New Software Gives Designers an Easy Way to View and Manipulate PBR Material Libraries

Alchemist, the tool for creating, designing and manipulating PBR material libraries that made a splash when Allegorithmic demonstrated it at SIGGRAPH last year, has entered open beta.

Allegorithmic, now owned by Adobe, said today at Game Developers Conference 2019 that all current Substance subscribers can use the tool, now called Project Substance Alchemist, immediately. The software is designed to boil down all the complexities of 3D materials into relatively intuitive parameters that can be adjusted using sliders and filters so that artist and designers can manipulate materials without climbing a steep learning curve.

Project Alchemist screenshot

Project Alchemist screenshot

Alchemist can repurpose materials downloaded from Substance Source or shared by the Substance user community, or it can build entirely new materials from uploaded photographs — Project Substance Alchemist has a variety of impressive AI-driven tools aimed at quickly transforming any image into a usable 3D substance, including the ability to relight and adjust height or depth information in the material so that shadows render properly. Users can go wild with customizations, or rely on the software itself to infer some desirable adjustments to color and texture.

Project Substance Alchemist is a standalone tool that’s also integrated with the existing Substance ecosystem, Allegorithmic said, particularly Substance Source, Substance Designer and the Substance Share artist exchange. Materials can be applied to Substance Painter assets or exported for use with 3D tools including Unreal Engine, Unity, 3ds Max, and Maya.

Project Substance Alchemist is a free addition to the toolset available to current Substance subscribers. Indie licenses, for users with revenue of less than $100,000, are $19.90/month or $239/year, while pro licenses, for those with revenue up to $100 million, are $99.90/month or $990/year. Enterprise and education licenses are less expensive, and students and teachers can request a no-cost license.