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What would Quixel Mixer have to fix, to become an industry standard software ?

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When asked about, what's a good software for texturing, I bet many of you would say Substance Painter. I know, it's been longer in the field than Quixel, but I wonder, what is it lacking as from your point of view that if fixed, could make it more attractive for companies to switch to ?

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  • GlowingPotato
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    GlowingPotato polycounter lvl 7
    The only product from quixel I used was the buggy Photoshop tools that have acronym for its names, and to this day, I don't know which one was what. This was years ago.

    Now is mixer similar to painter? I don't know its features, nor if its good or not. 
    I use Substance painter since it early days... its like third arm for me.

    Is there any side by side comparison ? Can I try it for free?
  • oglu
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    oglu polycount lvl 666
    There is no problem with using Mixer for a project in a Studio.
    Its just how much features you would like to tradeoff.
    How much money do you like to spend vs. how many feature do you need.

    A good Artist will find a way to create good Art with every tool. 
    https://quixel.com/blog/2020/2/27/mixer-2020-a-new-texturing-paradigm



  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    an effective studio tool needs to fit into pipelines. That means scripting support, an open architecture wrt extensibility and flexible licensing arrangements.
    It does not have to be the best or most efficient (we dont use maya because its a competent modelling package, we use it because you can make tools for it) 

    Painter is getting there nowadays but the reason it became so ubiquitous in the first place is that it had designer backing it up (which fulfills all the requirements above and then some) .

    I've no idea what quixel are planning to do with mixer but honestly it feels like they're too late to the party for it to really matter. 
  • Blaizer
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    Blaizer interpolator
    I would say perfomance. If a tool offers a great perfomance, painting in a 4k screen for example with zero problems, and has all the actual and needed features, then it would be a good choice. That includes 4k monitor support, of course.

    A good and ultra-fast brush engine is a must. UDIMs, projection and normal painting, etc. 
  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    I refer you to my earlier point.
    If performance were really that important people wouldn't be using maya, mari, solidworks etc..  because they all run like shit. 

    You can resolve almost all performance issues by throwing money and hardware at the problem - it's not unusual to have £10-15k workstations under every desk with multiple high end GPUs, Hundreds of thousands  invested in render farms  etc etc. - all of which is cheaper than not being able to make a tool work with your other tools


    If you want to compete with painter at a consumer level then everything you've said is valid - it's unrealistic on a £1k consumer level pc at present but still a valid aim. 
    It will have little to no effect on whether studios adopt it or not though
  • Synaesthesia
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    Synaesthesia polycounter
    Can I try it for free?

    Mixer is free to use for everyone. You can grab it via https://quixel.com/mixer. We're quite interested in feedback. I'll keep checking this thread for useful suggestions or discussions. Your ideas in particular are fantastic @poopipe - thank you!
  • Blaizer
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    Blaizer interpolator
    @poopipe Max, Maya, etc have poor perfomance, but they are still used because they are the "standard". Those apps, like too many other are quite old.

    I still remember when Photoshop 7 was launched with its "new brush engine", i could handle 12k px height illustrations and huge brush sizes without effort. And the computer i used to use was nothing compared to what i use today (and it was the very best). Right now, if i want to do the same, i need to use a very expensive PC because newer versions always demands a lot. The reasons, are very well known and it's a common issue with old apps like Maya. With each version, they get more and more bloated and pc requirements are higher.

    On the hardware side, you must understand that Indie devs or small/medium studios can't waste too much money in those DCC workstations you talked about so casually, nor licenses of apps with nasa computer requirements, and less, upgrade their systems every year. For that reason, an excellent performance on an average workstation is a must for at least 3 years. Performance is the most important thing in computers, both in hardware and software.

    The lack of performance is one of the reasons of why i don't use Blender for all, like too many other apps. It doesn't performs like it should be.

