Art by Matthew Moult

Substance Designer 5.6 - Scan Blending and Weathering

Nicolas Wirrmann on December 15 2016 | Substance Designer, Software, Content

Substance Designer adds powerful new tools to its default library with new filters dedicated to the blending and weathering of scanned materials as well as brand new Normal map and Ambient Occlusion filters.

As stated in our previous Go Scan The World blogpost, we are very much interested in new workflows involving photogrammetry techniques. We have started to build an array of tools to help artists wanting to explore these new workflows as we are exploring them ourselves and the first batch of these tools is bundled with Substance Designer 5.6 in the form of 8 new filters.

All these filters come with their source sbs files and can be modified or tweaked to fit any project.

You can find the full release note right here.

Material Blend Height

A variation of our standard Material Blend node which uses the Height Blend method to blend 2 full materials using their height map, as well as making sure the albedos match properly, all in a single node.

2 materials are seamlessly blended using their respective height maps.

Snow Cover

This Snow filter allows you to add a snow cover to any pre-existing material. The snow will pile up realistically and parameters allow you to choose the thickness of the snow, add a melted snow effect or simulate a windy blizzard situation. Works best with a contrasted mask as input.

Horizon Based Ambient Occlusion

This new Ambient Occlusion filter generates an accurate AO by taking into account the real-world scale and depth of the surface, rivaling the quality of a raytraced bake in only a few milliseconds. Compare that to the time it takes to manually generate a high poly displaced plane before baking it to a flat quad without artefacts and you have a game-changer!

On the left an Ambient Occlusion raytraced from a high poly mesh, on the right, the new Horizon Based AO node.

Color Match

The Color Match node allows you to fine-tune the overall tint of your scans without destroying the color of small elements. This is useful for example to blend 2 ground scans where the dirt may have a different tint and need to be adjusted but leaves and grass patches should remain untouched. Just pick a median color of the target albedo and you're done.

2 materials with very different albedos are matched to blend perfectly.

Water Level

The Water Level filter adds an artificial water plane to your material. The water height can be modified as well as how wet the area just above the water is. You can also tweak the dirtiness of the water with sludge and fogginess controls or even freeze the water. A custom mask input allows you to override where the water will appear to create all sorts of stunning mud and puddle riddled materials ;) Additional parameters also allow you to freeze the water, giving great results when used along the Snow Cover filter.

Real-World Height to Normal

This filter is based off a contribution from Jean-Sebastien Guay from Ubisoft (Thank you, JS!). Set the width or length and the maximum height of the surface in centimeters and it will generate a world space accurate normal map, perfect for precise displacement or parallax effects.

The normal map generated from the height is as accurate as a bake from a real displaced surface.

Height Blend

This Height Blend filter was made to ease the process of blending multiple materials and create height-based masks for realistic blending and effects.

2 materials represented by the blue and red areas are blended using their height map

Non-Uniform Histogram Scan

The Histogram Scan node is a favorite of artists wanting to create nice animated masks and weathering. This new version adds custom inputs to drive the contrast and level of the mask on a per pixel basis, allowing for much more complex and rich masks to be generated. Experiment with a few noises or grunge maps as input to get instant results.

Start Using Substance Designer 5.6

If you have a Substance Designer 5 license or are on the Substance Live monthly plan, you already have access to these new tools. If you aren’t using Substance Designer yet, get a fully featured trial version free for 30 days:

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