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Creating a Tasty Material in Substance Alchemist

Substance Artist Hamidreza Afshari shows how to create a tasty-looking material using Substance Alchemist.

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Introduction

Hi, my name is Hamidreza Afshari, also known as "Codeplus"! I also like to call myself the "Substance Artist". I was born in Iran, currently live in Turkey. I was a freelance 3D Modeler but now my main focus is on the Substance ecosystem! I have a degree in computer engineering. I worked on several animations and game projects, some of which never hit the market. I worked as a 3D Supervisor on an animation called "Norooz" for HYH Studios based in the Netherlands, work is still in progress and several Turkish studios. But after a few years of work now I mostly teach others.

Getting Into Substance Software

I was a traditional 3D modeler, modeling in 3ds Max or Maya and texturing in Photoshop. One day, I decided to learn a new tool and started looking for a new one. Substance Painter was simple enough to start!

After I had got accustomed to SP, I felt the urge to create my own materials, and as you know, the only software that I needed to satisfy this urge was the Substance Designer! So I got accustomed to it too. My love for SD is so deep and strong now that I can not even explain it. I'm using Substance Designer for almost all of my projects and I think it can't be replaced with any other software!

Substance Alchemist

Substance Alchemist is basically a tool for creating materials out of single or multiple scanned images. It is a powerful tool. You can create materials from scratch, or blend materials and create completely different ones. I use all of the Substance software together. If I need the exact result and fast, Substance Alchemist is my go-to, if I need to create Procedural Materials, of course, there is no tool better than SD. And for assigning materials to objects, Substance Painter meets all my needs. 

Dulce de Leche

I always search for images that would make a beautiful material. One day I came across an image and I realized that I just had to make it!

First I trimmed the image, then using the Substance Alchemist I made it repeatable and seamless, after that created all of the channels one after another! Substance Alchemist can export materials in any preset for many applications. I exported passes for the Redshift renderer. The best way to render this type of material is to use lots of SubSurface Scattering. It may take a bit too long but the result is fantastic!

Shapes, Details, and Roughness

In terms of shapes, the work had already been cut out for me. I just needed to use the tools to bring them up and form them. That creamy look is the result of SSS. But remember, that no tool makes something good on its own. The key is to use both software and techniques to make a beautiful result!  Using the Adjustment node in the Substance Alchemist you can tweak the color and roughness however you want. I think that roughness made it look very delicious.

Final Steps

After making several materials you start to understand the whole process. How to set up the render, what render engine you need to use, and what settings should be tweaked for the best and fastest render time. I love GPU-based render engines because they are faster and sometimes more accurate than older renderers. In this case, I used Redshift and the new SSS shader. All the work had been done within an hour. 

Recommendations

I would recommend the Substance Academy series and one and only Mr. Wes McDermott. I owe him everything. The best way to learn any software is with the Help menu in the app and tutorials provided by the creator of the app.

My advice for beginners is simple, watch all the Substance Academy tutorials and practice, practice, practice. Don't be ashamed to show your works to others, make a portfolio, and show your works proudly. Use other people's experiences to grow and always be thankful to those who taught you!

Hamidreza Afshari, Substance Artist

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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