Breakdown: Blueberries with Milk in Substance Designer
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by utku demir
2 hours ago

for the god sake do it for 3ds max and take my money yoo

We're using Unity (Quarter Circle Games). I'm happy to give an interview and some of my lighting/PP techniques. You can view out game here:

9 hours ago


Breakdown: Blueberries with Milk in Substance Designer
18 July, 2018

Zahar Scherbov was kind enough to share a detailed breakdown of his tasty project with blueberries and milk created in Substance Designer and Marmoset Toolbag.


Hi, my name is Zahar and I’m a material artist. I live and work in Minsk. I specialize in game dev projects; well, It’s fair to say that my whole life is devoted to game development. Now I’m working on a very ambitious game project in a Scandinavian setting.


The idea to create this material appeared a long time ago. I was spending my spare time working on it. It is the 4th and final material in my ‘edible materials’ series. I dealt with it in order to level up my skills and broaden my knowledge in Substance Designer.

My pipeline is very simple. I always try to start with a Height map.

It all began with a single blueberry. In order to create a form, I used Shape, Blend, Warp, and Starburst nodes.

When my blueberry started to look like this, I decided to make it look as much similar to the original as possible and started adding final details to the central part.

During the final stage, I created a bandlet at the edge of a berry’s central hole. I did it with the help of Highpass Grayscale.

As the next step, I made a Base Color for my blueberry. I used a Gradient map and different Noise nodes blended together. I can’t say that color doesn’t interact with the berry’s form at all. I added a couple of masks, taken from the height map in order to add additional details to the blueberry’s form. This is how it looks like:

When the first berry was ready I made 4 different variants. With 2 of them, I shifted the central hole aside. I saw that very often blueberries behave this way in milk.


I’ve struggled with milk for a very long time, trying to make it look real. It resembled a paint, cream, yogurt, whatever, except milk. Further, it turned out that there are 2 major conditions for a good milk: bubbles disposition and a transit of milk into a blueberry.

The bubbles creation process took me 10 minutes. They are only on the Base Color and Normal map. However, it took much longer to locate them on the texture.

This is how it looks like from the inside:

The most difficult moment with milk occurred when I tried to pour some milk into blueberries’ pith. I tried all the existing methods to make it with the ready height map – no dice. That’s why in order to create a proper mask I used the initial pith’s mask (the shape on the first screen) and passed it through the copy of a Tile Generator, which randomized the berries. This is how I received the mask I needed and then I “poured” milk there.

Blueberry Without Milk

It was a big question how to create a lot of blueberries, lying one upon another without milk. In order to get a good height map I used “layers”.

I took the blueberries’ height map and passed it through the Tile Sampler, repeated it in a separate Tile sampler, but with other settings, and then I gave each of them to the Gradient map with various gradients and mixed it all together. Here is what I’ve got.

Look from the inside:



I can say that I don’t have strict boundaries of using a particular node at a particular stage of material creation. I can definitely say that Shape, Warp, Slope Blur, Bevel and Non Uniform Blur, Highpass Grayscale are the most widely used nodes for creating height maps. I have some particular nodes combinations for obtaining the result I want, or the masks I need. I got these combinations by means of constant experiments.



Speaking about the final picture, Marmoset helps me a lot. When I configure the material I make around 100-150 renders from all perspectives I like. Then I select 5-6, which go for the ArtStation.


My advice is very simple. You should experiment a lot. I think it’s the only way to succeed and achieve outstanding results in SD. When you mix different nodes, you may suddenly achieve a great result that you can use for creating other materials. And, of course, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for details. Namely, details make any material look so real. Find out and watch a lot of references, more and more reference, and stay up-to-date with all the latest developments in our sphere.

Zahar Scherbov, Material Artist

Interview conducted by Artyom Sergeev

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