Join Joel Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Advantages of the multiswitch node, part of Substance Designer Essential Training.
- In this video we're going to take a look at an extremely useful node to have around whenever we want to create a substance that gives an artist the ability to swap its input types. Which will of course give them the fine control over the detailing that they are creating. On this note being the multi-switch node that you have already seen in action. Now, if we use the scroll wheel on the mouse to focus in on our shapes selector frame here. You will have hopefully already added a multi-switch gray-scale node to the mix early with me. Again, if not this was done by pressing the space bar key, and then doing a search for the word 'multi'.
Which of course bring up both the color and grey-scale versions of the multi-switch node for us. As we want to use this to control the shape of the detailing that we're adding to our cube sides we will need this to be a grey-scale node. Given that the nodes that we will use further down the substance chain will in fact require gray-scale inputs. What we get is part of the multi-switch node. Well, we can see that we get two important options, these being the input number and input selection controls.
At this moment in time we have, as already noted five different inputs we could use, with the current being shape number five. Now the input selection option is what the texturing artist will ultimately use in order to chose the specific input shape that they want in the material. So, the different input options that we have in the graph here. If we right click and drag the multi-switch node onto the geometry in our 3-D view then and add it to the base color channel. What we can do now is click to select the graph itself in the explorer window.
And because I have already exposed the input selection perimeter to the end user, I can then come to the input perimeters roll out and click the preview option. Inside the patterns roll out you can see that we have our panel shape option, which at this moment in time is set to square. It does have a little number one sitting next to it. Which denotes this option is the first of our input types. And if we drop this down we can see that we also have disc available, so input number two.
Hexagon, which is input three. We have what I'm calling the plus blocks, so input four. And then we have the custom shape node set as number five, which at this moment in time is blank. Now, a question, and a good question you may be asking is how do we go about setting up the dropdown that we're using here. Well, if we just double click the new grey-scale version of the switch-node in the work area you can see we have both input and input selection perimeters.
By default the input number is set at two, but we can very easily double click on that and set it to whatever we want. This perimeter controls the number of inputs that we have available on the node, and that will also appear in the dropdown list. We can then come to the added dropdown, for the instance perimeters control and click to expose this perimeter. Once we do that we are going to get a little popup that let's us select the newly exposed perimeters.
So, let's click the checkbox for input selection and call the group 'TEST'. And give it the prefix of 'MULTI_'. Then let's click OK twice in order to accept those changes. Let's then click to select our graph in the explorer panel and scroll down to the bottom of its perimeters where we will find the input perimeters roll out. Now this is where we'll find the option that we have just exposed. If we click to expand the input selection option we can leave the type set to integer given the whole number values are what we need.
And then set the editor to display this info to us in a dropdown list. In the value section we can add the inputs that we want listing by clicking the 'Add Item' button. So, in this instance we would add five, calling them square, disc, hexagon, plus blocks, and custom shape. Although, we could of course renumber these so as to set them in any order that we want.
Which you have perhaps already surmised is exactly what we did with our existing multi-switch node. If we enter preview mode now we can see that we have the group called 'TEST' that we set up when we exposed this perimeter, and we have our dropdown that we can select with all of the names set up. A very powerful node, indeed. In our next exercise then let's start to set these shapes up in some very specific ways. So as to produce the masks that we're wanting in our substances.
Instructor Joel Bradley begins with an overview of a prebuilt substance graph, demonstrating the strengths and nondestructive workflow of Substance Designer, and walking through basics such as navigating the Substance Designer interface, adjusting important preferences, importing meshes and maps, and using the 2D, 3D, and Graph views. He then moves onto the large array of essential "atomic" nodes in Substance Designer, including the Blend, Curve, Slope Blur, Normal, Gradient, and Water Level nodes. These nodes comprise the heart of the Substance Designer workflow. Then learn how to create a custom panorama from scratch, and explore more advanced topics such as MDL materials, functions, and FX maps. Finally, Joel closes out the course by putting a substance to use. Learn about the advantages of using a published substance file (SBSAR) over hard-coded bitmaps for in-game materials, and see how to import a substance package into a game engine such as Unreal.
- Choosing a graph template
- Importing meshes and maps
- Navigating the Explorer and Library
- Working with the Graph view
- Using 3D and 2D views
- Using the atomic nodes
- Creating and combining normals
- Blending shapes together
- Creating MDL materials
- Building an FX map
- Publishing a substance
- Using a substance in a game engine like Unreal