Rusty Steel Substance with inputs

Creating Substance with Exposed Parameters

In this video tutorial I take a look on creating a substance with exposed parameters and input nodes.

Creating materials like these can be extremely useful and time saving because it allows serialized asset texturing with weathering effects or basically any kind of effects that will respect mesh-specific maps such as curvature, normal or AO maps. This is crazy efficient way to create PBR materials for environmental game models, for example.

Substance graph with Exposed Parameters

This is the graph in Substance Designer with exposed parameters

The graph I created could use some rearranging to make it look more clean, but it works and it’s the most important thing. I have defined the input maps in the left area. The reason why I have basically unnecessary blend node sitting there is just that I can switch some baked maps into the graph if I want to tweak it, because when the input is empty I can’t see anything in the graph. Anyway having nodes like that shouldn’t affect the performance of .sbsar because the algorithm will understand stuff like that, it won’t calculate anything unnecessary like disconnected nodes or so.

Barrel textured with rusty steel substance with exposed parameters

Barrel textured with the rusty metal substance with exposed parameters. Single material, no hand painting in Substance Painter

So I have defined inputs for Position, World Space Normal, Curvature and AO, and then I apply these to few of the weathering effects, such as mg_metal_edge_wear, a Substance Designer node which I just use as it is, and also the Tri-planar node which I forgot to mention in the video. Basically I just connected Position and World Space Normal maps to the triplanar_grayscale node and used the Rust Level Control node output as the input. This will project the material to the mesh seamlessly, almost no matter how your UVs are laid out. It is possible to do this in Substance Painter but it’s absolutely fantastic to have the control in Designer as well.

Then, basically what I have done in Substance Designer is that I have exposed some of the node parameters, such as the histogram scan which samples (or more appropriately scans) grayscale area from the procedural BW data and some of the mg_metal_edge_wear params, giving me the control. I have also created some of the switches which I have then exposed to turn some effects on and off. Clicking the graph in Substance Designer allows you to further label and organize the sliders and buttons.

Substance with Exposed Parameters

These are the exposed parameters in Substance Designer. You can change their order by dragging the handle in the left side.

What I am especially proud of are the leaks effects. This is simple slope_blur_grayscale which takes gradient map as “Slope”. What this basically defines is which way is up and down in the object. You can feed a simple gradient to this or you can use y channel from position map by using RGBA split node. So again I have connected the Position map input node to this via a switch which allows me to switch to simple gradient if the map is missing.

Rest is pretty much the same thing, blending things together using blend nodes and exposing parameters that I figured I would like to change in future.

Check out this Allegorithmic video on exposing parameters and publishing substances.

The rusty steel substance with exposed parameters is available to purchase in Turbosquid.

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Substance Painter Material Breakdown

Substance Painter Material BreakdownHere’s a breakdown on some of the techniques I used when creating this Sci-Fi Console asset for Unreal Engine 4 in Substance Painter.

One of the more interesting ones is the ability to use anchor points to reference added height detail in those lovely mask generators. This is technique that was introduced by this good video by Allegorithmic  (that guy is such a guru!)

I also realized it’s often a good idea to create a fill layer and mask that; in that way the workflow stays non-destructive the whole way.

Anyway I hope you like this video on Substance Painter Material Breakdown.

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Live Boolean in ZBrush 4R8 + Array Mesh

Here is an example how we can use Live Boolean in ZBrush 4R8. The feature is super handy- first time we can have accurate real time preview of boolean operation. We can keep working with the mesh pretty much infinitely by adding substract, union or intersect subtools, and we can also arrange these to boolean groups. When are are finished, we can create boolean mesh. This will create new tool for us, leaving the working tool intact. Pretty nice ZBrushey approach to booleans.

Check out the video below on how to create motorcycle engine kind of shapes using Array Mesh and Live Boolean in ZBrush 4R8.

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Low Poly Artifacts in Cycles render (Terminator Artifact)

I made a video about this issue as some friendly folks in Turbosquid pointed out to me the reason I had these low poly artifacts in cycles renders of my models.

