Art by Vytautas Katarzis

Substance Painter Spring 2019: A Massive Update For All Artists!

Jeremie Noguer on April 23 2019 | Technology, Substance Painter

Take a seat, because this Spring release is packed with new and exciting features. Some practical, some eye-pleasing, and some totally out of left field!

Displacement and Tessellation

Some of you may remember us showing a hacky prototype of this a few years ago at a Substance Day event. Well it is finally here, for real.

You can now enjoy tessellation and displacement in both the viewport and Iray. Import a displacement map and marvel at the newly detailed silhouettes, or paint in your height channel to literally sculpt your asset in real time.

Compare Mask Effect

Displacement is great, but how about a way to blend and layer materials easily using their height data? The new Compare Mask effect does this and more.

This new mask effect allows you to blend by comparing the content of the current layer with the one from the layer stack underneath, similar to the Blend-if function in Photoshop. Combine it with the updated Seamless Material sample project to create tileable environment materials rapidly.

The Compare Mask is useful for creating quick height blends - but not just for this! It also works with any other channel in your texture set.

Dynamic Strokes

This one is a doozy. Dynamic Strokes introduces a way to generate procedural brush strokes based on Substance parameters. Your brush can evolve over time, swap its alpha at random or even generate a whole new material with each stamp.

The way this works is that any Substance file can be used as a material or alpha when painting and becomes aware of each stamp being drawn, and can react accordingly.

A simple example could be a grungy alpha that generates a unique shape with each new stamp, making each stroke totally unique.

The brushes can also be time-sensitive, fading out, changing color, morphing, or doing any kind of crazy thing based on how much time has passed since you started painting.

With a bit of creativity, a touch of Substance Designer, and a lot of fun, you can do something like this:

You can even go further and combine all these functions into one, and come up with something like this Ivy generator, which spawns unique branches along the stroke path, branches alternate sides, and each successive branch becomes smaller than the previous one based on the speed of the stroke. Black magic right there.

This new version of Substance Painter ships with a set of new tools taking advantage of dynamic strokes, and you can check out the documentation to create your own in Substance Designer. There's also a tutorial by our very own Wes McDermott, right here! We can’t wait to see what crazy behavior you’ll come up with!

New Projection Modes

Until now, Substance Painter has given you a choice between a good old UV projection and a Triplanar projection for Fill layers. Two new projection modes have just been added, and more are on the way.

You can now choose between a Spherical and Planar projection for your layer. With the Planar projection, your Fill layer will then act as a decal and several options allow you to play with tiling, as well as with how far the decal affects the geometry.

A new placement gizmo makes it super-easy to move the decal around your asset: simply drag it around and it will snap to the surface of your mesh automatically.

The planar projection comes with culling settings to fade properly with the geometry:

The spherical projection proves useful to add specific patterns in some complicated setups:

Radial Symmetry

The Symmetry tool has been improved with a brand new Radial option. Special shoutout to all of you spirograph fans out there.

Layer Stack and Other UX Improvements

A release of Substance Painter is never complete without some UI tweaks, and this time the Layer Stack, Texture Set list and Channels list went through the hands of the UX team.

You may notice loads of eyes looking at you from the depths of the layer stack. These are migrating from Photoshop to Substance Painter in the first of a series of efforts to close the gap between both tools and unify the user experience. You will see more meaningful and interesting synergies as we move forward.

The Texture Set list has also received a little makeover and you may notice that you can now select multiple Texture Sets at once. Why, you may ask? Go to the Texture Set Settings window to find out why… Yes! You can now change the settings of multiple Texture Sets at once, allowing artists who work with UV Tiles to lose a little less hair each day.

Finally, but may I say most importantly, the Channels list in the Properties window has been updated with a small but undoubtedly welcome addition: clicking on a channel with the Alt key pressed will single out this channel; doing it again will reactivate all the other channels. You’re welcome!

Dithering Override

Dithering of exported normal maps was introduced late last year and a lot of you asked for an option to override it, so here it is.

New Content

Finally, on top of the new Dynamic Strokes Tools, you will find a series of new effects, alphas and filters. You can find a full list of new assets in the Release Notes.

Already have a Substance Painter license 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.

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

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