    Mixer may be free, ok, but it lacks like blender in all its aspects. Performance is horrible being honest, and the worse is that all is pretty basic and simple. The app struggles a lot with common tasks. There are much more competitive options without needing to invest in hardware, and to complicate things much more, substance painter is taking advantage of photoshop's brushes. The race is like lost by 3 laps, and mixer is still in beta. Too late.

    And i'd dare to say it's not just about consumer level PC, but standard and average workstations for games development. Take for example an actual Ryzen 3900x or Intel core 9900k /64gb/RTX2080ti with a dual 4K monitor setup and a cintiq pro 32/24 as the most expensive part. In the majority of studios you won't see the latest hardware in all the computers, just plain and common computers with enough ram, a good cpu, a good video card and a dual or triple setup of monitors.

    To put the hardware as excuse is not valid for me, and more when actual software don't take advantage of past hardware.

    To sum it up, give users performance and you will have a battle won. Take advantage of 5 years old hardware and don't expect users to pay for new hardware every year if they want performance, that's the gold rule.

  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    few questions:
    1)  is it working with non square textures now? like 1024x2048?  We hardly have any square ones at all.
    2)  Can I scale any mask /bitmap layer  not only by integers?  Rather any rational number too, something like 2,35   and cope with the seams higher on the stack.

    3)   Can I do Photoshop style layers/ floaters   also scaling by real numbers,  kind of decals I could move around? Having its own depth/curv/masks and Photoshop style (group clipping) non-destructive masking   and transform links. 

    4) what about Photoshop style  "Blend if" in between layers.

    5)   Do you have some analog of Zbrush Roll brush  or rather 3dcoat strips?    A brush with a very long non repetitive strip as a dab you could roll along a stroke, preferably vector non destructive one ?    Better Corel painter style  with random starting point on that stripe.

    6) Something like 3d coat ability to select several brush dubs , each having depth/rough/col channel  and scatter them by brush randomly?  Like scattering stones on a ground surface  by actual pressure sensitive Wacom pen  and not that damn procedural noise  you couldn't control really.    Would love to see it done by some vector based strokes too I could tweak later Like what I did In Xara  and Creative House Expression  decades ago.

    7) Any chance to see texture/material projection feature?    Specifically with ability to conform a thing to 3d model precisely and especially with ability to scale projected material around arbitrary center of transform  placed to whatever pixel of that projecting material  you feel necessary.   Like Mari ability to drop something into Photoshop , scale around  chosen pixel , puppet wrap as a smart object and bring back to Mari in whatever resolution you need.


    I can say  I hate  Allegorythmic  soft . They are crazy, monstrously inconvenient form an artist perspective.  Painter on a lesser end but still nevertheless.    I am looking forward for alternatives.   Loved some refreshing straight forward simplicity and  usability of Mixer I tried a while ago     but  couldn't workaround few things  I still can do , with a lot of pain in my a... in Painter/ Designer.

    It looked kind of like Alchemist  , a cool thing but  totally useless because of a few basic omissions.


  • oglu
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    oglu polycount lvl 666
    poopipe said:
     - it's not unusual to have £10-15k workstations under every desk with multiple high end GPUs, -
    Who are you working for?
    I never saw such a studio from the inside. Nor one of our client have rigs like that.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    All those new cool procedural texture softs   SPainter included   have one principle flaw imo.  Their procedurals work in texture space  that creates lots of limitations.

    Decade ago my approach for texturing was 3d max -Photoshop pair.    You can have some cool procedural  edge wear , curvature masks or "Dirt" mask based on mental ray special ambient occlusion shader where you could set vectors length and direction  and get same result  later RichDirt plugin for Max did.   Plus a few cool 3d party procedural noises much better controllable than SDesigner ones.     

    And a HUGE plus that all this is working in world space  and real world scale aware.   So once you set it  you couldn't care anymore  on any next thing , it's always in right scale , often nothing to tweak  for a whole scene of different objects.   If you don't like it on something  you just move the thing around   and all edge wear , weathering and such is new because it works in world space.

