Combining Stone, Moss and Water in Substance

Combining Stone, Moss and Water in Substance

SungJun Kang did a little breakdown of his Substance Designer project, talking about the way he created the stones, dirt and other elements of the material.


Hello. My name is SungJun Kang. I was born in South Korea, and I am currently working on Environment Art. I have worked on various online game projects for both PC and mobile, we still do not have any titles released from the company yet. This makes me really sad. When I was in college, I majored product design. At the same time, I was interested in 3D Art, so I attended a CG school nearby for almost a year. I continued to study through Youtube and books even after I graduated from the college. Now, I am studying online from the learning materials released from the organization named “BALCHAGI”, which is a company located in California. The company, based on many years of experience and extensive know-how, specializes educating both domestic and foreign CG/IT developers in movie/game industry.

1 of 2

Exploring Substance Designer

When I first saw the video about Substance Designer on YouTube, it was shocking. I realized that Substance Designer will be mainly used in the future CG future, so I decided to dig deeper into the subject. I tried to search on YouTube first. However, the language barriers were high. It was possible for me to follow, but it was difficult to fully understand the concept. One day, I heard that Allegorithmic Korea branch was conducting offline education. I decided to attend the class and I quickly fell in love with Substance Designer. My favorite thing with the ability to create Procedural Textures. The best thing about this is that you can create high-quality PBR textures and make changes at any time during or even after your work hours.


When I first started this work, I thought I wanted to look at the floor on the roof of the company and make it into Substance Designer. So I took a picture of the roof and started collecting similar images. I collected images of mosses and dirt to refer to the shapes and colors of stones. Observing and classifying images of stone, dirt, leaves, leaves, and moss was the beginning of the new adventure.


I have focused on creating large and small images using Tile Random, Distance, and Edge Detect to create various types of stones. The figures are adjusted so that large and medium-sized stones are properly distributed. The spacing between stones has also been spaced precisely and evenly in Levels. If the shape of the stone comes out to your liking, then you can form a natural-looking stone by distorting the shape little by little.

At first, stones are shrunk with a touch of small details later. The method of Tile Random used here is to create a heightmap with sharp and angled shapes and used as intensity input of the directional warp. This creates a smooth but uneven shape that looks half angular or broken. The next is the usage of slope blur greyscale with smaller noise to increase the details of the outer appearance. By doing so, stones take the natural-looking appearance as if they were roughed up by external forces.

When the overall shape of the stone is finished, it will be finished by adding the angular curvature and texture of the stone surface and cracks.

Creating a slight angular texture of the stone surface also creates a new Tile Random. It produces a large and small amounts of Paraboloid, which is then used to detail the Directional warp and Clouds2. This height map blends with the stone shape you created earlier. This option with Subtract and opacity adjustment reveals the angular shape of the stone surface. Then use Dirt, Gaussian Spot, and Clouds to make large and small holes in the surface. At this time, small holes and large holes must be blended in evenly in order to make the material look more natural.

Finally, it’s time to put Crack on the finished stone. When you are done with Perlin noise and BnW Spots 2, the work on the largest stone ends by blending the stones created earlier.

The main idea of the procedure is not to add too many details while maintaining the good quality of the work.

1 of 2


I looked at the reference and found that the shape of the moss was very small, and what was important was how to stack it all together rather than one by one. It is also important to work with the color to naturally match the color of stones and surroundings. Because the stone is the main point the work, the moss was created as if it is the supporting role the environment.

After creating a leaf. I placed it in several directions between soil and stone with Tile Sampler to form a shape. At this time, I used a Mask map that blended the AO map and Moisture Noise in order to scatter more irregularly and naturally. As a result, leaves were placed on the stones and put in between the gaps, creating a natural effect.


I used a very simple method to work on the water. I added gray to the completed heightmap as a Uniform Color, darkening the color only in the part where the water was blended, and making the reflection happen by adjusting the Roughness map. What matters most is that the orientation of the light and the HDRI image must be well coordinated in order for the UE4 to stand out from the water. Lighting is a very important factor when improving the quality of the textures. The value of all objects is defined by their light, especially in CG.


I have not had a chance to use Designer for game projects yet. It’s a very sad thing. So I extracted BaseColor map, Normal map, Roughness map, Heightmap and Ambient Occlusion map in Substance Designer and imported them into UE4. And to achieve better results, I set up Lighting so that the texture composing a small scene would stand out. To hide the edges of the trees with shadows and to make the bottom of the scene stand out, I implemented IBL (Image Based Lighting) in combination with Sun Light, Sky Light, and HDRI Image. I changed the direction of sunlight, changed the timezone, made some changes, and created a finished image.

SungJun Kang, 3D Environment Artist / Lighting Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

Join discussion

Comments 0

    You might also like

    We need your consent

    We use cookies on this website to make your browsing experience better. By using the site you agree to our use of cookies.Learn more