Friday, September 30th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Adobe releases Substance 3D Modeler 0.26

Adobe’s original teaser video for Substance 3D Modeler. The virtual reality sculpting app, which enables users to create both organic forms and concepts for hard-surface assets, is now available as in open beta.

Originally posted on 29 April 2022. Substance 3D Modeler has now been released commercially.

Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler, its much-anticipated new VR sculpting app, as a free beta.

The software, which can be used either in virtual reality with an Oculus headset, or in desktop mode with a mouse and keyboard, lets users build up 3D forms via a mix of clay-like sculpting and Boolean operations.

Models can be exported to other DCC applications or game engines in FBX, OBJ or USD format, with Adobe pitching the software as quick way to create both organic forms and concepts for hard-surface props.

Takes over where Oculus Medium leaves off
First released in private beta last year, Substance 3D Modeler builds upon previous VR sculpting app Oculus Medium, which Adobe acquired in 2019 and later rebranded Medium by Adobe.

Like Medium, the software uses Signed Distance Fields to represent 3D space, rather than treating 3D geometry as a polygonal mesh.

As a result, workflow combines elements of digital sculpting and Boolean modelling, with users able to build up forms with virtual clay, then join them or cut into them with Boolean operations.

Create organic forms via freehand clay-like sculpting
Users sculpt by using the Clay tool to add virtual clay to the scene, and the Erase tool to remove it.

The overall form of the sculpt can be modified by using the Warp or Elastic tools to twist and stretch it, and its surface refined using the Smooth and Inflate tools.

Rough out hard-surface concepts using Boolean operations
However, since the brush shapes are 3D primitives, including cubes, spheres, capsules, cylinders and polygonal prisms, it is also possible to build up hard-surface forms using Boolean operations.

The software has a Gizmo placement mode, which helps to position brushes more precisely when creating hard-surface assets, and supports grid and angle snapping.

Assemble models and scenes, then export them to other DCC applications or game engines
Substance 3D Modeler supports layers, groups and instances, and can place objects in arrays, helping to keep more complex models organised, or to assemble models into entire scenes.

It’s possible to change the colour of the clay, or to use the Paint tool to paint surface colours, but in its current form, it’s primarily a modelling tool.

Models can be exported in FBX, OBJ or USD format, making it possible to refine them in other DCC apps, or import them into game engines: the documentation includes a section on exporting to Unreal Engine 5.

Updated 16 May 2022: Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler 0.10, the second major public beta.

The update adds a new Buildup tool to help the software “more closely resemble other desktop sculpting applications”, such as ZBrush, which has its own ClayBuildup brush; and improves pen pressure support.

Updated 24 June 2022: Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler 0.14, the third major public beta.

The update adds three new tools: Crease, for carving into the virtual clay, Split, for splitting clay from an existing layer into a new layer, and Crop, for removing unwanted clay.

Other changes include a new autosave system, the option to import other Modeler scenes into your current scene, and support for importing and exporting models as glTF .glb files.

Adobe has also unified Substance 3D Modeler’s selection and scoping systems, as shown in the video above, to make it easier to select layers or groups of objects.

A new Substance 3D Modeler tutorial, recorded by Adobe senior experience designer Joshua Eiten.

Updated 3 August 2022: Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler 0.19, the fourth major public beta.

Users can now upload meshes with materials: the material is displayed in the viewport, although it isn’t currently converted to clay colours when the imported object is converted to clay.

Other than that, it’s mainly a workflow update, adding a new Help menu and fullscreen toggle, although it “lay[s] the groundwork for stamps and other large changes”, and for support of OpenXR.

Part of a video showing the new Stamps system in Substance 3D Modeler 0.26 in use to create stylised clumps of leaves for a tree, recorded by Adobe senior experience designer Joshua Eiten.

Updated 30 September 2022: Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler 0.26, the fifth major beta.

The update introduces the new Stamps system, making it possible to add detail to a sculpt by stamping its surface with a mesh, as shown in the video above from the Substance 3D Modeler Discord server.

As well as choosing from a library of readymade stamps, users can create stamps from existing layers in a project, or import new meshes into the project for use as stamps.

Other changes include new Lazy and Steady Stroke options to smooth out jitters in freehand strokes, currently only available while working in VR mode; plus several UI and workflow improvements.

Pricing, release dates and system requirements
Substance 3D Modeler 0.26 is available as a free public beta for Windows 10 only. To use it in VR mode, you will need an Oculus Rift or Quest headset and Oculus Touch controllers.

To download the beta, you will need a free Adobe account, and to accept Adobe’s pre-release EULA.

Adobe hasn’t announced a final release date or pricing for Substance 3D Modeler, but other new Substance 3D tools are available via Substance 3D Collection subscriptions, which cost $49.99/month or $549.88/year.

Download the public beta of Substance 3D Modeler

Read more about Substance 3D Modeler’s feature set in the online documentation