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Substance 3D materials for Photoshop

  1. Photoshop User Guide
  2. Introduction to Photoshop
    1. Dream it. Make it.
    2. What's new in Photoshop
    3. Edit your first photo
    4. Create documents
    5. Photoshop | Common Questions
    6. Photoshop system requirements
    7. Get to know Photoshop
  3. Photoshop and other Adobe products and services
    1. Work with Illustrator artwork in Photoshop
    2. Work with Photoshop files in InDesign
    3. Substance 3D Materials for Photoshop
    4. Use the Capture in-app extension in Photoshop
  4. Photoshop on the iPad (not available in mainland China)
    1. Photoshop on the iPad | Common questions
    2. Get to know the workspace
    3. System requirements | Photoshop on the iPad
    4. Create, open, and export documents
    5. Add photos
    6. Work with layers
    7. Draw and paint with brushes
    8. Make selections and add masks
    9. Retouch your composites
    10. Work with adjustment layers
    11. Adjust the tonality of your composite with Curves
    12. Apply transform operations
    13. Crop and rotate your composites
    14. Rotate, pan, zoom, and reset the canvas
    15. Work with Type layers
    16. Work with Photoshop and Lightroom
    17. Get missing fonts in Photoshop on the iPad
    18. Japanese Text in Photoshop on the iPad
    19. Manage app settings
    20. Touch shortcuts and gestures
    21. Keyboard shortcuts
    22. Edit your image size
    23. Livestream as you create in Photoshop on the iPad
    24. Correct imperfections with the Healing Brush
    25. Create brushes in Capture and use them in Photoshop on the iPad
    26. Work with Camera Raw files
    27. Create and work with Smart Objects
    28. Adjust exposure in your images with Dodge and Burn
    29. Auto adjustment commands in Photoshop on the iPad
    30. Smudge areas in your images with Photoshop on the iPad
    31. Saturate or desaturate your images using Sponge tool
    32. Content aware fill for iPad
  5. Photoshop on the web (not available in mainland China)
    1. Common questions
    2. System requirements
    3. Keyboard shortcuts
    4. Supported file types
    5. Introduction to the workspace
    6. Open and work with cloud documents
    7. Generative AI features
    8. Basic concepts of editing
    9. Quick Actions
    10. Work with layers
    11. Retouch images and remove imperfections
    12. Make quick selections
    13. Image improvements with Adjustment Layers
    14. Move, transform, and crop images
    15. Draw and paint
    16. Work with Type layers
    17. Work with anyone on the web
    18. Manage app settings
    19. Generate Image
    20. Generate Background
    21. Reference Image
  6. Photoshop (beta) (not available in mainland China)
    1. Get started with Creative Cloud Beta apps
    2. Photoshop (beta) on the desktop
    3. Generate image with descriptive text prompts
    4. Generate background with descriptive text prompts
  7. Generative AI (not available in mainland China) 
    1. Common questions on generative AI in Photoshop
    2. Generative Fill in Photoshop on the desktop
    3. Generative Expand in Photoshop on the desktop
    4. Generative Fill in Photoshop on the iPad
    5. Generative Expand in Photoshop on the iPad
    6. Generative AI features in Photoshop on the web
  8. Content authenticity (not available in mainland China)
    1. Content credentials in Photoshop
    2. Identity and provenance for NFTs
    3. Connect accounts for creative attribution
  9. Cloud documents (not available in mainland China)
    1. Photoshop cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Photoshop cloud documents | Workflow questions
    3. Manage and work with cloud documents in Photoshop
    4. Upgrade cloud storage for Photoshop
    5. Unable to create or save a cloud document
    6. Solve Photoshop cloud document errors
    7. Collect cloud document sync logs
    8. Invite others to edit your cloud documents
    9. Share files and comment in-app
  10. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Preferences
    3. Learn faster with the Photoshop Discover Panel
    4. Create documents
    5. Place files
    6. Default keyboard shortcuts
    7. Customize keyboard shortcuts
    8. Tool galleries
    9. Performance preferences
    10. Use tools
    11. Presets
    12. Grid and guides
    13. Touch gestures
    14. Use the Touch Bar with Photoshop
    15. Touch capabilities and customizable workspaces
    16. Technology previews
    17. Metadata and notes
    18. Touch capabilities and customizable workspaces
    19. Place Photoshop images in other applications
    20. Rulers
