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Substance Painter: Spring Has Come!

Substance Painter: Spring Has Come!

Substance Painter: Spring Has Come!

Jeremie Noguer on March 15 2018 | News, Substance Painter, Software, Content, Tutorials

There is a point in the life of software where you have to take a break from the new and shiny, take a step back and try to figure out how to strengthen the very foundation of your tool, and how to improve the core functionality before you keep on moving forward towards new and exciting features. The Substance Painter Spring 2018 release is the product of this reflection and the hard work of the ever-growing Substance Painter team.

An Improved Look and Feel

New Visual Style

Over the years we’ve frequently received feedback that, while our tools share the Substance name, they are quite different visually. As the Substance ecosystem continues to grow, we felt it was important to develop a common look and feel across all our software. This is the first step in this direction and you will see the other tools follow suit later this year.

Revamped Toolbars, Shortcuts and Layout

When working on a project, Substance Painter’s UI can quickly become cluttered with windows and settings, and navigating through it all can be cumbersome. We’ve added several new elements to help in this regard:

A new Dock Toolbar: Closing a window automatically docks it to the Dock Toolbar. It can then be summoned back temporarily by clicking on its icon. Each window can also be torn away from the toolbar to become persistent again.

New Contextual Toolbar: A new toolbar on top of the viewport displays shortcuts to commonly used settings of the currently selected tool. This bar also contains viewport options as well as shortcuts to the Render mode and the baking interface.

Quick Menu: A right-click in the viewport now summons the current Tool or Fill Layer settings under your cursor, allowing you to easily access all of your tool settings even in full screen mode.

Revamped Viewer and Display Settings: Lighting, Camera and Display settings are now merged into a single tabbed window while shader parameters get their own separate window, cutting down on the clutter these settings were causing together and making shader adjustments and custom shaders much easier to manage.

Drag and Drop Assets Directly in the Viewport: You can now grab any material or smart material from the shelf and drop it onto your mesh directly, bypassing the several steps needed to apply the material manually.

New Painting Experience

Even though we’re talking about Substance Painter here, painting has never been, by our own admission, the tool’s forte. Well, this is about to change, starting now! Improvements in the handling of pen tablets and new performance optimizations mean that you should experience smoother painting and stroke curves in 4k, even on lower-end laptops.

Improved Seam Padding

Seams are now almost invisible even when painting accross badly distorted UVs or very different texel ratios.

Improved Performance

Several areas went through a much needed cleanup, and performance has been improved across the board. Project loading, saving, viewport performance, shelf loading and thumbnail generation all benefit from this spring cleaning resulting in an improved user experience overall.

Improved Stability

We’ve been cutting through bugs to deliver a more stable tool, but as always if you see something, say something! Let us know about any issue you might encounter through the Feedback and Bug Report tools in the Help menu.

New and Updated Content

New 3D noises have been added to the Procedurals section of the shelf while a new 3D Gradient generator allows you to create linear gradients and masks in 3D space easily: switch to the Position map view, pick colors on the start and end points of your gradient on the mesh and voila!

Smart Materials and Smart Masks have also been updated to use the latest mask generators.

Already have a Substance Painter license on maintenance or an active Substance subscription? Download the new version now.

Don’t have either of these? No problem; you can also try Substance Painter free for 30 days.

Also, be sure not to miss the “Substance Painter Spring release: new features and updates” stream presented by superstar Wes McDermott. He will be live at 2 pm EST / 11 am PST tomorrow.

And if you are a new Substance Painter user, check out Wes’ tutorials: Getting started with Substance Painter!

Substance Source: Signature Materials by Daniel Thiger

Substance Source: Signature Materials by Daniel Thiger

Substance Source: Signature Materials by Daniel Thiger

Nicolas Paulhac on January 18 2018 | Substance Designer, Substance Source, Content

Hello to all material lovers.

From the beginning, we promised that Substance Source would be an ever-evolving, always improving ecosystem between Allegorithmic, Substance, and artists who use and contribute to Substance Source. Today is a big day for us as we introduce a new concept: our Signature Series.

The concept is simple: the Substance Source team gives carte blanche to an artist to create a selection of materials on the theme of their choice.

