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Glossary | Substance 3D Painter

  1. Home
  2. Getting Started
    1. Getting Started overview
    2. Activation and licenses
    3. System requirements
    4. Project creation
    5. Export
      1. Export overview
      2. Export window
        1. Export window overview
        2. Export settings
        3. Output templates
        4. List of exports
      3. Export presets
        1. Export presets overview
        2. Predefined presets
          1. Predefined Presets
          2. USD PBR Metal Roughness Preset
          3. Default Presets
        3. Creating export presets
    6. Glossary
    7. Performance
  3. Interface
    1. Assets
      1. Assets overview
      2. Navigation
      3. Customizing the layout
      4. Filter by path
      5. Saved searches
      6. Advanced search queries
      7. Adding a new library
      8. Sub-library tab
    2. Color picker
    3. Display settings
      1. Display settings overview
      2. Environment settings
      3. Camera settings
      4. Viewport settings
    4. History
    5. Layer stack
      1. Layer stack overview
      2. Creating layers
      3. Managing layers
      4. Masking and effects
      5. Blending modes
      6. Layer instancing
      7. Geometry mask
    6. Main menu
      1. Main menu overview
      2. File menu
      3. Edit menu
      4. Mode menu
      5. Window menu
      6. Viewport menu
      7. Plugins menu
      8. Help menu
    7. Project configuration
    8. Properties
    9. Settings
      1. Settings overview
      2. General preferences
      3. Shortcuts
      4. Libraries configuration
    10. Shader settings
      1. Shader settings overview
      2. Updating a shader
    11. Texture Set
      1. Texture Set overview
      2. Texture Set list
      3. Texture Set settings
      4. Texture Set reassignment
    12. Toolbars
    13. Viewport
      1. Viewport overview
      2. 2D view
      3. 3D view
      4. Camera management
    14. Miscellaneous
      1. Sliders
      2. Log
      3. Update checker
  4. Painting
    1. Painting overview
    2. Tool list
      1. Paint brush
      2. Eraser
      3. Projection
      4. Polygon fill
      5. Smudge tool
      6. Clone Tool
      7. Quick mask
    3. Straight line   
    4. Lazy mouse 
    5. Symmetry
      1. Symmetry overview
      2. Mirror Symmetry
    6. Fill projections
      1. Fill projections overview
      2. Fill (match per UV Tile)
      3. UV projection
      4. Tri-planar projection
      5. Planar projection
      6. Spherical projection
      7. Cylindrical projection
      8. Warp projection
    7. Presets
      1. Presets overview
      2. Creating and saving presets
      3. Creating particles presets
        1. Creating particles overview
        2. Installing the particle editor
        3. Overview of the particle editor
        4. Creating a new particle script
      4. Photoshop brush presets (ABR)
        1. Photoshop brush presets overview
        2. Exporting Brush Presets from Photoshop
        3. Importing Photoshop Brush Presets
        4. Photoshop Brush Parameters Compatibility
    8. Dynamic strokes
      1. Dynamic strokes overview
      2. Enabling Dynamic Stroke feature
      3. Dynamic Stroke Performances
      4. Creating custom Dynamic Strokes
    9. Advanced channel painting
      1. Channel painting overview
      2. Ambient Occlusion
      3. Flow Map
      4. Height Map
      5. Normal Map
  5. Effects
    1. Effects overview
    2. Generator
    3. Paint
    4. Fill
    5. Levels
    6. Compare Mask
    7. Filter
    8. Anchor Point
  6. Baking
    1. Baking overview
    2. How to bake mesh maps
    3. Baking visualization settings
  7. Content
    1. Creating custom effects
      1. Creating custom effects overview
      2. Generic filter
      3. Channel specific filter
      4. Generators
      5. Mesh map
      6. Mesh based input
      7. User data
    2. Importing assets
      1. Adding resources via the import window
      2. Adding content on the hard drive
      3. Receiving assets from other Substance 3D applications
  8. Features
    1. Automatic UV Unwrapping
    2. Physical size
