Substance Painter Demo

Substance Painter Demo


Substance Painter is a tool for texturing 3D models using a Physically Based Rendering workflow.


Blender, Substance Painter, Unity

Physically Based Rendering

Physically Based Rendering (PBR) is an approach to rendering graphics based on mathematically simulating how light reacts to surfaces. PBR simulates real-world surface properties including small bumps, roughness, and metallicity making it particularly well suited to photo-realistic styles.

blender PBR

PBR shaders are common in both real-time game engines and pre-rendering engines and the workflow is relatively artist-friendly. Learning PBR texturing is very worthwhile.

From personal experience, spending 2 or 3 days learning the basics of PBR texturing with substance painter improved my 3D projects by at least 3x.

This Substance Painter Crash Course video is a pretty good introduction to what working in Substance Painter looks like. It is based on an older version, but the basics are still the same.

For a brief technical overview of PBR, try the Allegortihmic PBR Guide

Substance Painter

PBR shaders rely on texture sets to describe the physical properties of a surface. In addition to a basic color texture, a PBR texture set has texture data for roughness, bumps, metallic, etc.

Substance Painter is a tool that makes working with PBR texture sets easy in multiple ways:

  • Directly paint onto your 3D Object instead of the flat texture.
  • Paint into all of the textures in the set simultaneously.
  • Paint with materials that impact all the surface properties at once.
  • Use “smart” materials and masks to automatically add realistic effects like ground dirt, dust, and scratches.
  • Non-destructively switch between texture resolutions as needed for faster processing or higher quality display.
  • Photoshop-like management of layers, folders, and composting.
  • View the composite effect with a PBR shader in real-time in the viewport

Lesson Plan

Time Duration Purpose Format Name
3:50 15 m Study Lecture Introduction
4:05 40 m Engage+Study Hands-on Substance Painter Intro
    Engage+Study Hands-on Quick Start and Interface Tour
    Engage+Study Hands-on Layers
    Engage+Study Hands-on Display Settings and Smart Materials
4:45 5 m Engage+Study Hands-on Creating a Project
4:50 15 m Engage+Study Hands-on Challenge 1
5:05 10 m Break Break Break
5:15 15 m Engage+Study Hands-on Challenge 2
5:30 5 m Engage+Study Hands-on Import in Unity
5:35 40 m Engage+Study Hands-on Micro Jam: Gross Food
6:10 30 m Engage Present Micro Jam Show Off + Voting

Substance Painter Tour

  • Quick Start

    • Launch Substance Painter
    • Choose Start Painting to open demo file.
  • Interface Tour

    • Main View Port, Switching Views, Rotating View, Tool Settings
    • Shelf
    • Texture Set List, One texture set per material in model
    • Layers Panel, paint layers, fill layers
    • Texture Set Settings, exported textures, mesh maps
    • Properties Paint, brush, alpha, stencil, material
  • Layers

    • Paint Layer
    • Fill Layer
    • Fill Layer Masks
  • Display Settings

    • Environment Mapping and Lighting
  • Smart Materials + Masks

    • Smart Materials
    • Smart Mask on Fill Layer
    • Adjusting Mask Settings
  • Creating a Project

    • First, you need a model to texture: block.fbx
    • Template: PBR - Metallic Roughness (allegorithmic)
  • Baking Maps

  • Export to Unity

Challenge 1: Block

Block Model of a beveled block created in Blender 2.8. block.blend

Part 1:

  1. Download the block.fbx model.
  2. Create a new Substance Painter project with the model.
  3. Texture the block to look like a plastic six-sided die.
  4. Texture the block to look like a clean concrete block.
  5. Texture the block to look like a dirty concrete block.
  6. What else can you turn the block into?

Challenge 2: Amanita Muscaria

Amanita Muscaria Model Model of the Amanita Muscaria created in Blender 2.8. amanita_muscaria.blend

Amanita Muscaria Image provided by MichaelMaggs CC BY-SA 2.5, from Wikimedia Commons

Amanita Muscaria Image provided by Tony Wills CC BY-SA 2.5, from Wikimedia Commons

  1. Download the amanita_muscaria.fbx model.
  2. Create a new Substance Painter project with the model.
  3. Study some examples of Amanita Muscaria mushrooms online.
  4. Use Substance Painter to realisticly texture the model.
  5. Use Substance Painter to stylisticly texture the model.

Micro Jam: Food

40 Minutes to model, texture, and render anything you want starting with the them of FOOD! Work alone or in teams (be careful teams are slower). 20 Minutes to show off and vote!

Voting Catagories

  • Gag me with a spoon.
  • Good enough to eat.
  • Pretty as a picture.
  • Flight of fancy.