Paint Across UV Tiles (UDIMs) in Substance Painter

A new workflow for VFX artists and optimizations for everyone!

This is it. The moment you have been waiting for. Today, Substance Painter reaches new heights of definition, optimization, and maneuverability. Every artist will feel a significant performance boost, all thanks to the introduction of a much-awaited new workflow: you can now paint across UV Tiles. Check it out:

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What is the difference between UV Tiles and UDIMs? How can I use this workflow in Substance Painter? What does this mean for the future of Substance Painter? The answers of all these questions, and more, are here. Read on. 

Is it UV Tiles or UDIMs? Both, actually! 

In Substance Painter, UV Tile is the feature and UDIM is the naming convention. While UDIM is currently the only convention available, we have plans to expand it in the future (such as supporting Mudbox or ZBrush naming standard). We’re also exploring the idea to support tiles with negative coordinates, which isn’t possible with the UDIM scheme. This is why we chose a broader term for this workflow. Learn more about UV Tiles in the documentation. 

Supercharged texturing for all

The point of the UV Tiles workflow is to allow you to deal with much higher resolutions. In order to support this, we’ve had to roll up our sleeves, and tinker with many aspects of Substance Painter. As a result, we’re coming out of this new release with many ways to make your texturing workflow faster, lighter — better.  

— Open large files faster: viewport textures computation launches when you select the texture set you want to work on. 
Save your project at least 30% faster, as we’re saving only what has changed since your last save. 
— Bakes load asynchronously. They also take less space! Your files are on average 20% lighter.
— When you’re working on a mask, in the viewport, we’re only updating the mask, and not the texturing. 
Export your textures at least 60% faster.  

You can also take matters in your hands, and gain time by pausing computation. Multiple costly actions – like the application of several smart materials on a complex project – will be queued, until you un-pause computation, which triggers calculations.

New workflow, familiar interface

So, this is it, your first new UV Tiles project in Substance Painter. To set it up, you can just opt-in the UV Tiles (UDIMs) workflow and use your .FBX or Alembic mesh with UDIMs. 

You can get creative right away – or you can import a UDIM image sequence. Once you have imported your resource, just drag and drop it in your new fill layer, and voilà! Each texture will automatically be assigned to its respective tile.

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For more details, here’s a tutorial:

You’re all set up to work.  

Yes, the UV Tiles workflow is new, but you will find that it’s designed to be familiar. Basically, if you know your way around Substance Painter, you should be able to carry on fairly easily. 

Baking is a good example of that. Get better control over your bakes by choosing specifically which texture set or UV Tile to bake.

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More details about baking in this tutorial:

All right. Now we’re entirely set up, and ready to… 

Get painting! 

It’s as simple as that: grab a brush, and paint. In the UV Tiles workflow, you can (obviously) paint from one tile to another. Like so:

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And while we’re having fun, why not play with 🔥 particles across UV Tiles! 🔥

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Of course, you can use your favorite generators across UV Tiles as well. They will behave exactly as you’d expect them to: apply your generator across UV tiles and see your entire asset get seamlessly shiny. Or dirty, we’re not judging. 

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Don’t want to paint on a UV Tile? The UV Tile Mask allows you to discard a tile or more. Masking a UV Tile is also a great way to optimize your workflow, if you find you’re working with a very complex or very large project. You can also use this feature when a UV Tile gets in the way of painting. 

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Have more questions about texturing in Substance Painter’s UV Tiles workflow? We made a tutorial.

All right, you’re all done texturing. Now, let’s get those renders on the way.

Export your work 

Exporting is just as simple. All the export presets have been updated to make sure your textures will be named properly with the UDIM convention. Everything you export is ready to import in any renderer or engine that supports UDIMs, such as Arnold in Maya or the latest version of Unreal Engine 4. 

Artwork by Damien Guimoneau

Here’s a quick tutorial to help you export your textures:

Meet Damien Guimoneau

This Substance Painter release is happy to showcase the UV Tiles workflow with a beautiful baby dragon made by Damien Guimoneau, who you may know from his fantastic work on the main characters of last year’s The Lion King. Damien is on Artstation and Instagram.

Follow Damien on Artstation

As always, we want to give special thanks to all of you. Your feedback and encouragement is what drives us to push forward. Please keep helping us make Substance Painter the tool you need.

Beta and Alpha testers were instrumental in building the new workflow, helping us get to the quality we always strive to deliver.

“Substance Painter is an integral part of our look development workflow at Rising Sun Pictures, working on models with hundreds of UDIMs every day. The addition of the UV Tiles workflow expands to our needs in feature film VFX with blazingly fast performance on complex, highly detailed models. It’s the same Substance workflow we all know and love with even more freedom!” Andrew Palmer, Senior Look Development Artist, Rising Sun Pictures

“Concerning my working process, this is the biggest update since the creation of Substance Painter!” Jean Michel Bihorel, Lookdev & Lighting Supervisor at The Yard VFX and Mentor at Creative Seeds.

Livestream

The Substance Painter team and Damien Guimoneau will be live on 27 August at 10:00 AM PST for an in-depth session about the UV Tiles workflow in Substance Painter. Ask your questions, get experts tips and tricks, learn about what’s coming next.