Substance Painter 2019 - Basic Elements - Two materials in one Texture Set with masks
In this basic level tutorial we will see how to associate two different materials to different parts of a single object provided with a single Texture Set; that is: an object provided to us as a single geometry with a single Material. In order to associate different Substance Materials to various parts of a single geometry we will use masks.
The tutorial was made with the 2019 version of Substance Painter; this is a basic tutorial, for those who are new to the software, but which takes note of the topics seen in the videos previously published in the “Substance Painter” Playlist.
THE MODEL USED IN THIS TUTORIAL
Let's start by creating a new Substance project, with the “PBR Metallic Roughness” template, and importing the model to be used.
Below you will find the link to this resource (an FBX file that looks like you see it now, without Textures) but, as always, it is NOT necessary to get it: you can follow the tutorial and learn even without replicating the operations with this particular model!
LET'S EXAMINE THE MODEL: TEXTURE SETS AND UV MAPS
Let's take a look at the model: first of all, we note that in the Texture Set List there is only one item, "can_opener_2", so in fact the 3D model is provided to us as a single object with only one Material and we are responsible for associating various Substance materials to the various parts of the object.
From the display mode selector, at the top right of the 3D window, we choose “2D Only” (shortcut: F3) and center the UV unwrap in the frame by pressing the F key (for “frame”).
We note that the unstitching has been done quite well: it has no overlapping parts and it is easy to identify the handle at the bottom, separated from the metal parts; finally (and this is not a negligible detail), the surfaces are oriented, in particular horizontally: this is useful because some Substance materials have streaks, generally vertically or horizontally oriented.
Since the surfaces of the UV unstitching are straight, it will be quite easy to orient the streaks of the Materials on the object.
APPLICATION OF 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 in the tab: this layer would allow us, in fact, to paint freely on the object, but we don't have to do that right know; in fact, now we're going to use a native Substance material.
We then select the Materials item, in the Shelf tab, and write “wood” in the search box; Substance will filter the results and, among the available materials, we should have “Wood American Cherry”.
Perhaps this is not the best material for this object, but - at least in the 2019 version of Substance - it is one of the materials that come standard with the software, so you should have it. In other tutorials we will see how to add materials downloaded from Substance Source or how to create our own Smart Materials ... here, we make use of a "native" material.
Let's click on the material to select it, then drag it to “Layers”: the material will be applied to the whole object!
Note that the wood obviously has streaks, which we find oriented correctly thanks to the orientation of the UV unwrap (examined earlier).
THE PROPERTIES - FILL SHEET 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 currently selected material (or, as we will see in other tutorials, filters, masks, etc.; in general: the ID card of the object).
As for the Materials, the tab includes at least two sections: Fill and Material.
The Fill section has settings which are common to all materials: these are the mapping and projection parameters of the material onto the object; the Material section, on the other hand, provides both settings common to every Material (such as the selectors for the 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 for setting its fibers and other specific parameters.
In the Fill - Projection section we note, for example, that the projection of the material on the surface of the object is made, by default, using the UV mapping supplied with the model - and, here, the "oriented" unwrap seen previously in the 2D window is useful.
To change the orientation of the Material on the UV mapping we can leave “UV Projection” and instead vary the Rotation parameter, further down.
To increase or decrease the density of the streaks on the surface, however, we can set a different Scale value: this is the scale factor for the mapping of the Material on the UV map: by decreasing this value we will enlarge the material, while by increasing it we will reduce it, so Substance will replicate it several times on the UV map, to cover it all (and this is because the UV Wrap option is set to "Repeat", in fact), which will produce a tiled effect ...
Let's set Scale, for example, to 3: enough to have denser streaks but not too much, so to avoid the tiled effect.
LOWER THE INTENSITY OF THE HEIGHT BUMPS
Taking a look at the surface of the object from various angles we notice that the material also introduces light effects on the grooves, in order to simulate their presence even if the geometry of the object is smooth (as we can see by temporarily deactivating the Material, by clicking the eye icon next to "Wood American Cherry", in "Layers").
