Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video What are Substance files and why use them?, part of 3ds Max: Substance to V-Ray Workflows.
- [Instructor] Probably the first question that we should address as we head into the body of our course, is that of just what a Substance actually is. Well the technical answer would be that a published Substance material is a package or archive file that when imported into a host application can be made accessible through the UI as an editable map type, something that can be hooked up to a material or materials in order to effectively give the user access to a parameter-driven texturing system.
One of the big strength of the Substance approach over more traditional texturing methods in the creation phase that is, is the fact that the creating artist can choose to expose some very specific parameters in the texture to the end user if they want, controls that can range from something as simple as being able to change the surface color or output size of the texture, going all the way up to more complicated effects such as having adjustable edge wear, controllable surface corrosion, or even the blending of multiple material and or surface types together on the same piece of geometry.
From an artist point of view, the benefits that come from using this kind of parameter-driven system are huge, given that any changes applied to the various parts of the texture at any point in the workflow are instantly incorporated into, and so can instantly be seen in, the finished material. This alone makes the Substance system an extremely versatile and powerful option with which to work. Adding even more weight to that statement is the fact that allegorithmic Substance applications are all physically based in their approach to the creation of surface properties, meaning they take the laws of physics, specifically light, into account during the texture creation process, something that isn't typically true when we alter our textures in more standard image editing applications.
Once published, Substance files can be put to work in the texturing pipelines of a number of host applications supporting the .spsm format, these would include 3ds Max, the Unreal Engine and Houdini, to name just a few. Now of course not everyone will want to use a Substance archive in their DCC application whilst doing texture work, in fact many artists will perhaps either prefer or possibly even need to continue working with standard bitmap formats in order to control the various component parts of the materials that they are creating, which is not a problem as even Substance Designer which is currently the only application in allegorithmics line up that outputs a Substance file can output its various material channels as a set of bitmaps and in a variety of image formats.
The basic workflow that we will be following in this course then, given that we are focusing on bringing textures from the Substance based tools into 3ds Max and then rendering with the V-Ray engine, is to assume that we are handling both modelling and UVW mapping inside 3ds Max itself, taking the geometry into one of the Substance applications in order to create the final textures for it, and then bringing those textures back into Max so as to take care of the material lighting and rendering phase of the project using as we say the V-Ray next rendering engine.
- Why you should use substances for texturing
- Adjusting your Substance workflow mode and settings
- Creating materials from photos with Bitmap2Material
- Working with texture maps from Substance Designer and Painter
- Exporting maps as EXR and PSD files
- Using the exported maps in V-Ray