CGSociety :: Software Focus
11 December 2012
was originally a 2D image by famous concept artist Sang Han. It was one of the most widely acclaimed concept art piece to come out of the Dominance Wars IV contest. Recently, 3D master Jarred Everson was planning on giving it a 3D life using, among other tools, Substance Designer, I thought it would be a great opportunity to watch the development of ‘The Hive from 2D to 3D.
The Original 2D SANG HAN The Hive Image from Dominance War IV.
"SUBSTANCE HAS OPENED THE DOORS TO NEAR INFINITE POSSIBILITIES" - Jarred Everson
Jarred Everson has worked in Broadcast, Film, and the Game industry for over a decade now. He's shipped four titles, currently working on his fifth at a rather large southern California game developer.
Everson works from home, knowing that he would be doing 3D all day long at an office. "I work from home because I can create whatever I want, it's the more artistic side to what I do, I love my job, and the work I do, but at home I get to do everything the way I want to," he says. "I get to conceptualize, model, texture, light, paint, characters, and environments using tools that work best for me, there are no deadlines at home, so I have time to play with different tools."
Jarred Everson has always had a great deal of respect for Sang Han's work. His color theory and painting were considered exceptional. "The particular piece of 'The Hive' was picked because it was so epic," he says. "He has all kinds of stuff going on the surface of his skin, I knew this would be challenging, and coming off a project that greatly simplified character features, I wanted to do something that called for a lot of detail, and the Hive was perfect."
Everson used modo and ZBrush to model up The Hive. He started up in creating the base geometry to sculpt within modo, then sculpted him in ZBrush, then decimated the subtools to port back into modo for re-topology and UV.
During the texture stages, Everson had a look at a program called Mapzone while working for a game developer back in 2006. He loved the node based approach to shader creation. One of the key elements of The Hive's unique look was the Sub Surface Scattering Amount map for the body parts.
Substance Designer is designed from the ground up to create shaders, whether those shaders are simple, or complex. "I knew Substance Designer would give me the tools to manage many images that needed to come together for my skin shader, and it would do so in a non-linear type workflow geared toward rapid iteration," adds Everson. "I also knew I might need to re-bake my maps and change the foundation of my shader a few times, with these maps at the base of my node tree, I knew I wouldn't lose any work."
"Allegorithmic Substance Designer gave me the tools to manage many images that needed to come together for my skin shader, and it would do so in a non-linear type workflow geared toward rapid iteration," explains Everson. "The best part of Substance Designer was the Resource sharing from multiple shaders, non-linear workflow, and the ability to make changes to all parts and outputs that make up a shader very quickly, I update my diffuse channel, and I see changes propagate instantly into my spec, normal, and sub-dermal maps."
CGSociety asked Everson what he used in Substance Designer to produce the textures. He used most of the blending types, coupled with the SVG editing to create masks, and the painting tools to quickly add detail here and there. "I also used the baking functions, which I found to be hands down the fastest I've ever used, and I think I've used just about all of the others in a professional environment. The curvature map is awesome, it's going to be a permanent addition to my workflow."
Advice to a new Substance Designer
"Substance has opened the doors to near infinite possibilities, and I often have trouble imagining where to go with it next," says Jarred Everson. "Think of the repetitive things you do, and let Substance handle these tasks for you. Think of your shader or shader library in a non-linear way; what are the base elements that make up the foundation? Where do you anticipate the most iteration to be? If you have an idea about those questions, you'll know where to start." There is a huge amount of training videos on the Substance website as well. If you haven't worked in a node based environment before, things will seem alien to you, but it all soon will make sense. Once you grasp the power of this idea, it will open doors for you. And lastly, have fun with Substance Designer. If you're not, then you might be doing something wrong."