Substance - What am I missing here?

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  06 June 2011
Substance - What am I missing here?

I've been playing around with the Substance materials in Maya 2012 and am having pretty mixed feelings about the whole thing.
On the one hand, it is a pretty cool system, but on the other hand it seems terribly incomplete.
Now I normally just do textures the old-school way - paint them myself and use Photoshop to beat textures into submission over a UV map. But at first glance I thought Substance might be pretty cool for making that process a little quicker.
However, I've found that while the Brick Wall substances seem to have a full range of controls - particularly in scaling on X and Y, most of the rest of them seem to be pretty limited in what you can do.
The wood Substances seem all but useless unless you just want enormous planks.
granted, I haven't tried all of them, but I'm not terribly impressed with those I have tried, and all I think I might ever use would be the bricks.

It actually seems like all it's doing in the case of most of the Substances is slapping a square low res texture over your objects and then giving you various options for image filtering and automatic bump/normal/spec map creation. Which is cool, but unfortunately it seems to be lacking the most important control - size adjustment. Or in the case of some of them, very limited size adjustment.
Yeah, you can go and adjust the repeats on the UV map, but I'm seeing very obvious tiling in that case, like one would expect. And in any event you can do that with a regular texture anyway.
Might as well just do that anyway, if you're planning on using mental ray...

Seems to me really like all Substance is, is a somewhat limited demo of sorts. The Allogorithmic website seems to have all kinds of Substance extras like the Bonus Tools, plus a huge amount of extra Substances you can buy and the Bitmap 2 material plugin, but is any of that worth it?
Am I missing something here? Is any of this worth it? To tell you the truth, my initial reaction is to not even bother with it since I can do all this much more quickly and with much less trial and error in Photoshop, but it seems like it could be a great idea, but is incomplete at the moment.
And of course, being that mental ray can't render the actual Substances out unless you bake it all down into normal textures, that further helps to make it look less useful.

Last edited by twosheds : 06 June 2011 at 03:41 PM.
 
  06 June 2011
it's really meant as a sort of rapid development environment for game textures, since I find the quality is not good enough to use for something like archviz. If you have a large texture library and an smart tiling texture program like Pixplant or imagesynth, you don't need Substance. I've used it when I wanted to bang out something with a simple tiled metal and didn't feel like digging into my textures.
 
  06 June 2011
Thanks for the reply, cgbeige.
Yeah I was trying to use it to quickly create some textures for some cabinets I have in an arch viz scene, and that just wasn't working.
I did get a pretty nice granite texture for my counter tops though, so it wasn't a total loss, but for wood it seems to be a complete waste of time.
I guess I'm going to have to look into Image Synth one day. I've had that suggested to me on several occasions, but I don't often have the time to learn another app so I've been putting it off.
I appreciate your insights.

Edit:
Oh great, I go to look up imageSynth and all I find is "This product has been discontinued".
Just not my day I guess.

Last edited by twosheds : 06 June 2011 at 04:29 PM.
 
  07 July 2011
Hey twosheds,
Thanks for your feedback.
Originally Posted by twosheds: Yeah, you can go and adjust the repeats on the UV map, but I'm seeing very obvious tiling in that case, like one would expect. And in any event you can do that with a regular texture anyway.
Well, there might be a little bit of misunderstanding here, Substance is a hybrid texturing technology that allows you to mix bitmaps, procedural noises and vector graphics, it does not necessarily mean "fully procedural"... Which is what I understand from your "tiling" definition. If you are looking for textures that allow you to zoom in/out on large scale environments, you might not be able to find what you are looking for with Substances.

Again, if there is some type of textures that you think is missing in Maya, just let us know. If there are ways we can make the Substance plugin better we would like to know. :-)

Quote: Am I missing something here? Is any of this worth it? To tell you the truth, my initial reaction is to not even bother with it since I can do all this much more quickly and with much less trial and error in Photoshop, but it seems like it could be a great idea, but is incomplete at the moment.
No, I do not think that you are missing something, you were probably expecting something completely different from what Substance was meant to be.
Having a huge library of fully customizable, multi-outputs pre-made textures is not a useful thing to have in Maya?

Quote: And of course, being that mental ray can't render the actual Substances out unless you bake it all down into normal textures, that further helps to make it look less useful.
You just mentioned the Substance Bonus Tools for Maya available on our website, this tools will allow you to render Substances with mentalRay without baking them, and it comes with 25 additional Substances. Some of this new Substances are called "filters", and will allow you for example to use Substances with an existing bitmap texture as an input.
http://www.allegorithmic.com/commun...tools-maya-2012

Thanks again for your feedback,
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Last edited by Wolvawab : 07 July 2011 at 04:38 PM.
 
  07 July 2011
The Substance plugin included with Autodesk Maya 2012 is just the demo version?

So if I wanted more than 25 substances, will the texture packs work with the bundled version or does one have to purchase the designer?
 
  07 July 2011
Originally Posted by Hamburger: The Substance plugin included with Autodesk Maya 2012 is just the demo version?
Absolutely not, there is no limitation in the Substance plugin.
Quote: So if I wanted more than 25 substances, will the texture packs work with the bundled version or does one have to purchase the designer?
What texture pack are you exactly talking about? The ones available on our marketplace? If that's the case, all these Substances are indeed compatible with Maya, and you can use them without any restriction.
You will need the Substance Designer to create your own Substances.
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Last edited by Wolvawab : 09 September 2011 at 10:37 PM. Reason: Spelling
 
  08 August 2011
Originally Posted by Wolvawab: If you are looking for textures that allow you to zoom in/out on large scale environments, you might not be able to find what you are looking for with Substances.

Again, if there is some type of textures that you think is missing in Maya, just let us know. If there are ways we can make the Substance plugin better we would like to know. :-)


Hi Wolawab. I realise that this is quite a old thread but I haven't been able to play around with substance until recently.

