Substance Source: Breaking New Ground with New Hybrid Materials

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

This time, we collaborated with RDT to create 31 new hybrid materials for Substance Source. These materials come from scans of rock, sand and soils that we have combined with procedural effects to add variations and additional effects.

Following our last addition of more than 150 fabric materials with the Textile Collection, we are taking hybrid materials to new heights. Dedicated to game and VFX-oriented material users, we have selected with RDT a set of 31 ground materials including asphalt, pavement, wood planks, gravel paths, coastline sand and coral rocks, plus various types of rocks and muds. All are in 4K resolution.

This category of materials opens up new horizons for possible creations and variations. Thanks to Substance Designer, we embedded a host of dynamic effects into each material to make changes according to conditions like the water level, the amount of dust and the random placement of distinctive elements (including gravel, flow paths in the sand, and levels of melted lava).

Using scanned maps has many advantages, especially for saving time in creating realistic digital materials. However, scanning can sometimes be limiting in terms of creativity.

Our goal in creating hybrid materials is to offer users the best of both worlds: the quality of scanned maps in high resolution together with the flexibility of tweakable materials in Substance Designer.

The materials from the RDT selection were generated thanks to the scan processing pipeline and dedicated filters in Substance Designer 6. RDT’s high-resolution non-tiled maps of color, normal and height are automatically connected into a scan processed .sbs file. In Substance Designer 6, we process the maps through the material crop and smart auto-tile nodes to create a tiled material with a 4K resolution.

To learn more about the processing of scans, read our article on Making Hybrid-Scan Materials Using Substance Designer 6.

On top of the RDT scans, we use procedural effects to provide users with more flexibility to create new materials:

- Control over the key parameters of the scan including color, brightness, and normal intensity. This makes it possible to vary each material according to its needs without being linked to the attributes of the scanned map.

- Combine one or more layers of dynamic effects (generally non-scannable) that create a variation in the distribution of elements, useful for tiling the texture. This also gives the possibility to create an infinity of new materials that vary according to conditions outside what was captured during the scan. The only limit is your imagination.

The advantage of combining procedural with scanning is the possibility of controlling the random distribution of elements on the scanned maps.

We made custom filters using clone patch nodes to generate selections of elements to be redistributed, which are then tiled through the tile sampler and tile generator nodes in the filter. This automatically controls the randomization of the cloned shapes, the size, the rotation and the blend of the duplicated elements to achieve optimal integration within the newly generated map.

In the .sbsar file, we injected presets of various states of the materials but it is just a starting point as you are no longer limited to the original scan.

Within each Substance material you have access to specific controls and sliders allowing you to generate an infinity of different materials by changing various attributes of the material.

Experiment material tweaks directly in Substance Player with the free samples on Substance Source.

The parameters we have outlined are only a selection. Whether you are looking for a realistic or supernatural effect, the only limit is your imagination.

Tweak materials from scans with Substance Designer or Substance Player and combine more effects with Substance Painter - an infinity of variations to express creativity without constraints.

Get access to Substance Source and download 30 assets per month by subscribing to Substance Live. Also includes access to the most up-to-date versions of all Substance software.

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