Our goal for the Signature Series is to provide you with the highest-quality materials, as well as ready-to-use content that meets the needs of Substance Designer users. We want knowledge to be accessible, and here we will share the .sbs files of every single material. We firmly believe that the best way to achieve excellence is to explore materials designed by the best Substance artists.

Our host today is Daniel Thiger, aka “Dete“.

Daniel is a consummate craftsman with a long experience in the video game industry. He is currently Lead Environment Artist at Bungie, in Seattle, where he worked on both games in the Destiny series. For Substance Source, Daniel produced a selection of 15 fully procedural ground materials, so detailed that they are virtually indistinguishable from scanned materials.

Welcome, and take a deep dive into Daniel’s universe, as he guides us through his creative process.

Daniel Thiger: I like the challenge of creating something photorealistic. The data available from 3D scans provides me (and other artists) with the opportunity to find nuances in shape, diffuse, roughness, and normals. I find it inspiring to try to match my Substance textures as closely as I possibly can to real-life examples.

During the creative process, the context of a material is extremely important. I always start with a certain environment in mind and then break down the different components within. It ensures that the created materials will offer flexibility for the user.

For this Signature Series, I decided to focus on three themes: desert, jungle, and Iceland. I wanted them to have visually different identities and, for personal growth reasons, I wanted to choose themes that I hadn’t really explored before. Within each theme, each material needed to be striking enough to stand on its own without sacrificing harmony with the other materials.

The goal was for each Substance material to be diverse and customizable in order to highlight the true power of Substance Designer over other static media formats. I wanted to give the end user more control by adding useful, tweakable parameters. The parameters I enabled are inspired by what would naturally occur in nature, such as snow melting, leaves accumulating, water levels rising, erosion, etc.


As an environment artist, planning and thinking ahead is important. So when creating materials, I always have a specific use and context in mind. This ensures that I’m focusing on the right things without going too far down the rabbit hole.

I broke down which five Substance materials would be useful for building a jungle environment and quickly ended up with the following: rocks, dead leaves, mud, grass, and roots.

Jungle Ground Roots

The images of roots stood out as some of the more visually interesting, and therefore a challenge to recreate procedurally. In order to create this Substance material, where big roots are weaving in and out of one another through the mud, I collected many images – from macro patterns of root growth to close-up details of wood grains and dirt.

Jungle ecosystem image references
Daniel Thiger

The biggest challenge was to eliminate root intersection/buffering while at the same time making it look like a natural flow of roots without gaps. Another difficult part was to get micro wood grain details to flow along the roots themselves.

I really wanted these materials to feel dynamic for the end user, so I’ve exposed tweakable controls for the number of roots and fallen leaves. There is also a parameter available for water level in case anyone wants to use them in flooded areas.


If you search for images of Iceland, you will find that almost all of them look amazing and inspirational. So picking the material lineup for this environment was both simple and difficult at the same time. Ultimately, I wanted to highlight the material diversity that I saw after browsing thousands of reference images. I decided to focus specifically on snow. I have a lot of personal experience with snow as I grew up in Sweden, and did my military service in the northern parts where winter temperatures fall as low as -40 °C.These are the materials I chose to create in the end: cliffs, beach, snow and moss lumps.

Iceland Moss Meadow

The moss landscapes of Iceland are iconic. The absence of any type of trees or bushes gives it a mystical nature; it was an exciting material to recreate.

I knew I wanted to challenge myself further than to simply create lumps of moss. And since some of my references also included snow, I thought this would be an interesting combination of materials. I wanted to show how moss and snow interact with one another.

Iceland ecosystem image references
Daniel Thiger

Other than the user being able to tweak the amount of snow, I made the moss color tweakable as the reference images show a lot of diversity in color.


Compared to the jungle and Iceland environments, the desert environment is more straightforward. Sparse materials present their own set of challenges. I’ve taken a few stabs at creating desert materials before, as you can see on my ArtStation portfolio. The focus this time was to create materials that work well together, and so I worked on ways to share colors using global parameters. All of the sand and rock colors are driven by a separate Substance graph which holds the two available color options for the user to pick between. The materials in this set are broken down to be able to transition from rocky areas with lots of cliffs to flat areas with sand and grass.

