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[Blender Secret] Free Substance Add-on and materials for Blender 🎨

publishedabout 1 month ago
3 min read


Jan here with another Blender Secret like the ones you can find in my 1253 page e-Book.

Free Substance Add-on and materials for Blender 🎨

Without a doubt, Substance Painter is one of the most popular material editors out there. It is of course paid software, however you can now take advantage of the many materials made by others and shared on Substance Share inside of Blender for free! This, thanks to the add-on recently made available by Adobe.

Some different free Substance materials in action

You can download the free add-on here, after reading the licensing documents and agreeing to them. Note that it only works for Blender 2.9 and up. Once you’ve agreed to their license, you go to a page where you can select your operating system and download the two required files.

In the Add-ons tab in Preferences, install from file the downloaded ZIP file named “Substance3DInBlender-win32-0.11.8”. Enable the add-on.

After this, expand the add-on preferences and click on Install from disk to install the other file you downloaded. It's a bit of a hassle to install it in two parts, but trust me - it's more than worth it and you only need to do this once.

Now you can find the Add-on in its own “Substance 3D” tab in the Option Panel, which you can open by pressing N. Click on the icon indicated below with "Free materials" to open the “Substance 3D Community Assets” page. (Please note that you must be logged into an Adobe account to download any of the free assets. But don't worry, registering an account is free.)

Choose a material you like and click on the download icon. Remember that some of these materials can be pretty big in terms of file size. Also, note that you can only use the "normal" materials with the file format .sbsar and not “smart" materials with the file format .spsm. Luckily, there’s 325 materials available that you can use! So instead of "All types" choose "Materials".

Once you’ve downloaded the material you like (I went with the yellow scratched “Painted Metal”), click on the Load Substance Material icon (1 in the picture below on the right), then select an object you want to apply the material to and click on the Attach SBSAR icon (2 in the picture below on the right). Now your object has that material applied to it.

Below you can see that I’ve applied the material to my shader totem. First thing to do is set the Output Resolution Width higher, because by default it’s set to a paltry 256 pixels. Come on Adobe, you underestimate our computers! 4096 is more like it.

After that, it can be a good idea to change the Scale and Rotation in the Mapping node in the Shader Editor window to your liking. After that, it’s a matter of tweaking all the parameters that come with the material you’re using. Each Substance material has its own specific parameters. In this case you can adjust many attributes controlling the scratches.

If you ever want to reset the material to its default settings, choose Presets > Default. If you switch it back to Custom, you’ll get the changes you made manually again so you can always switch between the two. You can also make a duplicate version of the material by clicking on the Duplicate Selected SBAR icon (pictured below right).

You can then change the values for that material, for example if you want to add a slightly differently colored version of it to a different object in the scene. Just remember to select that object and click the “Attach SBAR” icon again (the globe icon indicated below). That’s really all there is to it!

Of course, if you really want to benefit from the full power of Substance materials, you could make your own! To learn more about Substance Painter, check out the Substance Painter Launch Pad course Martin Klekner created for CG Boost here.

Did you like these tips? For hundreds of other Blender tips like these, check out the 1253 page Blender Secrets e-book.

See you for the next Blender Secret!

~ Jan

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