I agree with thosheds here. this plugin seems to have the potential of beeing a quite useful tool. The only problem, and it's actually a showstopping problem, is that there is limited or no way to adjust the scale of the textures. In my work it would be a really quick way of creating nice textures for background elements in a shot and stuff like that. But since the only way to scale the textures down seem to be to tile them, it's just not going to work. I don't need to be able to zoom in on them or anything, that's not what I'm after. I just need to be able to adjust their size without them getting tiled back to the stone age.
Is this something that can be accomplished or is it simply not possible with the technology you provide?
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  08 August 2011
Originally Posted by lostparanoia: Hi Wolawab. I realise that this is quite a old thread but I haven't been able to play around with substance until recently.

I agree with thosheds here. this plugin seems to have the potential of beeing a quite useful tool. The only problem, and it's actually a showstopping problem, is that there is limited or no way to adjust the scale of the textures. In my work it would be a really quick way of creating nice textures for background elements in a shot and stuff like that. But since the only way to scale the textures down seem to be to tile them, it's just not going to work. I don't need to be able to zoom in on them or anything, that's not what I'm after. I just need to be able to adjust their size without them getting tiled back to the stone age.
Is this something that can be accomplished or is it simply not possible with the technology you provide?


I totally agree with lostparanoia.
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  09 September 2011
Thanks for the feedback lostparanoia,

Originally Posted by lostparanoia: I agree with thosheds here. this plugin seems to have the potential of beeing a quite useful tool. The only problem, and it's actually a showstopping problem, is that there is limited or no way to adjust the scale of the textures. In my work it would be a really quick way of creating nice textures for background elements in a shot and stuff like that. But since the only way to scale the textures down seem to be to tile them, it's just not going to work. I don't need to be able to zoom in on them or anything, that's not what I'm after. I just need to be able to adjust their size without them getting tiled back to the stone age.
I am not quite sure to understand what you really want to achieve. :-/
What do you exactly mean by "scale"? Maybe you are talking about texture resolution?

Quote: Is this something that can be accomplished or is it simply not possible with the technology you provide?
If I have understood correctly what you meant by "scale", we are actually working on a solution that might help you resolve this issue. I hope to show you something very soon, stay tuned! ^_^
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  09 September 2011
Originally Posted by Wolvawab: Thanks for the feedback lostparanoia,

I am not quite sure to understand what you really want to achieve. :-/
What do you exactly mean by "scale"? Maybe you are talking about texture resolution?


To clarify a little bit, let's say I'm using the pebble substance. the pebbles in the texture are very big and very few. instead of having 10 huge pebbles in the texture I would probably need to have hundreds of quite small pebbles instead. If I understand it corrrectly the only way to achieve that at the moment is by tiling the texture, which is not what I want.

Originally Posted by Wolvawab: If I have understood correctly what you meant by "scale", we are actually working on a solution that might help you resolve this issue. I hope to show you something very soon, stay tuned! ^_^


That sounds awesome! looking forward to see your solution.
__________________
"No, the movement is good, it just has to travel faster from spot A to spot B in the same amount of time."
 
  09 September 2011
Originally Posted by lostparanoia: To clarify a little bit, let's say I'm using the pebble substance. the pebbles in the texture are very big and very few. instead of having 10 huge pebbles in the texture I would probably need to have hundreds of quite small pebbles instead. If I understand it corrrectly the only way to achieve that at the moment is by tiling the texture, which is not what I want.
Ok, I understand a bit better now... What you are currently describing has nothing to do with a technology limitation. The pebbles example is actually a design decision made by the artist. The Substance parameters that are displayed within the Attribute Editor have not been automatically created by the software. The artist who have created this texture has decided to create a parameter that allow you to control the size of the pebbles, not their quantity, it does not mean that it is impossible to do, again this is just a design decision.

Quote: That sounds awesome! looking forward to see your solution.
Note that this solution will not resolve what you have just mentioned with pebbles for example... This will allow you to texture large scale environments with a much less visible "tiling" effect.
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  09 September 2011
Originally Posted by Wolvawab: This will allow you to texture large scale environments with a much less visible "tiling" effect.


That is exactly what I need.
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  09 September 2011
Originally Posted by Wolvawab: This will allow you to texture large scale environments with a much less visible "tiling" effect.


That is actually exactly what I want.
__________________
"No, the movement is good, it just has to travel faster from spot A to spot B in the same amount of time."
 
  09 September 2011
I have been experimenting with Allegorithmic's bitmap2Material plugin and finding it quite useful in that it quickly allows for taking any file texture image and from that image make seamlessly tile and simultaneously make diffuse, specular, normal, displacement maps, etc - and put it all into a shader network where you can control many aspects of the look from the substance parameters node. Of course you could do all of this manually on your own but for me it simplifies this process considerably, especially with the tiling features. If you have good high resolution file textures to work with you can make some amazing textures very quickly.

Of course it would be far better if all this functionality was built into the 2012 Maya's substance without having to buy this extra plugin. I also found that (on a mac) the substance bonus tools plugin seemed buggy when using it with the bitmap2Material plugin so I could output it to a Mental Ray shader and found that baking the material worked more reliably.
 
  09 September 2011
Yes, the main purpose of B2M is to allow artists to quickly create a complete material from a diffuse texture or photograph, it is also great to create seamless tileable textures as you just mentioned... All of this, directly within Maya.
I am glad to see that you are enjoying the Bitmap2Material.

Do not hesitate to let us know what kind of issues your are experiencing with Bonus Tools. ^_^
Cheers,
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~~~ My Portfolio ~~~
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Last edited by Wolvawab : 09 September 2011 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Spelling
 
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