Paweł Łyczkowski: Metal & Cloth in Substance Tools

Paweł Łyczkowski: Metal & Cloth in Substance Tools

Paweł Łyczkowski from GameTextures gave a little talk on how he creates cloth and metal materials in Substance Designer and Substance Painter 2.0.

Paweł Łyczkowski from GameTextures gave a little talk about the way he creates cloth and metal materials in Substance Designer and Substance Painter 2.0.

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Introduction

My name is Paweł Łyczkowski and I’m a Game Artist from Poland. I did my Master’s in Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 2010. Some of my employers since then were Allegorithmic, Playsoft, Brand2Play, Allgraf and CGCookie. I currently work at GameTextures as a Texture Artist.

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Using Substance Tools

I was hearing about Substance Designer from time to time, but really got into it when I was hired by Allegorithmic for a game project in 2013, which unfortunately was later cancelled. What really suited me in it from the beginning is the extensibility of the node-based systems. so the longer you use it, the better it becomes, since you are building little tools and helpers for yourself, or for sharing with others. There really is a feeling that there is no limit how good it can get, since you come up with new ways to do things all the time. As I said to the Allegorithmic team when I visited them in Clermont-Ferrand in France – it feels like programming to an artist, but instead of software you are making texturing tools.

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To give you an example, I was recently doing filters that you can put on top of your textures that create different effects – particle deposition, dirt, aging etc. After making them I could populate it in all of my materials easily. Each material expands my library of tools this way.

I also really like the synergy between Substance Designer and Substance Painter. Substance Painter is all about working fast – but it can utilize all of the complicated tools meticulously put together in Designer. So, if you have Designer, you can become a content creator for Painter users, extending the program’s capabilities. And that’s something I ended doing on the side, with my Gumroad shop.

Chainmail and Leather Materials 

I’m currently working on a pack of various Armor materials for GameTextures – chainmail, lamellar, gambeson etc. They are made exclusively in Substance Designer.

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It’s obviously important to look at reference images during such work – I constantly have various reference photos on my second screen, loaded into PureRef (which I recommend). But, at the same time, it’s important to not be a slave to the reference images – an artist can do more than just recreate reality. There are better and worse looking materials in the real world, so just recreating any material isn’t good enough, and also with polishing you can make a good looking material look even better, while still keeping it believable.

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I also try to switch the lighting from time to time. With PBR, if a material looks good in a couple of lighting conditions, it will probably look good in most of them. Of course, there is no way to stop people from using awful lighting that will also make a material look bad, so I just have to trust that whoever uses the material also knows how to keep it looking good in his engine of choice.

Applying Emblems and Various Ornaments to the Materials

Substance Designer has a basic support for vector graphics in the .svg format. While I wouldn’t recommend creating intricate designs right in the software, some basic ones can be made quite easily. And for the more advanced ones you can always make them externally and import them.

Metal

I think the biggest hurdle is the way the metalness workflow is designed. I add a lot of smooth transitions between metals and non-metals. For instance in places where oxidation occurred, or where there is a partly transparent film of dust or grime on a metallic surface. I think it looks very good – but it could look better if not for the way current shaders handle such transitions, often displaying a slight outline between the regions. It’s not a big deal, but I would be happier if that went away.

How can users purchase and download your materials? Are they available to the general public? Can they use it commercially?

My Gumroad shop is at Gumroad , and the materials there could be used commercially. Stay tuned for my upcoming pack for GameTextures.com, which will be announced on Twitter. For my personal updates and WIP’s, follow me here.

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Paweł Łyczkowski, Game Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev.

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