Author Topic: How non-artist/absolute-beginner friendly is substance?  (Read 2852 times)


Before i decided to make this post, i made a bit of research on this matter, and in the end most of the answers everyone give are about preference. Also by the way, i didn't know where to post this so i did here.

So a little bit of background, i'm a computer science student (so i'm more into programming) who has always wished to make games, messed about 1 year with Unity (2D features only) then moved on 3D features and that's when i decided i wanted to learn to make my own game assets (for fun, the challenge, and also for personal projects, i would rather make my own instead of paying an artist to make them every time i had an idea in mind).

That's when i started to learn to use blender, with some tutorials and some online courses i managed to get the basics (modelling, rigging, animating), then i met Maya and i fell in love, i couldn't go back to blender anymore (workflow felt much smoother for me, and got used to UI pretty fast), so that's where i've been messing around since least year.

Now recently after months of practice i finally made my first 3D human(oid) model (yay for me :D) i'm really happy i accomplished that, nothing fancy, just a base-mesh that i got to "dress up", so now my next challenge is to actually texture my model.

Some tutorials i've been watching use and advice to use autodesk mudbox for some sort of stencil/transfer tool, that makes it extremely fast to texture (instead of "unwrapping" and painting the UV map and then going back to maya), but sadly my country doesn't have any mudbox reseller, that's when i saw Steam has substance for a price i can afford.

Now i'm considering to give it a try first (yay for 30 day trial), but like the title says, i'm not an artist, i barely know how to draw (at least i can copy quite decently things i see), so my biggest fear/question lies on how non-artist friendly this software is, i think i may find the answer myself while trying it, but i would like to hear opinion from more experienced users (also don't really feel like learning to hand-paint textures myself).

Sorry for the very long post, and thank you for reading.

You don't need to be an artist to use this software. If I'm understanding you correctly, you're looking to generate textures/materials for models you've made. The majority of these will be sourced from elsewhere like or the built in materials within Painter. So in terms of your ability to draw, it doesn't really come into it.

As for beginner friendly, I picked it up fairly quickly but am familiar with Photoshop, which uses a similar layers type setup. Once you get your head round that, it's a doddle and can be as complex as you need it to be. The inbuilt baking features are quick and powerful. You just need a high/low poly version of your model and you can literally drag materials onto a layer to create a fairly decent look. Once you've got into that, you can then look into more advanced features likes masks/stencils/levels.

Based on your background, I am totally confident that you can learn Substance Painter.

If you can learn modeling and rigging and UV unwrapping, you can do this too.

There are a few key concepts, such as:
- Layers (already mentioned b Olly89)
- Smart Materials (sort of "automate" things like edge wear on paint or dirt in grooves)
- Maps and masks, especially "baked" ones based on the geomety (e.g. Ambient Occlusion and Curvature - Smart Materials use them)
- Different shaders/renderers (spec-gloss vs. metallic)
- Channels (such as color, roughness, opacity)

To do real "art" you'll probably want to use a pen/tablet (e.g. Wacom) with pressure sensitivity.  I mostly use the mouse because I'm more of an engineer than an artist.

This is a great community here, so you can get help when you need it.

Good luck, and have fun.
Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 04:14:41 pm
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Thank you for your answer both of you :)

I always fear the artist approach so that's always the first question i ask (specially when i considered zbrush sculpting, although i would like to learn that someday, i know it will take me more than a year to gain some confidence).

I'll give it a try then, thanks again :)