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Questions about Substance Painter

Hi folks, I know this is a topic that doesnt quite relate to UE4, but I figured that this is still the best place where I can seek for helps.

So I'm considering to get Substance painter for my game project that I'm working on with my friend. When it comes down to creating the textures and material, I don't know what software should we use. I have never done creating textures and material before.

I watched some videos about substance painter, I feel like it is a neat software, but still, i have some questions: Can Substance Painter work like Ddo Quixel? Such as generating all kind of maps like diffuse, normal and albedo?

If I got SP, will I still need other software such as Ddo or Marmoset tool bag for 2D textures? Or can SP just take care all of the works from 2D texture to 3D material paintings?

I visited SP official site and I saw there are couple different software such Substance designer, painter, Live Indie and B2M. As for the project that currently only me and my friend total two people are working on, which would be the best option for us?

After all, i see the price for SP is not cheap, that is why I want to do more research about it to see if it's worth for buying. I would be greatly appreciated if some one can help me with my questions, and sorry about my bad English.

Thank you!

Product Version: UE 4.9
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asked Oct 18 '15 at 07:14 PM in Using UE4

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2 answers: sort voted first

I did speak on metallic a great deal because it is a key part with SP. Since PBR has now become a game design workflow there are two types of materials that are used. They are metallic, receiving a metallic input and greater amount of energy from your light, and dielectric materials. Dielectric materials are your specular materials. Look around where you are at right now. You will see that everything receives light and that light bounces off of a surface. Depending on the properties of that material it will either absorb or reflect more or less light. Now, there are other factors that go into this process. For instance, you could have a wooden counter top. Now, without a finish or gloss added to it the counter top would be rough and probably wouldn't bounce too much light back to your eyes. A wooden counter top that has a lacquer finish will bounce much more light and appear glossy to our eyes.

You say that your texture and material creation are at a novice level. However, you also say that you understand a bit about the PBR system in UE4.

However, I really can't gauge what you are capable of. PBR and this workflow is quite advanced. There is an extreme amount of physics and math that go into how it works. Not only the properties of the material are calculated but also how they interact within a 3 dimensional space and everything that these calculations imply. PBR is meant for those that already have a firm grasp of the traditional gaming pipeline. Making materials and assets itself are only a part of that pipeline.

I believe that if you are in the early stages of game development and you're learning then I would recommend saving your money. Perhaps if SP went on sale and you happen to have the means to buy it then purchase it at that time. I wish you the best of luck in your learning and your development.


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answered Oct 20 '15 at 02:27 PM

avatar image ALTWang Oct 20 '15 at 07:12 PM

I see. In that case I will do more research about material and texture and maybe come back to the question about SP later in the future then. If I may go a bit outside of this question, apparently you are at a very advanced or probably professional level in this field, is there any other software, articles or workflow for creating materials that you would recommend me to start to use and learn?

avatar image Logan Bailey ♦♦ STAFF Oct 20 '15 at 08:08 PM

This is a descent place to start. Digital Tutors provides tutorials from industry professionals/instructors and such an all sorts of subjects.


I believe this particular tutorial is free with the demo. You can sign up for free. This walks you through from concept to development. I personally used this tutorial while still in an educational environment.

Note: This workflow uses Unity as it's engine but if you get that point and become stuck with workflow UE4 has a wiki where you can search for tutorial and how to integrate what you want.

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Hello ALTWang,

In order to answer this I will need to do it in several parts. It appears you have a few questions wrapped into one.

Substance Painter uses a PBR pipeline. That means that your materials will be calculated in a Physically Based Rendering way. Not too long ago textures were used to imitate things such as Metal and Fresnel. The simple fact is that technology was not up to speed with rendering expensive materials in real time.

Now we have the ability to render metal and specular materials in real time through raytracing and other lighting calculations.

SP uses this system to provide more realism to materials and the mesh's they are assigned to. It uses layers to assign things like rust underneath where you have painted smooth metal. Oxidation and other such forms of decay are also possible through SP's particle painting system.

These techniques are fairly advanced and relatively new in production pipelines.

As long as you make the textures in something like Photoshop, you can import them and use them as masks and diffuse layers in SP. You will not need another program to handle things like that.

What you need to do is ask what your skill level is? How good is your understanding and workflow from beginning to end on a project? Do you and your friend have the time to learn the new software as well as find ways around issues and gotcha's that will inevitably happen when learning new things? What are you trying to accomplish with this project? Is this a learning experience or do you need to produce something?

This will play a huge part in your decision on whether or not to acquire SP.


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answered Oct 19 '15 at 09:13 PM

avatar image ALTWang Oct 20 '15 at 02:17 AM

Thank you Logan.

I see you talked a lot about metallic materials in SP, but can I assume that this software provides far more than metallic materials?

I watched a video that introduces SP, it shows me how people just select a material and really "paint" on their model, is this the workflow in SP?

My level of creating textures and materials is at novice level, because I just started learning it, but I do understand something about materials and PBR system, also the material system in UE4.

My friend and I are trying to not only produce a video game but also to learn more about game development. We believe the best way of learning game development is to actually learn to develop a game. As it comes down to game props and material creation part, we are looking for some useful software that can help us to practice material creation skill, understand and learn more about the materials system and pipeline while we create our own stuffs and exam the results. That is how we heard of software such as Ddo and SP. What you said about SP make me feel that this software is designed for high level and professional artists, but I wouldn't mind at all to spend countless time to study it.

Your answer helped me a lot with not only about SP but also PBR system and materials, thank you very much!

Alex W

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