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Download Adobe Substance: how to get it free or buy the subscription

Download Adobe Substance 3D
(Image credit: Adobe)

Looking to download Adobe Substance 3D? If you're after a powerful and accessible suite that enables you to build amazing-looking 3D content then it's an attractive new choice from Adobe and suitable for beginners and seasoned professionals alike.

The full Adobe Substance 3D suite (opens in new tab) comprises four apps. The star of the show is Substance 3D Stager, which makes it easy to put together models, materials and lighting in a 3D scene in order to produce virtual photographs, renderings and even web and AR experiences. There's also Substance 3D Painter, for bringing 3D models to life with photorealistic textures, Substance 3D Sampler which enables you to turn real-world photos into 3D materials, and Substance 3D Designer for creating models and textures from scratch.

It all adds up to a fine suite of apps for anyone who wants to create engaging 3D content but who finds traditional 3D software just a little but intimidating. You can read our Adobe Substance 3D review if you need to know more, and if you're keen to download Adobe Substance 3D and try it out for yourself, read on to discover all the things you need to know.

Download Adobe Substance: all you need to know

Download Adobe Substance 3D free?

Adobe didn't get where it is today by simply letting people use its apps completely free. However if you're keen to download Adobe Substance 3D in order to find out if it's right for you, there's always the option to take advantage of a 30-day free trial, which is easily long enough for you to see how it all works and decide whether it's worth splashing out on a full subscription. Simply head here (opens in new tab) to download free trials of Substance 3D Stager, Painter, Sampler and Designer.

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Download Adobe Substance 3D apps: free 30-day trial (opens in new tab)
Get a taste for what Adobe Substance 3D can do by downloading free trial versions of Stager, Painter, Sampler and Designer. Your free trial lasts for 30 days, after which you'll either have to uninstall them or pay up for an Adobe Substance 3D plan.

Buy Adobe Substance 3D

There are two options available for individuals. First there's the Substance 3D Collection, including Substance 3D Stager, Painter, Sampler and Designer. If you don't need Stager, though, you can instead get the cheaper Substance 3D Texturing collection that consists of Painter, Sampler and Designer.

If you already have Adobe app subscriptions you'll know that there's only one way to legally pay for Adobe Substance 3D, and that's through Adobe itself. It's also worth pointing out that you can't actually buy Substance 3D; you can only get a subscription and never actually own any of the apps. If you cancel your subscription then that's it, they're gone.

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Buy Adobe Substance 3D: all options (opens in new tab)
Whether you're after the full-fat Substance 3D Collection, or the less expensive Substance 3D Texturing plan, you can find what you need here.

Cost to download Adobe Substance 3D?

Normally when you're buying Adobe apps it's a matter of finding the right Creative Cloud option, but for reasons only known to itself, Adobe has positioned Substance 3D outside of the traditional Creative Cloud ecosystem. So even if you have a Creative Cloud All Apps subscription, you can't simply download Adobe Substance 3D; you'll have to pay for a new Substance 3D subscription.

We've already mentioned the two options available; if you're after the full Adobe Substance 3D experience then you'll want the more expensive Substance 3D Collection, which is currently available with 20 per cent off your first year and will cost you $39.99/£31.97 per month. If you can live without Stager, though, go for the Substance 3D Texturing plan, which comes in at a more reasonable $19.99/£15.97 per month.

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Adobe Substance 3D Collection: get 20% off your first year (opens in new tab)
For the full Substance 3D experience including Stager you'll need to go for this collection. It features everything you need to create dazzling 3D content, and you can get it for $39.99/£31.97 per month for your first year, saving you 20%

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Adobe Substance 3D Texturing plan: $19.99/£15.97 per month (opens in new tab)
If all you want to do is create 3D models and textures for use elsewhere without using Stager, you can save money by opting for the Adobe Substance 3D Texturing plan which gives you Painter, Sampler and Designer.

Discounts for students and teachers

This is where things get a little complicated. You know how we mentioned that Substance 3D exists outside of Creative Cloud, so it's not included in your All Apps plan? Well that's mostly true, unless you have a Creative Cloud All Apps plan for Higher Education colleges and universities, in which case all four Substance 3D apps are included at no additional cost. No, we don't get it either.

There's another option, though: if you're a student or teacher then you can get your hands on the Substance 3D texturing apps for free, which is the best kind of discount. There's no offer available for Substance 3D Stager, however.

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Adobe Substance 3D Texturing: free educational license (opens in new tab)
If you're a teacher or student then you can download Adobe Substance 3D Texturing apps for free. That's Painter, Sampler and Designer; sadly there's no option for Stager, but still that's plenty to be getting on with.

How to get the app

If you've been paying attention then you'll have already guessed what we're about to tell you: there's no way to download Adobe Substance 3D apps individually. You either have to go for the full Substance 3D Collection or instead opt for the Substance 3D Texturing plan. Deal with it.

Of course when it comes to other Adobe apps that you're likely to need along the way, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Adobe XD, you can certainly get those individually (although if you're using more than one of them it'll probably be more cost-effective to go in on an All Apps plan). Find what you need below.

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Buy Photoshop CC from £9.98/$9.99 per month (opens in new tab)
Photoshop is Adobe's industry-standard image-editing package, and it's likely that you're using it already. It's ideal for creating and enhancing photos, images and designs, and there's a seven-day trial available if you want to try it out.

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Buy Illustrator CC from $20.99/£19.97 per month (opens in new tab)
Adobe’s flagship vector package is what you want if you need to create detailed artwork that'll scale to any size, from logos to illustrations and infographics. It's available for Mac and PC and there's a seven-day trial available.

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Buy Premiere Pro from $20.99 / £19.97 / €23.99 per month (opens in new tab)   Used by video professionals around the world, Premiere Pro is a feature-packed video editing package with all the power you're likely to need. There are various pricing options available, and of course there's a seven-day trial too.

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Buy After Effects from $20.99/£19.97 per month (opens in new tab)
If you want to dazzle your viewers you need Adobe’s visual effects, motion graphics and compositing software, After Effects. It's good for everything from simple animation to full-blown VFX work; take a seven-day trial to get a taste of its features.

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Buy Adobe XD only from $9.99/£9.98 per month (opens in new tab)
Need to tool to help you design and prototype user experiences for websites and mobile apps? You probably need Adobe XD; it's one of our favourite wireframing tools. Try it out free for seven days if you need to.

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Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.