top of page

Mastering Anchor Points in Substance Painter: Unlock the Power of Reusable Layer Stacks!

🟢Discover the power of anchor points in Substance Painter to easily reuse and update layer stack parts.

🟢Learn how to create, reference, and adjust anchor points for efficient texture creation.

Learn about anchor points in Substance Painter and their usefulness in reusing layer stack parts.

🟢This class covers creating anchor points, referencing them in different layers, and adjusting properties for desired effects.

- Workflow

  • Make a new project and add it to the Binoculars fbx file.

  • Set the resolution to 2k and we want the Compute Tangent Space Per Fragment to be turned one.

  • Another thing we want to make sure is set up is the OpenColorIO configuration to Substance Painter.

  • Since the mesh doesn’t have a high poly we will make it with itself on a 4k resolution with Antialiasing set on Subsampling 2x2.

  • After the model has been backed we’ll add the Bronze Armor smart material and on top 2 fill layers.

  • The first fill layer is going to be a white color with only the roughness and color channel turned on.

  • The roughness set it at 0.2.

  • The second fill layer is a copy of the first but has a red color instead.

  • For now, we will hide the red layer and add a black mask onto the white layer.

  • On the black mask add a generator and choose the Metal Edgewear, making a few changes to the generator, the most important change is to Invert the Edgewear from False to True.

  • After that add a new effect called Add anchor point.

  • When using Anchor points make sure they are the last thing you add on your black mask so that the anchor point works properly.

  • Reveal the red fill layer, add a black mask, and add a Fill effect.

  • In the Fill properties instead of using the Resources inside of the Grayscale, we’ll use the Anchor Points.

  • We can see that the Anchor Point has the name of the white fill layer.

  • Select it and now two of the black masks will be connected with each other.

  • This means if we make any change to the Metal Edge Wear on the white fill layer it will also affect the red fill layer.

  • Inside the Anchor Point, we can adjust the levels.

  • If the value is 0 we can see that the white color will be completely gone.

  • If the value is all the way to its maximum point the white color will be more dominant.

  • For today we’ll set the Levels value to be around 2.

  • We can make our texture more interesting by adding the Add Paint effect onto the black mask of our white layer.

  • Make sure that every effect you add on is always below the Anchor point.

  • Pick out the Charcoal brush and start taking away the black mask by pressing X.

  • Group up the layers, name it Exercise_01, and hide it.

  • For our next exercise add in a new fill layer and choose a dark red color.

  • Adjust the roughness and rename the layer to Dirt.

  • Add a black mask and a Mask Editor Generator.

  • Inside the Mask Editor add in the Grundge Rough Dirty Texture on both texture inputs.

  • Adjust the Global Balance, Contrast, and Texture Opacity on both texture sliders and the Amdient Oclusion Opacity.

  • Make a new fill layer below the Dirt layer with only the height turned on.

  • Adjust the height, add a black mask, and inside the Alpha library search up the font alpha.

  • Double-click the alpha from the library to activate it.

  • If the height is too much we can always go back and lower it down.

  • We can change the text of the alpha inside the brush settings in Parameters.

  • To accurately change the rotation of your brush you can do it inside the Brush settings under Angle.

  • To make the stamp even more accurate stamp it on from the UV Shell.

  • If the text doesn’t fit the size of the binoculars, change the size of the text in the Brush settings.

  • On the Text layer add in an Anchor point.

  • Below the anchor point add in a Blur Filter.

  • From here you can increase the height of the layer and the blur intensity.

  • In the Mask Editor on the Dirt, layer scroll all the way to the end of the editor till you find the Micro Height.

  • Once you’ve located the Micro Height, click it and add in the Text Anchor point.

  • To activate it, go into Micro details and tick the Micro Height to be set to True instead of False.

  • Scroll back down to the Micro Height with the anchor point and invert the Levels.

  • In Micro Details adjust the AO Radius and Depth.

  • On top of the Text layer add a Paint Layer and name it Normal_Details.

  • Only have the normal channel turned on.

  • Search up normal maps inside the texture library and choose one.

  • Drag and drop it inside the normal channel so that it gets added to your brush.

  • Delete the Alpha of the brush so that it stamps the normal map without blurred edges.

  • Add an Anchor Point to the paint layer.

  • Go into the Mask Editor and turn on the Micro Normals in the Micro Details options

  • In Micro Normals select the Normal_Details Anchor point and switch the Reference Channel from Base Color to Normal.

  • In the Micro Normals Levels Invert them so that the mask influences the inside of the Normal map.

  • Group up the new layer we made and name it Exercise_02.

  • For the third exercise make a new fill layer and decrease the Roughness.

  • Add a black mask and in the Smart Masks library lookup Paint Old Small Cracks.

  • Drag and drop the Smart Mask inside the black mask.

  • Adjust the Invert and Level of the Smart Mask inside the Properties Generator.

  • Add an Anchor Point on top of the Smart Mask.

  • Make a new Fill Layer with only the height channel on with the height value being 0.2.

  • Add a black mask and a Fill Effect, inside the Fill add the White_Paint mask Anchor point.

  • Invert the Ancor Point Levels and add a Blur Filter.

  • Adjust the Blur intensity.

  • Add a new Fill effect, add the same Anchor point, and change the Fill effect type from Normal to Multiply.

  • Change the Color of the White_Paint Layer to a darker red.

  • If the blur is too weak you can go back and fix the intensity.

  • Group up the layers and name the folder Exercise_03.

  • For our final Exercise duplicate the Bronze Armor Smart material and rename it to Dark Bronze Armor.

  • Open up the duplicate smart mask folder and change the color of the Base Metal to a darker brown.

  • In the same layer increase the roughness value to 0.6.

  • Add a new fill layer and name it Paint_layer_04.

  • On this layer add a black mask.

  • In the Smart Mask library search up the Surface Warn mask and drag and drop it into the black mask of the new fill layer.

  • Add an Anchor point.

  • Copy the text layer from Exercise_03 and paste it below Paint_layer_04.

  • Drag and drop the Rust Coarse material on the binoculars.

  • Change the base color of the material to a darker brown.

  • Add a black mask and a Fill effect.

  • On the fill effect add in the Paint_layer_04 Anchor point and invert the Levels.

  • Add a new fill layer, change the base color to a bright orange, change the name of the layer to Rust_Glow and increase the roughness.

  • Add a black mask and a Fill effect.

  • To the fill effect add in the Paint_layer_04 Anchor points and invert the Levels.

  • Add a Blur Filter and increase the Intensity.

  • On the same black mask add in the Levels effect and lower down the value to 0.6.

  • Add a Fill effect, on it add in the Paint_layer_04 Anchor point and invert the Levels.

  • Change the Fill from normal to multiply.

  • Drag the orange layer below the Rust Coarse material.

  • In the Paint_layer_04, click on the Mask Editor and inside the Micro Height add in the Text Anchor Point.

  • In Micro Details switch the Micro Height from false to True.

  • Invert the Micro Height Anchor Levels.

  • Add a paint effect below to Paint_layer_04 Anchor point and use the Charcoal brush to take away some of the black mask to make an interesitng effect.

  • That concludes todays class.

Subscribe to our newsletter below and win a free course for Unreal Engine 5 ( create your first game)

Subscribe to our newsletter below and win a free course for Unreal Engine 5 ( create your first game)

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page