Adobe introduces Substance Designer 2020.2
Friday, July 31, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker
Adobe introduced Substance Designer 2020.2, the next update to its material creation software.
The version due for delivery in September updates the core architecture to Substance Engine 8, adds a versatile new cross-sectional node and updates existing nodes such as the tile generator.
Other changes include a new automated system for creating thumbnails for materials, as well as performance improvements that can reduce the time to update 2D and 3D views by up to 60%.
The new features were announced yesterday during a live stream on Adobe's 3D and augmented reality tools, the recording of which is embedded above. The Substance Designer section begins at 00:39:00.
A note on the version numbers
In the slides that are shown during the livestream, the publication is described as "Substance Designer 6.2". However, since Substance Designer 6.x was shipped in 2017, we assume that this is a typo.
The current version is version 10.1 or 2020.1, which creates this Substance Designer 10.2 or 2020.2.
The substance engine 8 brings a new cross-sectional node and updates for the tile generator
Regardless of the version number, the version Substance Designer updates to Substance Engine 8, a new version of the core architecture.
The changes include a new cross-section node (see above) that literally takes a cross-section through the procedural noise to generate an output that looks more like a line graph.
Adobe described it as a versatile foundation on which to generate a range of custom effects, ranging from particle systems to animated textures.
Substance Engine 8 also brings updates to existing nodes, including the tile generator, which adds new "keep ratio" and "absolute" modes to maintain the aspect ratio or dimensions of the generated tiles.
A third new mode, pixel, generates one-pixel tiles that can be used as inputs for Voronoi noise.
Workflow improvements include the option to set default colors for input nodes.
The change means that nodes that accept normal input can be set to a color that makes sense as a normal map, instead of using black or transparency by default.
New functions: New system for creating thumbnails and dialog box for input
Other new features in Substance Designer 2020.2 include a new thumbnail creation system that automatically generates thumbnails for custom materials (see image above).
The thumbnails are rendered in a standard format using the software's PBR rendering node.
The update also adds a new input dialog box: a single dialog box for displaying inputs on the node diagram with more options than for current workflows, including access to each group.
Adobe described it as "a huge time saver when multiple parameters are shown on one graph".
Performance improvements: Faster updates to 2D and 3D previews
Adobe has also changed the way the node diagram is calculated when loading a new material or when editing an existing material.
The software now calculates the output of the chart and updates the 2D and 3D previews before generating the new thumbnails for the nodes, instead of waiting for all thumbnails before the preview is updated.
The change shortens the time for iteration of a material with complex diagrams by "sometimes 60%".
Pricing and availability
Substance Designer 2020.2 is scheduled for delivery in September 2020.
The current stable version, Substance Designer 2020.1, is available for Windows 8+, CentOS 7.0 / Ubuntu 16.04 Linux and macOS 10.12+.
Subscriptions to all Adobe Substance tools cost $ 19.90 / month or $ 219 / year for artists and studios earning less than $ 100,000 / year. and $ 99.90 / month or $ 990 / year for other users.
Perpetual indie licenses are only available on Steam and cost $ 149.99.
Visit the Substance Designer product website
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