Substance Painter 2: Review

May 05, 2016 at 11:16 pm by nemirc

Allegorithmic just released Substance Painter 2. In case you don't know, Substance Painter is a 3d painting and material creation tool. If you've used applications like Mudbox (for texture painting), Mari, or BodyPaint, you can get a pretty good idea of what Substance Painter is about.

This new version of Substance Painter includes many useful tools. The one that got my attention is the new Mask Editor. Of course you've been able to apply masks to layers in the previous version of Substance Painter. However, with the new Mask Editor, you can add use all of your different textures (like AO, curvature or normal textures) as sources for your masks. For example, if you want to mask your layer in the "valleys" of your model, you can use the curvature texture, since it already includes all that data.

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In those masks, you can also add procedural textures, or even substances, to further tweak the effect of the mask. In case you didn't know, substances are procedurally generated materials generated in Substance Designer, so they have different parameters that allow you to tweak those materials. These parameters are available in the Mask Editor, so you can actually change the behavior of your substance inside that editor.

A nice feature is that you are able to save your mask as a Smart Mask. This means the mask is saved as a "preset" that can be used later on a different model. When you apply the Smart Mask to a different model, it will use all the different model textures (AO map, curvature map, normal, etc.), so the mask will adjust itself to the new model, rather than assume it's being applied to the original model.

Another cool feature is the Finishing Filters. These filters can be used to add a finishing metallic effect to a material. For example, you can add a brushed metal effect, a hammered metal effect, and so on. Right now, Finishing Filters are only meant to be used for metallic surfaces, but I hope we can get more filters, for a wider variety of surfaces, in the future.

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Substance Painter 2 also adds a Clone Tool. If you've used Photoshop (or a similar painting application), you know what the Clone Tool does, since it works pretty much the same in all applications (and Substance Painter is not an exception). What's cool about the Clone Tool in Substance Painter is that you actually copy the entire material (along with its color, normal, metallic, and every other channel).

The Clone Tool is non-destructive. This means that, if you change parameters to the material you cloned, the clone also shows those modifications. This is extremely useful, since it is very likely you may want to change a parameter in your material, and it'd be very frustrating if you had to re-clone the material after you made those changes.

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In a similar fashion, Substance Painter 2 now includes a Smudge Tool, which works just like any Smudge Tool in any paint application. Just like the Clone Tool, the Smudge Tool has a non-destructive workflow, and whatever changes you make to the material are reflected in the "smudged" version.

Sometimes you may want to render out an image of your model, after you've finished creating your materials. The viewport in Substance Painter is amazing, but maybe you want an even more refined output. For this reason, Substance Painter 2 includes Iray for rendering. Iray is a real-time rendering engine from Nvidia, which uses the power of your GPU to render images of your scene (and can render out really big images - bigger than your resolution screen). The main advantage Iray has over many other renderers, is the ability to render everything using the GPU, which is a lot faster than your CPU.

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Substance Painter 2 is an outstanding tool for painting textures. This update packs a few cool features that allow you to get more done, and specially, allows you to reuse data in other projects. If you're into 3d game development, or 3d computer graphics, you should give Substance Painter 2 a try. You won't regret it!

Allegorithmic provides an Indie License and a Pro License for Substance Painter 2 which is quite affordable. Check this link for more info. The Pro License is for individuals or companies making more than 100K per year using the software. Full details on purchasing Substance Painter 2 are available here.

Thank you, Allegorithmic for providing a copy of Substance Painter 2 for review.

Substance Painter 2.0: Clone and Smudge Tools Video

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