Hello everyone!

In this tutorial, created with the 2019 version of Substance Painter, we will see how to group a group of Layers in an object of type "Smart Materials" and save this object in the Shelf of the program, so as to use it with similar 3D models in the next sessions.

In this tutorial I will take up some concepts covered in the tutorials I previously published on this website; if you still don't know Substance Painter well, then, I suggest you take a look at my other tutorials on this program, in the order they are presented.


THE PROJECT USED IN THIS TUTORIAL

I created a Substance project with the PBR template - Metallic Roughness (Allegorithmic) and the other settings as default, importing in particular the 3D model of a gift package (where we can identify two components: the real package and the bow), composed of a single 3D object and two Texture Sets (two Materials).

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Of the "package + ribbon" combination it is possible to make various versions, as 3D models, so it makes sense to get to the definition of two good materials in Substance and save this combination to get it back quickly with other projects, in order to have a starting point already tested ... well, that's just what we'll do in this tutorial!

Unlike what happens with most of my tutorials on Substance Painter, the Assets (3D models and other resources) used in this tutorial are NOT available; however, you can follow the tutorial and learn without having to replicate the operations necessarily with these models!


LET'S DEFINE THE MATERIALS FOR THE PROJECT

First of all, with the "ribbon_bow" Texture Set selected, I define the material for the bow; in this case, I'm taking the Substance "Silk Smooth Red" material, setting the scale to 3 in Properties - Fill - Fill and, in the Advanced Parameters section of Properties - Fill - Material, the color to RGB 0.57, 0, 52 and 0.49.

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In the Layers tab I add now, inside the Texture Set “ribbon_bow”, the Material for the package; in my case, I am adding the Cardboard Paper material, also in this case setting the scale of the material to 3 and changing the color to RGB 0.23, 0.22 and 0.31.

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To both Materials, therefore, I add a completely black mask (with right click on the material in the Layer tab and “Add Black Mask”); the meaning of this operation is the following: I intend, now, to group and save the Material permanently in the Shelf, so I'm "deactivating", in a certain sense, the two levels, so when I import them into another Set List Texture I will be able to set the masks from scratch.

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CREATING THE GROUP AND THE SMART MATERIAL

I select both materials in Layers with a multiple selection (selecting the first Layer with left click and pressing SHIFT and left clicking on the other Layers to add to the selection), then I right click and "Group Layers" (shortcut: CTRL G) to group the levels in a folder, which will have the default name "Folder 1".

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With a double click on the name of the folder I can rename it, for example in "gift_bag_and_ribbon" (a meaningful name, so as to easily find the material again).

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At this point, I right-click on the folder and, from the menu that appears on the screen, I choose "Create Smart Material".

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Substance Painter will open the "Smart Material" tab, in the Shelf, highlighting the object we have just created.

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MANAGING CUSTOMIZED SMART MATERIALS

This object will now also be available at the next Substance starts, along with the other objects in this group, but beware: unlike the "native" Smart Materials of Substance, which are stored in the subfolder "resources / shelf / allegorithmic / smart-materials" of the program (which is typically found in "Programs / Allegorithmic", if you left the default path during installation), the Smart Materials we define with "Create Smart Material" will be inserted in the path "[user name] / Documents / Allegorithmic / Substance Painter / Shelf / smart-materials "(in short: among the user's documents).

It is good to know this in view of backup or even just to copy / send a personalized Smart Material: now you know where you need to look for it!

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A SIDE NOTE: to eliminate, either from the list or from disk, a Smart Material, for example because you have made a better version or simply "clean up" the list, right click on the element and choose "Delete"); you can also rename a Smart Material by right clicking and entering the new name in the "Name" box, in the menu that will appear on the screen.

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The Smart Material topic is actually vast and Smart Materials are VERY powerful tools; in this tutorial we are seeing their use really elementary (in fact, we are using them simply to memorize a group of Layers and masks, nothing extraordinary); in other tutorials I will show you how to use Smart Materials with masks, filters and other interesting effects, but for the moment let's focus on the subject of this tutorial.


HOW TO USE THE SMART MATERIAL IN ANOTHER PROJECT

Without even saving the current project, I create a new Substance project using another source file (in this example, a lower and larger version of the gift package).

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I delete the Layer present by default from the Layers tab for each Texture Set (also in this case, the object has two Materials, called "paper_bag" and "ribbon_bow"), but instead of starting to look for materials for the packaging and the bow, I remember having previously defined a group of Materials with the appropriate settings for my project, so I open the Smart Materials tab and start writing for example "ribbon".

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At this point, I drag the Smart Material into the Layers tab for the two Texture Sets and, using the masks (in particular, setting the mask of the material I intend to use for each Texture Set to white), I can apply the material that interests me to each Texture Set.

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TO RECAP ...

The example I have shown in this case is quite trivial (and, I repeat, Smart Materials are tools that allow defining much more interesting materials), but the basic concept is still noteworthy: grouping elements (which can be Layers, Fill Layers and Materials, each possibly equipped with masks or other effects) in a folder or in a group of nested folders, then save this group with "Create Smart Material" and quickly retrieve this grouping in other projects, later.

That's all for this tutorial! See you soon!