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Mastering Realistic Model Texturing with Substance Painter


Learn how to texture a realistic model using advanced techniques widely used in the industry.

Follow along as the tutorial demonstrates the workflow and techniques for texturing props and characters, specifically focusing on a spider bot model in Substance Painter.







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- Workflow

  • The first step for any new project in Substance Painter is setting up the project.

  • As usual, we add in the FBX file of our model and choose a Resolution size.






















  • Unlike the previous class, this model has two materials slots or shaders, one for the body and one for the legs.


  • Before we move onto baking the model we can set up our viewport to give a more accurate view of how the model will look as if it was rendered.

  • In the Display Settings, we’ll turn on the Shadows and adjust the Shadow's opacity.



  • Further down in the menu tab, we’ll activate the Temporal Anti-Aliasing.

  • This will allow us to view our model as if it was rendered while working on the textures.

  • Below it, there is an Accumulations slider that can be adjusted.

  • The base number is fine but if your computer can handle more you can set it up to a higher number.

  • In this class, the instructor sets it to 32.



  • The last thing we will change for our viewport is the Shader settings.

  • We’ll change the quality from Low to Medium to get a better preview.

  • If your computer is strong enough you can set it to a higher quality but there will be a performance issue while working on the textures.


  • The result should give you a nicer viewport of the Spiderbot.



  • We can move on to baking our model.

  • You can either use the keyboard shortcut.

  • Ctrl + Shift + B, or do it manually by going into the Texture Set Settings and clicking on Bake Mesh Maps.



  • As usual, we set our resolution and because we don’t have a high poly to bake onto our base mesh we will instead bake it with itself by checking the Use Low Poly Mesh as High Poly Mesh.



  • In the previous tutorial, we only mentioned the ID maps.

  • Now we’ll discuss more about them and their purpose.

  • Select the ID map on the left side of the Baking window and change the Color Source from Material Color to Vertex Color.



  • Since we don’t have a high poly mesh we don’t need the Normal Map so we will turn it off for the bake.



  • After the Spiderbot is done baking we can see how the ID map is influencing our model by changing the viewport from Material to ID.

  • Our spider bot’s body has many different colors on each of its parts.


  • However, the legs don’t have the same effect on them.

  • That is because the legs are a different Texture set.

  • The ID maps for the legs need to be baked separately.

  • To do that we can activate the Baking window again and click on the ID map.

  • This time we will change the Texture Set from Body to Legs and again have the Color Source on Vertex color.

  • Since every other map has been baked on the legs from the first bake, we will only have the ID map turned on before proceeding with the bake.



  • After the bake, the ID map on the legs will also look the same as the body.



- Texturing

  • We will use a combination of Smart Materials and make our own textures using generators and filters.

  • Unlike normal Materials, Smart Materials are preset textures and generators grouped up in a folder.

- We’ll start by adding an Aluminum Smart Material to act as the base metal of our Spiderbot.



  • On top of the Smart Material, we’ll add a fill layer with the red color from our reference.

  • We’ll use a different type of mask to help us cover the parts of the spider bot that are red.

  • The mask is called Mask with Color Selection.

  • Unlike the black and white mask, this works with the ID maps that we baked on our spider bot.

  • Because they are affected by the vertex color, we can use the color picker and choose the color that needs to be red.



  • We’ll group up the layer and the name is WearMask.












  • In the group, we will add a White Mask on which we will add a generator.




  • We will choose the Metal Edge Wear generator and reverse the Invert from False to True to get the result we want.


  • Each generator has its own settings you can adjust to get interesting effects.

  • The Wear Level is how damaged you want the body to be.

  • The Wear contrast is how visible you want the wear to be.

  • The Grunge amount is how many scratches you want to have.

  • The Grunge Scale is the scale of the scratches, you can make them smaller or bigger by moving the slider.



  • Follow the reference and try to get the same amount of scratches on the body of the spider bot.



  • When you’re done with the metal edge wear make a new fill layer on top of the Red Paint.

