New set of nodes to work with particle clouds

Last June, we released a completely new workflow in Substance 3D Designer: the Substance model graph. It introduced procedural modeling and parametric meshes to Designer, providing artists with a new way to express their creativity.

Today, we expand on the Substance model graph by introducing a new set of nodes allowing you to work with particle clouds in order to instantiate and drive your geometry. You’ll also be able to send your Substance model files directly to Stager and tweak them there thanks to the “send to” option.

Particle workflow

The particle workflow introduces a new way of working with the Substance model graph. Not to be confused with particles as in simulation tools, particles in Designer are meant to work as a cloud of points. You can create these particles from scratch or from existing meshes, and then assign these particles a set of rules and values to create cool effects, such as creating a grid for crops, or scattering branches of a tree mesh.

See some examples below of how the new nodes work, starting with the particle node, allowing you to create an array of particles from scratch.

Generative Transform node

Create a cloud of particles by applying a repetitive transformation (translation, rotation, scale) on a set of particles.

Organic Pattern node

Create a cloud of particles based on 6 predefined (and customizable) mathematical sequences (Fibonacci suite, Lucas, Spiral, etc.).

Particle pruning node

This one is pretty straightforward: prune a cloud of particles according to a 3D shape, such as in the example below.

This is just a first step, as we expect to improve and add new nodes for the particle workflow, so stay tuned!

Shell node

Another cool node beside the particles nodes is the shell node, which allows you to create thickness on a mesh. See for yourself in this example of a plane without thickness to which we add a thickness:

Send models to Stager

Send your SBSMs (Substance model files) directly to Stager, and tweak your models in the viewport before rendering your scene.

UX improvements

Updated New Project window

Thanks to the updated New Project window, you can add a graph to an existing package, access a list of recent templates, and lock width and height by default.

Maximize current view

Y ou can now add temporarily maximize any view in the UI, allowing you to quickly work on a specific part of your project, whether it be the graph, the 3D view, or the parameters.

Close all packages

Instead of closing all your opened packages one by one, a new entry in the file menu allows you to close them all at once.

And finally, to help with understanding your model, you can now disable backface culling and display tangent and binormals too.

Bonus: maintain image properties

For those working with subgraphs, on image input nodes, you can now choose to inherit image properties from their input instead of their parent. Thanks to the “relative to input” feature, you can maintain image properties such as size and bit depth within the subgraph.

Header image artwork by Vladimir Petkovic, Cino Lai & Luc Chamerlat.