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Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Sébastien Deguy, CEO of Allegorithmic, talked with us about Substance Designer 5.3 and its features, true emissive materials, Substance Share, future projects, and what continues to drive him and his team to build such great tools.
Biggest Features of Substance Designer 5.3
The main feature is the integration of NVIDIA’s Iray within the tool. When you launch Substance Designer, now what you can do is make the viewports OpenGL or path traced using Iray. Inside of the tool you can now visualize your assets with full path tracer, that means it’s physically realistic and very beautiful. What we wanted to do with that is make sure our users could do beauty shots right within the tool without having to exit the tool. So while you actually work on the textures and on the materials, you actually have that render and all the lights set up for you.
Guarantees for the Artist
It guarantees two things. The first thing is that it’s a PBR renderer, and a state of the art unbiased path tracer. This means that what they obtain here is of the highest quality possible when it comes to rendering. Also, if they put their assets under lights or certain environments that is what it would look like if you were to photograph it and it will look like what what you would obtain by re-exploiting all the assets, outputting them, and going into another PBR renderer and to do the rendering again.
The second thing is that it goes very much with the idea of rapid prototyping, rapid integrations, you can go back and forth between changing your material and texture and seeing directly what it does. You save a lot of time and gain a lot of iteration power. It’s a good way for the artist to gain results directly.
True Emissive Materials
If you take an object and you apply the emissive materials to a specific part of the object, it will emit light and light will be taken into account during rendering. With this it will light up other parts of the asset and it’s a way to achieve more realistic rendering. So with the rasterizer and real time renderer, it will emit light, but these lights won’t be taken into account to light up other objects surrounding them. However, in the case of Iray, every source of light is taken into account.
It’s all free as soon as you have Substance Designer 5, it’s free for all the owners.
What Is Substance Share?
It’s pretty simple. What we like about our communities is that we see them helping each other a lot. We also see that they share a lot of content and for Substance Designer (and in a way Substance Painter) it is seen as a tool builder or preset builder that can be consumed in Substance Designer, again, or Painter. Substance Painter can now be seen as a preset builder. Let’s say you have your preferred brick wall material or your preferred stained metal material that you use over and over again, and you think this should be part of the actual package and that other users can find it useful – what you do is upload it to Substance Share and people can benefit from it.
The idea here was to provide our users with a way to first find new content, and we know content is key to their creation process, and be sure that it’s free content for our users whether it’s for professional or personal use. Also they can share what they’ve been doing, so if they feel this can help the community, they can upload it and make it available under the same license. It’s all about sharing, making sure our community finds the right content on top of the tools we provide. We wanted to make sure there was a go-to place to find new content and exchange ideas. There is no limit to the sharing.
Do You Have Plans to Turn Substance Share into a Commercial Platform?
Not for Substance Share, we want to keep it completely free. However, we were thinking of doing something else, another marketplace where you can find and buy content. So for this one it might be done in more of a tutorial fashion. We would control the quality of things and make sure that the only things sold on the marketplace is handpicked by us. It will be a community platform but there will be guidelines and selection for the entry, whereas Substance Share does have some entry process but it’s more open.
Crazy stuff [laughs]. We’re thinking of many things right now. We like the idea of keeping our consumers happy and making sure we complete the tools and make them even better, and completing the offering with new tools. We have started development there. So eventually maybe there will something along the lines of new material or Substance Player.
Why Allegorthmic Is Unique from the Competitors
It’s a mix of things. I would say the technology itself is solid and we like to innovate and that shows in our tools. We also like to take risks and sometimes it pays off. Our tools are standalone, which is not the same case for our competitors. It’s more than the product. We have a very strong support, we’re quick to answer questions and make sure our users can actually work and are happy with the tools. We’re extremely community-centric. We like discussion and listening to people. We try to set up tools for the community. It’s a mix of all these things along with our own passion.
Also, when it comes to the offering, when you look at texturing especially, the offering that we have is complete. Nobody can compete with Substance Designer, plus Substance Painter, plus material, plus Substance Share, plus the database, etc. When you combine all these, which means Substance Live, our package, and rent to own system, it’s unique in that sense. This along with our focus and attention into making our community happy, makes us unique as well.
Reasons for the Passion and Continual Hard Work
We have one life [laughs] and we’re having fun. It’s super good to feel like you’re useful to people. Building the tools and seeing what people can do with them feeds us. I’ve always had a passion for innovation myself. It’s really about being proud of what we do and being fair, and living our life fully.