Should I know GLSL/HLSL as a Technical Artist?

Hi, Im fairly new to this role, Im transitioning from 3D art/vfx to a role in Tech art, I would like to work on a tech company in the future, mostly in AR/VR.
As a tech artist specialized in shaders:
How much is needed for this role the use of GLSL/HLSL?

If you want to specialize in shaders, then you’ll probably need to know how to write shader code.
As someone who doesn’t really do a lot of shader work, I can say that you don’t need to know HLSL/GLSL to be a good technical artist, but again if you’re hoping to specialize in shaders you need to know how to write shaders.

This is true even for engines that have some kind of material graph system, because knowing what’s going on under the hood will allow you to create better and more efficient shaders no matter the interface.


Yeah, even if you use a shader graph 95% of the time, it will eventually become a straightjacket if you don’t move past it. It’s also much easier to find cool examples and inspirational stuff on the web if you can parse a shading language (HLSL / GLSL are very, very similar – though the differences are a constant irritation).


I think it’s actually more important to know HLSL/GLSL if you use shader graphs a lot.


Thank you all for your insight, you are helping me to build better choices

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Understanding the rendering pipeline, like understanding an automobile engine, is where the power of being a tech artist sit. HLSL/GLSL are the interfaces for communicating and manipulating rendering pipeline. A good place for understanding the abstracted, real-time rendering pipeline is Vulcan. Once you understand the seven stages of the rasterizer pipeline, you realize the language itself is not as important. Just to make things difficult for you, you also know need to understand the Raytracing pipeline. In the real-time community this is coming and it’s going to be big!


Thank you, Im currently studying how to write shaders and this information is really helpful

Any Time :slight_smile: