Join Joel Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating the MDL graph, part of Substance Designer Essential Training.
- [Instructor] We have already taken a quick look at the fact that when Substance Designer boots up, we are greeted by a welcome dialog that gives us the ability to create either a new substance, or a new MDL graph. If we don't have the welcome dialog set to show up, not to worry, as there are two more ways in which we can start to create an MDL graph. Closing the welcome box then, and let's come to the File menu, where we again find the commands that let us create new substances and new MDL graphs. Whilst a third option comes to us via the Toolbar sitting just above the graph view, where we have a little sphere icon that if we click, opens up the new MDL graph options.
Just as with substance graphs, we can set a start point, or quick start, by choosing the kind of shader type that we want to build. You can see here that we do have a Metallic Anisotropic option, along with some standard metal rough templates as well. Let's take a quick look at what one of these has to offer, before we come back and use the Empty template, so as to build our shader from scratch. Choosing the metal rough template, first of all then, let's name our new graph Test, and then click OK to start the building process.
Nowhere near as scary as you perhaps thought, I would guess. And given that we now have everything we need in order to built a basic metal rough shader. We can also see that this has automatically been applied to our default geometry, and that Iray has been set as the render engine being used by the 3D View. Something we can confirm by coming to the render menu, just above the view itself. If we double-click on some empty space in the graph, we can see what parameters the artist, who created this MDL, has exposed for us.
So we have Color, Normal, Roughness, Metallic, and Specular options. Most of these parameters we're used to seeing when we select the metal rough template in Designer, for a new substance graph. Let's come to the Explorer window, and close out the MDL graph by right-clicking the package, and choosing the Close option. Again, let's click the New MDL graph button, and this time choose the Empty template, and call it Anisotropic Metal.
After which, we can click the OK button. What we see now is that we have a single node in the view, which is in fact the material output. Unlike a substance graph, which can have multiple outputs, an MDL graph has just one. And everything that we use to create the shader, needs to flow into this. With an Explorer window open, and focused on our Exercise Files and Meshes folder, let's drag and drop out shader ball mesh onto the 3D View. Let's right-click on some empty space in the graph and choose the View in 3D View option.
And assign it to the portions of the shader ball that we would like, which should turn pure black as we have yet to build our material. What we can do now then, is move on to using just a handful of nodes in order to demonstrate just how quickly, and easily we can build a basic shader. Whilst hopefully, at the same time, wetting our appetite for a deeper investigation of the MDL tools found inside Substance Designer 6.
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
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 02/08/2018. What changed?
A: New videos were added that cover Substance Designer 2017.1 to 2.1 updates.
Substance Designer for Architectural Visualizationwith Adam Crespi5h 45m Intermediate
Substance Painter Essential Trainingwith Wes McDermott5h 55m Appropriate for all
1. 2017.1 to 2.1 Updates
2. Quick Start Substance Overview
3. Substance Designer Setup
4. UI and Tool Locations
5. Using Designers Graph View
Utilizing the preview size3m 29s
6. 3D and 2D Views
7. Using Atomic Nodes
8. Creating Custom Environment Panoramas
Blending shapes together3m 17s
9. MDL Materials
10. Functions and FX Maps
11. Exporting and Using a Substance Package
Next steps1m 19s
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