“Procedularem marmoream relinquo, quam immobilis latericiam accepi” might have said Imperator Augustus Sallustius if the ancient Rome had been created using Substance 3D tools!
Following our first evergreen article on the parametric woods of Substance 3D assets, the second chapter will be dedicated to procedural marble materials.
As of today, there are more than 670 marble materials available in the library for you to “veni, vidi, tweaky”!
Chapter 1: A catalog of mineral options
An icon of tradition and refinement, marble is an essential material in the toolkit of interior designers, architects and other designers.
It is the ideal candidate for the realization of kitchen and bathroom furniture, although the diversity of patterns it offers as well as the technical advances in it’s processing lead many creatives to mix it within the CMF of high-tech products such as high-end speakers or smartphones.
We have therefore very recently added to the library more than 200 parametric materials of marble in order to build up a wide catalogue of the main types of marbles and granites.
26 different marbles types to be more precise.
Designers, architects and creative people will find the 3D equivalent of the physical material libraries.
Get direct access to a wealth of visually realistic ready-to-use content, creative freedom and the immediacy that digital media allows.
No longer do you have to wait for a sample to be made to make a choice of color and material, each designer has the power to create the surface finish he or she is looking for with photo-realistic quality.
We may take this material for granted – it’s indeed in the common belief the symbol of antique Greek and Roman style – but the diversity of patterns and colors it offers is utterly exciting!
For the material lovers, marble rock is typically composed of an interlocking mosaic of carbonate crystals resulting from metamorphism eg. the change of minerals or geologic texture of sedimentary carbonate rocks, most commonly limestone or dolomite rock.
Pure white marble is the result of the re-arrangement of minerals of a very pure limestone.
Like the chaos of the creation of its real counterpart, creating a realistic digital marble requires to bring together 2 key ingredients, Roman technical artist sweat and randomness:
- The mineral randomness of the distribution of the swirls and veins in order to make it visually believable. This organic pattern will also allow for the material to be applied on larger surfaces without a visible repetition.
- A sufficient level of details that will reinforce the photorealism of the texture as not enough details will prevent using the texture in close up visualization.
The swirls and veins patterns of colored marble varieties are created by mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert.
Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally magnesium-rich limestone or dolomite with silica impurities.
These various impurities have been mobilized and recrystallized by the intense pressure and heat of the metamorphosed limestone.
Chapter 2: Archeology
Modern design and stone masonry are just one of the many applications of digital marbles as we experienced last fall when the Substance 3D assets team worked on a collection of ancient marble specific to the Greek and Roman eras.
The genesis of the creation of this collection came from the community. We received a peculiar request through our Discord channel that picked our curiosity.
It was a request for content to texture antique ruins 3D models with photorealistic marbles to preserve the remains of ancient temples.
Archaeological visualization in 3D is an exciting new use case for photorealistic materials. The objective here is not very far from the needs of textures and materials that a level artist can have to faithfully reproduce the environment of a historical video game.
Where anachronisms are allowed for this kind of project, accuracy in the smallest details is paramount in the photorealistic reproduction of archaeological sites for their preservation.
In this type of project, the main use case for this type of content is the visualization of lost or destroyed parts of excavation sites in order to reproduce their original state of beauty.
In fact, while scanning techniques of various sizes are to be recommended for existing remains, the materials we are talking about here can be useful to complete the missing parts and establish a satisfactory transition to the real thing.
This is what we are aiming for with this collection of antique marbles: to get as close as possible to reality in terms of the level of detail of the marble vein while offering maximum control to customise the main attributes of the material.
Consequently the procedural marbles present on Substance 3D assets are able to generate an infinite number of marble textures, all unique to each other, with a single click.
“habebat autem demiurgus” This is the super power of procedural matter!
In addition to an infinite number of variations, the integrated parameters allow you to modify several aspects of the material at will.
Let’s follow the vein down to the very last one of them!
- the color of inclusions and veins can be selectively modified to reproduce several states of the marble and its exposure to light, but also to create new color combinations according to the purpose of the project.
- The roughness of the surface allows the surface state to vary from a rough block to a polished version of the material.
- there are parameters unique to each type of marble that control the density of inclusions and the propagation of veins, giving total control over the direction and distribution of the mineral elements in the stone.
In this case, a procedural asset can be considered as a generator not of one type of marble but of all variations of an entire vein in the same way that marble quarrymen excavate a real vein in the ground.
In addition to the compositional parameters of the marble itself we have added several cursors that allow us to visually simulate the alteration of the stone surface such as:
- propagation of cracks and fissures with fine control over their size and density.
- surface alteration due to time and natural elements creating disturbances in the surface grain.
3D archaeologists of the world! We can’t wait to see what you will do with these materials so send us your creations…
Chapter 3: and more patterns
Whatever the workflow, the tools or the purpose of the project, our aim is to provide ready-to-use content.
No need to spend hours reinventing the Spatha! (no bis repetita…) Ingredients are worth less than the skills needed to combine them!
The added value is as much in the technicality as in the subtle choice and association of colors, shapes and finishes that make the photorealistic project a memorable work of art!
So customize, tweak, combine, be it the parameters or the graph Substance and “Alea Jacta Est”
(the random seed is on!) .SBS and .SBSAR formats are available on the platform giving you access to the premade ingredients of primordial soup.
In addition to the plain marbles we created materials that can help you save time by saving on modeling time.
Marbles can be utilized in precise use cases such as flooring, walls and even columns of various shape and distribution of tiles and carving patterns!
We created parametric assets combining the base material and these specific patterns in order to enable you to create marble floors in just a few clicks.
You have the choice between 13 different patterns of tiles offering a large spectrum of variations in their shape, size and style.
Like all the procedural assets, all come with specific parameters enabling you to modify the size of the tiles, the proportions of the pattern, to adapt the shape of the tiles and the overall distribution to achieve various effects.
For instance you can specify the space between each tile and the nature, color, surface and depth of the join material.
For Architecture professionals, the tricky part is to avoid repetition on large areas of tile patterns especially regarding the details of organic motifs of the surface like the vein of the marble.
Identical marble tiles will be spotted immediately if the material replicates 4 or 5 times across the surface. In order to avoid this visual defect, the materials include parameters that enable you to control the rotation of the marble vein of each tile, adding this extra randomness.
Columns are an essential part of the greek and roman architecture and earlier eras such as the Ceasar palace. Columns can have complex geometries and changing their design can be an expensive extra load during a project.
Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to change the design of a column instantly to create an additional proposal for a client?
Specific to marbles, we created 3 different column patterns that reduce the column body to a simple primitive. All the details come from the material!
You can design every detail the way you want it to be.
Changed your mind? Change the design by moving a few sliders from the material parameters.
We hope this new evergreen will help you navigate within the library and guide you to choose the marble you need!
We’ll be back soon to throw a new marble in another category of content.
Happy 2021 to all from the Substance 3D assets team.