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Introduction to Substance Designer

Fundamentals, Practical


A 3-hour introduction to Substance Designer and demonstration of how to create a skin pore alpha graph.
We cover the following:

  • A full overview of the interface of Substance Designer.
  • The most commonly used nodes and their parameters.
  • How to tile details in an organic fashion.
  • How to configure and use input parameters.
  • What makes skin pores look like skin pores?
  • A complete demonstration of how to create a skin pore generator with Substance Designer.
  • How to load and apply our resulting skin pores in Zbrush.

Access this content with a paid membership.



  1. lxf1271447579 says:

    How many Substance Designer handouts can be learned after joining this website as a member? Are there four?

      1. lxf1271447579 says:

        Thank you!

  2. mc.minhquan612 says:

    Thank you for everything Laura.
    I didn’t know about the feature Model Graph of Substance 3D Designer. But when you started to talk about it, I started to figure it out that it’s dead.
    Thanks for this celebrate event. It brings you to me and all my friend.

    1. Yup it’s super dead thanks to Adobe. Happy to be useful Mc! Cheers.

  3. Aldis Igaunis says:

    Hi Laura! I can’t believe I didnt start studying courses here sooner, highly appreciate the little details nobody talks about like grayscale info limitations, channel count incompatibilities etc. Camera with body language also helps to grasp info better.

    1. Thanks Aldis! Glad to be of help 🙂

  4. lyubchenkoruslan says:

    Sorry for stupid question, but where can I download project files? Can’t find them here under the video

    1. No worries! The project files are all available from the handout section of your account page:

      1. lyubchenkoruslan says:

        thank you

  5. Larisa Beliaeva says:

    Thank you for such a comprehensive lesson! I have a couple of questions about procedural workflow in SD. 1) As I could understand from my experiments, one can use up to six different inputs into the tile generator node to make it mix different instances of geometry. Are there any other ways to randomize different variants of tiles within a single node? 2) Usually when we use procedural workflow and build functions with the help of visual programming, there are alternative ways to do the same procedures directly with the help of scripting language. Are there options like this in SD? I mean, is there any node that contains just code? 3) Can we, let’s say, promote parameters from inside of the Pixel Processor into the interface of the node? Thank you!

    1. Hi Larisa! Here’s my answers:

      1- I didn’t actually know there was a limit of 6 pattern inputs for the tile generator. Tell you the truth I don’t use the tile generator that much since learning how to use FX-maps. They’re essentially what the tile generator is built on and as far as I know they allow an unlimited amount of pattern inputs (I only tried up to 100 🙂 ). We’ll get to FX maps in a few lessons.

      2- The closest to that is the Value Processor and Pixel Processor nodes and they’re the topic of the next lesson I’m preparing. Designer does also support Python scripting but I don’t think it can be used exactly how you describe.

      3- The Pixel Processor is a child of the parent graph so you can’t access Pixel Processor variables from outside it, but you can access graph-level variables inside a Pixel Processor.
      Are these the answers you’re looking for?


      1. Larisa Beliaeva says:

        Hi Laura! Thank you a lot! Yes, I’ve got what I was looking for. Can’t wait for the next lessons 🙂

        1. Cheers! I’m uploading it tomorrow.

  6. Campbell says:

    at 2:01:00 you talk about how the wrinkles are clipping because the blend mode is adding too much. Which, thank you for mentioning, I learned something new about using 32 bit to solve this. I love this solution! But I’m still curious, is there any reason you wouldn’t use “Max (Lighten)” instead of “Add”? I thought this was a solution to avoid clipping when blending?

    1. Hey Campbell, great question! Max and Add are two blend modes that give a very different visual result. Add well… adds, while Max is more akin to an if-else clause. Max keeps the brightest value of the two incoming input and gives a visual result similar to having the two inputs intersecting. Give both a try some test data and you’ll see how different they look. In this case I just knew that Add was the blending mode that was going to give me the visual look I wanted instead of Max.

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