Grads in Games Search for a star. Page 6: Texturing in Substance Painter.
I completed all of my texturing in Substance Painter. First, I thought about how I would assign materials to the texture layers onto different parts of the model. I thought about using ID maps.
Assigning material Tests
I used the spotlight model to test the ID map. First, I applied colours in Maya and then exported the model as an FBX.
Figure 2 was made using the ‘Polygon Fill’ tool, UV selection and a black mask.
Overall, if I can select/fill the mesh or Uv maps using the polygon fill tool, then I will not need the ID map. The ID maps can me used for detail, however from what I have tested I will not need it. The ID maps is also extra, unnecessary work.
Extras – Surface imperfections
On another note, I have already decided to use premade surface imperfections for models like the mirror, to add a more realism to surfaces quickly. These will be sourced from Poliigon, a place where I found them to be good from. Surface Im – Poliigon. These will be applied to the material roughness in Unreal directly.
Texturing Glass Model
I focussed on the opacity and roughness settings. I believe that the reflectiveness should be low, otherwise you wont be able to see inside of the walls well enough. Base on research, I added a metallic value to increase the Fresnel level (questionable spelling). This helped with the amount the material reflects, to see the reflected image more clearly.
See figure 6, I chose to add a grunge map to a fill layer a dusty effect.
The scale and balance settings were reduced as can be seen in figure 7.
I do not want this to be too prominent, but just to enough to add a noticeable, but not distracting, surface quality to the glass.
On second thought, I believe that it would be a better idea to change the model somewhat (figure 8). First, I will delete the bottom face of the wall cylinder. The reason for this is to ensure that the software can identify which edge is the end of the shape. In order for the software to automatically add more e.g. generated grunge maps focussed on the correct area. These faces will not be necessary since the mirror framed base will cover this area. I am also debating whether I should add this model, the mirror frame base, when importing the wall and supporting beam models as well. Additionally, I will import the supporting beams into Substance Painter with the glass wall model. The reason for this is so that the software can identify places to add edge wear or generated details, where models intersect.
Technically, if I continue with this logic, then the stairs should also be imported together with the wall and supporting beam models. However, I believe that that having too many models imported and baked at once would be too detrimental to the performance. The high poly stairs have too many polys to allow this to work efficiently.
Furthermore, I am second guessing whether or not I will need two sides to the wall plane. I know that in Unreal Engine I can change the settings so that the texture is double sided. Though I am unsure, even after researching it, whether or not I need to do something to the model/texture in Maya or Substance Painter to ensure that the plane texture is double sided. Therefore, for now I will duplicate the wall plane and flip the faces. This will at least ensure that my workflow is consistent before I test this in Unreal. At that point, I can simply delete the plane if it is not necessary.
The result of the
As you can see in figure 10, the dirt layer is being developed, although, the dirt on the bottom edge is not showing. Perhaps it was better, for the generator, if I included the mirror framed base (the bottom of the whole structure). I added some dirt manually instead, since I planned to add more anyway.
I am still tweaking the settings, but already I have some dust/ dirt around the areas that I want. I think that I will have to paint in the top and bottom. Otherwise I may have to restart again but with the base mirror assets. Not sure. Am going for speed right now. So, I will take a note of it and leave it at the moment.
To review the visual quality at this stage, the pixels look too low resolution, see figure 11. This may or not be a problem, since the wall will not necessarily to see the wall from up close. Though I would rather improve this, so that there are no glaring faults in the final image. The map for this model is already 4K, so I can try 8K. However, I am unsure if my computer or Unreal Engine can run too many high intensity textures, with the consideration for the infinity mirror. I will consider using UDIMs for this asset, splitting up the UVs between UDIMs to utilize the space. For now, I will continue to make this texture and save it as a smart material. That way I can apply it onto another model and the generators will still apply, though I would need to redo the hand painted dirt smudges.
Next, I added further layers of dirt with a grunge fill layer.
I changed the settings to be just enough to add an imperfect effect when looking through the glass. And for the inside of the glass room still needs to be clearly visible. I used a paint layer on top of those grunge maps and black masks to add more dirt in custom areas, such as the floors. With a very low opacity brush of 4/14 I added levels of dirt. Though I am not sure how much of it will show in unreal, see figure 15. Eventually I added two grunge maps to add different effects and intensity.
Texturing Support Beams
Next are the wooden support beams. I will make my own smart material to use for all of the other wooden assets. This should be something I can quickly add to each wooden model and have them finished very quickly. To make the wood material, I started with some already-made smart materials from Substance Painter. I applied these as a base to see how I could implement them, and for example their already made grain patterns. I decided to use one or two of these to start my material.
My review of this material is:
- has interesting groove details.
- roughness too high.
- colour is totally wrong.
- grain size too big,
- grain detail doesn’t really fit with what I want.
Other SP smart material that I tried is “Wood ship hull old”.
Review of these materials:
Ship Hull Material
- I like it. It fits the style that I am going for – old. It includes dirt patches. Though I would need to customise it to change its purpose and add parallel height grains.
