Hello again, material lovers. Today, we explore Substance 3D Assets in a different way. We labeled this journey “highlights” and its first chapter is called “Dark Wonder”.

Explore with us a universe of technological promises; let your eyes wander over intriguing materials in semi-darkness, with sudden gradients of neon colors. Admire intricate surface finishes and advanced craftsmanship: Substance 3D Assets highlights is where matter, color and trend meet to inspire the Substance community.

After Mattershots, Substance 3D Assets highlights represents our intention to bring you the tools to feed your creativity. You can find highlights every two weeks, directly on the Substance platform, with curated selections of materials.
Collecting references and inspirations helps define an artistic framework for projects and stimulates personal creativity. Some artists call this looking for trends, studying the existing concept art, CMF exploration, art direction or just “moodboarding”, but in the end, all creatives share the same practice.

We believe in sharing inspiring content: we trust in the power of cross-pollination of neighboring universes to inspire all communities. While moodboarding is a technique often used in 2D, we found that using parametric materials offers total freedom of exploration. This, in turn, amplifies the voice of the artist.

The object of this first occurrence of Substance Source highlights illustrates precisely this point: to combine materiality, colors, and trends in a virtual moodboard that can be used as an artist’s palette.


Travel with us today behind the scenes of the creation of the project Dark Wonder.

This project rested on the creative shoulders of Ronan Mahon (whom you may know from other collaborations with the Substance team) with the counsel of our CMF designer Anaïs Lamellière. CMF Design (Color, Material and Finish) particularly highlights the design and specification of colors, materials and finishes; this allows the emphasis of both the emotional and practical elements of a product.

Based on the heavy sci-fi influences so pervasive in pop culture, Dark Wonder explores our deep fascination with technology, and mysterious and wild side of that technology capable of sparking desire and delight.
Augmented reality and artificial intelligence transform technology; it is no longer merely a functional tool, but a wondrous end in itself.
Mesmerizing materials are animated with sensuality, juxtaposing sleekness and tactility that appear to live, move and interact with us. Galactic-inspired patterns and high-gloss finishes amp up the beauty of these materials.

Architectural forms are trimmed or framed with neon accents. Curved and undulating shapes have an otherworldly quality, emphasized with fluid embossed surfaces or circular faceting.

Contrasting tones are the heart of this palette; faux black tones such as Purple Twilight and Dark Blue are offset by bright hues—Galactic Green, Striking Pink, Copper-tinted Red, and more—to create an arcane atmosphere, and a glowing play on color.

Illuminated neon and glow-in-the dark color accents shine out of darkness. Color-changing surfaces enhance the otherworldly immersive quality of these materials.