Bungie lead environment artist Daniel Thiger runs us through his techniques for producing realistic, compelling texturing materials with Allegorithmic’s Substance Designer.
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01. Create an initial shape
To create this lava substance, I started with Perlin Noise 1 to define the mass and density of the material. This noise has a good mix of dark and bright values without too much detail. I then used directional warps and blur nodes to define the direction of the lava flow.
02. Refine the shapes
To make the shapes read as thick lava flows, I needed to reduce the dark values of the noise. The method I chose was slope blur. By setting it to ‘blur’ and using positive values, I inflated the shapes. Warping was then applied to break them up and add imperfections.
03. Add details to the shapes
The reference used for this project featured lots of banded layers running perpendicular to the flow. By using tiled gradient maps that I warped with my main shape, I made the layers appear tucked in underneath. Additional warping and slope blurs were used to add variation.
The last steps included blending the refined and detailed shapes together and then warping them for a more integrated look. I used Height Blend to blend the shape with an offset version of itself to create a few more layers. The final touch was to add micro detail noise with fractal sum base.
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This tutorial originally appeared in issue 112 of 3D Artist (opens in new tab), the magazine offering practical inspiration for 3D enthusiasts and professionals. Subscribe to 3D Artist here (opens in new tab).