Art by Christoffer Radsby

Substance Designer: Summer 2018 Release

Nicolas Wirrmann on July 19 2018 | Technology, Substance Designer, News, Release, Content

Summer is finally here! And our Substance Designer release will definitely keep you from the sun. With a fresh new look and tons of new content, the Substance Designer Summer 2018 release will be your best material authoring companion. So stretch your fingers and imagination, because all of this comes together with the introduction of scripting, now letting you extend the boundaries of Substance Designer.

Major UX Revamp

New User Interface Look

This is the first thing you are going to see: Substance Designer looks better. The changes are not just visual: they aim to improve your comfort and efficiency.

Floating Windows

You needed a better view of your work in Substance Designer. Well, here it is, for your convenience and pleasure: you can now undock any window and let it float above the others.

Align Nodes

Get that clean and fresh summer look in your materials: there’s a handy new feature to organize your graph. With one click, the nodes align vertically, horizontally or snap to the grid.

Contextual Editing

In the previous version of Substance Designer, you would be unable to view the context while editing a sub-graph, forcing you to use placeholders as inputs. Starting today, you can edit in context, which means you will have better creative visibility. You can now preview the inputs (both images and parameters) of a graph while editing one of its sub-graphs.

Faster bakers

All these changes may appear to be cosmetic, but they do come with performance improvements. We’re not kidding: the bakers are up to 5 times faster than before.

3D Shape Nodes and a New Splatter Node

These 2 new nodes will drastically change the way you produce content within Substance Designer by allowing you to generate complex heightmaps procedurally. That means you can generate complex shapes easily in Substance Designer. And adjust them as many times as you want, whenever you want.

Shape Extrude Node

Generating a 2D shape in Substance Designer has always been straightforward. But what if you want to turn it into a 3D shape? That’s exactly what the Shape Extrude is made for.

Please note that a normal map conversion of the Shape Extrude node can give a pixelated result. You can use the downscale multiplier parameter to diminish these artifacts.

Shape Splatter

This all-new node offers a vast range of new possibilities for spreading your patterns around your map. Get the same features as the tile sampler and much more! Furthermore, this new node generates extra data that you can use with new specific nodes. You can also warp shapes according to the heightmap's slope. Just try combining these new 3D Shape nodes with this new Splatter node: you should get some interesting results!

Check out what these artists have created:

Art by Kay Vriend
Art by Nikola Damjanov
Art by Céline Dameron
Art by Casimir Perez

Get More Control On Normal Maps

Normal Map Intensity & Normal Transform

Control the intensity of your normal map. Scale, rotate and offset your normal map; vector values will be recomputed accordingly.

Better Transformation Tools: Quad Transform & Trapezoid Transform

We provide new ways to manipulate your images!

The Quad Transform lets you tweak your input by manipulating 4 control points, located at each corner.

Stéphane Fontaine

And the new Trapezoid Transform lets you modify your work, by shrinking or stretching one of the sides. Have a look:

Stéphane Fontaine

New Gradient Tools with Control Points

We have added new nodes to create gradients like never before:

Nodes improvements

New and improved Flood Fill

The Flood Fill has been one of the stars of the Substance Designer Spring release, and we decided to make a new and improved version. Now, it can work with any kind of shape, and can even handle holes in your patterns.

Two new nodes have also appeared: Flood Fill to Color/Grayscale to colorize shapes using an image input, and Flood Fill to Gradient, which can now sample an additional image to orientate the gradients.

Material transform improvement

This is a better version of the previous Material Transform node, which could use some improvements. Now, when you transform a full material, the normal map is processed accurately!

New Reaction/Diffusion Filter

We just added this new filter that allows you to create reaction/diffusion patterns, influenced by your input.

And this is how it can be used:

Art by David Nicholls
Art by Kyle Horwood

Faster Auto-levels

Depending on the resolution of your project, the new node is up to 30x faster!

We really hope this new content will help you reach new creative heights with Substance Designer. Most of these elements were introduced after you requested them, and we can’t wait to get your feedback on them.

How we keep improving the Substance Designer UX will depend on the information you give us. You can talk to us on the forum, Uservoice and on our Discord server. The Allegorithmic team is just a click away, including the Substance Designer dev team!

And there is another thing you have requested many times. Today, its first version arrives in your own Substance Designer: a new Python scripting API.

New Python API

In complement to the Substance Automation toolkit, we are building a Python API that will eventually allow you to control every part of Substance Designer through scripting.

Today, we introduce the first step of this API, which lets you access runtime data in the graph (the new “Node Align” tools are built from it) as well as exporting and saving outputs from Substance graphs. Next, we will let you write and create data, which will give you extra freedom to automate your workflow in Substance Designer.

Tune in tomorrow to read all about the scope of this API on the Allegorithmic blog, and the overall scripting capabilities of Substance Designer.

The Substance Designer team will host a livestream on July 26, at 11 am PST on the Allegorithmic Youtube page. You will learn about the story of Substance Designer, the team behind the tool, as well as how they work and how they prioritize features. This conversation with Wes McDermott will be followed by a Q&A - so prepare all your questions!

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