Join Joel Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Utilizing the Curve node, part of Substance Designer Essential Training.
- [Instructor] A node that can really help us get some unique looks in our substance material is the curve node. Using this particular tool, we have the ability to use a profile spline or curve to make adjustments and edits to other nodes. And so, with our graph view centered up on the 0604 pin, let's take a look at what we can do. In fact, so that you don't have to watch me remake the curve that we have here, we can simply modify the existing node in order to see how the controls work. After double clicking on it, then, we are greeted with a large square area that has a number of controls and buttons associated with it.
This node does require an input so as to function, and as you can see, we're using a gradient polygon two node to essentially re-map colors using the curve that we see in the square area of our UI. Be sure to keep an eye on this area throughout the exercise in order to see how the curve affects the end result. As we look at the position and placement of the curve points that we have, and then compare them to the node output in the 2D view, you can, hopefully, start to see how things are working.
To add a point to the curve, we simply pick our spot and double click. In fact, we don't even need to click on the existing curve line, so let's use Control Z and then double click somewhere above the line, and as you can see, the point gets added and the curve updates. To move the point, we simply place our cursor over it and then click and drag like so. Or, we can click on the point and then use the two triangle handles that appear in the UI in order to be a little more precise.
To remove a point, we just click to select it and then hit either the delete or backspace keys. And, of course, we're by no means limited to using the controls looked at here on just a single point. If we click a few times to add a number of points, we can left click and drag a marquee around them and then move them all at once if we would like to. Knowing how to add and move points is good, but we also need to know how to change the way in which a point interpolates on the curve.
And so let's again select one of them and then come to the top of the UI where we see a number of spline icons that help us control interpolation for the selected point. Notice also that the new points we created all have bezier handles on them, which if I just left click and drag in the curve view can also be manipulated to give us the curve shape that we want. The first button in our UI here resets the handles back to their default positions, and so, after making that change, if I just click that, we see the handles reset so that I can set about making a new and perhaps more precise, edit.
Now you will also have noticed that as I dragged there, both handles actually updated which is due in part to this next option, which locks them together. If I press this, the currently selected curve point breaks and now has independently adjustable handles. Let's just delete that point, select the next one along, and then position it so that we have a bump or hill-like curve on the spline. Because we can use the next three controls to change how this point will interpolate both to the left and to the right.
The first of our buttons here creates corner or linear type interpolation on the left, with a curve on the right. The next gives us the reverse, or opposite of this. Whilst the last will give us sharp corners on both sides of the curve. Finally, we have some alignment controls that can be accessed via a right click. And so if we delete the newly added points, and then after coming to the original points select two or more of them, we can right click and then start to align these to each other like so.
Which is absolutely perfect if we want to create more precise or less organic looking effects using this node. As you see, then, the curve node can give us lots of control over how an input node's values are being mapped. In fact, it would be good to keep in mind that should we feed a full color input into the curve node we can actually make the same type of adjustments that we have seen here only this time on the individual color channels. With that said, let's move on to our next exercise now, where we will take a look at using the warp node.
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