    Another cool thing was you could make evry procedural or any part of final material you want to tweak later a separate shaderball in MAx material window. Instantly available for tweaks  and updating all related materials. 

       To do same thing in SPainter  or Mixer I have to waste lots of time trying to recollect in what layer mask the damn thing is hiding   or where it was in that damn  SDesigner  Gordian knot of spaghetti  monster.

    And I even don't mention all cool particle based simulations I could do and bake In Max, shadow pass  baking  turning into normal map modifications,  UV deforming ,  animated parmeters etc.  

    I did textures that way for years  up to a point I forgot how all those procedural masks work  and how exactly I did them  because  usually I haven't had to tweak anything  once I make it look right on one object . Any next object and it's same right.         in SDesigner it's always a new challenge because object scale is new , texture size or form factor is new, bakes are new.

    Then , in some new version, those all shaders stopped to work , Mental ray gone  and finally  Autodesk  doesn't allow anymore  to activate  my old "perpetual" license  after  a SSD crush.    "We don't support your version anymore"  

    Otherwise would still be doing  this old style.




  • Synaesthesia
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    Synaesthesia polycounter
    gnoop said:
    few questions:
    1)  is it working with non square textures now? like 1024x2048?  We hardly have any square ones at all.
    2)  Can I scale any mask /bitmap layer  not only by integers?  Rather any rational number too, something like 2,35   and cope with the seams higher on the stack.

    3)   Can I do Photoshop style layers/ floaters   also scaling by real numbers,  kind of decals I could move around? Having its own depth/curv/masks and Photoshop style (group clipping) non-destructive masking   and transform links. 

    4) what about Photoshop style  "Blend if" in between layers.

    5)   Do you have some analog of Zbrush Roll brush  or rather 3dcoat strips?    A brush with a very long non repetitive strip as a dab you could roll along a stroke, preferably vector non destructive one ?    Better Corel painter style  with random starting point on that stripe.

    6) Something like 3d coat ability to select several brush dubs , each having depth/rough/col channel  and scatter them by brush randomly?  Like scattering stones on a ground surface  by actual pressure sensitive Wacom pen  and not that damn procedural noise  you couldn't control really.    Would love to see it done by some vector based strokes too I could tweak later Like what I did In Xara  and Creative House Expression  decades ago.

    7) Any chance to see texture/material projection feature?    Specifically with ability to conform a thing to 3d model precisely and especially with ability to scale projected material around arbitrary center of transform  placed to whatever pixel of that projecting material  you feel necessary.   Like Mari ability to drop something into Photoshop , scale around  chosen pixel , puppet wrap as a smart object and bring back to Mari in whatever resolution you need.
    1. Not yet, but it's on the roadmap.

    2. You can do a lot of this through the Mask Stack by adding a Map layer and placing a Projection modifier on top of it.

    3. Projection masks will do this, but we're looking into improving how decals are implemented in Mixer so it may be more streamlined as time goes on.

    4. "Blend If" doesn't exist to my knowledge but you can approximate it pretty well using Blend Above/Below layers.

    5. Our brush engine is raster right now, not vector. This is an interesting suggestion though, thank you!

    6. The brush engine is still in its early development phases so we'll be improving it as we continue developing Mixer.

    7. Box Projection is pretty close to what you're looking for.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    Thanks Synaesthesia  .    I'll do another try for sure.

    In general I'd love a texture soft  would work as vector one , not only brushes.

      I recall  I could work with a speed of light  in old Expression and Xara .     Every piece of bitmap  was a decal  guided  by  vector spline or shape fill.  Always non-destructive and resolution independent.     Feathering edges were just a slider.      Objects has inheritable tags you could make selection  of gazilion things in a click.       Making  seamless  textures  took a  minute with  shifted clones.  

    You need to scatter pebbles.  No problem, a brush would scatter random selection of  bitmap decals along a spline.  You  need re-scale  or replace some of them.  Just select  few by certain tag  and drop other bitmap  in the shapes. 

