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Shader Locking


At the top of a shader, there's a button labeled Lock In Optimized Shader. Pressing this will lock the shader, graying out any options that have not be unlocked. This may take a few seconds to complete.

To unlock the shader, just press the button again. It'll be labelled Unlock Shader.

Locked materials are significantly more optimized than their unlocked counterparts. For editor usage, unlocked materials having reduced performance is ok, but in usage all materials must be locked.

For VRChat, the locking process happens automatically for any materials used in an Avatar or World when a build/upload is triggered. This prevents unlocked materials from being uploaded with the final asset.

Marking Properties for Animation


To animate a property on a locked shader, they need to be marked as animated. To do this, while the material is unlocked, right click the property and select Animated (When Locked). This will add a green A next to the property (short for Animated).

Marking a property as animated

Marking a property as animated

Rename Animated

By selecting Renamed (when locked), upon locking, the property will have a unique suffix based on the material's name. It will also add a green RA next to the property (short for Rename Animated) This means you can animate multiple materials with the same property differently on the same mesh. Remember to lock the materials first before recording animations for these renamed properties.

For example, you could use Renamed (when locked) hue shift properties to animate multiple different materials to have different hue shift values.

Copying Properties for Animation

Copy Property as Keyframe

This option can be used to automatically generate a keyframe for a property on a specific renderer.

Select the renderer you'd like to animate them material of in the hierarchy, scroll down to the property in the materials list, and make sure it's marked for animation in the mode desired (standard or renamed).

Optionally, set the value to the value the keyframe should have. Then, select Copy Property as Keyframe, and paste it into the animation window.

If the property is set to Animated (when locked), the keyframe will be copied with the standard property name. If the property is set to Renamed (when locked), the keyframe will be copied with the renamed property.

Property Name Options

These options are mostly useful for shader debugging and development, as well as editor scripting.

Copy Property Name

Copies the name of the property, as defined in the shader properties.

Copy Animated Property Name

Copies the name of the property, appending the renaming suffix if the property is set to Renamed (when locked).

Copy Animated Property Path

Copies the name of the property, appending the renaming suffix if applicable. If the renderer is a child of an object with an animator, it will copy the path with reference to the parent animator.

Copy Animated Property Path

Selecting Copy Animated Property Path would copy the value Armature/Hips/Sphere/_DecalEmissionStrength .

Special Cases for Animation

Animating Vector/Color Channels

When animating vector channels (including color channels, texture tiling/offset options, panning, and many others), the keyframe will be applied to the entire vector/color channel by default. It's possible to remove unused channels by deleting them individually after creating the keyframe, but may require special considerations in your animator.

With Write Defaults enabled in your animator states, the vector/color channels will be set to the default value of the material if not animated in a specific state. This means you should be able to animate individual vector/color channels of a material without worrying about the unused channels.

With Write Defaults disabled in your animator states, the vector/color channels will not be set to the default value of the material if not animated in a specific state. If the state of each channel is not animated, this can lead to undefined behavior. It's best to explicitly animate the state of all 4 channels of a vector in a default animator state, then animate the channels individually in subsequent states. This will ensure that the channels are initialized to the correct value.

Unity Special Properties

Some properties in the shader are handled by Unity differently than most, and either cannot be animated, or can only be animated in a specific way. These are generally1 properties also used in Unity's Standard Shader, and are used to provide proper fallback behavior for VRChat's Shader Blocking and Fallback System.

The following table provides a list of features that will be animated on all materials on a renderer regardless of their lock state. For certain values, they can be renamed for animation (and, if necessary, will have a dummy version of the original, un-renamed version for fallback shaders).

This behavior is not a bug, it's behavior defined by Unity, beyond the control of the shader author (given the need to name these properties specifically for fallback shaders to work correctly).

Property NameCan be Renamed?Property
_Color✔️Main Color
_MainTex_STMain Texture Tiling/Offset
_BumpMap_STNormal Map Tiling/Offset
_BumpScale✔️Normal Map Intensity
_Cutoff✔️Alpha Cutoff
_DetailMask_STDetail Mask Tiling/Offset
_DetailNormalMap_STDetail Mask Tiling/Offset
_DetailNormalMapScale✔️Detail Mask Tiling/Offset
_EmissionColor✔️Emission 0 Color
_EmissionMap_STEmission 0 Map Tiling/Offset

Non-Animatable Properties

Some properties cannot be animated at runtime in the same way as most, due to the way they function. You may be able to create keyframes that change these properties, but they will not work at runtime.

To adjust these properties at runtime, you'll need to create different materials with the different settings. These can then be animated to change on the material, though be advised that there are issues with animating material slots on a renderer - notably, the slot labelled "Element 4" cannot be animated without the slot labelled "Material 2" changing2.

Section Header Checkboxes

Section Header Checkbox

These section checkboxes signal the shader to add and remove code, and cannot be animated at runtime.

If you want to toggle the effect of a section, use a property that controls the overall effect. For example, to disable Color Adjust, you could animate the settings to their default values. To disable a Decal, animate the Alpha value to 0.

Keyword Toggle Checkboxes

These include anything that toggles a Keyword, which is generally reserved for large changes in features, or the addition of texture slots. These also add and remove code from the shader, and cannot be animated at runtime.

  • RGBA Masking: Enable Normals
  • Light Data: Enable Additive
  • Light Data: Ignore Directional
  • Light Data: Debug
  • Shading: Lighting Type
  • Shading: (Cloth Mode) Clothmask Lerp
  • Matcap 1/2: Custom Normal

Rendering/Low Level Options

These options relate to low-level directives and settings that change how the graphics driver interprets the shader, and generally cannot be adjusted at runtime.

  • Lock/Unlock Shader
  • Rendering Preset
  • Rendering: Cull
  • Rendering: ZTest
  • Rendering: ZWrite
  • Rendering: Color Mask
  • Rendering: Offset Factor
  • Rendering: Offset Units
  • Rendering: Reduce Clip Distance
  • Rendering: Ignore Fog
  • Rendering: Enable GPU Instancing
  • Rendering: RGB Blend Op
  • Rendering: Alpha Blend Op
  • Rendering: Source Blend
  • Rendering: Destination Blend
  • Rendering: Stencil Reference Value
  • Rendering: Stencil ReadMask Value
  • Rendering: Stencil WriteMask Value
  • Rendering: Stencil Pass Op
  • Rendering: Stencil Fail Op
  • Rendering: Stencil ZFail Op
  • Rendering: Stencil Compare Function
  • VRChat Fallback Shader
  • Render Queue

Technical Details

The locking feature uses an optimization procedure developed by Kaj. When the shader is locked in, a unique version is generated that removes unused code, defines fixed values for non-animated shader properties, and defined unused texture slots to be fixed values.

This significantly improves performance, helps mitigate the 64 texture slot crash sometimes seen when many complex materials with lots of modules enabled are present in a scene.