Using Smart Materials like in Substance painter?


I used to work with the old fashion Maya+Zbrush+Blender. Now I was considering joining the Blender community.

I feel extreme potential with this piece of software and I got a look into smart materials. There are a lot of them! But i just cant find the way to use a few (not just two) Smart Materials on a single object. I understand there’s gotta be a way to do that but i just can’t find the propper documentation (Going crazy with the lack of info with this feauture). Either I just download a single shader on the object or I just have to paint all layers one after another??? I understand I’m quite wrong since I’m skipping the whole process till this particular matter but I just can’t find the way!

Please, forgive me for being so rushy in my methods but I’m still evaluating the Blender option and I’m not willing to spend months in learning the workflow just realize that some important features like this are simply not posible:S

Can you please help me with this? I know it’s a poor thing to say but I like to work maily with smart material mainly (I’m not such a very advanced artist as many people here)

Thank you!

Are you talking about Blender natively or the Layer Painter addon?
Internally, there are no “smart materials” per se, that being a Substance Painter thing. What you can do however is combine multiple materials using mix nodes and controlling them with other textures / gradients.
The Layer Painter addon (paid) tries to bring some of the substance painter ideals to Blender.


Sounds good… Is the layer painter worth it? Does it work as expected?

Thanks for such a quick response!

To be honest, I have SP Perpetual on my system so tend to use that, though I have bought the layer painter addon as a possible alternative. The videos I’ve seen on youtube do rate it though so I would think, for the price, if you can’t afford a Substance Painter subscription, it’s a bit of a no-brainer.

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It’s not really about the money (although the cost-difference is quite)… it’s more about a simplified workflow… Too many exports I’d like to avoid… I know Blender isn’t such an easy software to start with but I hope with time it’ll get easier once you get used to it and the lack of need of switching beetween different programs will pay off eventually…

It seems like an extrordinay effort to re-start learning every single equivalent program I know but… phew! Hope it may worth it?? (crossing fingers)

I would say, personally speaking, Substance Painter is stupidly easy to use. Also, with the live link addon for Blender, moving between SP and Blender is really simple, indeed, you can update directly if both programs are open, send to SP, make changes, refresh in Blender.

The substance painter live link.
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Oh, man! That’s a very good alternative too!

Thank you! It’s very goot to know about that live addon…

Anything like it for Z-Brush? Or is the sculpting in Blender good enough to forget about Z-brush?

Just been looking at their other plugin SBSAR for Blender, you can directly pull in substance files to blender. I guess I’m about to cough up $20 :smiley:

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Oh dear! thats marvelous! thank you!

It’s seems I misunderstood… I thought SP did have implemented their own addon… Nevermind. Still good enough they released a new better addon…

Thanks for your help, mate!

FYI, I’ve jsut found out, the SBSAR addon needs an active subscription as it requries the Adobe Substance automation toolkit. So, sadly, looks like I will be asking for a refund. :cry: :cry:

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Oh, dear… too bad… Thanks for the info…
I’m getting kinda discorauged with Blender… Some easy material layer system should be mandatory… Considering all the changes they seem to have implemented within the last year I can’t believe this hasn’t been done yet. I just have to believe they will eventually simplify the texture&shader painting… 3D modelling seems quite reasonable easy now but the node system is pretty boring for me (IMHO texturing should be about mainly painting)… I can undestand it, i could probably make it work i just don’t wanna deal with that further than necesary :woozy_face:

I guess I can stop using Maya and give it a try to the 3D modelling with Blender while waiting for the Smart Materials layer systems eventually come out, but it’s kinda a disappointement :confused:

Blender is more node driven, but the layer painter addon does give layer based workflow. I don’t find it too much hassle to blend using nodes, but when I first came from Lightwaves layer system I admit, the whole node thing took me back. If you only use painting for texturing, you are missing out on some very cool features of the node system to build materials. I suppose it depends if your texturing is always with a view to exporting to a game engine, where you are gonig to need all image textures.


hello, yep you can make smart enough materials such as here Laser Rifle Work in Progress to create decent procedural textures akind subtance designer, which you can indefinitely edit, and if needed bake into a image textures…and most importantly for some not uvs needed at all for procedural :D…
And for the z brush vs blender… zbrush still rules in what is the cared featured that is sculpting performance, you can sculpt millions of poly count “smoothly” (i dont know if its really good working in a decent mid end pc, i havent been able to test it myself), in the other hand in the blender you can millions of polygons in a scene, but the issue is that is sluggish, and awful performance for extreme high polycounts, for navigating,animation playing, sculpting, and edit mode as well… with the blender you have the necessary tools to sculpt properly organic stuff, but maybe not as advanced or with same brushes as zbrush has available…the biggest cons and pros here is obviously the price of the software :slight_smile: fortunately blender will be free forever, meanwhile zbrush not and hopefully blender in next years/months is gonna really be a decent competitor with zbrush,3d coat,mudbox, and etc… here a recent example of a possible million polygon sculpt Portraits of Simon

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Your words give some ease… I’ll try not to run away so easily… and even will try those nodes (although I still think they’re not my cup of tea).

Thank very much! Some of my fears are gone now.

This something new… I didnt knew you even my your smart materials… That’s nice too!
About the brushes I guess you can always make your with some alpha, can’t you? So I’m not that much worried…

Those Simon portraits are very nice!

I’ll have to make a poly count test because my PC’s are not High End (actually they’re a bit outdated). I guess it should work “just fine” but your comment calls to be prudent.

Thank you very much you too!

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something above i7 and 16 ram should be fine…currently i am using an i5 9400 and 32 ram, gtx 1070…

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I have an i5-4570 with 16GB of RAM and a 4GB GTX1050ti and whilst not blazingly quick, Blender isn’t exactly a slouch either. :slight_smile: