Rather than pre-calculating the sizes and positions of your shapes, you can get ShapeScript to compute the values for you using expressions.

Expressions are formed by combining literal values, symbols or functions with operators.


Operators are used in conjunction with individual values to perform calculations:

5 + 3 * 4

ShapeScript supports all the standard infix arithmetic operators:

Symbol Name Function
+ plus Adds the left and right values
‐ minus Subtracts the right value from the left value
* times Multiplies the left value by the right value
/ divide Divides the left value by the right value
% modulo Remainder of dividing the left value by the right value

Unary + and - are also supported:

-5 * +7

Operator precedence follows the standard BODMAS convention, and you can use parentheses to override the order of evaluation:

(5 + 3) * 4

Because spaces are used as delimiters in vector literals, you need to take care with the spacing around operators to avoid ambiguity. Specifically, unary + and - must not have a space after them, and ordinary infix operators should have balanced space around them.

For example, these expressions would both evaluate to a single number with the value 4:

5 - 1

Whereas this expression would be interpreted as a 2D vector of 5 and -1:

5 -1

Equality and Comparison

ShapeScript includes the following equality and comparison operators, which can be used in conditional logic:

Symbol Name Function
= equal Compares two values and returns true if they are equal
<> not equal Compares two values and returns false if they are equal
< less than Returns true if the left value is less than the value on the right
<= less than or equal Returns true if the left value is less than or equal to the right
> greater than Returns true if the left value is greater than the value on the right
>= greater than or equal Returns true if the left value is greater than or equal to the right

Note: You may have used other languages where = is written as ==. This is generally because in such languages the = operator is used for assignment, and re-using the same symbol would cause ambiguity. This is not a problem in ShapeScript.

While these operators are typically used with numeric inputs, the output is a boolean value (true or false). These values are most commonly used in conjunction with with the if/else control flow statement. For example:

if rnd > 0.5 {
    print "heads"
} else {
    print "tails"

But they can also be assigned to a symbol and passed around:

define averageColor ( + + / 3
define isBrightColor averageColor >= 0.5
print isBrightColor // prints true or false

Linear Algebra

As well as operating on individual numbers, some operators can be used with vectors or tuples. To multiply or divide a tuple of numbers by a scalar value you can use:

define numbers (1 2 3 -4)
print numbers * 2 // prints 2 4 6 -8

You can also multiply two tuples:

define left (1 2 3)
define right (1 -2 3)
print left * right // prints 1 -4 9

Note that is a simple member-wise multiplication of the numbers. For other types of vector multiplication such as the dot or cross product see the functions section.

If the tuples have different lengths, the result will be truncated to the shorter of the two:

define left (1 2 3)
define right (1 -2)
print left * right // prints 1 -4

You can also add or subtract two lists of numbers together:

define left (1 2 3)
define right (1 -2 3)
print left + right // prints 2 0 6

Unlike with multiplication or division, adding or subtracting a shorter tuple from a longer one will preserve the length of the left side:

define left (1 2 3)
define right (1 -2)
print left + right // prints 2 0 3

Adding a longer tuple to a shorter one will not widen the result however:

define left (1 2 3)
define right (1 -2 3 4)
print left + right // prints 2 0 3

Boolean Algebra

Along with the standard arithmetic operators, ShapeScript also has boolean operators for implementing logical operations.

Not to be confused with the boolean geometry functions for working with 3D solids, ShapeScript’s boolean operators work with true or false values, and are predominantly used in conjunction with if/else control flow statements.

ShapeScript supports the common boolean operators:

Operator Function
and Compares two values and returns true if they are both true
or Compares two values and returns true if either one is true
not Returns false if the expression to the right is true, and true if it’s false

Unlike some languages, ShapeScript’s boolean operators are implemented as keywords rather than symbols like && or ||, so control flow statements read more like sentences:

if a and b {
    print "both a and b were true"    

These can be combined into more complex expressions, and used in conjunction with parentheses for disambiguation:

if (not a) and (b or c) {
    print "a was false and either b or c were true"  


Another type of expression you can create is a range expression. This consists of two numeric values separated by a to keyword:

1 to 5

Ranges are mostly used in for loops:

for i in 1 to 5 {
    print i   

But they can also be assigned to a symbol using the define command, and then used later:

define loops 1 to 5

for i in loops {
    print i // prints 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Note: Ranges are inclusive of both the start and end values, so a loop from 0 to 5 would loop 6 times and not 5 as you might expect.

Range values can be fractional and/or negative:

for i in 0.2 to 2.2 {
    print i // prints 0.2, 1.2, 2.2

for i in -3 to -1 {
    print i // prints -3, -2, -1

Ranges may also include an optional step value to control how the range will be enumerated:

for i in 1 to 5 step 2 {
    print i // prints 1, 3, 5 

for i in 0 to 1 step 0.2 {
    print i // prints 0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 1

The step value for an existing range can be set or overridden later:

define loops 1 to 5 step 3

for i in loops {
    print i // prints 1, 4

for i in loops step 2 {
    print i // prints 1, 3, 5 

A negative step can be used to create a backwards loop:

for i in 5 to 1 step -1 {
    print i // prints 5, 4, 3, 2, 1


Compound values like vectors and tuples and objects can be decomposed by using the dot operator to access individual components or members:

define vector 0.5 0.2 0.4
define yComponent vector.y
print yComponent 0.2

Like other operators, the dot operator can be used as part of a larger expression:

color 1 0.5 0.2
define averageColor ( + + / 3
print averageColor // prints 0.5667

To access members by index instead of name, you can use the ordinal members (first, second, third, … last):

define vector 0.5 0.2 0.4

print vector.first // prints 0.5
print vector.second // prints 0.2
print vector.last // prints 0.4

For strings, you can use the lines, words and characters members:

define sentence "The quick brown fox"
for word in sentence {
    print word // prints each word on a new line

For paths you can access the bounds and points members. For each point you can access the position, isCurved and color:

// Print the points in a circle
for point in circle.points {
    print "position: " point.position ", isCurved: " point.isCurved

For meshes you can access the name, bounds, polygons and material members:

print cube.bounds.size // prints 1 1 1
print cube.polygons.count // prints 6

For polygons you can get the bounds or center, or use points to access the individual vertices. For points you can access the position and color:

define triangle polygon {
    color red
    point 0 0
    color green
    point 1 0
    color blue
    point 1 1

// Print the vertex positions and colors
for point in triangle.points {
    print "position: " point.position ", color: " point.color

To access members via a computed name or index, see the subscripting section below. For more information about the members that are available to access on various data types, see structured data.


As discussed in the members and structured data sections, you can decompose a tuple or other compound value using the dot operator followed by the name or ordinal index of the element you wish to retrieve.

But it is often useful to be able to access a tuple’s members using an index that is computed at runtime rather than a hard-coded offset. ShapeScript supports this via a mechanism called subscripting.

Using square brackets ([ and ]) you can use a string value to access a named member of a value:

define vector 1 2 3
print vector["y"] // prints 2 - equivalent to vector.y

To access an member by its ordinal position, you can use a numeric subscript value instead of a string:

define vector 1 2 3
print vector[0] // prints 1 - equivalent to vector.first

Note: subscript indices start at zero, not one. This means that the last available member in a tuple will have an index of count - 1:

define foo 1 2 3 4

// print all the elements of foo
for i in 0 to foo.count - 1 {
    print foo[i]

Trying to access elements outside the range 0 to count - 1 will result in an error.

Index | Next: Functions