Josh Lynch Substance Designer Sketchbook

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  • 3DKyle
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    3DKyle interpolator
    This is great Josh! I like how the grains are more obvious than the last image. 
  • Stromberg90
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    Stromberg90 polycounter lvl 9
    You have really nailed this one, really helped pushing the sharpness and grain intensity :)
  • Vrav
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    Vrav polycounter lvl 10
    Somewhere between the previous update and the one before it, they got really round (like logs instead of planks); everything else looks great
  • weareape
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    weareape polycounter lvl 6
    Hey Josh,

    Thanks for putting out that snow tutorial. I noticed though that I am getting a ton of noise in my normal map and I'm not sure where I am getting all of it from because I don't see it in the height map. My normals are  looking like thumbprints or a topological map.
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    Thanks for the comments and feedback everyone! I will check on the softness issue, making them look rounded.

    Weareape - Thats most likely due to the fact that your height map at some point became 8 bit and is not 16 bit, resulting in stair stepping. If you override the "Output Format" of the node that is 8 bit and change it to 16 bit that should fix the issue.
  • weareape
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    weareape polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks! That ended up being the issue. I had Output Format set to 8 instead of 16 so I must have set it up that way from the start. Also got rid of some other slight banding by changing auto levels and blurs to high quality. Just sloppy things on my part to remember.
  • metrons
    Starting some overlapping wood planks, still very early on. Going for a raw exposed wood that has some movement in the normal from the grains, not a smooth polished wood.

     Comments & critiques welcome as usual!




    Any chance we could see your graph, or an explanation on how you did these planks? they're gorgeous, trying to figure out how you did all this and i'm stumped. 

    amazing thread btw, tons of awesome work. cheers!
  • barcy707
    Loving all of these.
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    Metrons - Thanks for your interest! I will put together a small workflow guide soon.

    Barcy707 - Thanks a lot! :-)

    Been working on some new bricks. Comments and critique are welcome as usual!


  • arvinmoses
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    arvinmoses polycounter lvl 8
    Hey Josh - This is looking so cool man!  Love the weight and direction of slop and that you're getting some nice sharp breaks in the brick.  Also the variations on the brick surface.  The only thing kinda throwing me off are the white spots look like specular highlights in some areas.  I'm not sure if that's intended, but it catches my eye on first look.
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    Arvinmoses - Thanks man, really appreciate that! I did a pass that hopefully addresses those pesky spots.

    Material pass and camera variety.










  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    wow, that is some sloppy brick work,you should fire your builder =P

    on a serious note though, the art itself looks amazing, but the mortar is kinda bugging me. you would scrape of excess mortar and use it when laying the next brick. Its not only waste of material, but also not as stable when building.  when doing things as realistic as this, I think applying real world logic is just as important : )
  • ArtbyV
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    ArtbyV polycounter lvl 3
    I've seen sloppy brick work like that before in real life. I think it's fine and looks amazing. 
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    Lotet - Thank you for your comment and the feedback, glad you like the art! As far as the amount of mortar goes there are plenty of real life examples, even right around where I live, that show this look. This look actually has a name, "weeping joint brick", where the mortar is oozing out. See HERE.

    ArtByV - Thanks!
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Lotet - Thank you for your comment and the feedback, glad you like the art! As far as the amount of mortar goes there are plenty of real life examples, even right around where I live, that show this look. This look actually has a name, "weeping joint brick", where the mortar is oozing out. See HERE.

    thats really cool, I actually had no idea that was a thing, we dont have that in Sweden. did some research on it =P apparently its a real controversy among brick workers too haha.
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    Lotet - When I was looking online to gather reference I read some comments from brick workers that it was very wasteful, and indeed it is. I don't care though, it makes for cool art :smile:

  • arvinmoses
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    arvinmoses polycounter lvl 8
    Dude I think this is looking so good.  I love the level of realism you've managed to get here, and there's no sign of that procedural look that can be hard to break in SD sometimes. Thanks for taking my advice into consideration :D

    Oh dude - if you have Painter you might want to try rendering it in iray.  The implementation is better than in SD imo and the results are really nice.


