Art by Nicolas Wirrmann, Model by Amaru Zeas

Substance Designer Spring Release: Faster, Bigger, Baker!

Nicolas Wirrmann on March 9 2018 | Technology, Substance Designer, Software, Content, Film/VFX

Over the last few years, the Substance Designer audience has evolved a lot. New people have joined the user base, each with their own needs and constraints. Our response to this has been to work ceaselessly to improve Substance Designer, regularly making changes and adding features. But for some highly demanding markets like VFX, improving on what already existed was not enough. We needed to rebuild some of the core components of the software to be able to support the heavier processing features

The spring 2018 release is the result of this new direction. In short, expect better performance and enjoy a long-awaited VFX feature: a complete UDIMs workflow.

Up to 30% Faster

In order to make Substance Designer rock solid, we've rewritten huge parts of the software. Cache and memory management have been improved, which reduces computing time significantly, translating into a faster and smoother experience. The difference will be especially noticeable with large graphs, where you can expect gains of up to 30% when loading the graph or tweaking parameters.

The 2D viewport has also been reworked. You will now experience faster refresh times while tweaking parameters.

Note that these improvements won’t directly affect the timings displayed on the nodes in the graph - the performance gain comes from our revamped node computation management rather than from the node's computation times themselves. Nonetheless, you will feel and enjoy the difference.

UDIM Support

Rethinking the Bakers

The bakers have been updated to fully support UDIMs and give the user more real-time feedback during the baking process. Performance has also been improved and high-poly meshes will load and be baked significantly faster thanks to a new geometry cache system.

Keeping an Eye on Your Bakes

Thanks to the new 2D view in the baking dialog, you can now follow the baking process in real time, and you have the ability to cancel it at any time if a setting needs to be adjusted.

Graph and Viewport Improvements

We’ve implemented some new features to make sure you get the most from your graph with UDIMs. Not only can you texture multiple UDIM tiles with a single graph, but Substance Designer takes care of using the relevant baked textures for each one. In order to provide direct feedback, the 3D viewport now displays the currently selected UDIMs.

New Export Dialog

The export process has been improved and adapted to the UDIM workflow as well. You can now export at a different resolution than your working resolution and batch export all your UV Tiles or UDIMs at once.

Functions: a New Built-in Variable for UDIMs

Adepts of the Function Graph have not been forgotten either with a new $uvtile variable which shifts the current UDIM tile position (x and y): this will let you create different effects depending on the UV tile/UDIM.

We Aren't Done Yet: New 3D Nodes!

How do you make a good release into a great release? You sprinkle it with new advanced nodes and tools! These noises and utility nodes will be a great help when it comes to texturing 3D objects seamlessly.

Here are a few previews applied on the new ‘Cube 3D GBuffers’ node:

And here are some pretty cool nodes in action: 3D Volume Mask - 3D Planar Projection - 3D Linear Gradient

See Wes McDermott's walkthrough of the new features here:

We want to warmly congratulate Blade Runner 2049 for their Oscar for best special effects!

Tomorrow on the Allegorithmic blog: Michael Borhi, Didier Muanza, and Arnaud Saibron from VFX studio Framestore tell you exactly how they used the Substance suite to texture Los Angeles and the solar farm in this acclaimed movie.

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