Art by Nikie Monteleone

Substance Painter: Spring Has Come!

Jeremie Noguer on March 15 2018 | News, Substance Painter, Software, Content, Tutorials

There is a point in the life of software where you have to take a break from the new and shiny, take a step back and try to figure out how to strengthen the very foundation of your tool, and how to improve the core functionality before you keep on moving forward towards new and exciting features. The Substance Painter Spring 2018 release is the product of this reflection and the hard work of the ever-growing Substance Painter team.

An Improved Look and Feel

New Visual Style

Over the years we've frequently received feedback that, while our tools share the Substance name, they are quite different visually. As the Substance ecosystem continues to grow, we felt it was important to develop a common look and feel across all our software. This is the first step in this direction and you will see the other tools follow suit later this year.

Revamped Toolbars, Shortcuts and Layout

When working on a project, Substance Painter’s UI can quickly become cluttered with windows and settings, and navigating through it all can be cumbersome. We’ve added several new elements to help in this regard:

A new Dock Toolbar: Closing a window automatically docks it to the Dock Toolbar. It can then be summoned back temporarily by clicking on its icon. Each window can also be torn away from the toolbar to become persistent again.

New Contextual Toolbar: A new toolbar on top of the viewport displays shortcuts to commonly used settings of the currently selected tool. This bar also contains viewport options as well as shortcuts to the Render mode and the baking interface.

Quick Menu: A right-click in the viewport now summons the current Tool or Fill Layer settings under your cursor, allowing you to easily access all of your tool settings even in full screen mode.

Revamped Viewer and Display Settings: Lighting, Camera and Display settings are now merged into a single tabbed window while shader parameters get their own separate window, cutting down on the clutter these settings were causing together and making shader adjustments and custom shaders much easier to manage.

Drag and Drop Assets Directly in the Viewport: You can now grab any material or smart material from the shelf and drop it onto your mesh directly, bypassing the several steps needed to apply the material manually.

New Painting Experience

Even though we’re talking about Substance Painter here, painting has never been, by our own admission, the tool’s forte. Well, this is about to change, starting now! Improvements in the handling of pen tablets and new performance optimizations mean that you should experience smoother painting and stroke curves in 4k, even on lower-end laptops.

Improved Seam Padding

Seams are now almost invisible even when painting accross badly distorted UVs or very different texel ratios.

Improved Performance

Several areas went through a much needed cleanup, and performance has been improved across the board. Project loading, saving, viewport performance, shelf loading and thumbnail generation all benefit from this spring cleaning resulting in an improved user experience overall.

Improved Stability

We’ve been cutting through bugs to deliver a more stable tool, but as always if you see something, say something! Let us know about any issue you might encounter through the Feedback and Bug Report tools in the Help menu.

New and Updated Content

New 3D noises have been added to the Procedurals section of the shelf while a new 3D Gradient generator allows you to create linear gradients and masks in 3D space easily: switch to the Position map view, pick colors on the start and end points of your gradient on the mesh and voila!

Smart Materials and Smart Masks have also been updated to use the latest mask generators.

Already have a Substance Painter license on maintenance or an active Substance subscription? Download the new version now.

Don’t have either of these? No problem; you can also try Substance Painter free for 30 days.

Also, be sure not to miss the "Substance Painter Spring release: new features and updates" stream presented by superstar Wes McDermott. He will be live at 2 pm EST / 11 am PST tomorrow.

And if you are a new Substance Painter user, check out Wes' tutorials: Getting started with Substance Painter!

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