Version: 2018.2 (switch to 2018.3b or 2017.4)
Providing vertex data to vertex programs
Predefined Shader preprocessor macros
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Built-in shader include files

Unity contains several files that can be used by your shader programs to bring in predefined variables and helper functions. This is done by the standard #include directive, e.g.:

CGPROGRAM
// ...
#include "UnityCG.cginc"
// ...
ENDCG

Shader include files in Unity are with .cginc extension, and the built-in ones are:

  • HLSLSupport.cginc - (automatically included) Helper macros and definitions for cross-platform shaderA small script that contains the mathematical calculations and algorithms for calculating the Color of each pixel rendered, based on the lighting input and the Material configuration. More info
    See in Glossary
    compilation.
  • UnityShaderVariables.cginc - (automatically included) Commonly used global variables.
  • UnityCG.cginc - commonly used helper functions.
  • AutoLight.cginc - lighting & shadowing functionality, e.g. surface shadersUnity’s code generation approach that makes it much easier to write lit shaders than using low level vertex/pixel shader programs. More info
    See in Glossary
    use this file internally.
  • Lighting.cginc - standard surface shader lighting models; automatically included when you’re writing surface shaders.
  • TerrainEngine.cginc - helper functions for TerrainThe landscape in your scene. A Terrain GameObject adds a large flat plane to your scene and you can use the Terrain’s Inspector window to create a detailed landscape. More info
    See in Glossary
    & Vegetation shaders.

These files are found inside Unity application ({unity install path}/Data/CGIncludes/UnityCG.cginc on Windows, /Applications/Unity/Unity.app/Contents/CGIncludes/UnityCG.cginc on Mac), if you want to take a look at what exactly is done in any of the helper code.

HLSLSupport.cginc

This file is automatically included when compiling CGPROGRAM shaders (but not included for HLSLPROGRAM ones). It declares various preprocessor macros to aid in multi-platform shader development.

UnityShaderVariables.cginc

This file is automatically included when compiling CGPROGRAM shaders (but not included for HLSLPROGRAM ones). It declares various built-in global variables that are commonly used in shaders.

UnityCG.cginc

This file is often included in Unity shaders. It declares many built-in helper functions and data structures.

Data structures in UnityCG.cginc

  • struct appdata_base: vertex shaderA program that runs on each vertex of a 3D model when the model is being rendered. More info
    See in Glossary
    input with position, normal, one texture coordinate.
  • struct appdata_tan: vertex shader input with position, normal, tangent, one texture coordinate.
  • struct appdata_full: vertex shader input with position, normal, tangent, vertex color and two texture coordinates.
  • struct appdata_img: vertex shader input with position and one texture coordinate.

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Providing vertex data to vertex programs
Predefined Shader preprocessor macros