HOW CAN I CREATE A DAMAGED LEATHER MATERIAL USING SUBSTANCE DESIGNER?
Jack Prince, New York
Pietro Chiovaro replies
I will show you the full process I use to create a simple leather material using Substance Designer. For this type of material, I selected the Physically Based (Metallic/roughness) Graph Template and deleted the Metallic output since it is not necessary for this material.
Next we can add the following nodes from the Substance Designer library: the Cells 3, BNW Spots 3 and Grunge Map 9 noises (these three are the main elements of the material), the Height to Normal World Units filter or the Normal filter, four Levels filters, two Blend filters and lastly the Gradient Map filter.
Now we can start to link these elements together, starting with the Cells 3, which will be placed at the beginning of the graph with the BNW Spots 3. These two noises will be linked to the first Blend filter, and this filter will be linked to the second Blend filter. In this second Blend, we have to link the Grunge Map 9 noise but before it, we have to place the first Levels filter, a key element that will let us set the intensity of the damage in the leather.
Now after the second Blend filter we can place the second Levels filter. From this second filter we will make four different connections, the first one is related to the Gradient Map that can be linked directly to the Base Color output. The second is the link with the Normal filter (or Height to Normal World Units, depends on the one you chose), which will be linked to the Normal output. The third and fourth one will be linked to the last two Levels filters; one of these will be linked to the Roughness output and the other one to the Height output.
The Gradient Map gives colour to the leather, and for this particular material we have to create yellow-brownish shades, with the darker colours placed in the middle of the colour ramp, and the yellowish placed at the beginning. This yellowish colour represents the padding/ damaged part of the leather, while the brownish shade is the colour of the leather.
Next we have to set the values of the Balance and Contrast of the Grunge Map 9 noise – the element that will determine the level of damage to the leather. A value of 0 for the balance means that the leather is destroyed, while 1 dictates that the leather is perfect, and all the other values in between will give us the freedom to choose the level of damage to the material. Now we’re free to experiment and test out different values and connections for the look we desire.