Substance Designer 5.6 Supports Photogrammetric Material Workflows

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Allegorithmic Substance Designer 5.6 digital material authoring software has a series of new tools and filters for scanned and photogrammetric workflows, based on normal maps and height maps, and other surface effects.  

As part of Allegorithmic’s aim to develop the standard for authoring all types of digital materials, Substance Designer 5.6, a free update, can now be used to blend scanned materials with Substances and bitmaps. Artists can improve accuracy by extracting ambient occlusion and normal maps.

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For people experimenting with photogrammetry, Substance Designer 5.6 has a Height Blend tool that blends multiple materials or scans using their height maps, which shift the areas of the visible surface texture around to achieve a surface-level occlusion effect, for more realistic results. Output includes blended height and a mask to blend other channels of materials. Material Blend Height also uses the Height Blend method to blend two full materials using their height map, and also makes sure the albedos, the proportions of light that the two surfaces reflect, match properly - all in one node.

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Real-World Height to Normal is also new, and sets the width, length and/or maximum height of a surface to generate a normal map, accurate within your world space, to create precise displacement or parallax effects. Horizon Based Ambient Occlusion can now generate an accurate ambient occlusion almost immediately, with real-world scale and depth of surface simulating a full raytraced bake.

Colour Match fine tunes the overall tint of scans without destroying the colour of small elements. Snow Cover adds a snow cover to a pre-existing material and creates realistic effects like a windy blizzard or snowmelt. The snow piles up realistically and can be adjusted via multiple parameters including thickness. Water Level applies an artificial water plane to a material, adjustable for height, dirtiness, fogginess and freeze.

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Non-Uniform Histogram Scan is a different version of the existing Histogram Scan node, which artists use to create atrractive animated weathering and other masks, and allows custom inputs that drive the contrast and level of the mask on a per pixel basis, resulting in the generation of more complex, detailed masks. 

Substance Designer 5.6 is available now for Linux, Mac OS and Windows, and is free for current license holders and Substance Live subscribers.