I was wondering what does Open Shading Language mean? I've heard people talk about OSL this and OSL that, and I just thought that it was something they said to sound smart.

I wonder if anyone actually knows what this is or does?


1 Answer 1


Open Shading Language is a programming language designed for writing shaders.

From the OSL page:

Open Shading Language (OSL) is a small but rich language for programmable shading in advanced renderers and other applications, ideal for describing materials, lights, displacement, and pattern generation.

A Script node was added in blender 2.65 that allows users to use OSL shaders in Cycles.

  • $\begingroup$ So It is used to create your own shaders using Python? $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2013 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Owen it's not Python; it's its own language. If you look at the example in the link you'll see it's nothing like Python. $\endgroup$
    – wchargin
    Aug 8, 2013 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ OOOHHH Ok see I don't know anything about programming so I was a little confused. That is cool though. thanks $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2013 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ Here's a pretty good tutorial for OSL in Blender. It's not quite geared toward people with no programming experience, but he's pretty good at explaining all the little details that are necessary for your shader to properly compile. cgcookie.com/blender/cgc-courses/… $\endgroup$
    – Justin
    Jun 6, 2014 at 13:02

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