Computer Graphics has evolved over time and has turned into a whole new sought after discipline to be explored, taking into account the fact that it has become more accessible to the common man.
Conferences like SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques) have made CG something to be looked upon with a different set of eyes.
Adobe recently released Substance Alchemist 0.8 and the world has seemed to go crazy for it. Here is what you need to know about the latest addition to the Adobe world.
What is Substance Alchemist?
Substance Alchemist, in its original form, was first introduced to the CG world by Allegorithmic in 2018 at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC).
The substance material tools and features were made available to all users of the Substance package, providing unlimited access to the open beta that was introduced and the all the latest additions and installments that were to come.
Allegorithmic then joined hands with Adobe and Substance was integrated into Creative Cloud by Adobe following the acquisition.
A post made in the Adobe Blog following this said that, “Allegorithmic recently joined Adobe – Allegorithmic’s Substance suite is the leader in creating the detailed digital materials and textures that make 3D objects look real. We’re excited about integrating the Substance suite into Creative Cloud because we’re committed to providing designers with all the tools they need to succeed in a world where 3D content creation skills are increasingly necessary.”
The entirety of the Substance Project was handed over to Adobe, subject to the terms and conditions of the acquisition.
It also provided a video walk through to understand the open beta better and know the nuances of working around and with the same.
The press release by Allegorithmic at California quoted that, “Although it (Substance Alchemist) is designed as a standalone tool, Project Substance Alchemist is deeply tied to the existing Substance ecosystem. Artists can search through their Substance Source downloads, import materials and filters made in Substance Designer or swap creations through the Substance Share artist exchange. Imported materials can then be added to the artist’s personal library for later use, or applied to an asset in Substance Painter. Thanks to the standardization of the Substance format, materials created in Substance Alchemist can be exported and used in every major 3D tool, including Unreal Engine, Unity, 3ds Max, Maya and many others.”
It is a 3D content creation software that helps create textures for surfaces. The textures generated through this engine are applied to the computer graphics that has been created by the developer.
It provides tools for material generation with augmented “parametric designs”
“Substance Alchemist is a great tool for generating textures and patterns. It is ideal for almost every person who is into CG, amateur or otherwise, since it is very easy to understand and work with. It is one of the best 3D content creation software out there. I’ve used it to create texture for anything and everything from the sky, land, the bark of a tree etc for my graphics. I use the textural tools this software offers to create realistic graphic content, especially for things like skin, and apply these to my design”, says Arun Arasu, a budding video game developer from Chennai.
The earlier versions of Substance Alchemist enabled the user to create a systematic collection of the material created, to create a material board for the same to share it with third parties, editing the data while version 0.7, also called “Pepper”, included new filters to be added to the already existing rage to showcase textural variations in the material created.
Adobe Substance Alchemist 0.8, also known as Quinoa, is the latest beta addition to its material creation and management tool.
The software is still in its production phase with the beta 0.8 being the newest installment. The announcement of its release was made at SIGGRAPH 2019, an annual conference on computer graphics in Los Angeles.
Adobe Substance Alchemist 0.8
The newest addition to this range of tools is the beta version 0.8.
Substance Alchemist 0.8 promises a new set of exciting additions to make your material more defined.
The software provides new tools for easier navigation of folders and also helps view sub folders in a separate window for easier access. It also provides newer amenities that help with sync and filtration of the files and folders selected.
It also makes blending of the different materials a whole lot easier by making tiling, extraction and a many more augmentation activities a lot simpler.
While the older versions had textural patterns, the beta version 0.8 provides a Pattern Generator and a rage of Blur filters along with panorama, to augment the output further.
The new version has also see software fixes for the glitches that were prominent in the earlier versions, making it a well rounded tool for CG enthusiasts.
Adobe Substance Alchemist 0.8 Features
- Newer features added to the Substance Alchemist Library to help better synchronization of the folders and sub folders created. The syncing is done via “right click”. The folders are also mirrored along with the synchronization facility. They can be tagged and managed to the user’s discretion. The embedded tagging of the files is displayed and can be edited, renamed and deleted according to the user’s convenience. This version has also included a feature that enables the user to rate the Substance materials.
- Breadcrumb navigation of the folders and subfolders to make the same easier for the user.
