Friday, June 7th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Sneak peek: Vector Displacement Maps in Substance 3D Painter

Adobe’s Substance 3D Painter 10th anniversary livestream. The sneak peeks for upcoming features start around 1:02:30.

Adobe has provided a sneak peek at features in development for Substance 3D Painter.

The features, which include support for Vector Displacement Maps, were shown during yesterday’s 10th anniversary livestream for the 3D texture painting software.

Substance 3D Painter 10.1: support for VFX Reference Platform 2024
The next version of the software, Substance 3D Painter 10.1, will primarily be an under-the-hood update to align with the current CY2024 spec for VFX Reference Platform.

Although Adobe described it in the livestream as “not big on [new] features”, it will add new filters, including one along the lines of Substance 3D Sampler’s Embroidery filter.

The update should also improve performance, particularly when opening or interacting with large projects, and optimize the software’s layer stack.

Further off: updates to the selection tools and layer stack
Further in the future, Adobe plans to rework Painter’s selection tools to simplify workflow, and is looking into “something like” conventional lasso and marquee tools.

The livestream also showed what seemed to be path editing from the layer stack, and a new workflow for reloading the stack without having to update files manually.

Neither was explained in detail, but you can see them at 1:05:55 in the video above.

Even further off: support for Vector Displacement Maps
However, perhaps the most interesting feature shown during the livestream was support for Vector Displacement Maps (VDMs).

Also supported in applications like ZBrush, Blender and 3DCoat, VDMs can be used to add detail to the surface of 3D models.

Unlike standard greyscale alphas, which encode surface height, VDMs are RGB maps that encode information to displace a surface in three dimensions, making it possible to generate more complex overhanging forms, like the lips in the screenshot above.

VDM support is still early in development – Adobe didn’t guarantee that it would even make it into a public release of the software – but would open up new workflows for texturing organic models like characters.

Price, system requirements and release date
Substance 3D Painter 10.1 is due “rather soon”. Adobe hasn’t confirmed which version the other new features will become part of, or when they will be released.

Substance 3D Painter is available for Windows 10+, CentOS 7.0/Ubuntu 20.04+ Linux and macOS 11.0+. You can find pricing in this story on Substance 3D Painter 10.0.

Read more about Substance 3D Painter on the product website

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