    21. Show or hide non-printing Extras
    22. Specify columns for an image
    23. Undo and history
    24. Panels and menus
    25. Position elements with snapping
    26. Position with the Ruler tool
  11. Web, screen, and app design
    1. Photoshop for design
    2. Artboards
    3. Device Preview
    4. Copy CSS from layers
    5. Slice web pages
    6. HTML options for slices
    7. Modify slice layout
    8. Work with web graphics
    9. Create web photo galleries
  12. Image and color basics
    1. How to resize images
    2. Work with raster and vector images
    3. Image size and resolution
    4. Acquire images from cameras and scanners
    5. Create, open, and import images
    6. View images
    7. Invalid JPEG Marker error | Opening images
    8. Viewing multiple images
    9. Customize color pickers and swatches
    10. High dynamic range images
    11. Match colors in your image
    12. Convert between color modes
    13. Color modes
    14. Erase parts of an image
    15. Blending modes
    16. Choose colors
    17. Customize indexed color tables
    18. Image information
    19. Distort filters are unavailable
    20. About color
    21. Color and monochrome adjustments using channels
    22. Choose colors in the Color and Swatches panels
    23. Sample
    24. Color mode or Image mode
    25. Color cast
    26. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    27. Add swatches from HTML CSS and SVG
    28. Bit depth and preferences
  13. Layers
    1. Layer basics
    2. Nondestructive editing
    3. Create and manage layers and groups
    4. Select, group, and link layers
    5. Place images into frames
    6. Layer opacity and blending
    7. Mask layers
    8. Apply Smart Filters
    9. Layer comps
    10. Move, stack, and lock layers
    11. Mask layers with vector masks
    12. Manage layers and groups
    13. Layer effects and styles
    14. Edit layer masks
    15. Extract assets
    16. Reveal layers with clipping masks
    17. Generate image assets from layers
    18. Work with Smart Objects
    19. Blending modes
    20. Combine multiple images into a group portrait
    21. Combine images with Auto-Blend Layers
    22. Align and distribute layers
    23. Copy CSS from layers
    24. Load selections from a layer or layer mask's boundaries
    25. Knockout to reveal content from other layers
  14. Selections
    1. Get started with selections
    2. Make selections in your composite
    3. Select and Mask workspace
    4. Select with the marquee tools
    5. Select with the lasso tools
    6. Adjust pixel selections
    7. Move, copy, and delete selected pixels
    8. Create a temporary quick mask
    9. Select a color range in an image
    10. Convert between paths and selection borders
    11. Channel basics
    12. Save selections and alpha channel masks
    13. Select the image areas in focus
    14. Duplicate, split, and merge channels
    15. Channel calculations
  15. Image adjustments
    1. Replace object colors
    2. Perspective warp
    3. Reduce camera shake blurring
    4. Healing brush examples
    5. Export color lookup tables
    6. Adjust image sharpness and blur
    7. Understand color adjustments
    8. Apply a Brightness/Contrast adjustment
    9. Adjust shadow and highlight detail
    10. Levels adjustment
    11. Adjust hue and saturation
    12. Adjust vibrance
    13. Adjust color saturation in image areas
    14. Make quick tonal adjustments
    15. Apply special color effects to images
    16. Enhance your image with color balance adjustments
    17. High dynamic range images
    18. View histograms and pixel values
    19. Match colors in your image
    20. Crop and straighten photos
    21. Convert a color image to black and white
    22. Adjustment and fill layers
    23. Curves adjustment
    24. Blending modes
    25. Target images for press
    26. Adjust color and tone with Levels and Curves eyedroppers
    27. Adjust HDR exposure and toning
    28. Dodge or burn image areas
    29. Make selective color adjustments
  16. Adobe Camera Raw
    1. Camera Raw system requirements
    2. What's new in Camera Raw
    3. Introduction to Camera Raw
    4. Create panoramas
    5. Supported lenses
    6. Vignette, grain, and dehaze effects in Camera Raw
    7. Default keyboard shortcuts
    8. Automatic perspective correction in Camera Raw
    9. Radial Filter in Camera Raw
    10. Manage Camera Raw settings
    11. Open, process, and save images in Camera Raw
    12. Repair images with the Enhanced Spot Removal tool in Camera Raw
    13. Rotate, crop, and adjust images
    14. Adjust color rendering in Camera Raw
    15. Process versions in Camera Raw
    16. Make local adjustments in Camera Raw