It turned out that this effect is not only happening in Cycles but also in Renderman and other packages as well. This is what is known as “Terminator artifact”.

Low Poly Artifacts in Cycles render

Here is the jagged edges we get in low poly models in Cycles. This is what is called “Terminator artifact”

This has got to do with just how shadows are rendered in polygonal models and actually this is expected behavior.  Programmers of Blender Cycles knew very well this would happen. It kind of sucks though and at the moment we don’t have a lot of alternatives except stick with Blender internal render, subdivide our models or use softer lights to reduce the jagged shadows.

This is where Eevee will be super useful. I can’t wait get my hands on it.. (and it will even support Filmic Blender which is awesome).

Here is more information about low poly artifacts in cycles:

https://developer.blender.org/T37814

and here is a more technical explanation of it:
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7986/ebd7b5427bbe54edb7c0c9cf674fee817933.pdf

I made video about this topic. Please check it in Youtube.

 

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Wood Floor PBR in Substance Designer

I published a new tutorial finally in Youtube. I hope to give a breakdown on this wooden floor PBR material I created in Substance Designer. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to share this in social networks and subscribe to my channel.

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Pictrix UV_Creeper

Pictrix Plugins are mostly free in pictrix.jp

Pictrix website is in Japanese, but don’t worry. The plugins are all in English

I made a video about using a very useful UV_Creeper plugin by Pictrix, great developer here in Japan who have done Lightwave plugins such as PX_Bezier. Lightwave3D.com site has whole collection of their plugins and also you can find their stuff in their yummy! website which is completely in Japanese. It’s great to see Lightwave plugin developers here in Japan.

UV_Creeper is super simple to use and it gives near perfect and often completely perfect results on shapes like tubes or wires. You just need to select two points along a line, this will tell to the plugin to look a position for a seam. If the model has no modeling errors this will work. I have had problem of this crashing on models which had problems. If the plugin crashes, check your mesh.




This is clearly hands down the best UV mapping plugin for Lightwave for this purpose. I have used this over and over again over several years now, texturing cables, handrails, braided wires, water tubes, tunnels and more and more.

I will be doing more Lightwave plugin tutorials and reviews before Christmas this year, so please stay tuned.

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How to use Morph Target in ZBrush Sculpting

morph target in ZBrush

Storing morph target in ZBrush is great idea.

Using Morph Target in ZBrush Sculpting is a wonderful way to aid sculpting. Clicking StoreMT in Morph Target panel will save the state of the model. You can return to the original state by clicking Switch or by brushing in some parts of the model using Morph brush or Morph_Spray1 brush (I found this in free eat3D tutorial ).

This can be also used with surface noise as this allows the effect to be partially erased or diminished. It’s great way to control any sculpting or effect you applied to the model.

I forgot to mention in the video that you can also control length of the effect by using sliders such as Morph, Morph Width and Height.

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ZModeler and Dynamic Subdiv in ZBrush

Here is a video tutorial I made about using ZModeler and Dynamic Subdiv in ZBrush 4.7. ZModeler, although it has a bit of a learning curve, is surprisingly powerful way to come up with new ideas and shapes. This combined to dynamic subdivision is great for hard surface objects.

The secret of Dynamic Subdivision is QGrid and Coverage settings. These allow corner volume to be maintained and adjusted dynamically. Radical, I’d say! This is a great way to model hard surface shapes where parts of the shapes must appear seamless, kind of welded together.

I used to make these kinds of shapes using Dynamism and Booleans, but that process can now be at least partially bypassed. We can come up with soft transitions between shapes while maintaining edge volume. And preview it dynamically.

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Quick Diamond Knurl in 3D-Coat

Here’s a tutorial how repeating detail can be easily added to normal map in 3D-Coat, in this case diamond knurl. This is really quick way to add such detail. This can be used for virtually anything.

Just make sure that your UVs are straight and if possible make them so that the pattern will wrap around.

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