    Xara was able to cope with a huge amount of bitmaps  Illustrator would die instantly.

    in Expression you could make a  'skeletal"   brush  alternating randomly up to 10 bitmap intervals in a long stripe of non-repeating  tire track/ trail for example.  Deforming  smoothly along a vector spline.

    The only tedious part was  painstakingly  replacing  every piece of bitmap and brush stroke  in a document  to their normal map  or spec  channel counterparts .   But since the document is vector  you still could  do it  pretty easily.  

    And finally in Xara  you could take any detail on screen, any dirt streak  on any layer deep down  , move delete or replace  it  with  just one click.        I can't stress enough how  terrible the pain in a...    is  when you are searching for minutes  on what  damn layer, mask or node   this or that feature resides .      in both SPainter and Designer .

    Too bad  old  Xara couldn't work  with 32 bit  and do depth combine tricks .   I might be still using it.   In many respects  it resembles  normal 3d soft with instances , particles etc.

  • Udjani
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    Udjani greentooth
    Something that i like alot about the substance suit is the hability to create custom tools in designer to use in painter, makes a bunch of things much faster and you can create some cool dynamic effects like paint peeling etc.

    Also i would really like to see something similar to anchor points on mixer. 
  • gandhics
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    gandhics polycounter lvl 5
    gnoop said:
    All those new cool procedural texture softs   SPainter included   have one principle flaw imo.  Their procedurals work in texture space  that creates lots of limitations.

    Decade ago my approach for texturing was 3d max -Photoshop pair.    You can have some cool procedural  edge wear , curvature masks or "Dirt" mask based on mental ray special ambient occlusion shader where you could set vectors length and direction  and get same result  later RichDirt plugin for Max did.   Plus a few cool 3d party procedural noises much better controllable than SDesigner ones.     

    And a HUGE plus that all this is working in world space  and real world scale aware.   So once you set it  you couldn't care anymore  on any next thing , it's always in right scale , often nothing to tweak  for a whole scene of different objects.   If you don't like it on something  you just move the thing around   and all edge wear , weathering and such is new because it works in world space.

    Another cool thing was you could make evry procedural or any part of final material you want to tweak later a separate shaderball in MAx material window. Instantly available for tweaks  and updating all related materials. 

       To do same thing in SPainter  or Mixer I have to waste lots of time trying to recollect in what layer mask the damn thing is hiding   or where it was in that damn  SDesigner  Gordian knot of spaghetti  monster.

    And I even don't mention all cool particle based simulations I could do and bake In Max, shadow pass  baking  turning into normal map modifications,  UV deforming ,  animated parmeters etc.  

    I did textures that way for years  up to a point I forgot how all those procedural masks work  and how exactly I did them  because  usually I haven't had to tweak anything  once I make it look right on one object . Any next object and it's same right.         in SDesigner it's always a new challenge because object scale is new , texture size or form factor is new, bakes are new.

    Then , in some new version, those all shaders stopped to work , Mental ray gone  and finally  Autodesk  doesn't allow anymore  to activate  my old "perpetual" license  after  a SSD crush.    "We don't support your version anymore"  

    Otherwise would still be doing  this old style.





    Now you have full OSL in ,ax. Also most renderer has AO/Curvature shader.
    Even RichDirt still available I think.
    I don't think you would miss that much From MR.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    gandhics said:

    Now you have full OSL in ,ax. Also most renderer has AO/Curvature shader.
    Even RichDirt still available I think.
    I don't think you would miss that much From MR.

    Yeah,  OSL.   Now  I am , a person with damn "free arts" + a bit of projective geometry  education   going to learn actual programming language, not even some convenient node based visual thing . Cool indeed.

    I haven't even had to buy RichDirt  because  that custom ambient acclusion based  "Dirt"  some good man made available for free  allowed to do all the same yeas before RichDirt  by just setting directions / ray cones for ambient occlusion + a bit of usual gradients and noises.