  17. Image repair and restoration
    1. Remove objects from your photos with Content-Aware Fill
    2. Content-Aware Patch and Move
    3. Retouch and repair photos
    4. Correct image distortion and noise
    5. Basic troubleshooting steps to fix most issues
  18. Image enhancement and transformation
    1. Replace sky in your images
    2. Transform objects
    3. Adjust crop, rotation, and canvas size
    4. How to crop and straighten photos
    5. Create and edit panoramic images
    6. Warp images, shapes, and paths
    7. Vanishing Point
    8. Content-aware scaling
    9. Transform images, shapes, and paths
  19. Drawing and painting
    1. Paint symmetrical patterns
    2. Draw rectangles and modify stroke options
    3. About drawing
    4. Draw and edit shapes
    5. Painting tools
    6. Create and modify brushes
    7. Blending modes
    8. Add color to paths
    9. Edit paths
    10. Paint with the Mixer Brush
    11. Brush presets
    12. Gradients
    13. Gradient interpolation
    14. Fill and stroke selections, layers, and paths
    15. Draw with the Pen tools
    16. Create patterns
    17. Generate a pattern using the Pattern Maker
    18. Manage paths
    19. Manage pattern libraries and presets
    20. Draw or paint with a graphics tablet
    21. Create textured brushes
    22. Add dynamic elements to brushes
    23. Gradient
    24. Paint stylized strokes with the Art History Brush
    25. Paint with a pattern
    26. Sync presets on multiple devices
    27. Migrate presets, actions, and settings
  20. Text
    1. Add and edit the text
    2. Unified Text Engine
    3. Work with OpenType SVG fonts
    4. Format characters
    5. Format paragraphs
    6. How to create type effects
    7. Edit text
    8. Line and character spacing
    9. Arabic and Hebrew type
    10. Fonts
    11. Troubleshoot fonts
    12. Asian type
    13. Create type
  21. Filters and effects
    1. Use the Blur Gallery
    2. Filter basics
    3. Filter effects reference
    4. Add Lighting Effects
    5. Use the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
    6. Use the Oil Paint filter
    7. Use the Liquify filter
    8. Layer effects and styles
    9. Apply specific filters
    10. Smudge image areas
  22. Saving and exporting
    1. Save your files in Photoshop
    2. Export your files in Photoshop
    3. Supported file formats
    4. Save files in graphics formats
    5. Move designs between Photoshop and Illustrator
    6. Save and export video and animations
    7. Save PDF files
    8. Digimarc copyright protection
  23. Color Management
    1. Understanding color management
    2. Keeping colors consistent
    3. Color settings
    4. Duotones
    5. Work with color profiles
    6. Color-managing documents for online viewing
    7. Color-managing documents when printing
    8. Color-managing imported images
    9. Proofing colors
  24. Web, screen, and app design
    1. Photoshop for design
    2. Artboards
    3. Device Preview
    4. Copy CSS from layers
    5. Slice web pages
    6. HTML options for slices
    7. Modify slice layout
    8. Work with web graphics
    9. Create web photo galleries
  25. Video and animation
    1. Video editing in Photoshop
    2. Edit video and animation layers
    3. Video and animation overview
    4. Preview video and animations
    5. Paint frames in video layers
    6. Import video files and image sequences
    7. Create frame animations
    8. Creative Cloud 3D Animation (Preview)
    9. Create timeline animations
    10. Create images for video
  26. Printing
    1. Print 3D objects
    2. Print from Photoshop
    3. Print with color management
    4. Contact Sheets and PDF Presentations
    5. Print photos in a picture package layout
    6. Print spot colors
    7. Print images to a commercial printing press
    8. Improve color prints from Photoshop
    9. Troubleshoot printing problems | Photoshop
  27. Automation
    1. Creating actions
    2. Create data-driven graphics
    3. Scripting
    4. Process a batch of files
    5. Play and manage actions
    6. Add conditional actions
    7. About actions and the Actions panel
    8. Record tools in actions
    9. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    10. Photoshop UI toolkit for plug-ins and scripts
  28. Troubleshooting
    1. Fixed issues 
    2. Known issues
    3. Optimize Photoshop performance
    4. Basic troubleshooting
    5. Troubleshoot crash or freeze
    6. Troubleshoot program errors
    7. Troubleshoot scratch disk full errors
    8. Troubleshoot GPU and graphics driver issues
    9. Find missing tools
    10. Photoshop 3D | Common questions around discontinued features

