Substance vs. Cycles


So I'm working on a project and I will need to create many different materials and make them look realistic.

Now my question is:
Should I get the Substance Suite or should I stick with Blender Cycles for now?

What are the advantages and disadvantages on both sides? Maybe someone on here made some personal experience with both already and can help me out a bit with my decision.

  • You can't really compare it. Substance Painter is a PBR texturing tool and Cycles is a render engine. You can paint textures in Substance and then use it in Cycles. 

    You can make a realistic texture in both blender texture paint and substance painter, but substance is much more comfortable. Blender has no advantages in texturing except that it's free I think.

    And yeah - Allegorithmic has 30 days trial, so you can try it and made your own decision

  • nekronavt It's mainly about Substance Designer. I want to create complex and realistic materials, I actually don't care too much about the painter.

  • Do you mean Blender's texturing system (i.e. Blender Guru's process used in his anvil series) vs. Substance? Also it would help to know some more specifics about your project to know what to suggest.

    As far as my knowledge goes, Substance (all of it) is basically the industry standard for making making any and every texture you could ever imagine. I believe Poliigon, for example, uses it  to make everything. Mind you that comes with industry cost. $ $ $

    However, if this is just a personal/short term free lance job Blender's texturing (and material) system should serve you well enough.

    Does that help?

  • neode Yeah, I should have been more specific. Maybe I'm looking at it from a completely wrong direction too, hence why I'm asking.

    So far I have created my materials in the cycles node editor. and the materials are starting to get better and better and look decent enough but I was wondering if Substance Designer is the "better" way to go because it makes creating complex materials easier.

    I know that you can create any material you want in the cycles node editor and in any quality you want, as long as you know what you're doing, but obviously saving time on a project is always good.

    The project I'm working on is a personal one. It incorporates a large scene/environment that will later have some camera animations and even animated characters in it. It is aimed for realism, doesn't have to be photo-realistic. Think of a similar level as the latest World of Warcraft trailer.

    Thus I will be creating many different materials, some a little bit simpler, some more complex and all of them need to look really good.

    The question is: Is it worth it to get into Substance Designer for this, like does it ease up the process of creating materials that much or is the actual difference a rather small one? Because  like I said, you can create any sort of material in any sort of complexity and quality in cycles node editor, but as a beginner I'm not having an easy time getting the materials the way I want them to.

  • I've never used Substance, but I've heard that it is so procedural that you could make literally any material in it without any images.  With Cycles, you need image textures for almost everything.

  • williamatics You can make some pretty sweet procedural materials inside of Blender as well, like in the shader forge series :)

  • I find Substance Designer to be a great deal of fun to use and very relaxing. 

    I am no master of Blender or Substance designer but I know enough to compare the two from my experience. I do not know how much knowledge you have of Designer/Blender so I might be going more basic than you need/want if so ignore me please. 

    Lets say you are creating a brick wall in Blender. Nothing special just a background brick wall. To do so I would search the internet for a tiling brick wall texture. Hopefully it comes with a normal map, ect. I would hook it up to the wall model and adjust it and try and make it look the way I wanted. 

    Now in Designer the whole texture would be generated proceduraly. So you would build up a series of nodes that make the brick pattern, than you would add noise to at the surface texture to the bricks, the grout, add color. The entire brick wall would be build using nodes. This would take longer than the Blender method but with this one Substance you could change one or two variables and change the pattern of the bricks, change the number of bricks, the shape of the bricks, how much they stick out of the wall, randomize the color. Basically whatever you planned for when making it can be changed to make a new brick texture. 

    Honestly I would suggest you just look up a few Substance Designer tutorials and watch them. Allegorihmic the company that makes Designer has some really good long form ones on its youtube channel.  See if its a work flow that looks fun/interesting to you. 

  • I agree, I want to get Substance for its control.  I want total control over my textures.  If I find one online,  the I get what I get and that's it.  If I make it in Substance, I just move a slider and *Insert Magic Word Here*!  It's exactly how I want it!

  • kkcoffee 

    You can create any material procedurally in the node editor as well, you don't need an image texture. You can bake and create all sorts of maps via Blender too, from Bump to Normal to AO and so on.

    From the looks of it the workflow in Substance Designer is a bit more intuitive but if you know what you're doing there should be no difference in the quality of your materials.

    At least that's what I gathered from all this.

  • kkcoffee There is procedural brick texture in blender. :)

    that said, it depends greatly on the project and how do you choose to render it.

    Making procedural stuff inside blender will save memory print when rendering in cycles. however, time, effort, deadline are the things that needs to be considered here.

    if i'm making project and a model that i need a certain material that i know is in substance painter, i'll just make quick uv-unwrap, paint it in substance, export the maps i need and setup quickly in blender for that object.

    Now i can also do that same material in blender have even more control on the material but use twice or quadruple time of tweaking the stuff inside blender.

    point i'm trying to make here is that substance painter or designer and blender are not exluding each other. you can use both to their best advantages. :)

    happy blending.

  • Perhaps its possible but I don't see Blender being able to produce things like this. https://www.artstation.com/artwork/Xk0yR procedurally.

  • kkcoffee You can, but it takes a gigantic amount of knowledge and experience.

    That's what I was interested about. If Substance Designer can make my workflow of creating materials speed up, then I should get it.

    Okay, whatever I'm getting Substance Designer and see if things work out.

  • elensanima good luck with it. its crazy good, wish i had more time currently to spend on it.