Adobe Substance 3D Review | Creative block
Adobe Substance 3D has undergone a slight evolution since Adobe’s purchase of Allegorithmic in early 2019. The plan was for the industry-standard Texturing Substance suite for 3D artists to become part of the Adobe Creative Cloud application collection. Well, that time has come … sort of!
The new Adobe Substance 3D collection “Adobifies” the existing core creation applications in Substance 3D Painter and Substance 3D Designer, while reinventing Alchemist as a new Substance 3D Sampler and adding the intriguing new Substance 3D Stager to the mix. But how does it stack up against the rest of our list of the best 3D modeling software?
Adobe Substance 3D: new features
New features have been added to Substance 3D Painter. The new Adobe Standard Material which allows more complex materials to be created in a set of textures adds new channels for shine and coating, among others. Most of the latest changes to Painter are cosmetic and allow for greater interaction between other Substance apps and the wider Adobe creative ecosystem.
Substance 3D Designer also benefits from these ease of use enhancements (if you are an Adobe user). Most importantly, Designer receives a whole new type of chart with the Substance Model chart, which allows the creation of procedural models directly in Substance 3D Designer. Although this is still an initial version. Direct asset creation was the missing piece of the Substance offering, and it’s great to see the ability to create custom geometry within the Substance 3D collection.
While the addition of complex procedural models in Substance 3D Designer will delight many experienced 3D artists, what about new artists using Adobe’s 2D applications such as Photoshop and Illustrator? These artists are covered by the new Substance 3D staging application, which enables the creation of complex 3D scenes using a simple drag-and-drop interface.
Adobe Substance 3D: ideal for beginners
Using either a model of the wide variety of assets available, either in the Substance 3D Stager app, or from the online Substance 3D Assets collections (a crucial part of the Substance 3D experience), an artist who does not know no 3D can now easily create product photos.
There is also support for a logo designed in illustrator which can be easily “plastered” on a template and resized and iterated until the right look is achieved. The Substance 3D stager renderer supports ray tracing and can work with custom backplates. Substance 3D Sampler can recreate camera angles and lighting from these images literally with the click of a mouse. Render quality is excellent, with the ability to preview renderings quickly and easily. In fact, it’s easy to see how many 2D design agencies could mobilize Substance 3D stager to be the only 3D solution they need.
Adobe Substance 3D: subscription model
So while software developers have done wonders to bring Substance applications into the Adobe family, those at Adobe who are in charge of product marketing and pricing have let go of this hard work. Any artist who thinks that when they click on the ‘Creative Cloud All Apps’ plan to purchase everything Adobe has to offer will be sorely disappointed. The Substance 3D collection is not included in this package. It must be paid separately via a significant monthly or annual subscription. This appears to be a huge missed opportunity by the Adobe team. By all means, the Creative Cloud suite would need more pricing structures that allow users to focus on defined disciplines. But does the “All Apps” pricing option really mean that?
The shock of purchasing “another” Creative Cloud subscription ”could alienate 2D artists who could truly benefit from apps like the new Substance 3D Stager as a gateway to 3D content creation. It’s a shame for everyone in the creative community. However, it should be noted that there is currently a discount available on the Adobe Substance 3D collection, see our Adobe Creative Cloud discount page for details.
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