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Substance Designer and Second Life

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I've been looking into purchasing Substance Designer as well - it appears to be seriously powerful from what I've seen thus far, and would be a pretty neat addition to my workflow in general. Still undecided if its features are overkill for my own needs - although it would probably be handy to have later on, as my hunger for quality control in my mesh materials grows.

However, a suggestion worth looking into in lieu - Bitmap2Material - produced by the same software studio as Substance Designer (Allegorithmic). It depends on if you want to simply create materials from bitmap images, or whether you are wanting to utilise the features list offered by Substance Designer.
Bitmap2Material can either work as a stand-alone materials creator, or as a plug-in for Substance Designer, 3DS Max, Maya etc (unfortunately, not for Blender at this point in time - my own modeling program of choice).
I had a brief dabble with it in the trial version, and it is quite impressive... To date, I've been using ShaderMap2, which is pretty good in its own right, but relatively limited in its fine-tuning controls. Bitmap2Material has a ton more sliders for this fine-tuning of results, and has me tempted to buy it at some point.
(Substance Designer has a "light" version of Bitmap2Material built into it, I think - probably a watered-down version in regards to fine tuning controls).

You might want to check on the licensing conditions - I would assume if you are creating for SL and intend to sell, you would fall into the more expensive commericial licence category.

But yah, both Substance Designer and Bitmap2Material are pretty powerful tools - even if we can only use a handful of their outputs in SL.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it's off sale by now, but maybe this will help some people decide in the future.  I use Substance Designer to make textures for my personal builds in SL.  I love it, but you should know things going into it:


  • It's a complicated program, much like Photoshop is.  There will be a LOT of learning to do.  
  • Much of the program is focused toward game makers and 3d artists who have .sbs support directly in their product, so not all of the features will be useful to you.
  • SL does not support .sbs subtance files, of course, so you'll have to export your textures to regular files.  
  • You'll need to use the channel mixer node in Substance Designer if you want to put emissive, gloss, or environment maps into the alpha channels of your diffuse, normal, or specular maps, respectively.
  • The 3D preview window does not really look the way things do in SL, so you'll want to use the "Local texture" feature of SL to preview your textures in-world
  • ...but be aware there is a crash bug specific to SD, local textures in SL, and anything except .bmp files
  • ...which means you can't preview emissive, gloss, or environment maps easily because bmp has no alpha

Lastly, it comes with a copy of Bitmap2Material "Lite" included, which doesn't have quite as much customization, but is still quite handy.

Now, all that said, I really like the program and I use it daily.  It's now my go-to for texture creation, instead of Photoshop.  I continually find new ways to construct textures in SD by generating various patterns, noises, and filters, with the occlusion or curvature maps baked from my 3d models used as blending masks for effects like weathering, rust, specular shine, etc.  It's really handy to see the general results of your texture graph in the preview window, adjusting sliders back and forth until you have the look you want.  I'm a fan, and I still haven't tapped this program's full potential.

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