Software Now Supports Using Values to Create and Control Materials, Opening Up New Ways of Working

Allegorithmic today released an update to Substance Designer that incorporates a new engine that allows users to work with a texture’s underlying metadata values, increasing the number of ways textures can be created and manipulated.

Substance Designer’s core Substance Engine version 7 now allows artists to add metadata to their content specifying certain properties. Those values might include the scale of a tile — dictating the material’s appearance so that it can change dynamically as it’s manipulated — the weight or elasticity of a fabric, or even real-world considerations like physical constraints of materials that will be used in 3D printing, the company said.

Substance Designer’s compositing graph now allows users to optimize their workflow through the use of Value Processors, which can simplify calculations by, for example, replacing a color node with a simple color value or using the new Min/Max node to output values driving an automated operation in another node.

Other new nodes include variants on Flood Fill, including the option to apply images to shapes via the new Flood Fill Mapper, or generate user numbers per shape with Flood Fill to Index. The new Atlas Splitter allows separate elements of a scan to be isolated, and Directional Warp filters allow warp intensity and direction to be driven by image inputs.

Nvidia’s OptiX framework for GPU-accelerated ray tracing now works with AO, Bent Normal and Thicknesss bakers, and DXR acceleration has been enabled for Nvidia GeForce 10 graphics hardware running on Windows. And the .obj loader has been optimized and multi-threaded for what Allegorithmic says should be a 150% increase in loading speed.

Python scripting has been overhauled as well, with the new ability to create plug-in GUIs inside Substance Designer. And new Substance plug-ins are being created and will be revealed “soon,” the company said.

The new version of Substance Designer is a free update for Substance subscribers. The Substance Texturing Suite, including Substance Designer as well as Substance Painter, is available to new users on a 30-day trial basis, followed by Indie ($19.90/month) and Pro ($99.90/month) subscription plans. Substance Designer is also available separately under a perpetual floating license with 12 months of updates and support ($149 Indie; $990 Pro).

The new Substance Designer is also the software’s first major update since Adobe bought Allegorithmic in January of this year. To date, Adobe has given no indication of whether Substance will eventually be sold alongside or integrated with its Creative Cloud application suite.