Home Career & Education

What do I need to learn to become a Material Artist?

Hello everyone!

I want to specialize in creating PBR materials. I like the works of Daniel Thiger, Joshua Lynch, etc.
Honestly, I don't really like modeling, UV mapping, baking.
Since I just started learning, I have questions that I can't find answers to.

What are the duties of a material artist? Should a material artist to model and bake? What is the workflow? What software should I know and use besides Substance Designer, Painter?
And in general, does the industry need artists who only make PBR materials? Or is it necessary to be a more versatile specialist? For example, an Environment Artist.

I would really appreciate the answers. And I apologize for possibly foolish questions.


  • Larry
    Offline / Send Message
    Larry greentooth
    Not working in the industry but from the material techniques i've seen there's the workflow of sculpting a tileable plain in Zbrush and the workflow where you take a picture, make it tileable and create a material out of it (substance alchemist/designer and/or photoshop)
  • Ashervisalis
    Offline / Send Message
    Ashervisalis high dynamic range
    I find it difficult to imagine a junior texture artist breaking into the industry with poor UV and texturing skills, even if they have solid material authoring skills. That being said, some studios (like mine) have separate departments for modeling and texturing, so if you really hated the modeling part, you could always download free models and texture those (although I don't know if I'd fully recommend skipping getting good at modeling).

    Making materials is rad though, keep practicing at Substance Designer, and maybe pick up ZBrush as well.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Offline / Send Message
    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    So you stil want not just material balls, but at least a small diorama of those material balls on actual objects as the minimum?
  • Pixelbit
    Offline / Send Message
    Pixelbit polycounter lvl 4
    Alex Beddows wrote a blog post on this topic that you may find useful: https://www.artstation.com/alexbeddows/blog
  • Jillk
    Thank you all very much, especially poopipe!
    Now I can make a study plan.
  • another caveman
    Offline / Send Message
    another caveman polycounter lvl 7
    It's also a lot about managing the library, supporting artists, be ready to explain how you work and how it's efficient.
    example: first you'd submit a placeholder material that gives an intention on the shapes, the texture ratio, the tone and whatsoever else.. so people can UV map with it at least and not be hanging with a checkerboard texture, and then update it over time etc........
    If you're able to provide pics of this flow or your flow whatever, even better! Show some in production context things will help.
    your input on when to create a new mat instead of just reusing some with X or Y parameter being tweaked as a good-enough variation etc.
Sign In or Register to comment.