Effortless Grunge Look with new Substance Source Parametric Decals

It seems that we are introducing a new type of content every month on Substance Source these days! And April will not be an exception. Decals are landing on Substance Source, with a starter kit of 130 elements.

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Cracks, patches, impacts, tags, and leaks will bring that extra detail and break the uniformity of a surface. And they are all fully parametric! This means, no need to find a trick to hide the repetition of the same crack 20 times across a wall anymore.

Just hit the “random seed” and generate as many unique variations to bring that extra touch of realism to your composition. 

What are decals? Decals are an effective way to add isolated details to a model without having to incorporate them directly into the main model or main texture maps. 

Indeed, imagine texturing parts of a scene with a single material that repeats across large surfaces. The result might feel a little bit too neat and dull. As seamless materials are the solution as a base coat of the texturing process, decals come as the patina. 

Decals bring uniqueness and realism to the scene with the overlay of localized details. The applications with this technique are broad: the fine cracks that spread across pavements; leaks on a pipe; damp on the base of a wall. And these are just examples of the infinity of details possible. 

However, because decals available to creatives are static textures, artists have to make do with what’s available even if it doesn’t quite fit what they had in mind. And when it really does not fit, they are back to square one, having to create the details and effects the old way which requires time, energy and often lacks flexibility.

This observation is at the origin of this project. Our ambition: bring creative freedom and flexibility to artists. 

So what makes Substance decals different? Each decal from the collection is parametric and was created using Substance Designer. And that makes them even more powerful as each asset is really a generator of an infinity of variations of itself. 

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Like all the Substance materials, they come with parameters allowing you to customize their look and feel. 

Moreover, as all the assets on Substance Source, the decals are available as .SBSAR and .SBS files, so you will have access to their creation recipe. For the daring, you can deep dive into a decal and personalize the graph to meet your desires.

Flexibility in the creative iterations is one part of the deal. Making sure the user experience matches artist workflows was also paramount. 

On this topic, we worked closely with the Substance Painter team to design content that flawlessly enables artists to paint details on their models. We designed parameters specifically in each asset enabling you to change how you want to apply the decals in order to make them usable in multiple workflows.

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Let’s deep dive into the categories of decals we created for this first collection. Here is the structure that you will find on Substance Source to sort the decals in different groups. 

Cracks: Cracks group cracks, splits and, crevices of different scales, shape, spread and, substrate. Particularly useful to create damaged roads, concrete walls, sidewalk asphalt, rocks, dirt; in short everything that needs cracking, bro!

Damage: We’re taking the game up a notch with some proper destruction. From pot-holes, craters, even bullet impacts parameters enabling you to control the size, the caliber and the distribution of impacts. All the heavy-duty wear and tear but mostly tear is available here on the pile of rubble.

Hard Surfaces: Don’t waste time modeling complex manholes, vents, and grilles! Say it with a texture. Sewer plates and pavement blacks become high-detailed stamps to paint across tarmacs and concrete. The options are endless in terms of shape, pattern, material, and weathering. 

Leaks and stains: If you’re into creating post-apocalyptic environments with moldy and derelict architecture or if you’re simply nostalgic of student dorms, boy, we have something for you! 

It’s leaking from everywhere! It might be rust, damp, puddles or unidentified stains and blisters, the realism of these grungy materials will make you feel like teen spirit. 

If you’re more crime scene oriented, the shelf is dripping with all kinds of blood marks and splatters from the forensic lab. 

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Patches:

Ever wished to decorate the streets with stickers but afraid of getting caught? Fear no more as you can now use fully parametric stickers to decorate walls, street lamps, railings, and more.

Road patches and trowel patches will allow you to give your streets and sidewalks a worn-out feel and look to it.

Prints and paint: Prints, paint, and tags, different brushes, techniques and mediums to spray, roll and flock things from the ground up. For some of us who dreamed to play with the machine that paints the line on the road (yes there are weirdos everywhere), this category is the ultimate valve to express creativity in making road signs a bit more fun. 

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And this is just the beginning! Okay, it feels like we say it every month nowadays but there are so many things we’re working on. So stay tuned: this is going to grow. 

We can’t wait to see what you guys will create with it. 

Send us your work with decals with the hashtag #SubstanceSource so we can have a look, and maybe reshare your work!