I don’t mean to come across as ignorant, and im just a layman hobbyist when it comes to 3D, but what is a smart material and why should i care? show me an final render or even animation, that cannot be made with Blender and visually blows it out of the water. And my final point is that, isn’t part of using Blender is the fact that you can relax totally in the knowledge it does not and will not ever cost a penny? If i was making the next Avatar i think i would expect to have to shell out some serious serious money for the software and hardware, that i can understand… But who the heck is making the next Avatar…
Smart materials are just textures that are controlled by curve and/or AO maps so they automatically conform to the objects they are applied to. For example you can have a painted metal smart material that will automatically have wear on the high spots that reveals the metal underneath.
That would be James Cameron, and he is not making one, not two, but most likely FOUR of them…
What Grimm said, but its not only curvature and AO, but also position, world and tangent normals and thickness which has an influence on the material. So if you create a smart material for one asset and you apply it to another asset, chances are high that it will look good out of the box and you’ll only have to adjust some parameters or paint some masks to make it look great on the new asset.
The advantage is not so much that it looks great, but the amount of time you’ll need to create great looking assets. With Blender it might take 5-10x as much time to get to the same result and you need to know what you are doing, while Substane Painter is a lot easier.
Sure (shameless self-plug)
This machine took me more than a day to design and to model (probably 2, i don’t remember), the majority of a day to unwrap and finish, and less than 120 minutes (!) to texture.
Texturing time is less than 10% of the whole time.
It absolutely can be done in Blender, but it takes so much longer and since time is money, the investment in Substance Painter is more than worth it.
It strikes me that there are ultimately two types of people that use Blender and they want different things. One is the type that is using it to create an asset or an image for commercial gain, and time is money.
The other type is an artist or hobbyist that is using it with the mindset that they want to create a final image or animation or asset, but only for self satisfaction and the time it takes is not a issue for them as long as they are having fun and find the process rewarding.
Eventually if the software is optimized far enough for the first mindset, then it will get to a point where the user makes a quick rough sketch, then clicks one button and AI finishes the entire job in under a minute. That is great for the business and money side of things, but the other person might be offended at the idea a masterpiece could be created with hardly any time or effort on their part, and will try to defend their old way of doing things, regardless of how much time and effort it took.
It’s almost as if you would need two different builds of Blender to fork off from each other, each to suit the two different types of artist.
Also note you could be a 3D artist as a day job, and then come home and work on art as a relaxation hobby with no pressure, so yes you can be both types of person.
This is a false dichotomy.
Artist who do it for fun can be extremely motivated to not waste time.
Having fun and working without a deadline has absolutely nothing to do with the efficiency of the tool an artist uses.
Creating Assets in an professional environment with commercial gain as goal can be fun and rewarding.
These things are all completely unrelated.
Time is money is not only meant literally. Lifetime is limited. Return of investment is either more time to spent with friends/family/whatever or the chance to spent it on the project and get an even better result.
But you are right, there are 2 kinds of people: those who care and optimize for efficiency and those who don’t.
ok ok, i get the idea that ultimately Blender as a tool should not have any parts of it that are inefficient and unnecessarily time consuming and tedious… right? But where do you stop? We all know that with AI one day in the near future all we will need is a simple text description or a rough sketch of an idea, and with one click the AI will complete the job down to the final render. Is this what we all want? will that kill art? will it take away the feeling of accomplishment, or meaning or reason to have talent as an artist?
I’ve learned to recognise that ‘crabs in a bucket’-type Blender fan. They were against Ngons, they were against cleaning up the interface, they’re generally against anything. Rethink why you’re spending all of this energy talking about the ‘slippery slope’ of making things better.
More false dichotomy’s.
I don’t know why you are so stuck up on AI, it has nothing to do with Substance Painter.
You seem to believe that smart functions are taking away artistic freedom or agency of the artist. Nothing could be further from the truth. You still have full control over anything. It does not take away, it adds to it.
Its like arguing that distributing patches of grass with a particles system is taking away artistic freedom and placing everything by hand is the only way to have an feeling of accomplishment/meaning. Your sentiment that artists who uses these advanced tools are less artistic is some strange form of conservative elitism and its 100% wrong.
Blenders painting tools are not inefficient and tedious because they do things wrongly, Blender simply lacks advanced tools that make it easier for the artist.
There are only so many ways to do realistic materials. Sourcing from photography, using advanced procedurals or painting by hand.
Substance Painter unites it all into a comprehensive package and takes away tedious, repetitive workflows by automating them while giving the artist maximum control over everything.
Even if you want to do pure stylized hand-painted textures like Blizzard does, Blender falls back in comparison to other tools like 3D Coat or Bodypaint, because Blenders painting tools haven’t been updated since a decade (maybe).
Like Michael_Knubben said, you might want to update your view on this, because it does appear like crab mentality.
Fully AI driven art and its meaning for artists is a complete different topic.