A Year of Substance: Features

A look at the best features of 2020 in Substance!

2020 was intense. It was the first year in which we released new versions of our tools while working entirely from our homes. With teams relying on remote communication, remote development, remote everything, implementing these new features presented an unexpected challenge.

But we did it. Let’s take a look at the new features released this year – and don’t forget to take a look at the our other articles in this series.

Substance Painter expands its possibilities

A completely new workflow arrived in Substance Painter, for those who like to get into the very high resolutions: UV Tiles workflow (or UDIMs).

The team and Damien Guimmoneau gathered virtually for a chat about the release, its challenges, and what to expect with the UV tiles workflow in Substance Painter. Check it out for some awesome tips and tricks from the minds behind the code, and a talented expert of the trade:

This next area wasn’t so much a new feature as a sizeable update to a tool that will make your life much easier: Automatic UV Unwrapping. With its latest update, the feature is more controllable, more stable, and more versatile. It is by all means not its latest iteration, as the Painter team is always striving to make further improvements, but if you haven’t given it a try since it was released, do so now!

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Finally, a great sigh of happiness was heard in the field of 3D printing with the “Export mesh with displacement” feature in Substance Painter.

Our friends at Mimaki 3D printed the Meet MAT 2 contest winners’ entries using this same feature: read about it in this cool article.

Substance Source doubles its amount of materials

It sounds impossible to believe, but it’s true! The Substance Source team went above and beyond in 2020 adding over 3400 new materials just for you. Between the materials created in-house and the beautiful signature collections made by guest contributors, the selection of high-end optimized parametric materials exploded in 2020.

Decals, stylized or photorealistic materials: more content made its way into every category of material this year.

And then, there was the huge architectural release: “Parametric Cities“.

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For those of you who have a preference for the more organic materials, the Source team talked in-depth about the wood textures in this insightful article.

And that’s before even mentioning the awe-inspiring Signature releases of 2020: the ornate interiors of Jonathan Benainous, the adventurous pirate world of Eric Wiley, the restful shadows of a Cartagena courtyard by Vincent Derozier, and Pauline Boiteux‘s world tour of clothes-making techniques.

Substance Alchemist picks up massive speed

Substance Alchemist also got a major new feature in 2020: Image to Material with AI. You may have been using its ancestor, the Bitmap to Material tool, but its AI little brother is in a different league.

You only need to take a picture, drop it into Substance Alchemist, and use the Image to Material (AI Powered) filter.

In the same release, the team brought another game changer for Substance Alchemist: 2D Painting. Grabbing your scan and correcting small issues becomes a simple affair!

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To learn more about Image to Material (AI powered) and 2D painting in Substance Alchemist, head over here!

Substance Designer: more control, more power

Lots of things came to Substance Designer in 2020, but let’s focus on two of them. First, the shortcuts.

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Yes! Since April, you’ve been able to add nodes even more quickly, which means that those graphs can get bigger a lot faster now! This could explain why in 2020 we’ve seen a surge of (good) craziness come out of the Substance Designer community – insanity we’re currently celebrating through our Insanity Awards.

But that’s not the only change that came in Substance Designer! We changed engine version, and the new engine unlocked new capabilities. Distance computations, gradients, curve node, and more! Here’s a tutorial about what the Engine v8 means for Substance Designer.

And rest assured that we’ll work hard to accomplish twice as much in 2021!