Sunday, March 22, 2015

15 minutes in Bitmap2Material

I always wanted to paint directly on a mesh, but Mari is ridiculously expensive and I wasn't dropping that much cash. I figure I'll never use Mari unless I end up at a studio that uses it in their texturing pipeline. When a friend told me about Substance Painter and I saw Allegorithmic's Substance Indie Pack for only $160 last June I was instantly sold.

I've been messing around with both Designer and Painter ever since (more on both in future posts), but Bitmap2Material (B2M) was the red headed stepchild to me. It sat by the wayside as version 2 didn't output PBR materials and I was building all my assets for Unreal Engine 4. When version 3 was released it added support for PBR materials which was great. I upgraded, but still didn't try it out. I guess I didn't believe I could drop a bitmap into a program, tweak a few sliders, and come out with a decent material.

Today, the B2M 3 Walkthrough Tutorial came up on my YouTube feed. It was only 25 minutes long and I had a brick texture I downloaded still sitting on my desktop from another project. I figured I'd give it a shot fully thinking I'd end up frustrated by the end of it. Boy was I wrong. Here's the texture I came up with at the 15 minute mark while going through the video.

Now it isn't perfect and needs some tweaking (the grout on the base color needs some work for example and the height map isn't working quite right), but for 15 minutes of work I can't complain. I can drop this into a game for prototype purposes and instantly know if it works in the environment which is pretty amazing when you think about it. Below is the original texture I downloaded and the additional maps B2M generated (click on the thumbnails for a larger pic).

I wasn't planning on incorporating B2M into my workflow, but after this I'll definitely be using it more. Like any good 3D artist I have tons of reference pictures of bark, stone, wood, metal, rust, bricks, and such I've taken when out with the family (much to my wife's embarrassment, but to be fair I do get the occasional odd look when I'm standing with a camera pointed 2 inches away from a tree).  From here,I can output the initial maps from B2M and do any further tweaks in Designer and Painter.

If you haven't tried B2M yet, give it a shot. It's a handy piece of software that definitely has it's place alongside the other Substance programs.

Till next time,

No comments:

Post a Comment