    3. Smart Materials and Masks
    4. Subsurface Scattering
      1. Subsurface Scattering overview
      2. Enabling Subsurface in a Project
      3. Subsurface Parameters
      4. Subsurface Material Type
    5. Dynamic Material Layering
    6. UV Reprojection
    7. UV Tiles
      1. UV Tiles overview
      2. Image Sequence
    8. Color Management
      1. Color management overview
      2. Color management with Adobe ACE - ICC
      3. Color management with OpenColorIO
    9. Post Processing
      1. Post Processing overview
      2. Color correction
      3. Depth of Field
      4. Glare
      5. Lens Distortion
      6. Tone Mapping
      7. Vignette
      8. Color Profile
    10. Iray Renderer
      1. Iray Renderer overview
      2. Iray Settings
      3. Viewer and MDL Settings
    11. Plugins
      1. Plugins overview
      2. Autosave
      3. Resources Updater
    12. Sparse Virtual Textures
    13. Custom Shaders
    14. SpaceMouse® by 3Dconnexion
    15. Universal Scene Description (USD)
  9. Technical Support
    1. Hardware requirements
    2. Performance Guidelines
      1. Performances guidelines overview
      2. Conflicts and background applications
      3. Mesh and UV setup
      4. GPU Drivers
      5. NVIDIA Drivers Settings
      6. GPU VRAM amount and bandwidth
      7. GPU VRAM and other applications
      8. Texture Sets amount
      9. Layer management
      10. Channels management
      11. Substance filters and materials
      12. Viewport display
    3. Configuring Pens and Tablets
    4. Exporting the log file
    5. Exporting a DXDiag
    6. Technical issues
      1. GPU Issues
        1. Crash when working with overclocked GPU
        2. Forcing the external GPU on Mac OS
        3. GPU drivers compatibility
        4. GPU drivers crash with long computations (TDR crash)
        5. GPU has outdated drivers
        6. GPU is not recognized
        7. GPU is not recognized and is mentionned as GDI Generic
        8. Issues with Nvidia GPUs on recent Mac OS versions
        9. Multi/Bi-GPU
        10. Running on integrated GPU
        11. Painter doesn't start on the right GPU
      2. Startup Issues
        1. Application failed to start because of Qt
        2. Crash or freeze during startup
        3. Software conflicts
      3. Rendering Issues
        1. Artifacts and glitches on Mac OS with Custom GPUs
        2. Blocky artifacts appear on textures in the viewport
        3. Mesh appears pink in the viewport
        4. Mesh flash to white when moving camera
        5. Some HDPI scaling values are not working
      4. Stability Issues
        1. Crash during export
        2. Crash when opening or saving a file
        3. Crash while baking
        4. Crash with low virtual memory
        5. Windows Blue Screens
      5. Miscellaneous Issues
        1. Corrupted texture error message
        2. Shelf resources are gone after 7.2 update
        3. Error there is no disk in the drive
        4. Error with missing api-ms-crt dll
        5. Impossible to drag and drop files into the shelf
        6. Impossible to use the ALT keyboard shortcut on Linux
        7. Assets (or shelf) previews are empty
    7. Workflow Issues
      1. Export Issues
        1. My exported opacity map is totally black
        2. Texture dilation or Padding
      2. Tools Issues
        1. Normal map looks incorrect when loaded in layer or tool properties
        2. Paint Tool bleeds on other UV islands
      3. Project Issues
        1. A project has been processed as a text file and is now corrupted
        2. Loading files from a network
        3. Preserve brush strokes setting stays disabled
        4. Projects are really big
      4. Shelf Issues
        1. Thumbnails in the shelf look incorrect
      5. Viewport Issues
        1. Mesh faces disappear when looking at them from behind
        2. Viewports and textures are blurry or lack sharpness
      6. Plugins Issues
        1. Substance Source plugin doesn't load
      7. License Issues
        1. Maintenance is expired dialog on startup
  10. Pipeline and integration
    1. Installation and preferences
      1. Preferences and application data location
      2. Automated installation
