Substance: The Perfect Details for Character Artists

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This is a good year for all creators of people, monsters and creatures. The Substance team has introduced SSS and displacement into Substance Painter; i.e. all the necessary features for character artists.

Beyond these features the Substance team has also added new content just so you can make any creature imaginable. This was a three-step release – a collaborative effort with world-class skin experts of the delicate, scarred, and necrotic.


Prepare the moisturizing lotion: we are zooming in on every pore and wrinkle of the human skin. Created in partnership with our friends at Texturing XYZ, 52 high-resolution hybrid micro skin materials join the collection!

We organized the selection in different body parts. For each one, we collected several samples, which should allow you to mix multiple grains together in Substance Painter. This way, you’ll get a genuine and unique combination every single time.

Every micro skin material in this release is tileable and delivered with a high-res displacement map. Both the grain and the color map are uniform, which means that there is no imperfection on the micro skins. Each material also has the following maps: roughness / specular level / scattering.


Realism comes from details. In order to give artists precious flexibility, the Substance team created a series of procedural skin materials, to be used in Substance Painter.

Rather than being just a static reproduction of skin imperfections, each material is a generator of an infinity of variations. Custom parameters enable you to create unique elements in terms of shape, size, and colors to meet your creative intentions.

Artwork by Magdalena Dadela, created with skin materials from Substance Source

Our team used very serious references: dermatology publications and vivid reference images helped us to reproduce accurately most of the common skin imperfections – and even diseases, sometimes, so that you can digitally recreate skins that possess a variety of, let’s tactfully say, different conditions…

Aside from having an ever-growing respect for medical professionals, some of the team still shiver when we remember the last few months of production.


And for the monsters out there, we also have 18 fully procedural skin micro details dedicated to gore texturing!

With this collection, we wanted to provide tools which help you with the most time-consuming parts of your workflow. And when it comes to injuries happening live in front of the player or viewer, it can become even more complex as you must rely on resource-hungry technologies to animate the evolution of the character’s health in real time.

Procedural materials are perhaps part of the solution as wounds and cuts can be included as part of the texturing process.

Artwork by Pablo Munoz Gomez, created with skin materials from Substance Source

Furthermore, as the assets are parametric in nature, turning an innocent juvenile pimple into a purulent pustule becomes as simple as moving a slider. Did we mention that it’s fun as well? Because you can make changes to the materials directly in Substance Painter as you work on the look development of the character.

Watch Magdalena Dadela on YouTube as she reveals how she creates astounding characters in Substance Painter.

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