HOW Do I ADD am­bi­ent oc­clu­sion In sub­stance De­signer?

Rachel Har­ri­son, Ed­in­burgh

3D World - - ARTIST Q&A - Paul Hat­ton replies

Am­bi­ent Oc­clu­sion (AO) is es­sen­tial for pretty much every model that you will tex­ture. Its ap­pli­ca­tion for cre­at­ing fine shad­ows, sur­face wear and tear or even dust makes it a very handy tex­ture. Every ren­derer will pro­vide you with a map that sim­u­lates it and Sub­stance De­signer is no dif­fer­ent.

Quite re­cently Sub­stance De­signer made some pretty im­pres­sive im­prove­ments to its AO map, so I’ll run through how to do this from ver­sion 5.6. Prior to this new AO node, you had to bake your AO map from your 3D mesh. This wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily a ma­jor prob­lem but it did re­quire an ex­tra step and there­fore added ex­tra time to your work­flow. In ver­sion 5.6, though, Sub­stance De­signer de­cided to com­pletely over­haul the node and give us a new one! It’s called the HBAO node, which stands for Hori­zon Based Am­bi­ent Oc­clu­sion. It’s still based on a height map but com­pared to the pre­vi­ous ray­traced option, it de­liv­ers ex­cep­tional re­sults in a frac­tion of the time. Thank you Sub­stance!

To get the node up and run­ning you will need to cre­ate a bit­map node (con­tain­ing your height map), and con­nect it to your Am­bi­ent Oc­clu­sion node. With the AO node se­lected, you’ll gain ac­cess to all of the node’s pa­ram­e­ters. Let’s take a look at the In­stance Pa­ram­e­ters roll­out briefly. Firstly, it gives you the option to Use World Units. If you click where it says False, then it’ll en­able you to spec­ify the units you want to use. Fol­low­ing that, you can set the Height Depth you re­quire. The Ra­dius pa­ram­e­ter now be­haves in a much more nat­u­ral way, which is good to hear.

Fi­nally, there is the option for GPU Op­ti­miza­tion. If you want to use this you will need to make sure that the Ren­der­ing En­gine is set to your GPU, rather than your CPU. Plug­ging your AO node into a base ma­te­rial will then give you some­thing that is us­able.

It’s re­ally that sim­ple! Please note that you can give the AO node any bit­map data, en­abling you to cus­tomise ex­actly what your AO is go­ing to look like.

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