In this tutorial:

Creating a base Material - Creating a Material for the Stitches - Creating a Folder and a Fill Layer - Using the Brush on the Mask - The Stitches brush - Painting on the UV Layout in the 2D Viewport - Removing errors (erasing wrong brush strokes) - Creating nested masks - Customizing the Material and the Height value


Hello everyone!

In this tutorial we will see how to simulate the presence of seams on an object using the Substance Painter 2019 brushes on the "MASK" of a Material which, as we will see, will have the "HEIGHT" parameter activated, which allows us to simulate the raised parts.

We will see two things, in a single tutorial:

  • how to simulate raised parts using "HEIGHT MAP" in this case with the same height;
  • how to define an opacity mask for a Material or a "LAYER" using brushes.

CREATING A BASE MATERIAL

I'm creating a new project with the "PBR Metallic Roughness (Allegorithmic)" template using the 3D model of a belt; I'm going to apply two different Materials to different parts of the object using the MASKS and the "UV Chunk Fill" tool. You don't have to get this object: you can follow the tutorial and learn the technique, which is also valid in other circumstances, without having to procure this object!

I'm using material "Cobalt pure", original from Substance, for the buckle, while for the actual strap I'm using "Artificial leather", in both cases with the default settings of the materials.

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CREATING A MATERIAL FOR THE STITCHES

At the top of the object's stack of materials, in "LAYERS", we now add the material we want to use for the seams; I'm using a “Fabric”-type Material.

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The material will be applied to the whole object, which obviously is not a good thing; to limit the effect, however, this time we proceed in this way: we create a folder, in which we will put both the Fabric Material and the Fill Layer Height, which will implement the actual reliefs, so later we will create the mask with the brush to the folder, not for individual Layers, so as to apply the mask to all Layers in one go.

CREATING A FOLDER AND A FILL LAYER

Let's click with the right mouse button on the Fabric material and, from the menu that will appear on the screen, choose "Group Layers"; then, let's click on "Add a Fill Layer", at the top of the Layer tab, to create a basic "Fill Layer", in which, however, we will deactivate all channels except "Height" (that of the reliefs), in the "Properties - Fill" tab.

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Let's change the value of the "HEIGHT" parameter, raising it to 0.2 for example. A negative value will instead produce dimples.

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On screen ... we will not see any difference, for the simple reason that, at this moment, the effect is applied to the entire surface of the object! To appreciate it, we will have to limit it to seams only.

Let's drag the Fill Layer inside the folder created a moment ago.

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USING THE BRUSH ON THE MASK

Let's right click on the folder that groups the "Height Fill Layer" and the "Fabric" material, then choosing "Add Black Mask" from the menu that will appear on the screen.

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Let's select the mask and click on the "Paint" tool, which is located in the "Toolbar Tools", generally located under the main menu.

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With the default settings, we should be able to paint on the model (or rather: on its layer mask) immediately, with a brush blurred at the edges and with the pure white color, which means that we will set the areas of the mask to white level on which we will pass the brush, with the effect of showing the Materials in the folder!

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The brushes are found in the "Brushes" section of the "Shelf"; obviously, I will not list them here, but I invite you to try them and change their settings in the "Properties - Paint" tab, where there are many commands which, in most cases, have intuitive meanings; however, the main commands are:

  • "Size": the size of the brush;
  • "Spacing": the separation between one element of the brush stroke and the other, when clicking and dragging; we will soon see a practical example, with seams;
  • "Angle": the angle of application of the drawing of the brush stroke; with brushes without particular direction, such as "Basic Hard", this parameter does not say much, but the effects will become more evident with other brushes, such as that of the seams;
  • "Grayscale", usually located at the bottom of the card, allows us to specify the gray value to be applied on the mask; intuitively, setting this value to 0 (black), we will give black brush strokes on the mask, thus removing the effects in those areas, so we can use a brush like an eraser.

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THE STITCHES BRUSH

Let's delete all brush strokes simply by right clicking on the mask and choosing "Add black mask" from the menu, then move on to the actual topic of this tutorial: the seams.

