Introduction to PVRShaman

A brief overview of the purpose and features of PVRShaman

This document is a complete user manual for the PVRShaman shader development environment. It includes compatibility information, installation instructions, and a guide to using the application.

What is PVRShaman?

PVRShaman is a tool for the rapid prototyping, development, and testing of GLSL shaders.

The two main components of PVRShaman are:
  • a universal shader compiler and editor with syntax highlighting and per-line cycle counts for rapid shader development
  • a Visualisation Panel where the results of shader changes can be seen in real time.
  • a visualiser and verifier of POD files.

Shader development is done using the PowerVR Effects (PFX) format, while geometry is handled in the PowerVR Object Data (POD) format. POD files can be created using PVRGeoPOD file exporters. PVRGeoPOD is available from the PowerVR SDK and Tools.

PVRShaman Features

PVRShaman has a variety of useful features, including:

  • Windows, Linux, and MacOS support

  • Geometry input from POD files generated using PVRGeoPOD

  • Support for PFX

  • Texture input from PVR files generated using PVRTexTool

  • Support for all common texture formats

  • Integrated version of PVRShaderEditor

  • POD viewer

  • WYSIWYG concept allows rapid prototyping of new shaders


Due to ongoing development, the current edition of PVRShaman has the following limitations:

  • Cannot open multiple POD files simultaneously.

  • Cannot merge POD files.

  • Does not allow for extra lights, cameras, or objects to be added to a POD, only materials.

  • The default shader (i.e. the shader applied to objects when no shader has been set by the user) only supports one light. For more lights, the user must use a shader that supports multiple lights.

File Types

Through the course of this document several file types are mentioned. The most important of these are listed in the table below.

File type Description
PFX PFX is a file format for storing and setting up shaders and effects with runtime available in the PowerVR Graphics Tools and SDK and examples in the training course demos. PFX files are editable in PVRShaman and PVRShaderEditor.
POD POD is a file format for storing complete scenes with meshes, lights, animations, materials and references to textures and effects. While PODs are not compressed, they store information in a format designed for speedy deployment to hardware.
PVR PVR is a file format for storing API-friendly textures. PVR files are produced using PVRTexTool and can be compressed as small as 2/4 bits per pixel, while still maintaining a good quality.