Wood Substance Collection

I have created collection of seven different wood substances that I use on regular basis in my projects, both in Substance Painter and Unreal Engine. These are versatile materials that you can use in your projects or build upon. All of the substances come in .sbs and .sbsar formats and are all completely procedural.

The collection includes following:

  • Medieval Wood
  • Aged Wood Planks
  • Dark Fine Wood
  • Worn Wood Floor
  • White Painted Wood
  • Wood Floor Substance
  • Rough Cheap Wood
Wood Substance Collection (7 different wood substances) is now available in my Gumroad.

I have carefully crafted these and updated the materials over the years to take advantage of new nodes in Substance Designer.

Example of Substance source graph in of Aged Wood Planks substance which is also part of the Wood Substance Collection.
Example of nodes in Aged Wood Planks Substance file included in the Wood Substance collection.

I have looked over several real wood samples and felt and touched them to try to analyze their properties.

To create material from from scratch in Substance Designer can offer more accurate and clean result than a photo scan or even worse a bitmap image conversion.

Substance Designer offers so flexible workflow with materials that can be adjusted easily after the creation, and parts of the graph can also be used in other projects. Having a solid substance source library is very handy indeed.

Medieval Wood is one of the Substances in my collection.

All of the substances are also tested in Substance Painter to work accurately and flawlessly.

The popular wood floor Substance is included as well in both .sbs and .sbsar formats.

The popular wood floor substance is also part of the collection.

Substances are also being used in VFX and CG film industry, not only in games. Blade Runner 2049 featured Oscar winning texture pipeline that is based on Substance is something to look at.

I have used some of the flood materials in commercial architecture renders as well.

I used my PBR substances in some of the interior renders I created in Blender Cycles.
Some interior renders I created using Substance

Substance offers great flexibility over traditional texture workflow.

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Output Size and My Gumroad Refund Policy

Someone bought my substance from my Gumroad, and shortly after I got this message:

“This is not how it looks like in photo.  This is disrespect to other people work. I ll never buy something from you”

This happens in approximately every in every 100 purchase. Mostly I get complaints that the substance seems “low resolution” or “blurred” and sometimes vague comment like this.

Now, I can guess why this happens; this got to do with Output Size. The default parent size is 256*256px in Substance Designer. I save and publish my substances relative to the parent as this is the correct way to do it. Check out this page in Allegorithmic’s site.

Now the above statement is vague at best. In order to get the substance look like in the preview render one would need to adjust render settings. The person does not explain what is wrong with it, just that it is disrespectful somehow.

I do give refunds sometimes but user not knowing how to use Substance Designer is not basis for a refund.

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Covered Barrels Prop for Unity

My Covered Barrels game prop is now available in Unity Assetstore. I am thankful for those many folks who bought it already. I am so glad that my work can be used in Unity now too.

 

Covered Barrels game prop is now available in Unity Assetstore.

Covered Barrels PBR Game Prop

Covered Barrels game prop is now available in Unity Assetstore.

It was quite interesting project to make and I made this video about it too.

I am pretty glad how this turned out. Having my own library of substances that I have built over the year proved handy. The tarp material creation was incredibly easy.

I might be creating more similar type prop assets. Having these in your scene can serve many purpose; they can be cover for the player in a stealth game, or can be used as props to communicate mood.

As usual if you have any question of these or any my other assets, please don’t be afraid to send me email.

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Late 2013 MacBook Pro Battery

Recently I have been having some issues with my late 2013 MacBook Pro 15″ (the model without dedicated graphics).

The trackpad mainly stopped registering a click. Sometimes it only recognized a click when pressed on either left or right side and so on. It did still click though. Also there was a feel on the top case like it’s slightly bulging.

A quick Google search made it clear, it’s got to be a bulging battery that is preventing the trackpad of functioning properly. Self replacing the battery would be out of question for me as I wasn’t willing to start to mess around with disassembly required to do so, and the battery is glued to the top case. And also I wasn’t be able to be exactly sure whether the trackpad problems originate from the bulge or whether the trackpad itself had a some kind of damage.

So it was obvious that I needed this to be looked at, so I made a reservation in Omotesando Applestore and  took it in. The man quickly diagnosed the problem to be indeed a battery starting to bulge. So he offered the repair which would mean replacement of the entire top case with keyboard, trackpad, battery and so forth. It cost about 21000 yen including the repair cost. Now this is OOW; out of warranty type affair. I accepted the offer.

I took my  machine there on Friday and got it back today Monday. They sent me mail around noon yesterday (Sunday). That’s three days. So this morning I picked up the machine.

Indeed, the top case is brand new and trackpad has it’s original feel and perfect operation. I am quite happy with this service. I don’t think 21000 yen is too bad for this. At least it wasn’t logic board.

