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Topics - justaviking

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I hope this is a good place to ask this question.

Can anyone direct me to a reasonable "Wine" MDL, or share one with me?  I'm picturing a nice red wine.

I'm working on another project, and before I started hand-creating my own wine material - complete with SSS - I decided to try and find an existing material.  (Actually, I did sort of make a wine material, but it's just by manually tweaking some raw values, nothing as sophisticated as a nice MDL file.)  Sure, it's fun to make my own stuff, but I'm trying to be smart and not go deep into every potential sub-project.  My searches came up empty, but maybe I just don't know the smart places to look.  So I came, here, to where all the experts reside.

On a personal note, I used to spend a lot of time on the forums here, and loved it.  Other priorities in life have pulled me away from my hobbies for many months now.  It's not been anything bad, so don't be concerned, but I'm finally trying to get back to some "me time" and revitalize some of my hobby activities.  Right now I'm working on an animation proof-of-concept, and am rendering with Iray.  Gosh, I'm having to re-learn so much stuff.  I'll get back into Substance Designer and Painter eventually, but wanted to get on with my animation experiment first.

SubstanceSubstance - Discussions - Nvidia Iray and the AI Denoiser
 on: August 21, 2018, 03:17:38 am 
What can you tell us about Iray's AI Denoiser with respect to Substance Designer and Painter?  Any plans?

We've been waiting for quite a while for a couple of "from Nvidia" fixes.  One is problems with their last few Driver releases, and the other has to do with a Normals issue when rendering in Iray.  I'd like to be sure the AI Denoiser is on the list.

If it's already there, I'll be embarrassed, but it wouldn't be the first time.

A question in another forum made me curious.  At artist who uses a "toon" shader complained about her characters looking all wrong when she them moved from indoors to outdoors.  That issue touches on one of the great benefits of a PBR workflow, which is your materials will look correct even as the lighting conditions change, since the materials respond to light in a realistic fashion.  (That's not news to most people in this forum, but I had to say it anyway.)

So that made me curious...  Are "PBR" and "Toon" mutually exclusive, incompatible concepts?  Or are there toon shaders that can leverage PBR principles?

I did a little bit of searching, but didn't find clear answers.  I figured someone here would know.

Any links, references, stories, and examples would be appreciated.

This question came as a result of the "ceiling substance" I was working on.
You can read more about that over here:

In this first picture, you can see the problem.  Some of my "pebbles" have flat tops.

I used a "tile generator" node, with the "Thorn" shape, and have a mildly randomized offset.  I was moslty satisfied with the result, but when I increase the density (quantity) of pebbles, some of them overlap and I get a large-ish fully-white area that results in a flat top.  But even the largest, highest pebble clump should be rounded on top.

I've tried messing with levels and blur settings, but I can't find a way to ensure my pebbles are always rounded.  You'd think this would be super-easy to solve, and maybe it is, but I'm stumped.

If it helps, I can easily create a mini-substance specifically to demonstrate what I did, and share it here.

Here are a couple reference images...

Oops!  I meant to put this in the "Discussion" section rather than the "Product Support" section.
Oh well, at least I correctly put in the Substance Designer part of the forum.

This should be a basic topic, but the more I looked, the more I twisted all 17 of my brain cells into a knot.

When I start a new Substance, and add a "Normal" node, I've made some observations and have some questions.  If anyone can provide insight to any of these questions, I would greatly appreciate it.

1) Normal Format is set to "Direct X."  Cool.  Everything looks great.  But the "Renderer" is set to OpenGL, with the only other option being "Iray."  If I change the Normal Format to "OpenGL" things get inside out, as expected.  Is there any way to properly display an OpenGL normal inside Designer?  And why is it the OpenGL renderer correctly displays DirectX-formatted normal maps but not OpenGL normals?  I guess I'm easily confused.

2) If I wanted to create an "OpenGL-based substance," I don't see any "normal format option" during the "Publish .sbsar file" operation.   Is my only viable option to work with DirectX normals so things look correct in Designer, and then at the last minute, remember to change my Normal Format to OpenGL when I'm ready to export the .sbsar file, and then switch back to DirectX if I want to do more work on the Substance?
3)  When I first add a Normal node, the Alpha Channel Content is set to "Fill Alpha with Input."  But when I do "Reset to Default Value," the Alpha Channel Content changes to "Force Alpha to 1."  So which setting is really the default setting?  The "Normal Format" setting does not behave that way.  I don't remember setting, nor can I find, any personal "Normal" preference.

4) Adding on to #3, it has a yellow triangle "warning" icon then Alpha Channel Content is set to "Force Alpha to 1."  Can anyone explain what that really does, and (other than setting to "Fill Alpha with Input") how would you make the warning go away?  When and why would you use "Fill Alpha with Input?"

