Sphere Options for Materials?

I’ve been reading through an old PDF from a conference:

In the past I’ve done a proof of concept exercise in thinking about rendering spheres in a custom GLSL material just based on point positions:

This is pretty compatible with the current lighting system in TouchDesigner, and I’ve had good luck using this technique for some applications:

All of this to say that it’d be nice to have a Material that rendered points as spheres - the line MAT is pretty close when drawing points, but it’d be nice to have a Material that was a little more tuned for handling lighting.

If you’re looking for spheres specifically, what’s the difference between just instancing spheres on your point positions?
That article is using point sprites which they make into screen-aligned circles, so that’s a bit different. Which way are you looking for specifically?

@malcolm I love when you jump into a thread!

Here’s an example of the kind of work I’ve done in the past:
base_point_sprite_spheres_curl.tox (6.4 KB)

In a perfect world I’d love a material that had a few different options or mechanics for defining what that shape might look like: sphere, cube, prisim, etc. Part of what I’m thinking about is material options that limit the number of vertices that I’m manipulating - e.g. point clouds with 1 million + instances that have some more nuanced shading options.

Well we do have a Point MAT on the way that solves this somewhat. However if you are looking to do what the paper is doing, which is basically doing the calculations per pixel as if it’s on a spherical surface even though it’s just a 2d point sprite, that’s a step further