Learn to use the Substance 3D materials with Photoshop to create realistic 3D effects earlier reserved for 3D native applications

Topics in this article:

Substance Materials Overview 

Material Panel Interface 

Plugin interface

A. Materials and Lighting modes: Click the Materials or Lighting mode buttons at the top of the panel to reveal materials or lighting editing control panels. 

B. Search:  The search bar allows you to filter displayed results that match the text entered here.

C. Get materials: There are two huge libraries of materials on the web that can be browsed to find different materials for use in Photoshop:   one from Adobe,  and another from the Substance Community of users . At this time, only .sbsar  format materials are supported in the Photoshop plugin, so note that while additional content types can be browsed and downloaded from those sites, only the .sbsar files can be used in Photoshop.   

D. Your Materials: The ‘Your materials’ section is where imported .sbsar materials will appear as spherical previews. After a .sbsar file has been downloaded from the sites above or made in a Substance 3D application, use the ‘+’ icon in the plugin window to import the material.

E. Adobe Substance Materials: Included materials appear as spherical previews. You can scroll down the list using the right scroll bar or enter text searches in the search bar to filter the results.  

F. Adding/Deleting materials: Materials made in other Substance 3D apps or downloaded online can be added using the ‘+’ icon. Materials can also be removed by highlighting them and selecting the trash icon. See the Importing Materials and Removing materials sections below for more information.

G. Materials Properties: This section includes controls which are appended to all materials by the plugin. These include controls for resolution and repetition of the tiled material. See the Material Properties section below for more information.

H. Substance Properties: These are properties that vary for each specific material. These properties are purposely exposed by the material’s author and are adjustable. See the Substance Properties section below for more information.

I. Position: These are controls to adjust the X and Y position of the material on the canvas, as well as the rotation around the center of the document. 

J. Technical Parameters: These parameters are defined by the authors during material creation and allow you to fine-tune certain image options like Contrast, Hue, and Saturation. These are found in most Substance 3D Assets materials.

Material properties

Material Properties: These are common properties that can be found on all materials.

  • Resolution: The display quality of the material.

  • Random seed: The value used to randomize certain aspects of the material.

  • Repeat X: The value used to scale the material horizontally.

  • Repeat Y: The value used to scale the material vertically.

  • Repeat uniformly: Scales the material evenly based on Repeat X and Repeat Y values.

