Hello everyone!

In this basic tutorial we will see how to associate two different materials to different parts of a single object provided with only one Texture Set, or an object that is given to us as a single geometry with a single Material. In order to associate different Substance Materials with various parts of a single geometry, we will use masks.

The tutorial was created with the 2019 version of Substance Painter; it is a basic tutorial, aimed at those who are beginners with the program, but which gives notes on the topics seen in the previously published tutorials.


THE MODEL USED IN THIS TUTORIAL

Let's start by creating a new Substance project, with the "PBR Metallic Roughness" template and importing, of course, the model to be used.

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Below is the link to this resource (an FBX file that looks like you see it now, without Textures) but, as always, you do NOT need to get it: you can follow the tutorial and learn even without replicating the operations with this particular model!

https://gumroad.com/l/eng_can_opener_2_FBX


  

LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE MODEL: TEXTURE SETS AND UV MAPS

Let's take a look at the model: we notice, first of all, that in the Texture Set List there is only one item, "can_opener_2", so the 3D model is given to us as a single object with only one Material and it will be up to us have the task of associating various Substance materials with the various parts of the object.

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From the display mode selector, at the top right of the 3D window, we choose "2D Only" (shortcut: F3) and center the UV layout in the frame by pressing the F key (for "frame").

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We note that the unstitching was done quite well: it has no overlapping parts ("non overlapping") and it is easy to identify the handle at the bottom, separated from the metal parts; finally, a non-negligible detail, the surfaces are oriented, in particular horizontally: this is useful because some Substance materials have, as we will see, streaks, generally oriented vertically or horizontally.

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Since the surfaces of the UV unstitching are straight, it will be rather easy to orient the streaks of the Materials on the object.


LET'S SET THE FIRST MATERIAL: WOOD FOR THE HANDLE

Let's go back to the 3D view, select the "Layer 1" object from the Layer tab and remove it, by clicking on the trash can icon on the tab: this Layer would allow us, in fact, to freely paint on the object, an operation that at this moment does not interested because we intend to use a native material of Substance.

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Let's then select the Materials item, in the Shelf tab, then we write "wood" in the search box; Substance will filter the results and, among the available materials, we should have "Wood American Cherry".

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Perhaps it is not the most suitable material for this handle, but - at least in the 2019 version of Substance - it is one of the materials that come standard with the program, so you should have it. In other tutorials we will see how to add materials downloaded from Substance Source or how to create our Smart Materials ... here, we make use of a "factory" material.

We click on the material to select it, then drag it into "Layers": the material will be applied to the whole object!

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Note that the wood has, of course, streaks and fibers, which we find correctly oriented thanks to the orientation of the UV unstitching, examined a little while ago.


THE "PROPERTIES - FILL" TAB OF A MATERIAL

With the material selected in Layers, let's take a look at the "Properties - Fill" tab (which you can activate, if not present, from "Windows" - "Views".

This tab is the "identity card" of the material (or, as we will see in other tutorials, filters, masks, etc.; in general: the object) currently selected.

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Regarding the Materials, the card includes at least two sections: Fill and Material.

The Fill section presents settings common to all materials: these are mapping and projection parameters of the material on the object; the Material section, on the other hand, provides both common settings (such as the selectors for information channels to be influenced with the material, for example Color, Height, Rough ...), and settings specific to the currently selected material; for example, for "Wood American Cherry" we have the color of the wood, its roughness and parameters to set fibers and other peculiar aspects.

In the Fill - Projection section we note, for example, that the projection of the material on the surface of the object is realized, by default, making use of the UV mapping supplied with the model - and here come back useful the "oriented" seams seen previously in the window 2D.

To change the orientation of the Material on the UV mapping we can leave "UV Projection" and instead vary the Rotation parameter, lower down.

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To increase or decrease the density of the streaks on the surface, instead, we can vary the value of Scale, the scale factor of the Material on the UV map: decreasing this value will enlarge the material, while increasing it will make it smaller, so Substance will replicate it several times on the UV map, to cover it all (and this because the UV Wrap option is set to "Repeat", "repeat", in fact), which will produce a tiled effect ...

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We set up scales, for example, at 3: enough to have denser streaks but not too much to be tiled.


LOWERING THE INTENSITY OF HEIGHT DETAILS

Taking a look at the surface of the object from various angles we note that the material also introduces luminous effects on the grooves, so as to simulate their presence even if the geometry of the object is smooth (as we can see by temporarily deactivating the Material, clicking eye icon next to "Wood American Cherry", in "Layers").

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In Substance, details are mainly simulated by two channels: Normal and Height; since the "Nrm" ("Normal") box in Properties - Fill - Material is deactivated, the manager must be Height; we can verify it by clicking on this box to activate or deactivate it, examining the effects of this operation in the 3D view.

