Thursday, June 24th, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

Adobe releases Substance 3D Sampler 3.0

Adobe has released Substance 3D Sampler 3.0, the latest version of its material-authoring software, previously known as Substance Alchemist.

The update adds a complete new toolset for creating 3D lighting environments, including tools for merging sets of photos into HDR images, and adding 3D lights to existing HDRIs.

Other changes include a new real-time viewport with support for the Adobe Standard Material, better interoperability with other Adobe apps, and a revamped UI with better support for dual-monitor set-ups.

The update shipped yesterday as part of Adobe’s Substance 3D Collection, which also includes new versions of Substance 3D Designer and Substance 3D Painter, plus new app Substance 3D Stager.

Now authors lighting environments as well as procedural materials
The biggest change in Substance 3D Sampler 3.0 is that the software can now be used to create lighting environments as well as materials via a new set of tools for working with HDRIs.

Users can combine exposure-bracketed photos into HDRIs or edit existing HDR images.

As well as adjusting properties like exposure and colour temperature, it’s possible to add synthetic lights to HDRIs, including line, plane, sphere, rectangle and disc lights.

Improved interoperability with other Substance tools, Photoshop Bridge
The completed lighting environment can then be transferred to Substance 3D Painter or Substance 3D Stager, Adobe’s new scene layout and rendering app, via ‘Send To’ menu commands.

The apps remain live-linked during a work session, so any changes made to a lighting setup in Sampler can be transferred to the other apps with one clic

Sampler can also send materials to Substance 3D Painter in the same way, or receive generators and filters from Substance 3D Designer.

In addition, a new Edit in Photoshop command opens source images or other 2D inputs for a material inside Photoshop, with any changes being propagated automatically back to Sampler.

Substance materials can also now be previewed in Bridge, Adobe’s asset viewer.

New real-time viewport with support for the Adobe Standard Material
Substance 3D Sampler 3.0 also introduces an experimental new viewport using the same real-time rendering technology as Substance 3D Stager.

As well as improving the fidelity with which 3D assets are displayed – Adobe specifically namechecks improved shadows – it supports the new Adobe Standard Material (ASM).

ASM is intended as a standard interchange format between Adobe apps, and is now used in all of the Substance 3D applications by default, along with rendering app Dimension and AR authoring tool Aero

It’s a material template defined in Nvidia’s open-source Material Definition Language (MDL), and follows a metalness-roughness PBR workflow.

New, more customisable UI makes it easier to use Sampler on dual-monitor set-ups
UI changes include the option to dock or undock any interface panel, making it easier to use Sampler with multi-monitor set-ups, and a revamped Assets panel, which also now displays filters and images.

The update also introduces a new Project panel, which makes it possible package multiple materials or lighting environments into a single project file to share with other Sampler users.

Updates to the material-creation filters
In addition, the material-creation toolset gets a number of new filters – Adobe’s blog post says 20, though the release notes only list three – and all of the existing filters have been updated.

Key changes include support for specular/glossiness channel and suppport for custom masks.

You can find a complete list of changes via the links at the foot of the story.

Pricing and availability
Substance 3D Sampler 3.0 runs on Windows 10, CentOS 7.0/Ubuntu 18.04+ Linux and macOS 10.14+.

It is rental-only, via Adobe’s new Substance 3D subscriptions. Substance 3D Texturing subscriptions cost $19.99/month or $219.88/year; Substance 3D Collection subscriptions cost $49.99/month or $549.88/year.

Updated 29 June 2021: The Linux edition of Substance 3D Sampler is not available as part of individual Adobe subscriptions, only via Creative Cloud plans for Teams, which cost $99.99/month.

Read an overview of the new features in Substance 3D Sampler on Adobe’s blog

Read a full list of features in Substance 3D Sampler 3.0 in the online changelog