Monday, March 12th, 2018 Posted by Jim Thacker

Allegorithmic releases Substance Designer 2018.1

Allegorithmic has released a big VFX-focused update to Substance Designer, its material-authoring software, adding support for the UDIM UV layout format, and a speed boost of “up to 30%” when loading large graphs.

On its blog, the firm refers to it as the ‘Spring 2018’ update, but it’s 2018.1 in the release notes.

Full support for UDIM workflow
Either way, main addition in the 2018.1 update is support for the UDIM UV layout format used in tools like Mari: Substance Designer’s texture bakers have been updated to “fully support UDIMs”.

A new 2D view in the baking dialog shows the progress of each UDIM tile – or indeed any texture – in real time, while the 3D viewport has been updated to display only the UDIMs currently selected.

The software’s underlying node graph has been updated to make it possible to texture multiple UDIM tiles with a single graph, while a new $uvtile variable makes it possible to apply effects on a per-tile basis.

Substance Designer’s export dialog also now enables users to batch-export UDIM tiles.

Improved performance when working with large assets
Under the hood, the software has been updated to improve cache and memory management, with Allegorithmic claiming a speed boost of “up to 30%” when loading or editing large graphs.

High-poly meshes should also load and bake “significantly faster”.

Positioning Substance Designer as a tool for VFX as well as games work
The update continues Substance Designer’s transition from a games-specific tool to one also capable of functioning within a standard visual effects pipeline.

Substance Designer 6, released last year, added support for 32-bit floating-point workflow and for baking 8K texture maps – a resolution now also supported in the software’s SSE2 CPU display engine.

Recent VFX projects created using Substance Designer include Framestore’s Oscar-winning environment work on Blade Runner: 2049: the workflow is discussed in some detail in this post on Allegorithmic’s blog.

Other changes in Substance Designer 2018.1 include a range of new 3D utility nodes, including a 3D volume mask, a 3D linear gradient, planar projection, and four new 3D noise types.

Pricing and availability
Substance Designer 2018.1 is available for Windows 7+, CentOS 6.6+ or Ubuntu 12.4+ and Mac OS X 10.11+.

New Indie licences of the software, intended for artists and studios earning less than $100,000 per year, cost $149; Pro licences cost $990. Both prices include 12 months’ maintenance.

Subscriptions cost $19.90/month for Indie users; $99.90/month for Pro users.

Read an overview of the new features in Substance Designer 2018.1 on Allegorithmic’s blog

Read a full list of new features in Substance Designer 2018.1 in the online release notes