- Too many scratches and wrong orientation.
- I couldn’t rotate the grain at all, none of the layers worked.
- This one looks good. Neat and polished.
- Need to change col.
- There isn’t any grain
- Would need to add scratches and marks from the other smart materials or make my own.
- Change roughness – like this but make it more like my ref image should be good.
Figure 23 is ‘American Cherry Wood’ with an altered colour, roughness and changed tiling scale. It look much better now.
Feedback received from others claimed that the supporting beams and the stairs should be the same type of wood. Although I am not sure about that myself. At least in my imagination I thought about the stairs as being more polished and used.
I noticed that American cherry has a height map but wood walnut uses a normal map. Preferably, I would use the height if at all, but I tried putting both together and got this result:
I played with layers and settings, based on a tutorial I found, to create painted grain effects. This should produce more colour variation and realistic wood patterns.
See figure 25, to create these grains I created a fill layer + black mask + fill layer on that layer – in greyscale added a directional scratches map. Once I rotated the orientation of the projection by 90 but noticed that it was overly straight. The shape is too perfect along a very long and straight surface, which won’t look good at all. So, I added a slight rotational inaccuracy and it looks better now, see figure 26. Then, changed the balance and contrast to add/ subtract the line effect, see figure 27.
See figure 30, I tried adding a warp filter to that layer and it fragmented my scratches. While I like this effect, I also like what I did to the other one. So, I duplicated the layer and had one layer with the warp filter and one without, see figure 31. The “line scratches” look more like dirt, perhaps I can use this.
After changing many more settings I achieved the result in figure 34. For example, I changed the opacity, colour, balance and contrast.
Next, adding dirt. with a generator, only on the plank faces on the outside of the wall, perfect effect for realism of the situation. see figure 35.
See figure 36, I added a small amount of height to make the dirt stand out. I need this to work indoors as well so it is very minimal.
See figures 37 and 38. When playing with the colouring I found this colour very interesting. For future reference this would be appropriate for a toxic environment of sorts.
I edited the other dirt layer I have on the wood. Though I cant fix the colouring of the dirt layers correctly for some reason. It just blends into the rest of the wood.
It is time to see the supporting beam texture together with the glass walls.
On the wooden materials, the two dirt layers produced different results. One was only applied to the outside of the wood beams. And both varied in size of blob shapes and the balance and contrast of the blobs. Therefore they looked different to each other, see figure 42.
Though the end result is quite bland, this may just be the result of the lighting environment map, since it is black and white. This is the difference when I used the “glazed patio” enviro map, see figure 43. I tweaked the colour a little, not sure if I should make it paler according to my reference image. This is the final look, see figure 43 and 44. It looks a bit bland but I like it.
In retrospective, I believe that it would have been better to use Udmins for these two assets and the stair asset as well, considering how this one has turned out. I could create the Udmin in Maya and then apply the smart materials in SP. That should be very quick, though I will leave it until the end. The only issue is that I painted the top and bottom dust onto the glass model. Those may need to be redone manually again.
For now, I will export the textures that I made for this asset and see how the materials look in Unreal. Leaving any changes until I have finished all of the other textures.
Glass and beam texture = 4k. When exporting, I chose the Unreal mixed map format.
Texturing Stair lights
I am still unsure if I should have bevelled the edges on the low poly model once to support the bevelled edges in HP. however, since this is a small asset, I am happy with how it looks now.
In SP to make the base, first I applied a fill later, increased metallic to 1, roughness to about 0.24. and changed the base colour to a dark warm tone. I added an additional fill layer to that fill layer, deactivated all maps for it except roughness. Onto which, I put a thin dirt grunge map inside, see figure 48. Just to clarify, the white faces in the middle of the light will be a mesh light made with an Unreal emissive material.
I changed the scaling, and added a filter to that level – a matFinish Rough filter. See figure 49. Now it looks more dented and imperfect from use and age.
See figure 50, I added a fill layer with a black mask and brushed edges of the metal form. I added a generator to the black mask, with a mask editor. Then, changed the balance and contrast of the mask editor and turned texture opacity to 1. In the image inputs I added a “dirt thin” grunge map, with a thickness opacity value between 0.25 and 0.5.
I think that I will redo the LP and HP better. I will make this material into a smart material so that I can just reapply it. Though I do not think that I can use it for this asset. It is too much for my concept. I achieved this result by increasing the brushing intensity of the filter on the first fill layer. The metal looks pretty aged and beaten up. I changed the edge wear by changing the balance and contrast parameters in the mask editor layer. I duplicated the base col fill layer and added a white mask. To that I added a generator with edge wear on it. Then a fill layer on top of that (blending mode= multiply) to reduce the generator amount with a grunge map. Next, I further edited the edge wear balance and contrast, see figure 53.
See figure 55, I like the edge wear level at about 0.34, to simulate how people may have passed and hit the edge of the light.
I thought about the relative application of a rust filter, testing whether it was appropriate to use this quality on the model or not. Of course, the rust would not cover the whole model, I can take some of this away with a generator I believe.