Desert Sandy Bedrock

I intended to offset the amount of sand in the desert set by including cliffs, some grass, and bedrock. I started searching for references of rock formations in the sand.

Desert ecosystem image references
Daniel Thiger

I wanted to have sand that would accumulate in pockets around the rock, and for the dunes to interact with those pockets. For this material, it was all about showing how sand and wind erode the rocks.

Observe how fully procedural materials emerge and explore the mind of an accomplished craftsman by reverse-engineering his work! Daniel Thiger’s signature materials are all available in .sbs format on Substance Source.

Get access to the full Substance Source library (1000+) by subscribing to Substance!

Follow Daniel Thiger on ArtStation.

The Best of Substance 2017: Design

The Best of Substance 2017: Design

We’re proud to share with you the breathtaking art, smart artists, creative studios, and innovative techniques that made 2017 what it was. Today it’s our pleasure to present our favorite design-focused stories with the Best of Substance 2017: Design.

Substance Source: How We Made the Sportswear Collection with Textile Manufacturer Tex-Ray

Tex-Ray, the Taiwanese textile manufacturer, linked arms with Allegorithmic to release fabric materials in Substance Source. Alexandre Cailleaux explains how these fabrics are designed.

3D Printed Materials Beamed Into Substance Source

50 tweakable materials aim to reproduce the aspect and feeling of 3D printing to allow professionals the best possible visualization of their project – before the actual printing. Find these new materials in Substance Source.

The Art of Car Material Rendering by Jack Darton

Car lovers, this is for you! Jack Darton blows life into the rendering of automotive bodies and parts, and his digital rides are definitely worth a look.

Product Design: From CAD to Substance with Cem Tezcan

Technical designer Cem Tezcan introduces the community to his workflow, from CAD to Substance, and breaks down several of his compositions.

Industrial Design: Injecting Realism with Substance

A painting robot, a drill driver, a pair of leather boots – Iskander Gallyamov shows his skill with man-made tools, both digital and realistic.

Best of Mattershots 2017

This year, we introduced Mattershots our new Instagram inspiration channel. Just 10 months after the launch we are so proud to see more followers every day and such a success for the Materialize Contest using Mattershots images as references for the realization of digital textures. Today have a look at this year best-of [add link] selection.

We will do our very best in 2018, with the firm intention to bring you more updates, more materials, more tutorials and more inspiring stories.

Bonus: Check out our 2017 Best of Substance in Design Facebook album!

The Best of Substance 2017: VFX

The Best of Substance 2017: VFX

As a new year dawns, the time has come to peer over our shoulders at the past twelve months of Substance. We’re proud to share with you the breathtaking art, smart artists, creative studios, and innovative techniques that made 2017 what it was. Today it’s our pleasure to present our favorite VFX-focused stories with the Best of Substance 2017: VFX.

Logan: Texturing Workflows for VFX with Rising Sun Pictures

Blood and claws: Rising Sun Pictures’ Andrew Palmer, strong with his experience on X-Men Apocalypse and Thor: Ragnarok, explains all about the use of Substance Painter in Logan.

The Man in the High Castle: A TV Series with Substance

A dystopian uchronia, The Man in the High Castle needed heavy Substance use for the creation of a terrifying alternate history – and very specific production pipelines in order to ensure coherent and consistent materials.

The Mill: Creating Kia’s Super Bowl Ad with Substance

The Mill’s Sharlene Lin explains how the most popular commercial as rated by Super Bowl LI’s Ad Meter was created, the challenges she faced and how she overcame them.

Substance Texturing for Animation

Take a look into the world of animation with this cool tutorial by Nikie Monteleone, who explains how to use Substance Painter to texture both characters and props in movies.

Hybrids: A Top-Grade Student Short Film Made With Substance

A team of five French film students worked on an amazing short movie, Hybrids. They explain their creative process.

Here’s to 2018 and to bringing you even more Substance updates, materials, tutorials and inspiring stories!

