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Materials/Texturing Projects 2021

Materials/Texturing Projects 2021

Emily Bisset
by ebisset on 10 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

These are some procedural materials/texturing projects I've been working on during my evenings and free-time mostly in Substance Designer and a little in Mari. The goal is to be able to work on stuff like this as a full-time job!

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My name is Emily and I'm a British/Canadian aspiring 3D artist with a new-found love for procedural texturing/material workflows, I'm currently working full-time in the UK as an intern for Procter & Gamble working in Gillette's R&D visualisation department finishing in July 2021. Since graduating in 2020 I've started developing a passion for 3D material creation and texturing. 

I have been creating the projects you see on here during my evenings and free time after work. My goal is to go into either the games or film industry as a texture, materials or surfacing artist and get to work on texturing/materials projects full time!

Carved Wood Material

This was a really awesome project to create, made 100% procedurally in Substance Designer I had a lot of fun doing it and learnt a lot. This was my first time making a wood texture material so there was a lot of R&D and learning involved in that process for me but I'm pleased with how it turned out!

For a more in depth breakdown of this material and my thoughts behind the design please see this Rookies article I recently wrote on it here.

Carving out some Inspiration

Below is my moodboard for this material. You can see that some patterns like the grapevines and the corner patterns I didn't change much before incorporating but some patterns like the flowers chains and centre pattern I had taken inspiration from multiple images to create the final design.

Oh Deer

I think my favourite part of this project was creating the deer! I challenging myself with what shapes I can create fully procedurally within Substance Designer. You can find a somewhat chaotic GIF breakdown of the deer section in my Rookies article!

To Trim or not to Trim,

I also created a trim/decal sheet from these patterns (I later created just a full trim sheet when I decided to make extra trims) incase I one day want to use it to create a prop (definitely on the list of projects I want to do but haven't the time yet!).

Wood Graph!

This is the graph for the material as well as the trim sheet, I know I could have put them onto separate graphs but I liked to see what was going on during the trim creation process (I created the trim sheets at the end (top right pink box)). The graph was definitely very tidy before the trim sheet nodes were added, then it all got a bit... noodlicious...

Lace Appliqué Material

This was an excellent learning project for me and I would really love to make some more fabric based materials in future when I get a chance. Again this material was made fully in Substance Designer!

I'd like to say I knew exactly how this was going to turn out from start to finish but I would be lying! I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do that I changed the design a lot throughout the process but I found the freedom to do that very enjoyable as I know if this wasn't a personal project I would not get the luxury of chopping and changing when I didn't like how the design looked!

Moodboard laced with References... get it? Sorry.

This was my moodboard for it, I had originally intended to make an appliqué patch that could be applied to models but in the end decided to go for a tileable lace texture.

Custom Curves!

For this material I used some fantastic custom nodes made by Ilya Kuzmichev for drawing bespoke curves for things like the leaves and vines. This really helped speed up my workflow and though I could have probably made it with original Substance nodes, using these gave me a lot more freedom with the look of the line of thread (like choosing which way each thread shape was facing, spacing etc.)

Fabric Flashback

This wasn't the first fabric material I have made, I made an embroidered material a few months before which I loved as I got to use loads of bright colours! This meant that the thread and the sequin shapes were already pretty much made for this project, I just made a few small improvements to them and then had to decide how to use them in my design!

Here's some images of my first fabric material:

Cylinder Couture

This is the full material on a cylinder, I decided to mirror it as it looked better but I have since made one with more of the 'netting' so it can be used easier for things like tablecloths rather than just trims. Because of the procedural nature of this material this was a relatively quick process just a few node adjustments!

This is the graph for it - surprisingly not so noodley...

Noodles, but Make it Fashion??

I have a lot of fun making fabric patterns, I've considered perhaps looking into jobs within the digital fashion industry. If I am not in work after finishing my internship, I will have a bit more free time to work on my personal projects and one of my objectives is to learn Marvelous Designer so I can potentially start taking my fabric work to the next level.

CG Asset Texturing Study - Mari

I wasn't sure whether to include this project as (from what I gather) though Substance Designer is used, procedural material authoring like the projects above isn't used as much in the TV/Film industry. However, I wanted to include this as it is still a (somewhat) procedural texturing workflow that I have learnt about.

I think it's important to keep my options open and learn as much as possible while I'm young and have spare time, I'm a massive fan of Substance Designer but I think learning other aspects of the 3D pipeline (for games or film) can be extremely helpful too even if I don't use them in my next role I think it's important to know about at the very least.

Chinese Incense Burner

The model is very simple as I wanted to focus on the texturing phase as this was my first real attempt at using Mari's node-graph. I think the next CG asset project I do will be a bit more complex but working on this project taught me so much about Mari's capabilities.

My usual go-to is Substance Painter for texturing but I wanted to challenge myself by learning to use Mari and it's nifty node-graph to not only make my texturing workflow more procedural but to also learn the industry standard software for the TV/Film industry. As well as loving material creation I would still love to one day potentially step into a surfacing/texturing role in the CG/VFX industry.  

For this asset I did an initial blockout and UV unwrap in Maya, added a few minor details in ZBrush, into Mari for texturing and then back to Maya for rendering in Arnold.

I had been spoilt with real-time rendering for most of my recent projects so going back to rendering with Arnold was certainly a very humbling experience!

'Night (browsing) at the Museum'

For this project I had one reference image that I found when browsing assets in the Smithsonian online archives. I wanted to try and recreate a real-life asset, that was of a simple shape but had some cool surfacing aspects I could get my teeth into!

(Reference Image is on the right)

Very Rigid Noodles...

This is the graph in Mari - I certainly found it harder to make it look organised than I do in Substance Designer! I can certainly see why it's used in the Film/TV industry, going back to make changes was so easy. I know this is only a simple graph but it was great to get to grips with the interface and start learning this workflow.

To Round Up...

I've still got a lot to learn but I am thoroughly enjoying every moment I spend on personal projects like these, every project I take on I learn a new technique or a more efficient way of doing things and I can't wait to see what else I can create in future!

Also, if you fancy hearing me ramble on about more 3D things come find me on my Instagram or Twitter!

Here is my current Surfacing/Texturing Showreel:

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