User Guide Cancel

Project Creation | 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

Project Creation

The new project creation window allows to create a project file to store the 3D model and its texturing information.

A new Texture Set is created per material definition found on the imported 3D model. This means multiple objects can be imported through a single file (even with overlapping UVs) if they have different materials.

Creating a New Project

To create a new project click on File > New to create a new Substance 3D Painter project.

Below is an explanation of all the parameter available in the New Project window.

Base Settings




Allows to specify a template that will define the default settings of the project. A template contains the follow parameters:

  • Texture Set settings
  • Display settings
  • Baking settings
  • Shader resources (including attached textures)
  • Environment Map file

Templates are *.spt files that are created from an existing project via the File menu and saved inside the Assets folder to be easily shared with team members.


Click on the "Select" button to specify a 3D model file to load. List of supported file formats:

  • .abc (Alembic)
  • .dae (Collada)
  • .fbx (Autodesk FBX)
  • .gltf (GL Transmission Format)
  • .obj (Wavefront OBJ)
  • .ply (Stanford Triangle Format)

File type-specific settings

When a USD is selected, other file type-specific settings become available.

Scope and variants

Allows to select a specific part of a USD file. By default, it is set to 'Root', which means the entire USD file will be used to create the Painter project.
Change... opens a new window that displays the content of the USD. If variants are detected, it is possible to select a specific variant for project creation.

Scope and variants can be changed after project creation in Project configuration settings.

Note that -

  • Only the modeling variant selection will have any impact on the project.
  • Variants nested within variants are not currently detected.
Subdivision level

Applies to geometry that has subdivision. It allows to specify how much you would like to subdivide your mesh for texturing in Painter. If subdivision is explicitly set to 'none' within the USD file, this setting is grayed out.
Subdivision is applied after UV unwrapping, so it would not alter the shape of the mesh's UVs.

Subdivision levels can be changed after project creation in Project configuration settings.


Applies to USDs in which animation is detected. It allows you to select the frame which will be used to create a Painter project. If there is no animation in the selected USD file, this setting is grayed out.

Frame can be changed after project creation in Project configuration settings.

Project Settings



Document Resolution

Defines the default texture resolution of the project for each Texture Sets. The resolution can go up to 4K (4096x4096 pixels) when working inside the application and 8K (8192x8192 pixels) when exporting. The resolution can be changed at anytime later on via the Texture Set settings.


8K export requires at least 2.5GB of VRam on the GPU to be available.

Normal Map Format

Defines the Normal map format for the project, can be either

  • DirectX (X+, Y-, Z+)
  • OpenGL (X+, Y+, Z+)

As a reminder:

  • Unreal Engine use DirectX by default.
  • Unity use OpenGL by default.

Compute Tangent Space per Fragment

If enabled, the Bitangents are computed in the fragment (pixel) shader instead of the vertex shader. This parameter impacts the way the Normal map is decoded by the Shader in the viewport. Changing this settings will require to rebake the Normal map.


As a reminder:

  • Unreal Engine needs this setting to be Enabled.
  • Unity needs this setting to be Disabled (or enabled if you are using the HDRP workflow).

For more information see the Tangent Space page in the Bakers documentation.

UV Tile Settings (UDIMs)

These settings cannot be modified once the project has been created.



Use UV Tile workflow

If checked, the imported mesh will be processed differently to allow painting outside the regular UV range (0-1). Project using UDIM should enable this setting. The processing of the mesh may differ depending on the setting

For more information, see the UV Tile documentation.

Possible values:

Preserve UV Tile layout per materials and enable painting across tiles

UV Tiles (UDIMs) are imported and grouped per material assignation on the mesh. This means a single Texture Set can contain multiple UV Tiles which are visible side by side in the 2D View. UV Tiles which are within the same Texture Set can be painted across seamlessly.

Convert UV Tiles into individual Textures Sets (legacy)

UV Tiles (UDIMs) are separated into individual Texture Sets and renamed, ignoring any material assignation. Each UV Tiles is moved to the UV [0-1] range to be paintable.

Import Settings



Import Cameras

If cameras are present in the mesh file, they will be imported in the project and accessible as preset for visualization.


Substance 3D Painter doesn't support some cameras in certain conditions :

  • Physical cameras from 3DS Max.
  • Orthographic cameras stored in Alembic files (*.abc).


If enabled, missing UVs on the imported mesh will be generated. The processing may change depending on the settings selected via the Options button.

For more information, see the Automatic UV Unwrapping documentation.

Import baked maps

Use the Add button to loads texture files as Mesh maps and automatically assign them in the Texture Set settings. A specific naming convention must be followed to have the mesh maps automatically assigned to their Texture Sets. Mesh maps can also be baked directly inside the application, see the Baking documentation .

Naming convention: TextureSetName_MeshMapName

Example: DefaultMaterial_ambient_occlusion.png

List of supported Mesh maps and their naming:

Mesh mapFilename convention
Ambient occlusionambient_occlusion
Curvature curvature
Normal normal_base
World Space Normalworld_space_normals

Color management

This section controls the color management settings that will be used by the project. By default it is set to Legacy (sRGB / Linear workflow).

Take a look a the color management documentation to learn more details on how to use this workflow and what the settings are doing.

Adobe logo

Sign in to your account