The Best of Substance 2017: Games

The Best of Substance 2017: Games

As a new year dawns, the time has come to peer over our shoulders at the past twelve months of Substance. We’re proud to share with you the breathtaking art, smart artists, creative studios, and innovative techniques that made 2017 what it was. Today it’s our pleasure to present our favorite games-focused stories with the Best of Substance 2017: Games.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands, a User Story with Substance

How does a major studio speed up prop and environment creation for a massive open-world game? Technical artist Guillaume Cerdan talks about how Ubisoft got it done with Substance.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 – Discover Relic Entertainment’s Texturing Pipeline

We couldn’t resist asking Relic Entertainment for some insights into their texturing pipeline for the newest game in the Warhammer universe. They responded with a detailed look inside their pipeline, including a breakdown of how they used Substance to create the Space Marine and Ork weapons.

Arkane Studios: Texturing Prey‘s Retro-Futuristic Visual Style

We sat down with Arkane Studios’ Tim Alexander, Eric Beyhl and Billy Lord to get a close-up of the texturing pipeline for Prey‘s environments and the studio’s approach to creating wear and tear using Substance Painter and Substance Designer.

Forza Motorsport 7: Visually Stunning, Packed with Substance

One of 2017’s most anticipated games is the focus in this in-depth article with the Turn 10 team!

Texturing Epic Games’ Robo Recall: Substance Painter for VR Workflows

Epic Games’ Robo Recall is one of the most fun arcade shooter games out there for Oculus Rift. Besides that, it’s also one of the best-looking VR games to date. We interview Edward Quintero, who was responsible for texturing the characters and weapons for the game.

How Pete Sekula Built Rome in (Almost) a Day with Substance Designer

Pete Sekula sure gave Substance Designer a workout when he created his Rome Fantasy Packs, plugging and hacking nodes to reproduce the detailed, intricate patterns of Roman architecture. See how Substance helped him save massive amounts of time and create complex surfaces for his one-man art studio!

Chico Spans: Creating Stunning Environments with Unreal Engine and Substance

We couldn’t help but notice Chico Spans’ Abbott FV433 Tank Interior when it crossed our radar this past summer, as it was complex, detailed and rendered in real time with Unreal Engine 4. In this user story, we had the pleasure of getting an inside look at the creation process from the ground up!

Here’s to 2018 and to bringing you even more Substance updates, materials, tutorials and inspiring stories!

The Best of Substance 2017: Architecture

The Best of Substance 2017: Architecture

As a new year dawns, the time has come to peer over our shoulders at the past twelve months of Substance. We’re proud to share with you the breathtaking art, smart artists, creative studios, and unexpected techniques that made 2017 what it was. Today it’s our pleasure to present the Best of Substance 2017: Architecture.

Deep Dive: The First Architecture Selection Update for Substance Source

The first architecture-themed update to Substance Source, our physically based materials library released in late 2016, loaded 12 procedural materials dedicated to architecture visualization experts – wood, brick, terrazzo, parquet and more. Complete with a detailed explanation of their creation, this post shows possible variations for every kind of render.

Physically Based Materials Workflow for Archviz

In this webinar, NVIDIA’s Andrew Rink and architectural visualization specialist Scott DeWoody explain how to create MDL materials and use Substance Designer’s new scan processing features.

Substance and 3ds Max: A Perfect Match

We recently announced the Substance Source integration in Autodesk’s 3ds Max Asset Library, giving you access to over a thousand PBR materials. Furthermore, this plugin can be used with Substance Designer to easily create materials with higher resolution rates.

Obvioos: Immersive Experiences for Real-Time Archviz

Obvioos, a two-man team of architecture visualization specialists, explains the hows and the whys of their business, as well as their use of Substance Designer.

Interior Design: The Fingerprint of Ibrahim Saad

Ibrahim Saad decided to add a little bit of grunge to his projects. Fingerprints, scraps, dirt – he illustrates how all these elements come together in his workflow to give a better impression of reality.

Here’s to 2018 and to bringing you even more Substance updates, materials, tutorials and inspiring stories!

P.S. We’ve just made our selection of the 19 architecture images that inspired us the most this year from our Substance for Architecture & Design Facebook community!