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Substance Designer – An Introduction

June 11 - June 25


Substance Designer is the gold-standard 3D material creation software used by professional animation and game development studios all over the world.

This workshop will be aimed primarily at beginners but can also serve as a good refresher for those who haven’t opened Substance Designer in a while. Preferably viewers will have a familiarity with the concept of black and white masks and/or Photoshop Blend Modes but it’s not required.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn the Basics of the Substance Designer UI
  • Learn how to set up your first project
  • Become familiar with frequently used nodes
  • Create exposed parameters for efficiency and flexibility in their materials
  • Learn how to create .sbsar files to use in Substance Painter, UE4 or other software that supports .sbsar file types.
  • Create your first material!


Session 1: Introduction Substance Designer – Learning the Basics of the UI and Getting Familiar With Nodes (June 11th)

In this first session we’ll focus primarily on becoming familiar with the software. This session will cover UI basics and introduce the concept of a node based workflow. Emphasis will be on a foundation that isn’t dependent on particular tutorial of a particular material. We’ll focus on frequently used nodes and useful node combinations to hopefully give you the tools to solve various unique problems.

Session 2: Introduction to Substance Designer – Starting Our Material, Creating Node Groups, Exposing Parameters (June 18th)

In session 2 we’ll put the things we’ve learned from the first session into practice by starting our first material, focusing on generating the height to get all of our forms in place. We’ll cover creating node groups and go over the steps for exposing parameters to give our material efficiency and flexibility.

Session 3: Introduction to Substance Designer – Finishing our Material and Next Steps (June 25th)

In this session we’ll finish our material by adding roughness and look at techniques for adding colour. We’ll cover exporting maps and publishing your material into a .sbsar file for use in Substance Painter or other software that supports .sbsar files. Time permitting I’ll demo bringing these files into Substance Painter and Unreal Engine to show first steps once your files are imported.

Register ONLINE.


Instructor Bio

Brenna Blackman is a Senior Surfacing Artist at Tangent Animation. She specializes in 3D modelling and has a passion for creating environment art for games. From creating modular kits to detailed one-off’s, her goal is to make engaging and visually appealing spaces. Brenna loves any opportunity to be challenged by learning something new or getting a little technical.