Create Images and Effects with Shaders

A shader is a small program, that renders pixels.


Shaders can create very advanced images. Indeed, shaders are intensively used everywhere : in video games, special effects, graphic softwares, websites and even in macOS.

In Zelda: The Wind Waker, the sea is a big shader :

Pyro explosion with Houdini by Carlos Parmentier :

Minimize effect from macOS :

For example, we can easily create the image below, that have exactly 5 white stripes and 5 black stripes :

This is achieved via a very simple mathematic formula, that is run for every pixel of our image, to determine if the pixel is white or black : pixel_color = modulo( x*10. , 1. ) < 0.5

The main advantages of the shaders is that there are executed in real-time. Consequently, the resolution can be changed, and they can also have parameters to change their apparence in live.

Original image :

v002 Bleach Bypass at 50% :

v002 Bleach Bypass at 100% :

1 / How to use shaders in Millumin ?

In you are using Millumin V2, be sure you activated them from Preferences/Addons (not required for Millumin V3 or V4) :

In Millumin, there are 2 kinds of shader : medias and effects.

  • Medias
     They produce an image from scratch, and can be accessed from Millumin library. You can play directly with them, simply drag-and-drop one in a layer.
     Since shaders are executed in real-time, some will require more power than others. So feel free to adjust the quality of the rendering, and tweak the parameters :

  • Effects
    They process an existing image (frame from a movie, a camera, ...) to create a new one : for example, adjusting the color of a movie.
     Such "shader effects" are easy to find, because they are located with other effects.

2 / Import custom shaders

Millumin uses a standard called ISF (for Interactive Shader Format), kindly imagined by Vidvox for VDMX.
 Many softwares are supporting this standard, so the same ISF shaders can be used in different applications.

Millumin is already shipped with some useful shaders, but to add your own :

  • Go to
  • Download a shader you like
  • In Finder, press COMMAND+SHIFT+G to go in this folder ~/Library/Millumin/
  • Install the shader in folder ISF-effects (or ISF-source if it is a media)
  • Launch Millumin

3 / Create your own shader

First of all, you can simply modify an existing shader : press the button edit shader to do so. If there is only a read shader button, the shader cannot be altered, but you can still copy its content.

To create a shader from scratch, click the + button in the library : Millumin will add a new editable shader in the library.

There is a lot of resources about shaders on internet, explaining you the basics as well as shader tricks. Here are some that are very relevant :

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