  • lloydj14
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    lloydj14 polycounter lvl 5
    This looks awesome. The individual brick wear is great feels like each brick has 'unique' wear. Do you normally use your height map as a displacement when showing of your textures ? General question: are displacement maps commonly used throughout games (in game) in particular in the environement or is this just to show off your textures
  • slosh
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    slosh ngon master
    Once again, knocked it out of the park Josh.  Very realistic!
  • ericktjoe
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    ericktjoe polycounter lvl 4
    As always, best substance I've ever seen
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    ErickTJoe - Wow thats incredibly kind, really appreciate that!
    Slosh - Thanks a lot! :-)
    LloydJ14 - I do generally use my height map as a displacement when showing materials. Displacement is becoming more and more common in games, but it always depends on the type of game and the engine being used.
    Arvinmoses - I havent tried to render anything in Painter yet...hmmmm :-)
    Did a material separation pass and cleaned up transitions, tightened up the graphics on level 5. Pulling apart the exposed brick from the surface detail and more breakup between brick gloss and paint gloss.










  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    Started a stone wall


  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    Love your substance work Josh,

    I do have to say the stone wall's lacking that finesse in comparison to your other substances but you said it's a start so I'll keep my mouth shut haha 

    I'm curious to ask how you go about filling in those crevices in your brick substances.. I always end up with a really messy outcome or the height/normal just fails to bring separation between the two like you have... Kinda wish I had an example to show you but it's based off previous attempts I gave up trying to save. 

    Like I really like how convincing it is that the cement is sitting under the bricks but also looks like it's leaking over it as well.. how did you go about that?
    Is it by any chance a duplicate node setup of the cement with a leak mask to overlay on top of the brick and cement base to fake it?
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    Kid.In.The.Dark - Hey thanks a lot! Does the stone feel finessed now? See below. To answer your question it a matter of a mortar set of nodes and stone set of nodes and blending them together with a Blend node :smile:

    Did a stone variety and color pass. Still need to do gloss/roughness and some other polish items.



  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    Damn Josh, nailed it... Definitely see the finesse again haha... great work (Y)

    I do think the crevices could do with a little more of a alteration in it's colour as it kind of blends into the rock slabs a bit too much, maybe a bit more on the bright/white side? and would you happen to have anything on Substance Share for me/us to dig through? I'd love to pick at your mind on how you approach these haha.

    Keep up the good work!
  • Bruno Afonseca
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    Bruno Afonseca Polycount Sponsor
    Oh my, I love this last one. Amazing work!
  • EvanL
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    EvanL polycounter lvl 6
    I'm also curious about how you did the mortar as well.  How did you get the larger clumps clinging to the tops of the bricks and how did you get it to look like it's squeezing out of the crevices (especially in the vertical gaps).

    You should also know that you are awesome, and you're one of the few artists I reference constantly when working in Substance.  
  • bunda4th
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    bunda4th polycounter lvl 6
    It seem like many people are very curious on how you created the mortar! I am one of them lol. I have tried to do something similar and have not been able to get that look. I only get this very flat overfill like look with sharp edges, nothing smooth/round edges like yours. 

    Any tip on how you create your mortar and are you using the stone mask to blend the two? 
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    @Kid.in.the.Dark - Thanks :smile: . I do actually, HERE.

    @Bruno Afonseca - Thanks a lot! 

    @EvanL - Hey thanks a lot, thats very kind! As far as the mortar goes its a matter of controlling the surface undulation and introducing selective details in the height map. Regarding how it squeezes out, its a matter of generating a mask from the stones and using that.

    @bunda4th - See above for tips. I am not using a stone mask to blend the two :smile:

    Mortar detail, color variety on stones.