- It also provides the facility to disconnect the local folder on you system with just a right click
- A feature that enables the detachment of the materials in order to view the same in full screen under a separate window is also added.
- The material library in the latest beta version has more scope for innovative design as it proved a vast variety of texture and patterns that can be extracted, blended and applied to what is being developed
- Newer Filter: the beta version provides more filters to the already existing ones, totally at 40. Some new filters that have been added to the software are the splatter filter and the emboss filter for leather. It also comes with a “pavement generator”. All the filters can be customized according to the user’s needs and can vary in intensity and depth. Adobe used “mossy pavement” as an example while working with the pavement generator and also provided additional examples for the splatter filter followed by embossed leather to emphasis the customization of the spacing and intensity mention earlier.
- A wide range of materials can be selected from the Substance Source and can be used for material generation by the user. This has also been made simpler by the tagging and rating features that have been added to the beta version. The categories range from leather to ceramics to paint, paper, plastic etc.
- As mention earlier, newer pattern generator, blur effect and a panorama options have been added to the beta version. This provides a wider creative option for the users of Adobe Substance Alchemist. This can be a complementary tool used along with Adobe Designer, which can be used as a base tool to generate the required material.
- The Substance Blog also highlights the “one click” creation process involved in the software i.e. the creation of “one click” material like parquets, pavements and brick walls to name a few. Existing materials can also be blended together along with extraction of new materials from scans. The bitmap files can be directly “imported to the Base Material filter to get a new Substance texture”.
- Randomization of texture of these materials is also included. A new cloth mesh feature is introduced to provide a better preview of fabric texture in the software “for those moments when spheres aren’t enough.”
- Layering: The layering options provided in this version sees the inclusion of newer features like deleting image inputs in the input layer as and when needed, automatic selection of the layer below the layer that has been previously deleted and automatic selection of any new layer that has been added. Long path display in the vase material layer has been made simpler and glitches regarding the same have been looked into and fixed. The creation of base layer when importing an image to a layers stack that is not empty has been scrapped.
- Styling: as far as the styling of the program goes, new text field style, search box style, new panel header style, new busy indicator style, new layers stack background style and latest additions to the Adobe Clean font have been introduced in the beta version. The eye dropper icon has also been removed from the place holder.
- The latest versions is also more durable, preventing software crashes when using more than 10 layers, an issue that was predominant with its predecessor Pepper. Crashes when importing environment maps that were seen to happen in the earlier versions have also been fixed.
- Fixes: Some major issues that were seen in the earlier versions of Adobe Substance Alchemist, Pepper and Orange (0.6), have been analyzed and resolved. The 2D view scroll bar, the PNG import of custom patter for embossing of leather and perforation texture filters, the height of the channel export and “an infinite loop when importing a material with two presets that have the same name” are some issues and features that were fixed and made all new.
- The automation criterion of Substance Alchemist 0.8 automates a range of functions to make the entire process seamless. The automation is of three parts: segmentation, unwrapping and packing.
Some Issues Communicated To And By The Users In The Substance Blog
- Use of multiple delighters in one material is not recommended and can lead to further complication in the generation of material by the user.
- Delighter crashes with older NVIDIA drivers (Less than 400.x)
- Fast visibility toggle of a Delighter stage is not recommended
- Tif images are not showing in Properties panel in the Image import layer
- Coma or point can be ignored when typing a specific value in a slider
- Normal to height filter can crash on MacOS, although height changes were made in order to resolve the issues found in the older versions of the tool.
- Can crash randomly when exiting on MacOS, an issue that has been predominant in the Substance arena and has been resolved to some extent in comparison with the earlier versions but not entirely.
Adobe has announced that a 30 day trial version of the software will be available to the users and access to the same will be available as a part of the subscription to the substance package which is priced at $19.90 per month for the Indie software users and for $99.90 per month for the Pro software users.
An annual plan of $239 per year has also been made available by Adobe. The press release from the GDC also said that students and teacher providing a valid ID can request a license at no cost.
With world famous game artist Nikola Damjanov, who is also a beta tester for the software, creating 100 materials in 100 days with the new Substance Alchemist 0.8 in order to test the new features, the new beta version of the software which has been offered for trial in a test run is all set to take the world by storm and stand as a pioneer in the computer graphics development world.