It has been far too long since I've done entry to Substance Daze, so I figured I'd do a 4 in 1 entry!
One of the substance communities most talented artists, Daniel Thiger, has been releasing a ton of educational content about his methods of creating amazing procedural textures with Substance Designer. His releases are distributed through Substance Source and on Gumroad, so if you're keen to learn how to make procedural materials that are as convincing as scanned materials, please checkout his Gumroad content here. His educational content is for more advanced users of Substance Designer, as he doesn't go over his entire graph from start to finish. He does provide some remarkable insight into ways of creating detail that I never thought were possible to achieve in Substance Designer. I can't recommend his work enough for people who want to take their skills to the next level by dissecting his graphs.
I wanted to go over a few nodes that he makes great use of in his process, to reflect back on what makes these nodes so useful. Two of these nodes do not come with the Substance Designer package, so purchasing one of his tutorial series comes with them as an bonus.
First of all, I want to go over the Shadows node, which does come with SD. This node is great for quickly creating the kinds of masks you would want for putting specific details in the "valleys," or dark areas of your height map. It has a directionality, which is often super useful giving your detail mask a physical directionality. For example, skip using a position map or a world space normal map for creating something like leaking grease, water damage, rusted areas, that would occur with some directional influence.
In this use case, we can see that basic input of a Brick Generator is acquiring a directional mask through the Shadows filter, which could then be inverted and used as a mask to apply a specific directionally influenced effect to the dark areas of the Bricks. This would be tremendously useful for quickly achieving the type of mask you would want to give your bricks some directionally influenced grime that you might expect to occur beneath each brick after enduring many days of rain.
The Get Slope, available on Substance Share, by another phenomenal Substance Designer artist collective called Quantum Theory, is tremendously useful node that comes with two graphs. The Get Slope tool is very useful for getting slope detail of things like rocks, to fine tune the edge details of those kinds of shapes. The slope pixel processor generates a slope texture where black pixels on the resulting greyscale map are considered flat planes and white pixels are considered vertical angles.
The Height Selector tool, is a very speedy filter for quickly creating masks to apply detail to the to specific elevations of your height map. This filter is useful in a similar capacity to the Shadows node, however it doesn't have any directional influence. It is useful when you want to apply an effect uniformly all over your height map.
The Nondirectional Warp tool is one of the nodes that Daniel Thiger was generous enough to include in his tutorial series. It is a pretty straight forward tool that produces an often more appealing warping effect to the built in Warp and Directional Warp nodes. As far as I can tell, this node is several options to give a directional warp in either the X Positive, X Negative, Y Positive, and Y negative, or all of the above, orientations, (making it absolutely a directional warp tool haha). As far as I can tell, the key difference between this tool and the Directional Warp tool that comes with Substance Designer, is that it does not uniformly offset the entire texture, producing a more stable and consistent warp with some directional influence. This node is tremendously useful for when the standard Warp and Directional Warp nodes aren't cutting it. If you'd like to get your hands on it, you can buy some of Daniel's tutorials or shoot me an e-mail :)
This node was created by Daniel Thiger, and it is a really nice tool to quickly preview your height map as you're working. You simply drop it into your scene and view all of it's outputs in your 3D view. I have done something similar as a Height map detail preview in the past, but it never occurred to me to make it into a standalone node, which saves a lot of time in the long run. I highly recommend creating something like this for yourself, as it is super nice to preview your work as you iterate on your height map.
That wraps up this instalment to Substance Daze. I hope you learned something and I look forward to doing the next one, exploring the power Pixel Processing Node!