  • This layer will be the blue parts of the Spider bot.

  • Just like the red parts, add a black mask to the fill layer and add a color selection mask, only select the vertex colors where the blue paint needs to be.

  • For the layers make sure only the color and metallic channels are activated.




  • We’ll repeat these same steps for the backpack of the body before moving on and adding some dirt textures to the model.



  • Once all of the base colors are added, on top of the folder we’ll make a new fill layer with a light brown color, adding a black mask and generator to it.

  • In the generators, there is one called Dirt which we will be using for our model.

  • Just like the Metal Edge Wear the Dirt Generator also has its own setting you can adjust to match the reference.



  • If you don’t like the color of the dirt you can always change it by changing the base color of the fill layer.



  • We’ll group up everything we have in our Layers so far and name it Spiderbot_colors.




















  • To add the same textures we’ve made onto the legs we right-click on the folder and select the Instantiate across texture sets.

  • A small window will pop up on your screen that will have the Leg texture set already selected.

  • When we press Ok the textures are added to the legs of the spider bot.


  • Though unlike the body the legs don’t have the same folder as the body texture set does.

  • If we make any changes to the texture folder on the body it will also transfer to the legs.





















  • You can change how you view your models inside Substance Painter by clicking the F6 and F5 buttons.

  • F6 is for the Orthographic view while F5 is for Perspective view.



  • The next we want to add to our model are some Normal details.

  • These are details that are added by only using the normal channel on a brush.

  • First, we need to add a paint layer and turn off every other channel but the normal one.

  • Once we do that we can go to the Texture Menu where we can select a normal stamp.

  • You can tell which are normals by their blue/purple colors.

  • To add the stamps to our brush we drag and drop the one we want into the normal channel.

  • We add them to our model by clicking on where we want it to be just like a regular stamp.

  • If you want to rotate the stamp you can hold down Ctrl and while holding Left click move your mouse up and down.


















  • You can use symmetry to add the same details on the other side of the model.



  • If we want to change the stamp we can just drag and drop a different shape in the normal channel.

  • Continue adding details as you see fit.



  • After we added the normal details we can move on and add some decals, they also behave like stamps but we won't be adding them with a brush but in a different way.

  • To make them we’re going to add a Fill Layer and use a blank white color.

  • On the layer, we’ll add a black mask and on it, we’ll add an Add Fill.

  • We want the grayscale on our Fill to be all the way down to zero so that our stamps work.


  • Just like with the normal details, to add the stamps we can type in font in the search bar and drag and drop any font we want inside the grayscale uniform color.

  • Once we do that a lot of settings are going to show inside the Fill, one of them being a Text box.

  • Here you can type in anything and place it on your model.

  • We can move the decal by clicking and dragging it anywhere we want it to be.



  • To fix up the deformation on the decal we’ll switch the Projection to Planar Projection as well as change the UV Wrap from Repeat to None so the decal doesn’t repeat over and over again.



  • We can rotate, move and scale the decal by pressing W,E, R.

  • W - Move

  • E - Rotate

  • R - Scale


  • You can also duplicate the Fill Layer with the Add Fill by either using the shortcut Ctrl + D or going the old-fashioned way by Copying and Pasting the Fill Layer (Ctrl + C then Ctrl + V) and adding more decals to your model.



  • You can also add generators on your decals by grouping them, adding a black mask to the folder, and using the dirt generator.




🟩AND THIS IS THE FINAL RENDER 🟩





Watch the YouTube Video here CLICK ME







Advanced knowledge is NOT REQUIRED and the event is FREE.


💻 WHERE? - online and live at the M3DS Academy of Visual Arts.


WHEN? - you choose a day, from June 15 to July 6, 2023 The final award ceremony will be held on July 7, 2023.


💡WHY? - Each participant receives a free course in the Unreal Engine Program - Each participant receives an international certificate of participation. - Each participant receives a discount for enrollment in the M3DS Academy.




Watch the YouTube Video here CLICK ME






























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