Courtesy of Daedalic Entertainment Gmbh

Daedalic: Teaser production with Substance

Stefan Wacker on September 13 2016 | News, Stories, Game, Film/VFX

The last teaser of 'State of Mind' was quite incredible, and it was done in only one week thanks to Substance Painter. Here is a step-by-step breakdown by the Daedalic team on how they achieved it!

It all started …


… three weeks before the E3.

We were in the middle of the production of our next upcoming Daedalic-hit `State Of Mind´ and we needed a teaser for the E3. So, we formed a small team of three people to get the job done.


These three people were:

  • Sofia Martins – Animation
  • Alexander Junghans – Compositing, Camera and Sound
  • and me, Stefan Wacker – Direction, Modeling, Texturing and Lighting





Three weeks to create a teaser with such a small team is a very tough job. We had to be in production from the very first day.

After literally one hour of planning, Alexander and I came up with the idea of a room, where three robotic arms start to deconstruct a fragmented globe and use its pieces / shards to form our game logo. By getting picked up, these shards get activated and show some in-game footage on their surface.



Blocking things out


For the room we decided to go for a round layout, so we could reuse as many assets as possible. I did a fast blockout using Modo´s cloned instances. We used this blockout to discuss some questions we had and Alexander made a first animatic.





The bashkit


Now that we knew which assets had to be created, I started with the bashkit for the robotic arms. The arms had to be rigged and animated by Sofia, so they were the first in line.




After having one arm finished (they would get duplicated later on) I looked at the parts and thought it would be cool to reuse these for the pillars in the room.




Preparing the material pipeline for Substance Painter


First it has to be mentioned that all parts of the bashkit were mid-poly and there would have been no time to create low-polys.

Luckily I found out that you can get pretty neat curvature, ambient occlusion and normal maps from Substance Painter if you bake from mid-poly to mid-poly.


Taking advantage of Substance Painter´s feature to match parts by mesh name saved me the time of preparing an explode bake.

Being too lazy setting up id-maps in Modo by hand (actually there is a pretty fast automation, but sometimes the colors Modo provides were too similar to get recognized by SP) I came up with another idea. I cut out the parts of continguous meshes where I thought I might want to add different materials later. By pasting these parts back in I got doubled verts and could use Substance Painters´s polygon fill / mesh fill function.






"Texturing and detailing the entire scene plus exporting 4K-maps took me about two hours."



Texturing the assets using Smart Materials


Having everything set up, I imported the first asset into Substance Painter and created three materials:

  • An iridescent metal
  • A white coated metal
  • A black coated metal





Being happy with the results, I created smart materials for each one.

Then, all I had to do was to import a mesh and drag & drop the smart materials onto it. That´s it. For some extra surface details, bolts, screws and decals I created a few alphas in Photoshop.


Texturing and detailing the entire scene plus exporting 4K-maps took me about two hours.





Setting up the scene in Unreal Engine 4


We love the render capabilities of Unreal Engine 4, so we decided to shoot the entire teaser right within UE4 and in realtime.

After importing the assets and applying the materials for the first time, we were blown away by the quality we could achieve thanks to Substance Painter.


Delivering the teaser in time would not have been possible with previous texturing workflows.




You can find the final product created by Daedalic just below or on Youtube:



About Stefan Wacker:


Stefan Wacker is currently the Head of 3D at Daedalic Entertainment in Germany.


You can find more of his work on his ArtStation here!


Stefan Wacker and Alexander Junghans in the Daedalic Studios!

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