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What are shaders for?

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I understand what a shader is and how (in general) to write one, but I'm darned if I can see the point. I read that they can be used to, for instance, replace th phong shading mode, but how many times would you want this? I guess I'm asking for common applications. Thanks!

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Original post by squirrelman3000
I understand what a shader is and how (in general) to write one, but I'm darned if I can see the point. I read that they can be used to, for instance, replace th phong shading mode, but how many times would you want this?


They can be used for much more than just implementing the Phong shading model (which cannot be implemented using the FFP). All sorts of rendering techniques require the programmability of vertex/fragment shaders, such as normal mapping, parallax mapping, good atmospheric scattering effects, and much more.

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