However, I do notice that the keyboard feels different, a little a bit more spongy. This could be just me gotten used to the old, worn one. It might be that this is how new MacBook Pro keyboards used to feel, at least before the new butterfly mechanism that so many have had issues with.

If I had bought replacement battery and tried to fix that by myself, I well, might have botched the job and ruined the computer. What I understood from poking around a bit in the internet, removing glued batteries require use of some kind of heat-gun or solvent that would dissolve the glue. I wouldn’t be comfortable working with either of them near my computer. And even of this was successful operation, I wouldn’t still have gotten new keyboard and trackpad. Those things do suffer from wear and tear.

So yes, I am satisfied with the service I got from Apple. This computer has been very reliable tool for me. The first one I got suffered from loose Thunderbolt ports and got warranty repair once. The machine suffers from very brief small flicker sometimes in the screen; I believe this is due to wifi interference as mentioned by other people in the internet. I have not used this machine with wifi turned off; I might indeed try that just to see if it makes any difference.

When I was returning from the Apple Store I checked some of the current gen MacBook Pros. I cannot possibly see myself buying one just because of the dreaded keyboard issues so many people are talking about, and also I quite frankly don’t need one at the moment.

I really like Mac OS experience and I can’t see myself moving away from it; no matter how I am tempted to due to the high cost of maintaining Mac. For 3D graphics and heavy video editing I use PC, but for music and pretty much everything else I prefer staying in the Mac platform.

The iMac Pro maintenance thing (as witnessed by Linus Tech Tips and Snazzy Labs) does raise questions about how interested Apple is maintaining their computer line up. I am happy to so far report that my experience was quite good.

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Seaside Rocks Substance

I created this fully procedural Seaside Rocks Substance. (The source file (.sbs) is now available in Gumroad)Seaside Rocks Substance (PBR) Source File

It was quite fun to explore different techniques to create the basic rock shapes and then use tile generator and various techniques to tile them and blend them together.

I was then able to use the same rock I created to cut interesting shapes on top of the rocks to look like they are weathered.

I am quite happy how this turned out except the cracks which need some more work. I am still trying to figure out the most efficient workflow on making those things.

Adding water was really fun and I really like how it added sparkle and additional detail to the material.

In Substance Designer it’s easy to implement more detail to this such as leaves, small debris from sea and really go to town with micro detail. I also think about improving the graph by creating more rock variation, it’s possible to derive them from same base and just change them in graph. Being able to reuse nodes is so nice.

By the way, does anyone know how to split link? I know how to add those split points to make lines flow cleaner but it would be so nice if we could just draw a new line from those split points, so there would be one main line. Making y-like split into a link would be so good for organization sake.

Substance Designer iRay makes substances like these look really, really good. It’s quite easy to forget that actually what we are looking is actually a height map. Even when viewing from perspective, rocks and things like that look almost like they are real rocks with undercuts and bottom, especially when rendered with shadows. Then in game it looks just quite perfect and if real 3D objects are placed on it, the illusion is perfect.

Seaside Rocks Substance

Seaside Rocks Substance graph is quite simple.

I will make Substance with fully tweakable parameters soon. Also Youtube breakdown of the material is coming soon.

If you want to take a look at the substance I created, grab it from Gumroad now.

Also I recommend these Youtube series by Allegorithmic.

Seaside Rocks Substance details Seaside Rocks Substance details2 Seaside Rocks Substance details3

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DNA Double Helix 3D model

DNA Double Helix 3D model

I created this DNA Double Helix 3D model in Blender using modifiers and SSS which was super easy to setup in Principled shader introduced in 2.79 for Cycles renderer.

Modeling DNA double helix 3d model using modifiers in Blender is a breeze. Basically the strand was created using a path. If one wants to animate the strand, adding a basic shape key to the path would allow perfect animation as the geometry will follow the path; nice and easy workflow.

The displacement is taking advantage of the adaptive subdivision which for some reason still considered “Experimental feature” in Cycles. This is super efficient as it subdivides the mesh dynamically based on the camera position. This allows more complex scenes to be rendered fully in GPU. Rendering with dual GPUs it was a breeze to come up with nice looking renders, even with effects like depth-of-field.

Lightwave has had the adaptive subdivision feature since early 9 so Blender certainly isn’t the first one in this camp. And I think this feature should be in the main feature set. However, although being called “experimental” the feature is mostly stable and I didn’t have any big issues as long as I kept the subdivisions in reasonable amount.

I did some searching and found out interesting article which mentions that DNA is actually near white.  The colours we traditionally add to DNA molecules is just for labeling purposes. I am big fan of the beginning sequence of Prometheus where the Engineer’s DNA is being rearranged. With things like this we can have some artistic freedom.

The model is a good starting point for more complex CG animation setup in Cycles. One could add particles or volumetric lighting to make the environment look like the strand is in some kind of liquid.

You can buy this DNA Double Helix 3D model royalty free at https://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/dna-double-helix-blender-3d-model-1211337

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