Author Topic: <Solved> Can you paint smooth surface over a rough one, resulting in smooth?  (Read 10116 times)

This is a real noob question, and I suspect I know the answer, but it never hurts to ask.

If I have a "lumpy" base material created using a "Fill" layer, how can I make a portion of my model smooth?

In my attached picture, I applied the "Steel Parkerized" material, but would like the machined cutting blade (circled) to be smooth and polished looking.

I thought that would be easy, and I would simply create a new layer and "paint" something smoother over it.  But even a solid gray "height" doesn't cover up the underlying layer.  Not like paint does.  It seems to simply be ADDED to the underlying layer's height.

And since it's a "Fill" layer, I can't erase the height channel in selected areas.

If I paint something smooth, like Gold, over it, I get gold's color, but not gold's smoothness, as also seen in my picture.

Do I have to mask out that portion from my "Steel Parkerized" fill layer, so it never gets lumpy to start with, and then add another layer with plain "Steel"?

I thought it would be so easy to "cover up" the lumpy look in that area, but it seems like my only option is to not add it at all.

Am I missing something obvious?

I changed my material selection to plain Steel for my actual painting, but the question remains.
Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 09:12:01 pm
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I used the approach I suspect is the "correct" one:
- Masked out the machined (smooth) polygons from my "Steel Parkerized" fill layer
- Added a smooth, plain "Steel" layer below the Parkerized layer

But if there's another way, I'd still love to be able to fully paint over the height values of a lower-down layer, just like you can with the color channel.
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Hey justaviking,

you can change the blending mode from the height channel to 'replace' instead of the default 'Linear Dodge'.

Best Regards
Environment Artist - Twitter


I tried what you said, but am still not getting the result I was looking for.  Perhaps you can provide some additional nugget of information, or this evening I'll document a step-by-step approach and maybe you'll see what I'm missing.

Two follow-up comments...

I found the documentation page on Blending Modes, and it's vague to say the least.
It states, "Not all the blending modes are suited for all use case. For example the Normal map blending mode are only useful for the normal channel in a texture set."
a) It's great to know about "Normal" blending, but is there any place the other exceptions are documented?
b) How would I use a combination such as Color Burn for the color channel and Replace for the height channel at the same time?
If I need two different layers, I could copy a mask so I pain the same areas, but if I have a brush with any effects (or alpha masks, like for scratches), I would never get my brush strokes to like up correct between the two layers.  So I'm puzzled.

I see this has been discussed before, as I suspected.
Even the esteemed Wes felt it looked like a bug, so no wonder I'm confused.
The last post says to, "change the blending mode of your height channel."

Maybe I'm missing how to change the blending mode of the height channel specifically.

I changed the blending mode, and I turned off the other channels down below, where there are the four buttons for Color, Height, Roughness and Metal.

Yeah, I think I'm missing the click that specifies what channel I'm talking about when I set the blending mode.  (See "Comment 1-b" above.)  That would explain why it's not working for me, and give me the combination control I was asking about above.
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I'm quoting the documentation :
Each Layer has a blending mode and an opacity per channel (you can switch between channels through the top left dropdown menu).
Don't forget your log file. It can be exported from the Help menu of the software.
Fabrice Piquet aka Froyok. Product Manager, Technical Artist and Documentation at Adobe.


I'm certain that is the obvious thing I was missing. 

I was close at least once.  I even cycled through the channels ("C") to look at the display of each of them.  So close, yet so far.

I'm away from my Substance Painter computer right now, but can't wait to get home and give it a whirl.

Thanks again, Froyok and Fabian.

(In my defense, I did say "noob" when I started this thread.   :-[ )

In the documentation, you have some great animated GIF images on the Creating Layers, Managing Layers, and Masking and Effects pages.

I humbly suggest (request) a similar animated GIF pointing out the "Channel" button on the Blending Modes page:

Now I understand what it means about the "top left dropdown menu" in the Blending Mode documentation.  I went waaaay to the extreme far left side of the interface and started looking at various channels and things over there.  Now it makes sense, but the animated GIF (or at least a picture with a red circle around the menu) would have been great.

Thanks for taking the time to listen.
Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 04:49:33 am
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The blend mode I needed was "Overlay."

> "Replace" mode replaced ALL the height information, resulting in a flat surface.

> "Overlay" kept the previous height information, but, uh, "replaced" the height information ONLY where I painted.

Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction.
That Layers button is sort of sitting in plain sight now, mocking me.
Please still consider my documentation suggestion in my previous post in this thread.

UPDATE:  The documentation has been updated using my suggestion.  Thanks for listening.  :)
Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 07:51:38 pm
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Perfect! Thanks so much, justaviking, for this helpful post. :)

Also, in case it might help someone else, if you also have a normal map from a material on a lower layer and you want it to show through your higher layer (by painting on a white mask), set the blend mode of the Normal channel of your higher layer to "replace" as well (it seems "normal" also works in this scenario). If you want the opposite (create smooth areas only where you paint), then use a black mask (or invert your white mask).  (And be sure to enable the "nrm" button on your higher layer for the effect to be visible). :)
Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 10:53:37 pm

Hmm.... cant seem to make it flat. I am following the steps provided. are any masks being used? or just changing to NORMAL or Overlay?

These are my steps:

Import UVW sphere

Create 1 layer. paint it with a bumpy material.

Create 2nd layer. Choose Chrome flat material.

Top Left Drop down select Height.

Change to Overlay or any other blend mode.

Paint and expect FLAT Chrome, but i still see the bumpy texture from under it.

What a i doing wrong?

Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 10:29:55 pm

Hi, I'll send you a reply tomorrow about this.  :)

Hi, I'll send you a reply tomorrow about this.  :)

Thank you! I'll wait for it.

Thank you! I'll wait for it.

You're welcome... sorry for the late reply. I meant to respond earlier but it slipped my mind. It may have to wait till morning now as it's supper time over here, but don't worry I'll get it to you. Will try to post a short video on it. :)

Hi again, I just posted a video about this. Apologies the screen capture software made me sound like a robot.  :-X

Oh wow.  The height button wasn't selected. That's why it wasn't working. Thanks for the video link!