5) The Normal Normalize node - It does not seem to do what I thought it would.  I thought it would be sort of like an "auto-level" that would fill the range from low to high.  To test, I put in a simple pattern (Mesh 1) and sent it to a Normal node.  Looked great.  Then I also put the mesh through a Levels node, and shrunk the output range to be in the 40-60% range, rather than 0-100% range.  I put that to another Normal node, and of course the resulting Normal map is very faint.  So I put that faint Normal into a "Normal Normalize" node, expecting it to become more vibrant.  But I see zero change.  So what is that node supposed to do, and when would I want to use it?

Random question - "Substance" or "Material" - Which term do we use, and when?  Are they fully interchangeable?
For as long as I've been on this forum, you think I'd know the answer, but I'm really not entirely sure.

I am making some control panels, and similar things with simple raised and recessed geometry.  Rather than bother with a high-poly version of the mesh will all the buttons modeled (and then needing to bake the high-poly onto the low-poly), I'm thinking it might be just as good, and a whole lot easier to simply "stamp" things onto a flat surface using Normal stamps and/or a simple Alpha stamp on the Height Channel.

I do want this to look good, but it is not a "hero prop" and will not be used for a photorealistic rendering.  Think of it as a "very nice" game asset.

Do you have any general suggestions on deciding between the "Normal Stamp tools" and using a simple alpha on the brush for the Height Channel?  It would certainly be easier for me to make custom brush alphas, but what other considerations are there?

Any tips on how best to line up my stamping?
Could I use the "straight line" feature and the Brush "Spacing" to do it?
I suppose I could create a custom alpha in some other tool where I can align and ensure things are equally spaced, and then stamp all the buttons at one time, but I'm wondering if there's a practical way to just go "stamp, stamp, stamp" in Painter and get them all lined up nicely?  Painter doesn't have a "grid" I can snap to, at least none that I'm aware of.

I want to have some "buttons" with different colors.  And some will also have an Emissive (glow) Channel applied to them.  Would you just eyeball your brush and re-stamp over them with the height/normal channel turned off and the base color/emissive channel(s) turned on?

Here are a couple pictures to give you an idea of what I'm talking about...

I have seen a zillion posts here about baking Normal maps.  I've never really done it other than a few "push the button" tests (with mixed success).  Sometimes it seems to be as much art as science.


I have a rather simple object, essentially a rectangular control panel with buttons and minor recesses.  Basically you could use a box and some "Normal stamps" or "Alpha stamps on the Height Channel" to achieve the same result.  (In fact, I'm considering that as a solution, depending on how this "baking" turns out.)

I intend for the low-poly to actually be a simple rectangular box.


Should I have my low-poly box be "smaller" than the high-poly model, so everything protrudes outward from there?  Or should the low-poly box fully contain the high-poly model?  Or is it best to split the difference, with the "buttons" protruding outside of the low-poly box and the recessed areas being inside the low-poly box?  Does it matter?

I feel like I'm overlooking something obvious.

- Suppose I have several nodes, all doing very similar things, based on the $TIME variable
- They all include the same complex math function, but with one minor difference at the end
- - - Node 1:   $TIME * (complex math function) + 0.3
- - - Node 2:   $TIME * (complex math function) + 1.1
- - - Node 2:   $TIME * (complex math function) + 7.8
- The "complex math function" is the same for all the nodes

- How can I create the "complex math function" one time, and then use it in each of the other functions?
- Can I define my own function?

- Especially during the development phase, I made adjustments to that math function, which means I had to edit all three nodes over and over and over again.  (I used copy/paste a lot.)  It sure would have been nice to make a single edit in one place.

This question appears over and over again, so I am creating this dedicated thread, and will include a link to it in my siganture.

To attach one or more files to your post, follow the guidance in this picture...

SubstanceSubstance - Discussions - "Advanced Search" for the forum
 on: April 24, 2018, 04:45:08 pm 
Is there any sort of "Advanced Search" available for searching the forum?
If so, where is it hidden?

It would be great to be able to restrict (filter) our searches in several ways:
> Forum sections/subsection - Examples:  "Painter" or "Painter - Discussion" or "Substance Designer - Showcase"
> Username
> Date range - Example:  In the last week
> Body of text vs. Subject line

I'm not a real fan on the interface and layout, but here is an example of the Advanced Search from a different user forum:

Usually I play with individual little features and functions, and spend time writing on the forums, but all-too-rarely do I actually complete a project.  Trying to create a specific "look" is definitely a different task from creating individual little portions of a Substance.

My Substances are not in the same class as the awe-inspiring forest floors with twigs and leaves, or stunning bricks, but that's okay.  In their humble way, they pleased me, and more than that, I want to let other people know that even simple substances are worthy of being shared.  So... ATTENTION SHY PEOPLE: If I can share my stuff, so can you.

Without further ado, here are a few things I've worked on lately.