  • Kid.in.the.Dark
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    Kid.in.the.Dark polycounter lvl 3
    Awesome, thanks for that Josh, I'll have a dig through those when I'm at my home station haha.

    Also really knocked it out of the park with the update, I was already pretty satisfied with the last one... but damn haha nice one with this. That additional gravel in the crevices really add up well and really sells the old worn in feel. Amazing work (Y)
  • 3DKyle
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    3DKyle interpolator
    Great work Josh, I think the mortar looks tons better now that the color is different. Really digging the shapes too, can't wait to see what you develop next. 
  • arvinmoses
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    arvinmoses polycounter lvl 8
    It's so funny because looking back at the initial pass I couldn't really see how much more you could improve on the height map, but you've really made significant improvements with the higher frequency noise.  I love the little pebbles in the mortar.

    It's also really cool how the mortar kinda swallows the stones now on various points.  Can't wait to see where you go with this!
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    @Kid.in.the.Dark / @3DKyle ;- Thanks a lot, glad you like the mortar updates!

    @arvinmoses - Thanks man!  Glad you liked the updates in the mortar.

  • keosar
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    @keosar  - Ask and you shall receive :smile:

    I have created a teaser image of sorts to show how the initial pattern was created. I will be working on a more in depth tutorial, very busy right now with work so I hope you all understand it may take a bit. I hope this helps for now.


  • EvanL
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    EvanL polycounter lvl 6
    @josh_lynch
    I know it'll be worth the wait!  Definitely appreciate you sharing your knowledge especially with a few years under my belt now, I know how rough work can get.

    Has Tile Sampler been covering most of the pattern generation for the stuff you've been doing?  I've noticed and found it interesting different people (like Rogelio and Bradford) seem to gravitate towards different nodes and combinations; and have different opinions and perspectives for doing so.  Do you find yourself favoring certain nodes and combinations too?
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    @EvanL - thank you! I really appreciate that and I am glad you are looking forward to it :smiley:

    As far as the pattern generation nodes go I would say the Tile Sampler node is my go to, easily hands down. I use it at work and at home 95% of the time. The last time I used anything else was the wood flooring I did a while back.

    There are several reasons I use the Tile Sampler node. The main reason is it's very very robust.

    1. Allows for multiple pattern inputs. This can come in extremely handy when you are doing a terrain material and want to introduce different size and shape of something like rocks or debris.

    2. The position, scale, and rotation attributes all behave in a way I find quite pleasing. It seems to somehow behave around the center of each piece of the pattern. I know that Tile Generator and Tile Random have similar options but they all seem to behave around the space between the pieces. Where Tile Sampler seems to behave in an opposite manner. I dunno if I am making sense ha.

    3. Mask Input is incredible. You can pipe in a mask and tell the Tile Sampler to respect the mask and generate pieces inside or outside of that mask. This is very very handly when placing pebbles in between stones or something similar.

    4. Scattering noise and creating patterns I find to be more predictive and with more control. With a splatter set up you can get good results. But you are limited to a global amount of splatter. You can't say oh in those pattern I like what I have in X but I want less in Y. It won't happen. Where with a Tile Sampler you can easily do that.

    Those are my main reasons for why I am such a big fan of Tile Sampler.

    There is also some new features coming with Tile Sampler that will change the way a lot of people work. I will show something from this soon. 
  • EvanL
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    EvanL polycounter lvl 6
    @josh_lynch

    Love the multiple pattern inputs, just used it to scatter leaves.  My one single gripe I've had with it and I'm sure I missed something, is there an easy way to control the scatter amount?  It seems X amount and Y amount does this, but also affects the scale at the same time and it doesn't feel great trying to guess a new scale value.  Especially if I adjust the amount on a single axis, it also scales it on that axis, and I'd end up compensating by adjusting x or y size.

