DIY Biomes with Substance Alchemist

Just a little bit under two months ago, we introduced a new type of material in Substance Source, the Biome. A custom assembly of scans, atlases, and filters, biomes help scan-based materials get closer to the infinite possibilities of procedural materials.

You might want to create your own biomes, so we decided to show you how.

Today, we came up with a selection of scans and atlases from Substance Source, and asked Casimir, one of our in-house artists, to create three different combinations –  three biomes. There’s one more particularity to this selection: the atlases we used are all available by default in Substance Alchemist.

Biome #1: hike in a muddy northern European forest

Take your best boots and a raincoat; we are going to play in the mud.

How to create this material in Substance Alchemist

This land begins with a simple scanned material, Loose Dirt Scrambled. This is the base on which we will build the entire biome. However, the recipe calls for several components to give more personality to this material. So we are going to use the following atlases: Horse Chestnut leaves, Linden autumn leaves, and Medium rock pebbles (all available by default in Substance Alchemist).

This is what they look like once they are scattered:

These atlases, which are part of the recent massive Substance Source Atlas release, are perfectly optimized to work in Substance Alchemist. Think of them as a resource dedicated to adapt perfectly to your Alchemist material creation workflow – because that’s how we designed them.


As you can see the, creation of this biome also involves two filters, Water and Dust. Check out the layer stack to take a closer look at the steps taken for the creation of this biome.

Biome #2: afternoon in a southern American desert

Change of mood, change of biome. We now journey through a desert, maybe in Arizona or Utah.

The recipe is the following:

Our base material, this time, is the Limestone Gravel Park. Beware of the rattlesnakes. To make it even more convincing, we’re adding Joshua leaves and nice pebbles for an extra-dry feeling.

Here, too, we want to use Alchemist’s scatter tool to instantly spread the atlases over the scanned base material. You can tweak the parameters to get the atlases positioned exactly the way you want, of course.

And here is a step-by-step look at how to create this material in Substance Alchemist. Other than a dust filter, this biome is only made of one scanned base material and the two atlases we showed earlier.


Biome #3: Sundown on a granite mountain

Can you feel the leaves and twigs cracking under your feet? With its red and gold hues, this mountain forest ground is the epitome of fall. Our base material this time is called Mossy Granite Gravel. We’re also using pebbles, wood sticks, and dry Laurel leaves.

Each atlas gets scattered on the base material, and a Dust filter is used for more realism.

And here as well, you can check out the step by step action to create this biome, as well as a closeup look into the layer stack.


In Substance Alchemist, you have access to 8 atlases from Substance Source. Want more? You can just hop on to Substance Source and make your selection from among the 658 atlases now available on the content platform.