Daily Progress: Unity, UVs, and Substance Designer

I’ll be honest, when it comes to 3d art, making geometry has always been the easiest for me. The hardest part has always been UVs and texturing. To be fair, I haven’t met anyone who likes UVs. The general consensus is that they are a gigantic pain in the ass to do. After all, it is very counterintuitive to figure out, since the whole idea is to translate the 2d coordinates of a texture map to 3d coordinates of a model. It’s not easy to wrap (pun intended) your head around it.

Texture mapping has been an Achilles heel of mine for a bit. That’s for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is that my Photoshop skills are pretty useless. I’ve never been very good at Photoshop, and nor do I like it very much. Now some people are really good at Photoshop, and have used it to make some amazing textures. I generally like to focus on geometry and less on tools like Photoshop, to my own disadvantage, I do suppose. Up until now, I had been using a free program called CrazyBump (it’s an amazing program, but it’s only as good as what you put into it) to help me make textures based off of what I can download off of the Internet. It has limits, namely, the texture itself. Beyond a point, it’s only as good as the texture itself, and sometimes, you just can’t get a specific texture.

However, the texturing issue does have at least a partial solution. Recently I stumbled across Allegorithmic (it was actually a suggestion of the helpful folks on gamedev.net and of colleagues of mine). Substance Designer and Substance Painter are what I’m talking about. I haven’t started using Substance Painter just yet (mainly because of those pesky UVs), but Substance Designer has made my life much much easier recently. It’s a node/flow-chart based texture designer, and since my background is mostly in computer science and programming, it’s really a nice program for someone like me. I’ve been able to generate better textures than with just using CrazyBump (again, it’s still a great program, and very good at what it’s meant for). I’ve heard that with Substance Painter, it’s even better. Pretty soon I will use Substance Painter once those damned UVs are unfolded better.

So far, my progress has been focused on UVs and textures. I’ve more or less finished designing the base textures for both planes. Here’s what they look like in the program:

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 10.19.56 PM

Metal Camo for the Garud Mk. 1

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 10.20.25 PM

Metal for the Aerial Skirmisher

And this texture is for the engines of the Aerial Skirmisher:

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 10.20.39 PM

The best part of Substances is how easily they integrate into Unity. I’ve tried out all the textures on my models in Unity. Admittedly, the UVs are something I’m still working on, but here’s some initial pictures of what they look like:

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So while the UVs still need some work (those damned UVs!), the initial results of my textures do look fairly good. I will probably also tweak the textures in Substance Designer as I continue to polish the UVs. The other thing I will certainly do is paint these models in Substance Painter, where I hope to add weathering effects, edge wear, and decals to both aircraft.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Mahayudh Chronicles Episode 0. I will be releasing a 30 second short soon!

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