      3. Retrieving the installation path
    2. Configuration
      1. Command lines
      2. Environment variables
      3. Firewall Configuration
      4. Querying Current Software Version
      5. Remote Desktop
    3. Resource management
      1. Shelf and Assets location
      2. Resource paths
        1. Adding resource paths by editing preferences manually
        2. Editing resource paths manually
        3. Editing the Shelf Preferences with Python
      3. Adding saved searches manually
      4. Preferences and content migration
      5. Excluding resources in a resource path
  11. Scripting and development
    1. Scripts and plugins
      1. Creating a Javascript plugin
      2. Remote control with scripting
    2. Shader API Reference
      1. Shader API overview
      2. Changelog - Shader API
      3. Libraries - Shader API
        1. Lib Alpha - Shader API
        2. Lib Bayer - Shader API
        3. Lib Defines - Shader API
        4. Lib Emissive - Shader API
        5. Lib Env - Shader API
        6. Lib Normal - Shader API
        7. Lib PBR - Shader API
        8. Lib PBR Aniso - Shader API
        9. Lib Pom - Shader API
        10. Lib Random - Shader API
        11. Lib Sampler - Shader API
        12. Lib Sparse - Shader API
        13. Lib SSS - Shader API
        14. Lib Utils - Shader API
        15. Lib Vectors - Shader API
      4. Parameters - Shader API
        1. All Custom Params - Shader API
        2. All Engine Params - Shader API
        3. All Rendering States Params - Shader API
        4. Layering Bind Materials - Shader API
        5. Layering Declare Stacks - Shader API
      5. Shaders - Shader API
        1. PBR Material Layering - Shader API
        2. PBR Metal Rough - Shader API
        3. Pixelated - Shader API
        4. Surface Shader - Shader API
        5. Toon - Shader API
  12. Release notes
    1. Relese notes
    2. All Changes
    3. Version 8.3
    4. Version 8.2
    5. Version 8.1
    6. Old versions
      1. Version 7.4
      2. Version 7.3
      3. Version 7.2
      4. Version 2021.1 (7.1.0)
      5. Version 2020.2 (6.2.0)
      6. Version 2020.1 (6.1.0)
      7. Version 2019.3
      8. Version 2019.2
      9. Version 2019.1
      10. Version 2018.3
      11. Version 2018.2
      12. Version 2018.1
      13. Version 2017.4
      14. Version 2017.3
      15. Version 2017.2
      16. Version 2017.1
      17. Version 2.6
      18. Version 2.5
      19. Version 2.4
      20. Version 2.3
      21. Version 2.2


Substance 3D Painter is a 3D application that relies on a lot of techniques and technical keywords which can be difficult to understand at first.
This page lists the most common keywords used by the application alongside a short explanation of the concept behind it.



Alignment The alignment is how a brush will be oriented toward the 3D mesh when painting.
Alpha An alpha is a mask that can be used to paint details or complex shapes, for example a bar-code or a logo.
Bake A bake (or baking) refer to the action of computing information from a 3D mesh and saving it into a Texture based on the UV information of a mesh.
Bit Depth The bit depth is the amount of information that can be stored in a texture (per color). The higher the number, the better the precision of the information. However performance decrease with high numbers when doing computations.
Brush A brush is a tool to paint on a mesh. A brush is defined by multiple parameters that control its behavior (such as the size and the opacity).
Camera The camera is the object that allow to control the position and the direction of where you look at in a 3D or 2D viewport.
Channel A channel is a texture with a specific behavior. Some channels are used to define the color of a material, some other channel are used to control the behavior light over a surface.
Clone The clone is a tool used to replicate part of the painting/texture at other location.
Content / Mask

The content and the mask refer to the two main properties of a layer. The content is the actual painting stored in the channels that are contained in a layer, while the mask is used to display/hide the content. A black mask is equal to an invisible content.