  • Physical size: Scales the material based on its real-world size.

Note: Repeat X and Repeat Y properties are automatically configured to the ratio of your image when applying a material to avoid stretching.

Substance properties

Substance Properties: These are the unique properties of a material that affect various aspects of its appearance. They are defined by the author of the material during the creation process in Substance 3D applications. Some examples of this would be the color of dirt on a material and the intensity of the dirt, as seen on the left image.


Most materials will also come with embedded presets. These are predefined “looks” for the material that can be quickly selected via the dropdown.


Position: These adjust the position and rotation of the material on the material.

  • Offset X: The material's position horizontally.

  • Offset Y: The material's position Vertically.

  • Rotation: Turns the material left or right from the center of the document.

Technical parameters

Technical Parameters: These parameters are similar to the image adjustments that are native to Photoshop, but applied specifically to the material. These are defined by the author and are visible in most .sbsar files downloaded from the Adobe 3D Asset page.

  • Luminosity: The amount of light radiated by the material.

  • Contrast: The difference in brightness between light and dark areas of an image

  • Hue Shift: Adjusts the overall color of the material.

  • Saturation: Adjusts the overall intensity of the material’s colors.

  • Normal Intensity: The strength of the simulated surface details of a material.

  • Normal Format: Chose between DirectX and OpenGL normal formats.  This will change the Normal direction.

  • Height Range: The overall difference between the highest and lowest point of the simulated surface.

  • Height Position: The intensity of the height relative to the height range.

    In Substance 3D Designer, an exposed parameter can be addded to the Techncial Parameters group by entering it as the group name in the “Exposed Parameters” menu. Read the Substance 3D Designer documentation here learn more. 

You may resize the entire panel using the Resize control at the bottom and sides of the panel. The divider between the material previews and properties can be adjusted with the divider following the Built-in Materials section.  

Panel resizing

Lighting Panel Interface 

Lighting parameters

The lighting applied to materials can be edited in the Lighting Panel. Here there are controls to change the rotation and height of the lighting relative to the material’s surface.

  • Rotation: The radial angle of the light source on the horizontal axis. 0° positions the light at the bottom of the canvas and increasing the value moves the light clockwise.

  • Height: The radial angle of the light source on the vertical axis. 0° is parallel to the material’s surface and 90° is perpendicular.

  • Color: Controls the light source’s color tint.

  • Exposure: The intensity of the light source

  • Displacement: The difference between the highest and lowest points of the material’s surface

Applying Materials 

  • Applying a Material to a layer: To apply a material, select one of the material previews in the panel while the layer is selected. This will duplicate the selected layer as a Smart Object with the selected material applied as a Smart Filter. To create additional material layers, select another layer with no materials applied before selecting a preview in the Materials tab.

  • Applying Materials to Layers with Marquee Selections: If a marquee selection is made on a layer, applying a material to that layer will create a duplicate of the selected layer as a Smart Object with the selected material applied as a Smart Filter and a layer mask created from the marquee selection. 

  • Applying Materials to Text Layers: Applying a material when a text layer is selected will create a new layer over the text as a Smart Object and the selected material applied as a Smart Filter. This layer will be set as a clipping mask to reveal the material only where there is text.

  • Updating Materials: When a layer with a material is selected, selecting another preview in the Materials tab will replace the material in the selected layer.

Importing Materials 

The .sbsar files downloaded from the Substance 3D Assets and Substance Community Assets sites, or made in other Substance 3D applications, can be imported into the material panel with the ‘+’ icon. This will open the file explorer and allow you to select the .sbsar files on the disk. Afterwards, they will appear under the Your Materials section of the panel.

Note: Only .sbsar matterials are currently suppoted by the plugin. Other material file types such as .spsm are not currently supported.

