Hello everyone!

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

In this tutorial I will take for granted the information covered in the videotutorials that I previously published on my Youtube channel, in the “Substance Painter” Playlist; if you are new to Substance Painter then, I suggest you take a look at the videos from that Playlist, in the order they are presented there.

 

THE PROJECT USED IN THIS TUTORIAL

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

 

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It is possible to make various versions of the "package + bow" combination, to apply them to different 3D models, so it makes sense to define two good materials in Substance and save this combination to quickly resume it with other projects, in order to have a starting point ... well, that's just what we're going to do in this tutorial!

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

WE DEFINE THE MATERIALS FOR THE PROJECT

First, with the “ribbon_bow” Texture Set selected, I define the material for the bow; in this case, I'm using Substance's "Silk Smooth Red" material, setting the scale to 3 in the Properties - Fill tab and, in the Advanced Parameters section of Properties - Fill - Material, I', setting the the color to RGB 0.57, 0.52 and 0.49.

 

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In the Layers tab I now add, in the “ribbon_bow” Texture Set, the Material for the package; in my case, I'm adding the Cardboard Paper material, setting the material scale 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”); I'm doing this because I want to group and save the Material permanently in the Shelf, so I "deactivate" the two levels, so when I import them into another Texture Set List I can set their masks from scratch.

 

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CREATION OF THE GROUP AND THE SMART MATERIAL

I select both materials in Layers with a multiple selection (selecting the first Layer with left click, then pressing SHIFT and left click on the other Layers I want 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, in order to easily find the material later).

 

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At this point, I right-click on the folder and, from the menu that will appear 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 just created.

 

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MANAGE CUSTOMIZED SMART MATERIALS

This object will be available in the next sessions of Substance, together with the other objects of this group, but beware: unlike Substance's "native" Smart Materials, which are stored in the "resources / shelf / allegorithmic / smart-materials" subfolder of the program (which is typically found in "Programs / Allegorithmic", if you have left the default path during installation), the Smart Materials defined by us with "Create Smart Material" will be inserted in "[username] / Documents / Allegorithmic / Substance Painter / Shelf / smart-materials" (that is: among the user's documents).

It is good to know this for backup purposes or even just to copy / send a customized Smart Material: now, you know where to look for it!

 

SP 2019 20191028 005 Salvare un gruppo di Layers con Create Smart Material 09

 

NOTE: to delete, both from the list and from disk, a Smart Material, for example because you have made a better version of it or simply to sort the list, right click on the element and choose "Delete"; you can also rename a Smart Material by right clicking and typing the new name in the “Name” box, in the menu that will appear on the screen.

 

SP 2019 20191028 005 Salvare un gruppo di Layers con Create Smart Material 10

 

The Smart Material topic is actually vast and Smart Materials are VERY powerful tools; in this tutorial we are seeing a really basic use of them (in fact, we are simply using them to save a group of Layers and masks); in other tutorials, I will show how to use Smart Materials with masks, filters and other interesting effects, but for now let's focus on the topic of this tutorial.

USE SMART MATERIAL IN ANOTHER PROJECT

Without even saving the current project, I'm creating a new Substance project using another FBX file (in this example, a smaller version of the gift package).

 

SP 2019 20191028 005 Salvare un gruppo di Layers con Create Smart Material 11

 

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

 

SP 2019 20191028 005 Salvare un gruppo di Layers con Create Smart Material 12

 

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

 

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SUMMARY ...

The example I have shown in this case is somewhat trivial (Smart Materials are tools that allow you to define 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”, to retrieve this group in other projects, later.

Well, that's all 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!