In the "Brushes" section of the "Shelf", we write "Stitches" (literally: stitches) in the search box to filter the elements based on this name; by default, Substance should show five brushes with this feature. The first brush on this list will be fine: let's select it with a double click.

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By clicking and dragging the brush on the object, we will see the creation of the stitches.

We are NOT painting the actual material, but the layer mask of the folder that contains both the material and the "Fill Layer" for the reliefs.

The basic brush settings allow us to set the size and space between one dash and another; however, drawing on curved geometry like this is not very comfortable.

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PAINTING ON THE UV LAYOUT IN THE 2D VIEWPORT

We then move on to the 2D view to view the UV layout of the object and act directly on this representation which, since the object is represented on a two-dimensional plane (and that the layout has been done well, in the sense that the parts of the strap are straight) it is much more comfortable ...

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... especially if we use the following shortcut: we click with the left button and immediately release at the point where we want to start a seam, then press the SHIFT button and, keeping it pressed, draw a line, then click with the left button on the end point and release both SHIFT and the left mouse button.

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We have just drawn a line and we can also use this technique for other seams, avoiding having to proceed freehand in the straight parts!

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It's not over: by pressing the SHIFT, CTRL keys and dragging, before clicking with the left button, we will draw with a snap at predetermined angles (they should be, by default, 22.5°), so on the unstitching of this model we can draw, in fact, perfectly straight lines!

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The "Properties - Paint" tab of a brush has, as seen, many parameters, some of which allow us to introduce randomness between one stroke and another, for example by varying the dimensions or the rotation angle of the various strokes, however I will talk about it in other tutorials, with practical applications; in this tutorial, dedicated to the stitches, we just need to know the voices already discussed, i.e. size, spacing and angle of the strokes in a fixed way, without randomness or other effects.

REMOVING ERRORS (ERASING WRONG BRUSH STROKES)

In case of error in the definition of the points, don't worry!

The mask is a grayscale image and, as we have seen, it can be modified using brushes, which can also be set to black or white, so we can remove any errors, both in 2D and 3D views, by selecting the folder level mask, choosing a harder brush (for example, "Basic Hard"), setting its color to black and using this brush on the parts to be fixed.

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The effects will affect all the Materials and the "Layers" of the folder, which we will not therefore have to fix one by one.

CREATING NESTED MASKS

The folders can also be nested and their masks will also be, so for example we can insert this folder inside another by right clicking on the folder and choosing "Group Layers".

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At this point we can define a new layer mask for the folder, even with a different technique; for example, we could use the "UV Chunk Fill" technique (or, since this object allows me to do it, the "Mesh Fill" mode, which selects the connected geometries, even if belonging to different UV islands) and select only the belt.

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In this way we will be able to make a first rough selection of the parts to be influenced, followed by more detailed selections with the more internal folders and masks. It is also a method that avoids applying seams, in this case, even to parts of the object that should not be affected.

CUSTOMIZING THE MATERIAL AND THE HEIGHT VALUE

The use of materials and levels within a folder, delegating the definition of the application areas to the folder mask, provides us with some flexibility in modifying the parameters of the Materials even later, in fact we can now open the "Fill Layer "and change the value of the" Height "parameter, or change the color and other parameters of the Material, without having to worry about the mask of these materials, because the mask has been defined for the folder and is applied to all its elements, such as seen in the case of error correction.

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In summary, in this tutorial we have seen several things:

  • how to group multiple Layers and Materials in a folder (and possibly in nested folders) in order to define the layer mask for the folder and control the application of multiple effects;
  • how to create a layer for the "Height" channel only, so as to create reliefs of uniform intensity;
  • how to draw on a layer mask with brushes, also taking a look at the main parameters of these tools in the "Properties - Paint" tab;
  • how to make sutures with Substance Painter's special brushes, creating, among other things, straight seams in 2D view (working directly on the UV Layout) using shortcuts.

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