Diffusion The diffusion is a way or generating information outside the UV island of a mesh. It works by bleeding the last pixels near the border of an UV island, creating blurred colors.
Dilation / Padding On the same idea as the diffusion, the dilation is a way of generating information outside UV island by extending pixels colors.
Effect An effect is an element that can be added on a layer, either on the content or the mask. Substance 3D Painter support various type of effects such as filters.
Environment An environment is an image that is used to compute the lighting of a scene, it is a usually an HDR texture that represent a wide range of color information.
Export The action of exporting is the way of generating flattened textures from the painting realized inside the application. The textures created from the export can be used in other application.
FOV / Field of View The FOV is the extent of the observable world by the Camera.
Fill The Fill is an action (which can be an effect or a layer) that can load a color, a texture or even a material over the whole 3D Mesh.
Filter A filter is a Substance effect that can modify the previous information. For example a blur filter will soften a previous image. Filters can also be more complex and modify a full material.
Filtering Filtering refer to the way texture are displayed inside a 3D viewport. Most common are nearest (pixels are read as-is, making an image appera blocky up-close) and bilinear (pixels are interpolated, making an image appear blurry up close).
GPU The GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) is the part of a computer that perform quick computation for producing images.
Generator A Generator is a Substance that generate new information/images usually based on additional textures. For example some mask generator use baked texture to create complex masks.
Histogram An histogram is a graphical representation of the distribution of color values. It is used to visualize how colors are balanced inside an image between shadows, midtones and highlights.
Iray Iray is a path-tracer renderer created by NVIDIA, used to project a realistic lighting over the 3D mesh. Since it is an advanced renderer, it is meant for creating pretty images and not to be use for real-time work.
Jitter The jitter is a property of the brush to produce random behavior when painting.
Layer A layer is an element that contains multiple channels with additional property such as a blending mode and an opacity.
Layer stack A layer stack is a place where layers can be managed and organized. Layers are organized from bottom to top. The bottom layer will be drawn first and then each layer above will be added one by one on top of eahc other.
Lazy Mouse The lazy mouse is a behavior of the brush tool. It slow down the brush path to enhance the precision when painting, created a delay/offset between the mouse cursor and the actual painting.
Level A level is an effect that allow to control a range or color/grayscale information via an histogram. It can be used to invert color or darken/brighten color for example.
Log A log is a text file where are wrote information from the software, usually related to the computer running the application.
Low / High poly mesh A low and a high poly mesh are both 3D mesh, one is with a low density of polygons while the other is with a higher amount of polycount (often 100 times bigger). Usually the high mesh information are baked down to the low mesh.
Material A material define the properties to represent a specific matter. On a 3D Mesh, the material is also used to define groups of polygon faces.
Mesh A mesh is a 3D object defined by multiple information. In Substance 3D Painter a mesh is defined by polygons (usually triangles). A mesh can be created in a 3D modeling application such as Blender or Autodesk Maya .
Mesh map A mesh map is a map baked from a mesh that contains information relative to the mesh. It can be an information of position or an information of occlusion for example.
Mip-Map A mip-map is a pre-computed texture, usually present as a sequence of image each time at a lower resolution than the original texture.
Mode A mode refer to the setup of the interface which gives access to a specific set of tools and controls depending of the mode.
Noise A noise is a procedural and random image, that usually represent organic shapes and color/grayscale values.
Normal A normal is a special texture that deform the way a light behave on the surface of a 3D Mesh to simulate details that doesn't exist in the geometry.
OpenGL / DirectX OpenGL and DirectX are both an application programming interface (API) used for rendering 2D and 3D information. They also define the normal map format.
Orthographic An Orthographic projection is a means of representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions in which all the projection lines are orthogonal to the projection plane.
PBR / PBS Physically based Rendering (PBR) or Physically Based Shading (PBS) is a model in computer graphics that seeks to render graphics in a way that more accurately models the flow of light in the real world.
Packing Packing is the action of storing multiple images inside one texture. Because textures are composed of separated Red, Green, and Blue channels, they can store different information which can be read independently in an other application.
