Richard Trouve / Bard making of

My name is Richard Trouve and I currently work in Luxembourg, for the last 2 years I have worked as an employee and sometimes freelance 3D Generalist. I mostly do character work, some projects require me to do props and environment lighting as well.

In this tutorial I will be going through my work process starting with a finished model up to this shot :

I was introduced with Texturing XYZ when they first released Facial Displacement and cross polarized textures. Since then I knew any ressource they would release would be worth a try.

The character i am currently working on has a lot of clothes and elements made out of leather so this is the perfect occasion to test out some new packs.

Because of the nature of procedural texturing, it is important to keep your Project organised as much as possible. In the end it will make your life easier , and if other Artists have to work with your files, they will thank you for that. here are few advices :

  • Never leave anything by it's default name, It's easy to forget why we created something in our scene. A good naming habit will prevent that
  • Regularly clean your hypershade by deleting unused nodes, while doing look-dev it can quickly get messy
  • Make sure your outliner is as clear as possible
  • Organise your textures in a comprehensive way by making a folder for each asset   
  • Save your work regularly and incrementally, you never know when a crash will happen, a recent save can save you hours of work trying to recover from a crash

Preparing your Assets

Creating substance materials in designer with xyz Files.

Texturing xyz provides all that is needed to create materials effortlessly in substance designer. Setting up the materials for the first time might look tedious but in the end you will be able to change your shaders on the go and adapt them to your actual and future needs.

In Designer create a new Substance

Simply start with a Physically Based ( Metallic/roughness) graph template and leave it with it’s default settings.

From the XYZ seamless folder drag and drop in your workspace the following maps :

  • albedo
  • height
  • normal
  • roughness

Plug in the maps to the corresponding slots.

In this case we are working with wood/leather so you can leave the metallic slot empty

To prevent issues with the height bitmap, change the output format from 32Bit Float per channel to 16 Bit per channel.

By default the height is too strong so this is how I dialed it down :  

  • create an Height Blend node
  • plug the Height bitmap in the Height Blend’s Heights Top input
  • in the Height Blend settings set the Height Offset to 0.02

At this point we could stop here and publish the sbsar file but let’s add some controls to our material in case we need some quick adjustments in Painter.

For the normal : 

  • create a ‘Normal Blend’ Node and a ‘Normal Color’ node
  • plug the normal bitmap in the ‘Normal Blend’ FGinput
  • plug the ‘Normal color’ node output in the ‘Normal Blend’ BGinput
  • In the ‘Normal Blend’ settings set the use mask to False
  • expose the ‘Normal Blend’ node Opacity Setting and call it “Normal_strength”

From now on in painter changing the “Normal_strength” will control the strength of the normal map.

For the roughness :

  • create a ‘Blend’ Node and a ‘Uniform Color’ node
  • plug the ‘Uniform Color’ node output in the ‘Blend’ Foreground input
  • plug the roughness bitmap output in the ‘Blend’ Background input
  • in the ‘Uniform Color’ node settings set the Color Mode to Grayscale and change the slider to float and set it to 0.5
  • in the ‘Blend’ node settings change the blending mode to Overlay
  • expose the ‘Uniform Color’ Node Color Output Setting and call it Roughness_strength

from now on in painter changing the Roughness_strength will control the roughness strength of the roughness map.

For the height

  • Create a ‘Blend’ Node and a ‘Uniform Color’ node
  • In the ‘Uniform Color’ Settings set the Output Format to  16 Bits per Channel and the Color Mode to Grayscale Float and set the Output color to 1
  • Plug the ‘Height Blend’ node Blended Height output  in the ‘Blend’ Foreground Input
  • Plug the ‘Uniform Color’  output in the ‘Blend’ Background input
  • In the ‘Blend’ settings set the Blending Mode to add (Linear Dodge) expose the Opacity Setting and call it Height_strength

from now on in painter changing Height_strength will control the strength of the height map.

In the end your graph should look like this

Now you can publish the sbsar the file.

Tip : you can quickly test out the material in painter with the default sample scene to make sure it works the way you need it to.

Open up a substance painter sample scene, add your freshly created material by drag-and- dropping into the material shelf and check how it works.

You will see in the properties the settings we exposed in designer are now available and ready for tweaking.

Unfolding UVs

During the texturing phase i will mostly use Uv projections generated maps, so when unfolding uvs you have to make sure they have the least deformation possible and keep your ratio consistent. the orientation of your uv shells is important as well.

Once i am happy with my UVs, I export fairly high level of subdivisions of my mesh : Personally I like working with High-Res meshes in substance and Mari it makes the previews more reliable.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3