Hello everyone!

In this tutorial, created with the 2019 version of Substance Painter, we will see how to use a Generator to modify the edges of an object; more precisely, we will talk about the Metal Edge Wear Generator and the Invert and Blur filters.

I talked about the Generators in Substance Painter in a previous tutorial (the one in which I used Dripping Rust on the 3D model of a cigar); in that tutorial I said what Generators are and why it is necessary to make a Bake of geometries, which we will also do in this tutorial, so I suggest you take a look at that tutorial, before studying this.

Ok, let's take a look at the project: we have the 3D model of a stylized bridge, in the sense that the geometries are not particularly complex; we want to apply a wood type material, but we also want to introduce differences between the edges and the central parts of the various wooden boards, for example by desaturating the central parts and accentuating the reliefs and distortions of the wood in the edges.

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First of all, I provide a basic wood material to the object; for this example, I am choosing "Paldao Wood". The Height values, in this case, are excessive, so I'm lowering them bringing the Height Range value down, in Properties Fill Parameters, for example to 0.08; moreover, I am increasing the repetitions of the material on the object (which has a good UV unwrapping, so there is no need to fix the mapping) bringing the Scale value down to 3.

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I slightly desaturate the color of the wood, in this way: in Properties Fill Parameters, I click on “Wood Color” and lower the value of the S parameter (“Saturation”, in fact), bringing it from 0.62 (default value) to 0.35. This material is fine for the internal parts of the pieces of wood; let's rename it "inner", to avoid confusion.

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Let's duplicate this material and place the copy on top of the original and renaming it to "outer" ("external"), in the Layers tab.

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We immediately notice that the duplication of the Material has accentuated the Height reliefs on the whole surface of the object; we will talk about this later.

To limit the outer effect to just the edges of the object we need a mask; so let's add a black mask to that material (effectively turning it off).

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To create the mask for the edges, we right click on the mask (attention: on the mask, not on the material) and choose "Add Generator"; as for the generator, we choose "Metal Edge Wear".

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The result is disappointing and from the tutorial on the Dripping Rust generator we also know why; let's click on Bake Mesh Maps then, in the Texture Set Settings tab, creating a basic Baking of the maps needed by the generator.

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Warning: "outer" has the same color as "inner", so let's modify it by bringing the saturation value of "outer" back to 0.62; moreover, we increase the Height Range value to accentuate the reliefs (here I am exaggerating, bringing it to 0.15).

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At the end of these operations, the new result will be very different from the previous one and we will be able to appreciate it more by deactivating the visualization of the "inner" material.

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Not bad as a starting point, but there are at least two improvements that we can make (and I invite you to suggest others in the comments to the video): for example, we can fade / blur the mask a little, so as to make the contrast between the inner and outer materials; moreover, we can completely exclude the inner material (which is currently applied to the entire surface of the object) from the edges.

Let's start by blurring the edges of the mask of the outer material, in this way: we directly select the Metal Edge Wear Generator of the mask, right click and choose "Add Filter".

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A filter is, in general, a tool that modifies the information with which it is associated; in this case, the information is the mask produced by the underlying element, i.e. by the Metal Edge Wear Generator.

The filter is currently empty; in Properties Filter we therefore choose the effect that is right for us, that is Blur.

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The effect will be immediately visible on video, in the preview of the Material; we can vary the intensity by acting on the "Blur Intensity" parameter, in the Properties Filter.

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The other change we want to achieve concerns the exclusion of the "inner" Material from the edges, which are the responsibility of "outer".

In practice, what we want to achieve is an "inner" mask which is basically an inverted version of the mask used for "outer" ... yes, you're right: we need a filter to invert the map and, guess what? Substance has an "Invert" filter!

First of all, let's use in "outer" the same mask used in "inner", in this way: right click on the "outer" mask and choose "Copy Mask", then right click on the "inner" mask (which doesn't have a mask yet) and choose "Add black mask", thus creating a black, empty mask.

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To copy the outer mask with the Filter and the Generator, we right-click on the "inner" black mask and choose "Paste into mask". To better see what happens, we temporarily disable the visualization of the "outer" material, in Layers..

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[Ok, maybe by right clicking you will have noticed an "Invert Mask" ... it is true, it obtains an effect similar to what I want to achieve with filters, but using another tool (the "Levels"), which I will talk about better another time; for this tutorial, let's talk about generators and filters only!]

Let's right click on Inner Metal Edge Wear Generator and choose “Add Filter”.

The new filter (that is empty) will be positioned exactly between the Generator and the Blur filter.

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In the Properties Filter tab, we choose “Invert”: in this way, the generator will create a mask for the edges (as for outer), after which it will invert it and finally apply Blur, to blend it; among other things, we can act at will on the value of Blur Intensity, which is independent of that of the Material outer filter (which at this point we can also reactivate, by the way).

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In summary: in this tutorial we saw how to use the Metal Edge Wear generator to quickly isolate the edges of an object, then we saw how to simulate a bit of material wear (in this case, changing the color saturation and increasing the intensity of the reliefs with Height) using two slightly different versions of the same Material; finally, we have provided Blur and Invert filters to the masks created using the Generators in order to modify them.

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