What is the difference between Gouraud and Phong shading?

Gouraud shading (AKA Smooth Shading) is a per-vertex color computation. What this means is that the vertex shader must determine a color for each vertex and pass the color as an out variable to the fragment shader. Since this color is passed to the fragment shader as an in varying variable, it is interpolated across the fragments thus giving the smooth shading.

Here is an illustration of the Gouraud Shading:

In contrast, Phong shading is a per-fragment color computation. The vertex shader provides the normal and position data as out variables to the fragment shader. The fragment shader then interpolates these variables and computes the color.

Here is an illustration of the Phong Shading:

 
 Gouraud Shading Output

Gouraud Shading Output

 Phong Shading Output

Phong Shading Output

 

Just keep this in mind:

In Gouraud Shading, the color for the fragment is computed in the Vertex Shader. Whereas, in Phong Shading, the color for the fragment is computed in the Fragment Shader.

Harold Serrano

Computer Graphics Enthusiast. Currently developing a 3D Game Engine.