Experimenting with Substance Painter

As I narrow down what I am going to do for my thesis one thing that has remained mostly constant has been the technology I would like to use. The programs being Maya, Photoshop, and depending on the format I deliver, After Effects. However, there was one program that I had recently have been hearing a lot about with many people beginning to learn and jump on a metaphorical bandwagon. That program was Substance Painter. I am mildly familiar with Substance Designer which seems to really just be a much more comprehensive version of Maya’s Hypershade so when I first started looking into Substance Painter and its nearest competitor, Quixel Suite 2, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into.

Diving in, I came to realize that the differences between the two seemed to lie mostly in their reliability and learning curve, with Quixel being easier to learn and get into but having extreme technical difficulties, often crashing and setting progress back. On the other hand Substance Painter was much more steady, but seemed to have a steeper learning curve. The other primary differences was that Painter has a free trial for students and was already installed on the computers inside my school’s computer lab where I do most of my work. So ultimately, I figured it would be better to have a steeper learning curve than technical frustrations. I decided to use Painter for my Hard Surface Modeling project so I could hit two birds with one stone.

SubstanceExperiment.PNG

Though this shows only one of the models I used Painter on, it is a work in progress to be sure. However I am quite happy with what I’ve been able to achieve so far. Sure, the nuances and details certainly elude me at this point but the work that I’ve been able to put with Painter has astounded me. I am able to paint normal maps, height maps, along with metallic and roughness maps. And the quality that I’m getting from these maps is wonderful. I don’t see why I would ever texture anything else in any other way. Unless, of course, it would be better to use procedural shaders in which case I would probably use Substance Designer.

I am planning to continue to work with Substance Painter and Designer to get a better grapple on them. It would not surprise me at all to begin thinking of ways to incorporate them into my normal everyday workflow.

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