I played around with the settings and got this result, see figure 57. I made a fill layer over the filter and added a grunge map. I was trying to vary the edge wear balance but instead got this effect. It is with the balance lowered. At least I know how to add dirt with height in the future. I do not need it right now though. For now, I will leave it like this, see figure 57.
Creating udim for wall and beams
Making the UDIM for the glass UV worked perfectly fine (figure 59), though I have an issue with the beam UVs. See figure 60, with the long length of the beams, the space in the square is not well utilised. I decided to try cutting the UVs in half by adding an edge loop, At least this way I wouldn’t waste space, though I hope that there wouldn’t be any seams in the join.
Redoing wall and beam Model
When redoing this model I kept getting artefacts during the baking stage. I managed to fix these after deleting the inner wall, the spare plane just in case I needed a double sided model.
I wanted to redo some of the topology on the models, such as the spotlight:
Figure 65, this is with my custom made smart material that I used for the stair light model. As you can see there are scratches on the edges which look good. Though they might be a bit big. To make it look better, I will add detail to the screws and change the colour of some of the components. In figure 66, I started to add screw details with a paint layer and a normal screw head stamp.
Figure 67, I selected certain parts of the model to add different materials to, with a black mask. Then, I tested how Substance smart materials look in different sections of the model. I can change the colour of the material in figure 68, though the edge wear and the dirt/dust quality looks good as it is.. It would be good for the ‘holder’ areas. Read further for what I mean:
When baking the high poly to the low poly model in SP, I realised that I lacked geometry to add the panel details. So, I went back to Maya and changed the topology to how I believe would make the bake work.
After seeing how the sign looks, I considered if I should move the sign down, since the place that it is in now sinks into the baked map, That might be incorrect. However after it is baked into the door panel depth, it looks perfectly fine. So, I will leave it for now.
Texturing the Handle
While the bake for the door handle seems quite low poly from up close, it will be perfectly fine from the correct distance.
I added inconsistent edge wear with an generator on top of a mask editor. I changed the visibility on certain layers to reveal certain details, until I was happy.
Texturing the Door
I added dirt to door, on top of my custom smart material (figure 84). Then, changed a few settings to make the grain match the door. I was able to get some curved grain effects and knots of the wood as well. I wanted to break up the colouring but adding more variation. To do this I over-layed a colour only channel on top of the wood (figure 85 and 86).
In the blending mode ‘tint’ is also nice, see figure 88. It made the colour lighter which produced another variation to the contrast of colour. I preferred this.
Broken landing Model
I manually painted the black and yellow tape pattern onto the UV map (figure 88). Then, added dirt details onto the wood, especially around the banister spindles (figure 89). Next, I added lines with a height paint brush to add plank style details (figures 90-92).
Next, I painted the broken banisters a lighter and varied colour very quickly (figure 93).
The stair UDIM did not import properly. I checked for overlapping Uvs in Maya. I also tried rescaling the texel density to slightly smaller in case anything was overlapping, after the UV layout tool was used. This solved the issue and I was able to properly import the UDIM into SP
In figure 98, you can see only the step wear. I added wear with the height channel using the ‘large rust leaks’ material.
End Rail Model
When making the end rail model, I added a dust layer on top of all up facing surfaces on model using a smart mask. This was made with a concrete material, a light generator, blending mode=linear dodge, and a downwards vertical angle. Also, I increase the light attenuation accordingly. This is an effect that I really liked, and I chose to go back to my other assets and add it in. It looks almost like snow before I completely finish changing my settings.
Rust material + smart mask ‘ground dirt’. I added dirt to the bottom of the model using the rust material so that I could see how it looked. Then, changed it to a dirt material with height detail and changed the settings accordingly.
Like I said I went back to add dust on top of the other models. This is what the stairs look like:
For the bench texture, I started with the same custom material that I made as the other wooden assets.
See figure 106, I also added the material called ‘wood ship hull Nordic’ underneath. I deleted most layers within the material, though I kept the wood grain layer that included the wood knot shapes. This adds a better realistic appearance to the model, in my opinion.
In figure 109, I added another type of material called ‘wood rough’ and the smart mask ‘dirt ground’. In figure 110, I added edge detail: ‘mask builder – legacy’. This edge detail is not usable as it is now, though it has an interesting burned appearance to it, or perhaps a stained effect. I will test if it is usable by changing the settings.
Next, I tried to change the colour and got carried away with possible toxic/radioactive themed colouring (which I think looks awesome).
With the branch and the twist exhibition pieces I have much more liberty to experiment with material and final look. Since these are artistic and unspecific materials designated, I did not want to simply add the same metal or wood materials to them. For the twist model, I liked the ‘bone’ material to start with ( see figure 120). Then, I applied a chrome material with a blue tint. I changed the blending models and opacity of the layers to get the result in figure 121, which I believe looks very interesting and unique.
I really like how it looks now, I will just add surface imperfections e.g. dust, rust and dirt to make it more realistic.