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We can better appreciate the difference by setting, as a channel to be displayed, the combination "Normal + Height + Mesh", at the top right in the 3D view, then resuming to activate and deactivate the Height channel in Properties - Fill - Material.

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It is therefore just a matter of Height: Substance's "Wood American Cherry" Material therefore has information relating to this channel and also allows us to vary its intensity: in the Properties - Fill - Material tab, we open the Parameters section and change the value of the "Height Range" parameter, evaluating the differences in the 3D view (preferably in a Material view and with "cutting" lighting on the object).

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In this tutorial we will NOT review the individual items: it would result in a rather boring and not very useful list, actually; instead we will examine various settings and combinations with practical examples, much more interesting, in other tutorials, in the future ... obviously, nothing prevents you from varying the parameters present here on your behalf, if you want to start exploring the various options and their consequences!


CREATION OF THE MASKS TO APPLY THE MATERIALS TO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE OBJECT

Ok, we added a first Substance Material to our Texture Set and we saw some parameters, but this material is present on ALL the object, while we want to limit the effect to the handle! How can we do that?

The simplest solution is to add a Mask for the Material.

It is a grayscale image, mapped to the object's UV seam, which will apply the material in the white parts and ignore it in the black parts, thus applying it proportionally to the gray level on each surface point.

The masks are of fundamental importance in Substance, both for simple operations like this and for applying complex effects, in combination with filters and other operators (for example, to simulate the wear of objects along their edges or the presence of rust only on certain parts of a surface).

The masks can also be created starting from an external image, but for our case it will be sufficient to start from a black mask and make only the part corresponding to the handle white.

To create a black mask for the material "Wood American Cherry", we right click on the material in Layers and choose "Add Black Mask" ("add black mask", in fact).

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A black square will appear next to the material preview, to represent the new mask. This mask is selected (note the selection border around the black square) and in the "Properties - Fill" tab we now see different settings from those of the material (which we can however select with a click of the left mouse button on its preview, in layers); in the 3D view, finally, the object appears gray, without effects, since now the Material is not present at any point on its surface.

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There are various ways to make a part of the mask white, both manual and procedural (ie generated by algorithms); in this tutorial we will see a manual method, consisting in selecting "the UV island", ie the portion of the seam to be made white.

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With the black mask selected, click on the "Polygon Fill" icon that in the meantime will have appeared on the Tools tab (which we can activate, if necessary, from Window - Toolbar - Tools).

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In the Properties - Polygon Fill tab we then select the checkered box, called "UV chunk fill", which is a mode that allows us to modify an entire entire UV island by clicking on one of its points.

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Let's make sure that "Color" is set to white, so let's click on a point on the handle: here the mask will turn white in the corresponding UV island, as we can see also by switching to the "3D | 2D ”in“ Mask ”mode and as is evident from the presence of the material in Material mode.

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NOTE: the click on a point of the unwrap can also be done in the 2D view; to verify it, cancel the operation just done using the shortcut CTRL Z (or with "Undo" in the Edit menu) and (with the mask selected and the UV Chunk Fill mode on white) click on a point of the UV unstitching in the 2D window .

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LET'S ADD A SECOND MATERIAL (AND A SECOND MASK) IN LAYERS

At this point we can add another material by choosing it from Materials and dragging it under "Wood American Cherry" to see it applied to the other parts of the object, right?

Well, yes ... but there is a small problem, which turns up using in particular materials with other Normal or Height effects, such as with "Iron Brushed" (lit .: brushed iron, in the sense that it has streaks), as I am showing you: the material, applied to the entire surface, will add its Normal and Height effects also to the parts of the handle.

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In this example, the consequences are not so serious, but trust me: they can become much more evident with different materials (I show you an example with Diamond Bicolor Tiles, a material I downloaded from Substance Source, in the image below) ...

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... how to solve this problem?

Well, by limiting the effect of the material by using a mask, of course!

This time, however, we proceed in the opposite way to what was done before: since it will be the whole object except the handle to have to be made of metal, we right-click on the Iron Brushed material, in Layers, by clicking this time on Add White Mask, creating a white mask over the entire surface of the object, after which we choose Polygon Fill with the UV Chunk Fill mode but this time we set Color to black (value 0) and click on a point on the handle: in this way we will make the black mask only in the seaming corresponding to the handle, excluding it from the effects of "Iron Brushed"!

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TO RECAP ...

To sum up: we have seen how to apply a couple of Substance materials to different parts of a single Texture Set using the masks to define the areas of influence of each material; furthermore, we took a look at some of the items on the Properties - Fill tab for the two materials, getting familiar with the basic parameters and settings.

So for this tutorial, that's all! See you soon!