-hex"]

You may also include arguments to your transform as you would with browserify:

  "name": "my-project",
  "dependencies": {
    "glslify-hex": "^2.0.0",
    "glslify": "^2.0.0"
  "glslify": {
    "transform": [
      ["glslify-hex", {
        "option-1": true,
        "option-2": 42

Note that this method is only available for local transforms.

You may also specify transforms via the CLI:

glslify -t 'local-transform' -g 'global-transform' -p 'post-transform'

Or when using the browserify transform by including them as options like so:

var glslify = require('glslify')

glslify(__dirname + '/shader.glsl', {
  transform: [
    ["glslify-hex", {
      "option-1": true,
      "option-2": 42
    ["global-transform", { global: true }],
    ["post-transform", { post: true }]

Migrating from glslify@1 to glslify@2

There are two important changes to note:

  • gl-shader is no longer bundled in with glslify's browserify transform.
  • glslify now accepts files individually, rather than frag/vert pairings.

The following:

var glslify = require('glslify')

var shader = glslify({
  frag: './shader.frag',
  vert: './shader.vert'

Should now be created like so:

var glShader = require('gl-shader')
var glslify  = require('glslify')

var shader = glShader(gl,

Module API

You can use glslify from Node using glslify.bundle. The operation is performed asynchronously, but otherwise it shares the same API as glslify's browserify transform.

glslify.bundle(file, opts, done)

Takes a file and calls done(err, source, files) with the finished shader when complete. files is an array of all the files required from the dependency tree, including the entry file.

Options include:

  • inline: if set to true, you can pass the GLSL source directly in place of the file argument.
  • transform: an array of transforms to apply to the shader.
  • basedir: the directory from which to resolve modules from in your first shader. Defaults to the first file's directory, or process.cwd() if inline mode is enabled.

Further Reading


See stackgl/contributing for details.


MIT. See for details.

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