In Substance, the bumps are simulated mainly by two channels: Normal and Height; since the “Nrm” (“Normal”) box in Properties - Fill - Material is disabled, the responsible must be Height; we can verify this by clicking on this box to activate or deactivate it, examining the effects of this operation in the 3D view.
We can better appreciate the difference by setting, as the channel to be displayed, the combination “Normal + Height + Mesh”, at the top right of the 3D view, while activating and deactivating the Height channel in Properties - Fill - Material.
Substance's "Wood American Cherry" Material therefore has some information in the Height channel and it also allows us to change the Height intensity: in the Properties - Fill - Material tab, in fact, we can 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 a good lighting on the object).
In this tutorial we will NOT review the individual items: the result would be a rather boring and not very useful listing... instead, we will examine various settings and combinations with practical, much more interesting examples, in other tutorials, in the future ... obviously, nothing prevents you from changing the parameters on your own, if you want to start exploring the various options and their consequences!
CREATION OF MASKS TO APPLY MATERIALS TO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE OBJECT
Ok, we have added a first Substance Material to our Texture Set and we have seen some parameters, but this material is present on ALL the object, while we want to limit its effect to the handle! How can we do that?
The simplest method is to add a Mask for the Material.
This is a grayscale image, mapped on the object's UV unwrap, which will apply the Material in the white parts and ignore it in the black parts, then applying it proportionally to the gray level on each point of the surface.
Masks are of fundamental importance in Substance, both for simple operations like this one and for applying complex effects, in combination with filters and other tools (for example, to simulate the wear of objects along their edges or the presence of rust only on certain parts of a surface).
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 handle part white.
To create a black mask for the “Wood American Cherry” material, right click on the material in Layers and choose “Add Black Mask”.
A black square will appear next to the Material preview, representing the new mask. This mask is selected (note the selection border around the black square) and in the "Properties - Fill" tab we now see some settings other than those of the material (which we can still select with a left click of the mouse on its preview, in Layers); finally, in the 3D view, the object appears gray, without effects, because now the Material is not applied in any point of its surface.
There are various ways to make a part of the mask white, both by hand and procedurally (that is: generated by algorithms); in this tutorial we will see a manual method, consisting in selecting the “UV island” (which is the portion of UV Layout) to be made white.
With the black mask selected, click on the “Polygon Fill” icon which in the meantime will have appeared in the Tools tab (which we can activate, if necessary, from Window - Toolbar - Tools).
In the Properties - Polygon Fill tab, we select the checkered box, called “UV chunk fill”, that is a mode that allows us to modify an entire UV island by clicking on one of its points.
Let's make sure that Color is set to white, then click on a point of the handle: the mask will turn white in the corresponding UV island, as we can also see when switching to the “Mask” mode in the "3D|2D" View, and as it is clear from the presence of the wood material in Material mode.
NOTE: clicking on a point of the unstitching can also be done in the 2D view; to show it to you, I am undoing the operation just made 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) I am clicking on a point of the UV unstitching in the 2D window.
WE 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 problem, which arises when using materials with other Normal or Height effects in particular, such as with "Iron Brushed", as I'm showing on the screen: the material, applied to the entire surface, will add its Normal and Height effects to the parts of the handle as well.
In this example, the consequences are not that serious, but trust me: they can become much more evident with different materials (on video I'm showing an example with Diamond Bicolor Tiles, a material I downloaded from Substance Source) ...
... so, how to solve this problem?
Well, it's obvious: by limiting the effect of the material by using a mask!
This time, however, we proceed in reverse: since it will be all the object except the handle that must be in metal, we right-click on the Iron Brushed material, in Layers, this time clicking on Add White Mask, thus creating a white mask on the entire surface of the object, after which we choose Polygon Fill with UV Chunk Fill mode but this time we set Color to black (0) and click on a point of the handle: in this way we will make the mask black only in the unwrap corresponding to the handle, excluding it from the effects of “Iron Brushed”!
In summary: we have seen how to apply a couple of Substance materials to different parts of a single Texture Set using masks to define the areas of influence of each material; in addition, we took a look at some items on the Properties - Fill tab for the two materials, getting familiar with the basic parameters and settings.
So that's it for this tutorial! As always, I invite you to express doubts, questions or requests for clarification in the comments to the video, on Youtube! See you soon!