https://main--cc--adobecom.hlx.page/creativecloud/img/icons/3d-assets.svg | 3D Assets https://main--cc--adobecom.hlx.page/creativecloud/img/icons/designer.svg | Designer https://main--cc--adobecom.hlx.page/creativecloud/img/icons/painter.svg | Painter
Jan. 09, 2020
Exploring Product Design Workflows – Creative Iterations
See how 3D can change current product design workflows to make more space for the creative process.
The model was further converted to an FBX and the UVs were generated in Maya.
In order to dive a bit deeper into Substance Designer, I decided to set a little challenge for myself: I took a flat disk-shaped area and then made a fully procedural speaker lid using Substance Designer, where everything ranging from the colors to the bevel depth, to button structures and logos, was customizable. This is what originally sparked my idea of using Substance Designer to, quite literally, design.
I split the details into many small, editable procedurals, however. Procedurals for simple details can be generated very easily and are very editable, so rather than spending time on modeling them, one can simply generate tools using Substance Designer which can be customized to a large degree, and then use Substance Painter to experiment with placing the details in various ways.
I used a very simple basic model for the project to showcase how much weight textures have in design. The top was a flat disk on which I made buttons, sliding switches, lights, screws, shut lines, and other details in Designer and Painter.
I used masking in Substance Painter, using a custom User0 channel which was simple to set up and which greatly increased the flexibility of my workflow. I like to think of this as 3D sketching.
This not only allowed me to have a playground to try out many different variants for the design itself in a 3D space, but also allowed me to play with the combinations of textures and colors instantly by just replacing the material, while the mask remained constant.
I was using Substance Painter as a real-time tool for designing both the structure of the details and the materials for the product. It was also interesting to combine different hard surfaces with different types of alphas.
In addition, I obtained good results by varying the levels of height and using filters such as Blur on Normal to get different kinds of structures.
During this project I absolutely learned the value of planning and moodboarding during the design process; amongst the more technical skills I acquired were, notably, advanced masking techniques in Substance Painter, to change materials quickly, as well as how to make hard surfaces procedurally, and how to create various shapes using nodes. Managing procedural files was an important part of the project; I’m still gradually learning how to improve upon this. Equally, managing nodes and using functions to control how they behave proved important in order to make efficient tools. I particularly liked the versatility of Substance to bridge the process of detailing with the process of making material and color choices, so that I could simultaneously iterate in both areas.
I also learned a lot about how to manage different workflows between various software tools and how to solve problems regarding transitions between workflows. For instance, texture map exports from Substance Painter to VRED, Dimension and Keyshot are all handled differently; each process requires a different approach.
Recognizing the strongest aspect of each software tool, and using it effectively, is vital – such as using VRED for real-time visuals, Dimension for staging, and Keyshot for hero shots. That said, it’s always interesting to experiment with the software, and see how they might be used in unanticipated ways.
For the first project of my internship, I worked on a graphic design of a wine bottle using Illustrator and Dimension. Feel free to take a look at it on my Behance profile.
Overall, the past five months have been unforgettable, but this is just the beginning of my journey, I am very excited to see how much further I can dive!