    I've found some ways to get around it.  For example, splitting tile samplers for big rocks, medium rocks, small rocks, when combined together automatically increases the amount a bit for me.  Sometimes I'll overshoot the amount a bit, and then pull it back with Mask Random.  But then there are inevitably instances where I just end up having to fiddle with amount and scale/size settings.

    Basically, is there a way to control the amount of scatter independently?  It's definitely been a small gripe in comparison and I've started to buy into Tile Sampler more and more recently opting to go with it more often over the other nodes.  Tried making my own FX-map for a bit, but seemed like reinventing the wheel after I checked out Tile Sampler.


  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    @EvanL - Do you mind linking me to some images of what you are trying to do? Forgive my short reply here, just trying to understand where you are coming from.

  • EvanL
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    EvanL polycounter lvl 6
    @josh_lynch
    At work, but I hope this can still illustrate it...



    But now I wanted to adjust the amount of squares, but at the same size.  X and Y amount seem to get me more squares, but takes the scale down with it.  


    So usually if I want more, I'll blend more tile samplers together, and if I want less I can usually get that with Mask Random.  But I've found sometimes to get the coverage I want at the size I want there's a bit of fighting with X and Y amount and Size/Scale settings.  Curious if you've found another way.

    What I ran into with making the rocky soil, I blended 3 tile samplers for large, medium, and small rocks.  But if I wanted more large rocks, I could blend another Tile Sampler, but that would about double the amount unless I adjust the settings.  And I try to be mindful of graph efficiency at that level, because I do a lot of instancing.  If I adjust the X and Y amount I'd get more rocks, but my large rocks become smaller.

    The workarounds I came up with work just fine, but I still want to look for better methods.  Kind of what I've found to be fun with Substance (and anything really) all this trying to come with solutions to problems.
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    @EvanL - Okay yeh this makes sense and this is behaving as expected with Tile Sampler. You do have to counter the scale when you are increasing or decreasing the amount in X and Y. But I dont see this as a problem per say because in other situations you may want the behavior, I guess it depends on what you are trying to do. Also, the Tile Sampler is not set up the same way as a splatter.

    When I create a terrain with rocks in it I use this method with multiple Tile Samplers to get a good variety of rock sizes and shapes and with it I have more control via the mask input and mask random.
  • K
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    K polycounter lvl 4
    Amazing work Josh, very inspiring!
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    K - Hey thanks for the kind words! Always love seeing your stuff! :smile:

  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    My video tutorial "Fundamental Concepts With Substance Designer" is now available on Gumroad.

    httpsgumcoqhmLhttps://gum.co/qhmL

    YouTube Overview Video - https://youtu.be/0DSJjPaT5Pc

  • ArtbyV
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    ArtbyV polycounter lvl 3
    My video tutorial "Fundamental Concepts With Substance Designer" is now available on Gumroad.

    Gumroad - https://gum.co/qhmL

    YouTube Overview Video - https://youtu.be/0DSJjPaT5Pc

    YES! I've been waiting for you to put something together like this. I downloaded your PDFs and while they were helpful, I prefer video as it's easier to follow. I can't wait to get home to pick this up. I hope you have more videos coming....
  • craigmh
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    craigmh polycounter lvl 3
    Oh wow. The Gumroad vid doesn't seem to be showing an HD option for some reason, might just be processing still but regardless, skimming through it looks great, really helpful!
    *watches intensely*

    [EDIT: Is now correctly displaying in HD]
  • ArtbyV
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    ArtbyV polycounter lvl 3
    Double post. :angry:
  • ArtbyV
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    ArtbyV polycounter lvl 3
    Double post. :angry:
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    @ArtbyV - Thanks for your comment and I am glad you found the PDF's helpful. Please let me know how you find the video tutorial. And yes I have more tutorials planned and from here on out they should be in video format unless its some sort of quick guide.  =)
  • josh_lynch
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    josh_lynch interpolator
    @craigmh - Thanks for the update and letting me know  :)

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