Unity: Which shader editor do you prefer?


Hi there!

What is your preferred shader editor in Unity?
I’ve tried Shader Graph and I loved it but I don’t feel super comfortable using “preview” stuff like Light-weight rendering pipeline.

I’m also familiar with Amplify Shader Editor and Shader Forge (which is discontinued sadly) but I’d like to learn if there’s any “industry standard” package people use in Unity.



Hello !

For me the last game i made, was done with shaderforge.

But i’m using Shadergraph now to learn the new contents.
Some nodes are weird to use beetween the 2, (multiply is one of them) but i like a lot shadergraph for the visual of the nodes and some new features like opening 2 shader at the same time etc…

For now, this is a very young way to do VFX with, so, when you need help, it’s hard to find… But well, if you know how to use shaderforge, you will know how to use shadergraph ^^

The shadergraph nodes force you to destructure a little more but in some way they’re more understandables and quick to use.


After trying all of this three editors I stayed with Amplify Shader Editor, it’s far more powerful than ShaderGraph, and you can use it in leagcy render pipeline.
ShaderForge is no longer supported because team whose making this editor are now developing ShaderGraph.
I think lots of Unity based companies still make shaders through code.

Also in my example as only VFX in my company I have a lot of freedom with choosing editor.


No, they’re completely unrelated.

The sole developer of Shader Graph, Freya Holmer, effectively abandoned it due to being too busy making an actual game (Budget Cuts) and is not an employee of Unity. Unity did try to buy Shader Graph and hire her to continue working on it, but she declined as it wasn’t what she wanted to work on.

Funny enough, Shader Graph was not the first node based shader editor Unity tried to buy or developer they’ve hired. The very first node based shader editor for Unity was Strumpy Shader Editor, and they hired the developer of that, Tim Cooper, to make an official one sometime back in 2011-2012. However he never actually ended up working on that, nor did he work on the new official Shader Graph.

Shader Graph is written mostly by a single guy Unity hired just 2 years ago, Peter Bay Bastian, along with a small team of others who have made contributions.

So, anyway.

Shader Forge is great, been out for along time, also now free, but is effectively abandoned and the main branch doesn’t work in Unity 2018, though others have tried to fix it to keep it working in forks of the project.

Shader Graph is new, and missing a lot of tools and features, but is also free. It also only works with the new LWRP and HDRP rendering pipelines and not the built in forward or deferred paths. Unity will hopefully continue to work on it, but it is pretty bare bones right now.

Amplify Shader Editor is great, been out for a few years now and has a ton of features. It works with the built in rendering paths as well as the new SRPs. It’s in active development with new features being added constantly has far more features than Unity’s Shader Graph so far, or even Shader Forge. It also appears to have a relatively active community that contributes new stuff all of the time on their forums.

My preferred shader editor is Sublime Text … because I like working with shader code directly and I’m crazy and don’t like IDEs.


I’ve just realized that Amplify Shader Editor now supports Substance in Unity so I guess I’ll go with that one since I use Substance Designer as my go-to procedural texture generator and being able to edit substance parameters inside the shader editor will be super useful for me!


Oh, I didn’t know that :sweat_smile: Thanks!


I mostly use Shader Forge + writing shaders. The usability of Shader Forge is still better than of Shader Graph (in my opinion). better Multiply, quicker acces to nodes that I want. The problem with Shader Forge is, that it doesn’t allow everything that you could do with just code (like 3d Textures). In that case Shader Graph is way ahead. (But it sometimes doesn’t want to work how I want, because of the preview in a prieview thing).

I don’t use Amplify Shader Editor but I am following their progress. And this is a must have if you need a shader editor and have a budget for it. The examples that come along with it are insanly good (like an interior mapping shader).