    I tried to do same in current MAx, Blender, Clarisse, Octane   and never been able to make it work same good.  Modo is closest thing  but still not there.

    Besides Substances are  now "industry standard"      I never been able to comprehend  how could this happen.   I am now spending   twice more time on textures basically.  

    I dream about some new texture soft , a hybrid of 3d soft and  2d vector one ,  with noises in world space and ability to draw vector shapes and splines quickly scattering 2d decals or 3d objects   plus a bit of Artomatix  style AI managing tiling edges.  GPU render in the end .        Sadly pretty sure such a thing would never happen during my lifetime.


     

  • onionhead_o
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    onionhead_o polycounter lvl 13
    as an VFX/Film artist

    #1 UDIM support
  • Shrike
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    Shrike interpolator
    Well it would need more features comparable to painter

    Painter also has a finicky UI, strange stacking, and is not fast either
  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    IMO the gap left in the market is the one that alchemist should be filling.
    i.e.
    Creation/mixing of tileable materials with a simpler workflow than designer. Ideally including robust manual mask painting etc.   
    Support for UV scaling to support terrain material creation/preview would help also. 
    This would sit the app at the pointy end of the pipeline-enabling it to take bitmap or (ideally) sbsar data from Designer  and give teams a painter equivalent for tileable materials. 

    As I said above, I've not used mixer- maybe it supports this stuff,  maybe not

    re: the post above.. 
    It's unlikely that software that does the same things as painter is ever  going to be orders of magnitude faster than painter-it's modern, its under constant development. The speed issues it faces come from the architecture which is required for it to support the featureset it has. Obvs it could get faster, but I'd only expect to see incremental improvements until the hardware makes a big leap. 
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    poopipe said:
     Ideally including robust manual mask painting etc.
    Is it already ?   last time I tried I couldn't find a way of doing so.  Neighter  an ability to use non-square materials and our environment ones  are hardly ever square.   Nor any way  to use photogrammetry scanned material  by gradually scaling it   in non integer values  to match procedural details ?      

    Maybe I gave it not enough look ?

    About being faster I believe  it should be kind of a separation of what we do in real time and what could be kind of deferred.  Maybe some screen space thing like what Zbrush or Mari do.    I am not sure maybe it's exact reason why Zbrush  couldn't handle layers  normally  or MAri coudn't paint multichannel at once  but I bet some kind of  proper trade of still might  be possible.




  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    I was just suggesting potential features for mixer. What I've described in this thread is basically the tool I want to provide for environment artists so they can create tileable textures based on a library generated by specialist material artists. 
    I've yet to run alchemist through a full evaluation in terms of environment art use so can't say whether it's any good or not.  we have dismissed it as pointless for specialist material artists given that they use designer. 

     Fwiw the new SVT feature is sort of a step towards what you're describing but really the big problem is that a gpu with 8gb doesn't have enough capacity to support processing a big layer stack at 2k resolution and there's a limited speed at which stuff can be shuffled back and forth between main and gpu memory. 
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    poopipe said:
    I was just suggesting potential features for mixer. What I've described in this thread is basically the tool I want to provide for environment artists so they can create tileable textures based on a library generated by specialist material artists. 
    I've yet to run alchemist through a full evaluation in terms of environment art use so can't say whether it's any good or not.  we have dismissed it as pointless for specialist material artists given that they use designer. 

     Fwiw the new SVT feature is sort of a step towards what you're describing but really the big problem is that a gpu with 8gb doesn't have enough capacity to support processing a big layer stack at 2k resolution and there's a limited speed at which stuff can be shuffled back and forth between main and gpu memory. 

    I totally support your suggestions.  In fact it's what I hoped Alchemist would be.  It had been huge disappointment for me  after its initial release.      But I spent not very much time with it and still have some hope they might add new features or there is something  I  might  missed.        

    MIxer  has a painting ability at least but again not very convenient sadly.


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