A whole new software is born. Substance 3D Stager is your virtual studio, focused on giving you the best tools to put a scene together. A powerful rendering engine and versatile procedural content meet the signature Adobe approach in an app that’s both far-reaching and easy to use.

In Stager, you can build a scene with models, add materials, light your scene, position your cameras, and export your final image — or even export your scene for the web or AR.

Layout: arranging the objects

First, you’ll want to work with objects to populate your scene.

Stager provides you with a starter kit of 3D models — including customizable 3D shapes and text. To go further, you can also get elements from our library of premium content (formerly known as Substance Source), where, as of today, over 2,000 3D models are ready to be used.

And if you’d like more assets, you can use your own! Stager allows you to import most 3D model files (FBX, OBJ, GLTF, USD, and more).

Let’s place the models in your scene. To do that, your transform tools will let you simply move, rotate and scale your model. You can also decide to move your model along the surface of another object — which is how you’ll be able to position an object on top of a surface.

There are more tools to help you make your 3D models interact naturally with one another: the snapping options let you snap a model’s bounding box to the ground plane or to any other object in the scene.

And then, a tool that’s sparked endless fun inside the team: using collision to make your model interact with another. It’s a great way to place objects naturally. It works on a single object or a group: just activate the option and use your transform gizmos to move your model around. Check it out!
And you can push your work on models even further! We’ve just added a whole new type of model, which you can create in Substance 3D Designer and which is entirely procedural. Whatever parameters the creator of the model have exposed can be modified inside Stager. That should give you even more options to tailor the model to your vision and let your imagination run free.

Texture: adding life-like materials

If there’s one thing that’s going to make sure your scene gets that extra spark, it has be the choice of materials. And the good thing is, we’re pretty good at materials! Stager lets you make the most of the full Substance ecosystem here and leverage the power of procedural materials.

You’ll have starter materials in Stager for your basic needs, and for anything more you can always check out the 3D asset library for Substance materials (that’s nearly 9,000 high-end textures for you to choose from). Whatever you pick, you just need to drag and drop it on your model, adjust, and voilà.

Defining the Substance 3D visual standard

Adobe Standard Material

There’s one huge advantage of the material system in Stager, too, and that’s the Adobe Standard Material definition. With ASM you’ll be able to work with translucency, subsurface scattering, displacement, and more!

And ASM is in every app of the Substance 3D ecosystem: Painter, Sampler, and Designer, ensuring you’ll get the same visual across your apps. Your textured model will look the same in your Painter and your Stager viewport.

When you start working with materials, you’ll also want to look at all the details! We wanted to give you the best working conditions in Stager, and that’s why we developed a powerful raytracing renderer: Adobe Mercury Rendering Engine leverages your GPU to render your scenes blazingly fast. Images converge in a fraction of a second, allowing you to build your scene, tweak materials, cameras and lighting all while seeing a close-to-final version of your 3D render.
The minimum hardware for the GPU raytracing is an NVIDIA GTX 1060 with 6GB of VRAM, but if you don’t match these requirements, fear not! The renderer can also take full advantage of your CPU and will still give you amazing rendering speed, even on a laptop!

Applying textures

Did you texture your asset in Painter? We’ve made interoperability between both Painter and Stager super simple: you can directly add your textured model to your Stager scene: simply use the “Send to Stager” feature.

There are a few texturing features for extra customization in Stager. If you want to select a part of your model, the Magic Wand tool selects polygons, based on the model’s curvature, to separate a region of this mesh. It’s a great way to apply texture directly on one part of your mesh, like so:

If you want to quickly apply your material on different elements of your scene, the Sampler tool is what you need. For extra speed, link multiple objects to the same material, which lets you edit all linked materials simultaneously. So, if your color palette evolves, you’ll be able to change your materials quickly and always be on top of things.

Of course, when it’s a parametric texture, you can also tweak its exposed parameters and iterate until you get the result that best matches your scene.

For your final customization step, you can drag and drop an image onto any model, which places the image as a layer in the material editing stack. Each layer can be moved on the model and have its own material properties. This will allow you to try out brand mockups on a package, for instance, or maybe add a pattern on a T-Shirt.

Lights: choosing the spotlight on the story

Now that our texturing is good to go, we need to work on lights, and Stager shines there — pun intended. You can use two different lighting systems, independently or together.

Environment lights

The first will light up your entire scene: it’s image-based lighting. To make the most of this simple way to reveal the volumes of your scene, pick an environment light from the set already available in Stager, or from the Substance 3D content platform, where there’s a large collection curated by expert photographers.

The environment lights are high-dynamic range 360° panorama images. With the IBL compositor, you can layer new lights on top of your HDR: allowing you to switch on and off your key light, or change the temperature, exposition, and so on. It’s like being in your own photo studio.

You can also create your lights in Substance 3D Sampler and send them to Stager for immediate use. Check this out:

Physical lights

Physical lighting in Stager is basically an object in your scene that emits light. You can control its position, intensity, and color. Because physical lights are positioned directly in the scene, they behave like lights in the real world: objects that are closer will be brighter and the light will fall off naturally in the scene.

Here, you can leverage four kinds of physical light: there are directional lights, area lights, spot lights and point lights. With them, you can turn on a lightbulb, or reproduce a window’s larger light. See here how they can be used:

Finally, for your remote controls and other glowy buttons, emissive materials will let you turn any object into a light source.

Cameras: deciding what we will see

To tell your story, you will have to choose the right angle. For this, Stager has a series of convenient tools.

Each camera is an object you can place wherever you like: you can place multiple cameras to set up multiple shots. A series of controls gives you a range of options on each camera: change the output size, the framing, the focal length, or the depth of field.

If you’ve added an image background to your camera, you can use the Match Image tool to instantly adjust your object and camera to the image background perspective.

The way it works is pretty cool, too: using machine learning, Match Image finds the perspective and calculates an IBL based on your background. As with any machine learning-based feature, the feature is only as good at the data it has accumulated. It works best with real-life backgrounds featuring a visible ground, like a room, a table, or an outdoors location.

Sometimes, you just need to get a professional result that’s even sleeker. And that’s why we came up with the Environment stages. These are new, ready-to-go content, in Stager and in the 3D asset library.

In one environment stage you will find a 360° environment with several backplates: these are background images with the camera perspective attached. Thanks to them, you’ll easily be able to integrate your object in the perfect environment for your story., and instantly see the result in your viewport.

The lighting is procedural; that means you can adjust and edit as you want.

Export: choosing your format

There you are. This is the scene, this is the angle. You’re ready to finalize your project.


With post-processing

Your export feature can let you generate one image for one camera — or batch render all your cameras.

But if you want to add a little more flair to your scene, a little je ne sais quoi in post-production, we’ve made it simple! You can export a multi-layer PSD file, ready to open in Photoshop for the finishing touches. Please note that today, render layers for PSD exports are available with the CPU renderer only; we are working on giving you GPU support.

After a bit of post-production, your image is complete!

If you want to share your scene, you can publish it to Creative Cloud Assets for review with your team or clients. Or maybe export in a 3D format to use in another 3D application, or to send to Adobe Aero, for viewing in AR.

For complete details on this first release of Stager, check out the release note.

The Adobe Substance 3D suite includes apps for 3D creation, as well as content for use in your artwork. For more information, take a look at our articles:
ModelsMaterialsLightsCreating the Lights