Sportswear Fabrics Are Weaving Their Way Into Substance Source

Nicolas Paulhac on February 24 2017 | Technology, Substance Source, News, Content

In the next few weeks we will be adding our collection of textile materials generated entirely from scanned materials to Substance Source. We partnered with fashion designers to assemble this selection of technical fabrics and 3D knitted textiles.

Today we can’t resist giving you a sneak peek of 9 hybrid sportswear textures dedicated to fashion lovers and textile design experts.


Creating a collection of woven and knit digital materials required analysis and understanding of how fashion designers and fabric visualization experts approach the design process of textiles and garments. A majority of designers are very attached to the physical relationship with this type of material and finding it hard to design with fabrics without touching the materials. However, the idea of a virtual material library where you would be able to recreate the sensation and physical behavior of the real material is really exciting.

We were very careful to select very different materials within the sportswear industry to provide a wide variety of weaving techniques. We wanted users to have enough choice for texturing several elements of sports apparel, and the 9 materials showcased today are just a short preview of future material additions to Substance Source .

Sportswear textiles are at the cutting edge of weaving and knitting innovations. It is an area where physical design possibilities are among the widest in the industry, but it is hard to recreate these textiles digitally into something believable and flexible enough for variations.

Technical textiles are a combination of several material fibers of variable calibers, that are stitched together with complex weaving or knitting in 2D or 3D. They can even be layered to compose technical meshes.

In addition to realistically reproducing these intricate structures, we wanted to offer dynamic materials. Fashion designers should not be limited to just one look: we believe they should be free to adjust the fabric as desired. For example, using the material parameters of the Substance Source material, a designer can adjust the color, the amount of reflection, the finish and ovelay patterns.


Our core ambition with Substance Source is to equip artists with the power of the realism of scan-based textures and the creative freedom to customize material properties within Substance Designer.

The result is what we call hybrid materials. Hybrid materials are not just a flat replication of a texture scan; they are just the starting point for a wealth of custom-created materials. It is just the starting point. From a single scanned texture you can create an infinity of material variations.

Real sample
Scan process
Virtual material in Substance Designer

The scanning process helps to gather highly detailed information of the surface topography as well as some of physical behavior of the material. Information which we feed into Substance Designer. Thanks to a complete Substance Designer 6 toolset for creating materials from scans, the material is cropped, cleaned and tiled.

This combination of processes gives designers the possibility to transform different attributes of the material, selectively change the thread color of multilayered fabrics and adjust the glossiness, the emissivity and opacity. Experiment this yourself by downloading the “free sample” on Substance Source.

And here you have it: an overview of how we weave scan and procedural material creation techniques together for producing 3D fabrics. It is the first step to enriching Substance Source with dynamic yet realistic Substance materials. With these hybrid materials, we are fine-tuning Substance’s creative toolkit for artists and designers for freely creating, tweaking and transforming physically realistic materials.

Stay tuned! There is more to come soon on “Substance Source”.

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