Particles Particles are a kind of tool that generate brush strokes based on physical properties or other complex behaviors.
Perspective Perspective is an approximate representation or a object or scene seen by the human eye on a flat surface (like a screen). It's a simulation of depth and scale.
Pixel / Texel A pixel is a dot in an image, it is the smallest element possible that contains color information. The bigger the resolution, the more pixels are available allowing a better definition and more details. Texels are pixels inside a texture.
Plugin Plugins are programming functions (often expressed via scripting) that can be added to the software, extending the possibilities of the application.
Post-Process A post-process is a visual effect applied on the screen once the 3D image has been rendered, often to simulate special behavior like color correction or bloom.
Procedural Procedural is a terme to describe process that are generated by a computer based on a series of parameters. It can be simply mathematics results such as numbers or complex images.
Projection A projection is the action of applying from a specific point of view (such as the Camera) an image/object onto the surface of the 3D Mesh.
Resolution (Power of 2) The resolution define the size of a texture on its X and Y axis (or width and height). Often in a power of 2 scale (2, 4, 8, 16... 512, 1024, 2048...) because it is optimized for computations on a GPU.
Scripting Scripting is the act or using specific command via a text based file format to execute specific behaviors.
Shader A shader define the behavior of a material when it receives lighting information. Some shader can be simple (like toon shading) or more advanced (like skin shading that simulate light absorption in a surface).
Shelf A shelf is the location in the application where ressource of multiple kind are organized. It can go from simple images to more complex tools.
Smart Mask Smart Masks behave like smart materials, but instead of being layers, they are effects defined to generate mask only based on the current 3D Mesh.
Smart Material A smart material is a group of layers saved as one file. Smart material can adapt to each project in Substance 3D Painter, allowing to create materials that will change depending on the current 3D mesh.
Smudge The Smudge is a tool for bleeding, spreading or mixing colors. It is often used to soften pixels.
Stencil A stencil is an image aligned to the screen and used with a camera projection to paint on the 3D Mesh.
Substance A Substance is a file format that allow to generate texture based on a set of parameters (which involve procedural computations). These parameters can be modified to create variations.
Symmetry The symmetry is an option of a tool that allow to paint at two places at the same time in mirror.
Template A template is a set of predefined option used when creating a new project. It can define the default resolution or the default baking setting for example.
Texel Ratio The texel ratio is the rule that compare the size of an UV island (2D) and the geometry of the 3D mesh related to it. A good texel ratio means a even unfolding of the geometry in 2D. This is important to keep the look and the quality of the painting/texturing consistent on the 3D Mesh.
Texture A texture is a file containing pixels in 2 dimensions defined by a resolution. The pixels can be grayscale or colored. When colored, the pixels can have an information of transparency (if supported by the file format).
Texture Set In Substance 3D Painter a texture set represent a part of a mesh that has specific UVs to be painted on. The Texture Set is created per unique material detected when importing a 3D mesh.
Tilling Tilling is the repetition of a texture where seams are not visible at the borders, it is meant to simulate an infinite plane. Example : grass or pavements.
Tool A tool refer to an action that allow to interact with the 3D Mesh, often to paint or apply effects.
Toolbar The toolbar is the location where all the icon shortcuts to the tools are available.
UDIM UDIM is a way or splitting the UVs of a 3D mesh across multiple ranges to increase the general texture resolution.
UV UV are information defined on a 3D Mesh that indicate how it can be unfolded to become a flat shape. This information is used to project a texture onto a 3D Mesh. Substance 3D Painter only allow to paint in the range 0-1 which represent the size of a texture. Other ranges are only supported via the UDIM system.
VRam The VRam is the memory of the GPU (Graphic Card), used to store information and texture when doing computations. The more VRam the better for working with Substance 3D Painter.
Viewport The viewport is the place where the 3D or 2D scene is displayed on the screen. This is also where it is possible to interact with the tools and the 3D Mesh by controlling the camera.
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