Art by Guillaume Meyer

Substance Source Automotive Materials: Exterior 1

Nicolas Paulhac on June 14 2018 | Technology, Substance Source, Release, Design

Today we’re following up on last week’s release of prototyping materials with more than 100 assets dedicated to car exteriors.

Are you making a real production model? Are you working on a racing game? The fully tweakable procedural materials faithfully reproduce the style and behavior of real-life materials.

Car Exterior Materials

The car exterior materials are divided into two parts. 100 of these are released today, and all of them are fully procedural, with .sbs graphs are available for each one.

This week:

  • Car paint materials (MDL).
  • Rubber tire treads for cars, motorbikes and bicycles.
  • Metallic and ceramic covers for grilles, chromes, rims, brakes, and chassis.
  • Translucent and emissive materials dedicated to texturing headlight and taillight modules.

In this batch of new content designed for professionals, each material includes a wide range of editable parameters:

  • Cosmetic finish effects and process-driven surface aspects. These help designers and viz experts to work with precise reproductions of real-world manufacturing details, like the orange peel on car paint.
  • Life-cycle evolution and context-based weathering. These parameters emulate the aging of the material, adding elements such as scratches and abrasion. Game designers can incorporate and even animate variations based on the environments such as mud, dirt, and snow.
  • Design and pattern generation. These Substance materials behave like generators: they enable car designers to iterate on form and design at the same time. It's even possible to add your own 2D patterns as inputs. Game artists will be able to generate countless variations in texture - instead of modeling them.

Car Paints

Car paint is the absolute must-have: it covers almost the whole body of the vehicle.

Used for both protection and decoration, water-based acrylic paint is applied in layers, with a total thickness of around 100µm (0.1mm).

The coating process consists of three steps:

  • First, the body is prepared. A primer is then applied to ensure proper paint adhesion.

  • Next, a basecoat layer is applied. This coat contains the visual properties of color and effects and is usually the one we call paint. In the automotive industry, base coats are commonly divided into three categories: solid, metallic, and pearlescent pigments.

Solid paints have no sparkle effects except the color. Metallic paints contain aluminum flakes, which create a sparkling and grainy effect. Pearlescent paints contain special pigments referred to as "pearls". Those pigments impart a colored sparkle to the finish, which helps create the depth of color. Pearlescent paints can be incorporated directly into the base coat or into a mid-coat below the clearcoat layer.

  • The last layer is a UV-light resistant clear coat. It is not mandatory but may be applied to form a glossy, transparent layer.

Today, get access to the 6 most common categories of car paint. Get control over parameters such as basecoat metallic flakes, size, orientation, color, and shape.

These paints require complex material definition to reproduce the combinations of paint layers. So, in addition to the .sbs graph, we’ve delivered each asset with an MDL shader. By downloading both from Substance Source, you’ll be able to visualize and tweak the paints with the shader into Substance Designer - and any other software with an MDL integration, such as Vray and Unreal Engine.

Whether you already have your own paint shader, or you work in a real-time engine with no MDL integration, there’s no need to switch from your usual pipeline. You can use the maps from the .sbs graph and customize the properties of each layer of paint. For example, you’ll be able to drive the amount of orange peel effect on the topcoat layer by tweaking a dedicated clearcoat normal map.

We’ve added parameters of light aging for the paints to enable the addition of scratches, dirt, and wetness. You can add subtle details about the environment while creating “in context” beauty shots of the latest all-road model, or apply aging on vehicle meshes combining natural and weathered car paint into smart materials in Substance Painter.

Rubber Tires

Our team created an extensive library of rubber tire generators for texturing vehicle wheels. We reproduced tire treads of cars for both racing, urban and all-terrain vehicles as well as motorbikes and bicycles.

Each tire material works as a generator and includes tweakable parameters such as the grain of the rubber texture, its glossiness, and manufacturing elements like trim lines, barbs, and studs.

Can’t find the tread pattern you need? Just design your own and input the bitmap or SVG directly into the material.

You may need to add more realism by reproducing or even animating the impact of driving a few miles on the freeway, a muddy road or a snowy frozen lake.

Rim Basics

To complete wheel texturing, we added rim generator materials. This week, get access to basic steel rims and metalized plastic wheel covers.

These materials blend modeling and texturing. This way, you can work on the shape and materials at the same time. This system lets you try out more iterations to get the right design before involving modeling resources.

In addition, you can now generate customized assets to personalize your models with a greater amount of shapes and material variations including color, finish, rust, dust, and grease stains.

License Plate Generators

Rims are not the only part you‘ll be able to recreate with material generators. We’ve created Substance materials allowing you to reproduce license plates from Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia. These plates come with a wide list of parameters to add custom stencils and bitmaps, a text editor, and the ability to customize rivets, add rust, or chip paint.

Lighting Elements and Reflectors

Headlights and reflectors are also key elements for car exterior texturing, and often require extensive modeling in order to look realistic. Furthermore, this type of modeling tends to be a one-time job because very few elements can be transferred from one model to another.

To help you optimize your work, we’ve created a toolset of base materials as well as ready-made headlamp generators.

Our approach: either separate each material into different categories, like transparent plastics and chrome reflectors (in case you’re dealing with a detailed 3D asset), or recreate all the details of the headlight and material combinations to save modeling time. Want to get more realistic still? We’ve added emissive component materials so that you can have precise control over lamps and LEDs.

Metals and Chromes


Metal and Ceramic Brake Materials

Following this approach, we’ve created base materials for texturing metal parts - metal and ceramic brake rotors, for example, as well as chromes and metal grilles.

Metal Grilles

Get access to a wide range of basic metallic grille patterns for front radiator intake and side scoops.

But this is just a starting point! Want to make your own pattern? Get the .sbs graphs and add your own procedural magic to any materials.

Well, that’s all for this week. Download the free materials from this release on Substance Source. Stay tuned - the next hundred exterior materials are coming Thursday, June 21 with more exterior materials.

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Nicolas Paulhac on March 26 2018 | Technology, Substance Source, News, Content, Design