Removing Materials 

To remove a material, hold the Command/Control or Shift keys and click on the material in the panel.  Once selected, clicking the trash icon will remove these materials. If a material used in the current layer is being deleted, Photoshop will warn you of this before asking if you would like to cancel or continue deleting the material. Default materials that ship with the plugin can be restored after they have been deleted by opening the Panel Menu and selecting "Restore default materials".

Note: User material files can also be manually removed from the following directories: 
  Windows: "%AppData%/Roaming/Adobe/UXP/PluginsStorage/{Photoshop Type}/{Photoshop Version}/Internal/com.adobe.photoshop-material-filters"

    Mac: "~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/UXP/PluginStorage/{Photoshop Type}/{Photoshop Version/Internal/com.adobe.photoshop-material-filters"


Blending Lighting Into Material Layers: Blend modes can be used to improve the realism of your image. In the following example, a black and white copy of the base image is placed on top of the material layers and set to an Overlay blend mode. This has the effect of transferring lighting and shadows from the base image to your material layers. A mask can be used to affect specific areas. This method can be repeated with other blend modes like Multiply to enhance shadows. 

Blending Material Layers

Working With Layer Transformations: Before applying transformations, the material layer must be converted to a Smart Object. This parent Smart Object will display transformations applied to it. The material parameters can be adjusted by opening the Smart Object and selecting the material layer. Saving after making parameter changes will display those changes in the parent Smart Object. 

Another way to adjust your material layer’s perspective without converting it to a smart object is to use Photoshop’s Perspective warp (found under the Edit > Perspective warp menu item). This will allow you to tweak the visual perspective of your material layer nondestructively and see the results in real-time on your canvas.   

Adding multiple Materials to a layer: To stack multiple materials on a layer, first apply your initial material. Then, hold Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) and click on the thumbnail of the next material you want to add. This will stack it on top of the previous one in the Smart Filter stack.

  • Managing stacked materials: Each material in the stack can be turned on or off individually for flexible editing.
  • Editing individual materials in a stack: The Properties Panel will show a dropdown menu listing all applied materials. To edit a specific materials, select it from this dropdown or double-click on the material in the Smart Filter stack.
Blending Material Layers

Finding and Creating Additional Materials 

A library of free materials that are created by members of the Substance community can be found on the Substance Community Assets site. With a Substance 3D subscription, you can also download hundreds of professionally made material assets from the Substance 3D Assets page.

Additionally, you can create your own materials using Substance 3D Designer or Substance 3D Sampler.  

Substance 3D Designer is a node-based texture authoring tool. Nodes are used to provide deep levels of creative control with unique noises and patterns. Check out Designer's Product Page for more details on Designer, as well as learning material in our Designer First Steps tutorial series.

Substance 3D Sampler transforms real-world photos into 3D materials. An extensive library of filters, generators, and effects let you quickly explore the endless variations with a familiar layer-based approach. Check out Sampler's Product Page for more details on Sampler, as well as learning material in our Sampler First Steps tutorial series and some specifics on the Image to Material capabilities.


The Photoshop UI is frozen when changing parameters.

This behavior is expected. The Photoshop plugin makes changes to the canvas that cannot be run asynchronously, so Photoshop’s functions are paused while the image is being rendered. The higher the resolution quality, the longer the image will take to render.


On Windows, input boxes in the panel UI appear to flicker whenever I scroll.

The plugin uses Photoshop UXP tools to draw the plugin panel, which may produce some expected behaviors such as this. While flickering may occur, it is purely cosmetic and should not impact user’s ability to adjust values.


On Mac, values appear to be written over the panel when using a slider.

The plugin uses Photoshop UXP tools to draw the plugin panel, which may produce some expected behaviors such as this. Values may draw over parts of the panel, but scrolling should force the UI to refresh and resolve this issue.


Some materials take longer to update when I change parameters.

Materials with large bitmaps integrated as part of the design, such as scanned materials, may slow down the rendering time. Additionally, rendering materials at higher resolution settings will take longer to process.


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Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online