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Creating a Pixel Art Generator for Substance 3D Painter

Environment Artist Oday Abuzaeed has shared how they came up with the idea of Pixel Art Generator for Substance 3D Painter, spoke about the production process, and discussed the parameters that users can tweak.

Environment Artist Oday Abuzaeed has recently released Pixel Art Generator, a new tool for Substance 3D Painter that allows users to quickly create pixel art pieces. The tool is made using Substance 3D software and is able to convert both 2D images and 3D models into great-looking pixel art with Minecraft vibes and 80s aesthetics. In addition, the generator is highly customizable – it allows users to tweak the number of pixels, control the values of each pixel, and more.

The tool gives users the ability to control the number of pixels and how detailed they look as well as has a number of cool features like Random Hue, Saturation, and Value for each pixel, shading information with toning levels for the heavy retro look, option to enable/disable and change the grid color, and option to enable/disable and change Outline color for images with alpha.

We've decided to talk with the creator of the tool, Oday Abuzaeed, to discuss how the idea of Pixel Art Generator came up to him and speak about the production of the tool as well as its parameters and key features.


My name is Oday Abuzaeed and I'm an Environment Artist based in Cairo, Egypt. I studied Computer Science (kinda love math but you figured that out I guess). For the last half of a year, I took a break from work and decided to work on my skills in Substance 3D Designer and make big stylized environments for games.

Getting Started

The Pixel Generator just hit me while I was working on a project – at one point, I realized that I wanted to see what it would look like if it was pixelated. I decided to make it to be used in Substance 3D Painter to make it more universal and work in a way so that many parameters could be tweaked.

I later found a way to do pixilation in Maya which I applied by Blender nodes and it worked. You can find the instruction in the video below – this tutorial was done by one of the biggest Tech Artists here in Egypt called Azab.


Pixilation was done by the same concept that Azab used to do pixelation in Maya, but instead of Maya, I used a pixel processor in SD – that was the main core of the generator. Then the rest was just masking and making the rest of the parameters work. The steps were as follows: 1) get an image from the user; 2) split its alpha channel if the image has any; 3) do the pixilation process on them both with the same scale value. After that, you'll be able to use this alpha to do all sorts of things: for instance, teaming it up with an edge detector gets you an outline feature. So, with great pixelated alpha comes great responsibility.


The parameters are quite straightforward:

  • Scale controls the number of details;
  • You can randomize Hue, Saturation, and Value to each pixel;
  • If the image is not flat (shaded), the generator breaks the shading values into much simpler grayscale levels to darken the image;
  • Grind and outline just a color blending with the alpha either around it or dividing the image into a grid.

Toning Levels for the Heavy Retro Look

For future features I was thinking of limiting the generator to a narrow color range to give it authentic look as in the ’80s and ’90s there wasn’t that current wide range of colors. In addition, I also wanted to make a filter feature, similar to what Instagram has, to change colors a bit and the most important make it possible to apply filters on videos. 

Main Challenges

The process of pixilation was the only challenge. Once it was done, everything got really easy and it only took only a couple of days.

Oday Abuzaeed, 3D Environment Artist

Interview conducted by Arti Burton

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