Using Substance Designer 5

I was texturing a ship for game theory when I decided my textures were not good enough hindering my ships look, so I decided to learn and watch a few tutorials on Substance Designer 5. It is a powerful program that allows you to build materials and textures, quickly and non destructively in order to acheive great looking PBR materials.

spacebar-to-open-uniform-colourThe tutorial focused on creating a rusty metal texture, here you can see the node based structure in the graph section. I started by creating a uniform colour.

pbr-utilitesHere I got I used the PBR metal reflectance instance which allows me to get a metal parameter.

metal-parameterYou can see that on the instance parameter I can change the metal colour with myself choosing iron.


output-changeHere I connected the meal reflectance and to base colour and you can see the effect on the geometry.

changing-grey-scaleHere I changed the uniform colour to 255 in order to create a metallic reflectance.


using-normal-nodeI then connected a normal colour to the normal in order to solve some artifacting.


adding-grungeAdding some grunge to the roughness allows the cube to have scrapes and scratches adding some realistic detail to the texture.

adding-levels-and-using-top-toolbarConnecting a levels node in between allows you to get the right amount of contrast between the scratches and reflectance.




adding-pattern-and-changing-tilingHere I added a metal pattern, you can also change the tilling parameters.

Uisng levels for mesh to change the look.JPG

By attaching the mesh to the normal it gives you the effect you can see here.


I added a directional warp which allows me to chose the direction of the noise.


With the black and white spots node I can also change the intensity of the the node. This will allow me to create rust.


To get the colour of rust you could use a gradient in order to get the desired colour.


Or you could use the colour picker setting and get the colour of a rust photo.

using-random-seed-to-get-different-lookUsing a random seed allows you to get a randomized look BnW spots, this can be done easily on a slider on the right.

using-histogram-scanAttaching a histogram scan allows you to change the contrast and position.

histogram-scan-to-blend-opacityThen you have to link the blend, pbr reflectance and gradient nodes to the base colour in order to get the desired rust effect you can see on the bottom right.

blend-to-base-colour-to-add-rustHere you can see the rust on the cube.


By linking the curvature smooth node to the normal, you can invert the mesh in order for the rust to look like it’s in between the mesh.


Implementing HSL to the gradient link allows you to control the saturation if the rust is looking overpowering.


By attaching the nodes highlited to blend I was given more control over the roughness of the rust.

before-roughnessBefore roughness


You can see the rust is slightly more defined.

uisng-height-beforeAdding height also allows you to bump the material using the scale which is highlited on the right.

after-height-scaleYou can see the texture is slightly more bumped.


By creating an instance parameter on the histogram, it will allow me to change the rust amount on other programs. So on unreal for example, I can quickly change the look without going back into substance Designer.

Changing rust amount in engine.JPG I imported into unreal and you can see here I can change the rust amount on the fly.


Here is a low resolution texture, 256×256


Here is a 2k version with better clarity and definition.


You can also see how it can change depending on the rust amount.

I followed three Allegorithmic tutorials in order to achieve this, and I can see just how powerful it is at creating high quality PBR materials and textures. You can see how complex it can get with nodes quickly building up on the graph, which can easily become disorganized if not careful. Of course I have just scratched the surface with this and I have much more to learn with it, so I am going to carry on watching tutorials and tinkering with the software.


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