ShaderLab syntax: GrabPass
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ShaderLab syntax: GrabPass

GrabPass is a special passtype - it grabs the contents of the screen where the object is about to be drawn into a texture. This texture can be used in subsequent passes to do advanced image based effects.


The GrabPass belongs inside a subshader. All properties are optional.

GrabPass {
    TextureScale 0.5
    TextureSize 256
    BorderScale 0.3
    // following are regular pass commands
    Tags { "LightMode" = "VertexLit" }
    Name "BASE"


TextureSizeSpecifies that you want the grabbed texture to have a certain pixel dimension.
TextureScaleSpecifies that you want the texture to be a certain scale of the object's screen size. This is the default behaviour.
BorderScaleSpecifies that you want to grab an extra region around the object. The value is relative to the object's bounding box.


You can grab the screen behind the object being rendered in order to use it in a later pass. This is done with the GrabPass command. In a subsequent pass, you can access the grabbed screen as a texture, distorting what is behind the object. This is typically used to create stained glass and other refraction-like effects.

Unity will reuse the screen texture between different objects doing GrabPass. This means that one refractive object will not refract another.


So Much For So Little

Here is the most complex way ever of rendering nothing.

Shader "ComplexInvisible" {
    SubShader {
        // Draw ourselves after all opaque geometry
        Tags { "Queue" = "Transparent" }

        // Grab the screen behind the object into _GrabTexture, using default values
        GrabPass { }

        // Render the object with the texture generated above.
        Pass {
            SetTexture [_GrabTexture] { combine texture }

This shader has two passes: First pass grabs whatever is behind the object at the time of rendering, then applies that in the second pass. Note that the _GrabTexture is configured to display at the exact position of the object - hence it becomes transparent.

See Also