The PBR Guide, Revised and Expanded

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At Allegorithmic, we tend towards the geeky. This likely isn’t news – we’re a company founded by a doctor of mathematics; a company that creates software tools widely used in top-level video games and sci-fi blockbusters. Our Substance suite puts us in a curious position – it’s a tool essentially used to create art, and we as its developers are deeply invested in the quality and beauty of the work it can produce. And yet it is a tool rooted in high-level technology; as focused as we are on the end results that Substance can create, we are also profoundly concerned with the minutiae that make the software work – we are planners, coders, developers, technicians, beta testers.

We’re geeks. Art geeks, and tech geeks. We care about science. Hell, we care about knowledge. To create our Substance tools, we must routinely stand on the shoulders of giants – Maxwell, Fresnel and a host of others besides. We create because we learn – that is, we create because others have made the effort to teach us.

Transmission of knowledge is something we take very seriously at Allegorithmic. It’s precisely for this reason that our Substance software is made available free of charge to students – to help those interested in 3D imaging to learn, and grow. Likewise, it is the logic behind the creation of Substance Academy, and the ever-increasing number of tutorials made available there to help users master our Substance tools.

This is also why, back in 2014 when our technical artist and Substance Integrations Product Manager Wes McDermott wrote his book The PBR Guide, a guide to physically based rendering, we decided to make it available as a download on our site. For free. The PBR Guide has gone through a few revisions since then. Wes, assisted by our in-house team of technical editors, has kept the information and techniques in the book up to date, to keep pace with evolving 3D technology. In 2016, we published it as an actual dead-tree book, the first book ever published by Allegorithmic. We revised the book and published a second edition in 2017.

And now we’re publishing a new edition of the book once again, containing updated information throughout, and with outstanding new cover art by Elouan Harmand. We’re launching the book as part of our appearance at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. If you’re attending GDC and want to take a look at The PBR Guide, it’ll be on sale on our stand for just $10.

Or, alternatively, we’ll just give you an electronic copy of the book. For free. The download link for the PDF of the book has migrated over to Substance Academy, but it’s still up on our site – just as it’s always been, ever since it was first written. If you’re more of an ebook reader, that’s coming soon too – you’ll shortly be able to buy the ebook version of The PBR Guide online for a grand total of zero dollars, and zero cents.

Transmission of knowledge. One of our long-term goals at Allegorithmic to disrupt the typical paradigm of Content Producer > Content Consumer. You’ll see more of that over the coming months. Watch out for it.

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