First, I present to you...  Toilet paper.
Okay, go ahead and laugh.  It's funny, but only until you run out.  Then we'll see how funny you think it is.

Here is a toilet paper roll holder, with TP on it, modeled in Blender by my young son.  It's not bad, but it's a bit dull.  In the iClone animation package I use, too many props stop at this level.

I had some fun in Substance Designer, and created three substances:
1) A custom "dust" material.  I know there is a "dust" node, but I expanded on it.   Now I have adjustable sliders for the amount and opacity of the dust, how far it spreads, how it collects in the recesses (base on ambient occlusion), and also the color and roughness of the metal.  Dust?  Surely I am not the only person whose brand of TP lets a few fibers float away and make a light layer of dust on the holder.  (TMI?)
2) A "toilet paper print" pattern, including a couple of parameters such as the "lumpiness" of the overall surface.
3) A "concentric circles" substance, suitable for the ends of the toilet paper roll, also usable on paper towels, gift wrap, or even disk brake rotors.  I have several parameters for that, too, including the intensity of the rings and a warping factor so it's not all perfectly circular.

(Normally this would not be used in the middle of an outdoor patio.)

This model does not have the cardboard tube painted in it.  It is a trivial thing, but needs to be added to the model in Blender.  And the model should be re-unwrapped to, rather than just using the automated default unwrapping.  I never seem to get around to doing it, but as you can tell I finally decided to post my picture anyway.

Here is an example of the non-circular rings:

I made an iClone prop out of this, and also created my first-ever "morph" in iClone, so I have a morph slider to adjust how much paper is left, adjustable from this "full roll" down to about "1/4 remaining," and the paper hanging down gets a bit longer and curls more tightly since it comes from an inner diameter of the roll.  It would be fun to also have a separate "empty cardboard tube" which could be removed, leaving only the empty holder.

I was telling a coworker about my toilet paper adventure, and then we started looking at a roll of paper towels on the lunch table.  That inspired me to try my hand at that, so I made a paper towel substance.

I was actually very pleased with how the "fine fibers" turned out.  I think it made the paper look soft and plush, and hopefully very absorbent.  If you zoom in on this picture, you'll see what I mean about the soft, fuzzy texture.  I usually struggle with "fine" details, so that is why I was particularly please that this turned out the way it did.

Some or all of these may eventually find their way onto Substance Share.

I've been working on some terry cloth towels too, with customizable monograms, but I'll save them for another day.

In Designer, you can add an "Icon" image.

WHERE should that show up?  I've never seen it appear anywhere.

First - I feel like I should know the answer to this because I've seen stuff like this in the forum, but it's eluding me.
Second - I'm not sure if it's due to Designer or Painter.

I have a material with a subtle height variation.
It looks fine (as far as I can tell) in Substance Designer.

In Painter, I just started to notice what I thought were some extra swirls.
I increased my resolution from 1k to 2k, and it got worse.
At 4k, it is very bad.

It is definitely coming from the HEIGHT channel.

I was thinking this was some 8-bit vs. 16-bit issue in Designer.
But... in Designer, I don't see the same effect, even at higher resolution.
Also... I'm not finding a place to change it in Designer, even though it's probably there.

Any tips?  What obvious thing am I missing?

The tool tip for the "Substance Source" is missing.
Nothing appears when you hover over it, even though it works.

This is a follow-on to my question about using a single value to control several nodes:,22921.0.html
but it seemed different enough to justify being a new thread.


I want to use a slider to select from a series of pre-defined text strings.  Simply using A, B, C, and D for testing.

It started easy enough.
- Created an INTEGER "input" parameter
- Used a SWITCH node to toggle between two letters, such as A and B
- Changed the True/False button on the Switch node to use a FUNCTION that resulted in a BOOLEAN output
- That seemed to work great

Here is my problem:
- I have a string of Switch nodes
- All are set up the same way, using a function that references the input slider
- Each function is compared against a different integer value (1, 2, 3, or 4)
- But I don't get consistent results... two nodes will switch at the same time, and the one that should switch, might not

- In the first picture below, with Input=2, the top row should be...
--- Blank  (this is my starting state)
--- Blank  (because the slider value is not "1")
--- B        (Because slider value = 2)
--- B        (Because slider value is not "3")
--- B        (Because slider value is not "4")

- I don't know.
- It's like the nodes randomly decide to share the same function values with each other
- But if I select a Switch node and "Edit" the function, the "Compare" is always using the correct number (1, 2, 3, or 4)

Help please:
- Any ideas?
- See pictures, hopefully they help you understand what I'm doing

Project file attached:
- In case it helps
- Ignore the inputs is_a, is_b, is_c, is_d...  I only started playing with them after I encountered this problem, but then decided they weren't going to be useful.

The bottom row of letter are the "input" text strings.
The top row should only contain blanks, followed by the desired letter (Example:  Blank-Blank-B-B-B)

This is the Function for the letter "B"...

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