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The User Interface | Substance Player

The User Interface

Substance Player has a simple user interface. When you load a Substance into Substance Player, the 2D View Pane displays its Diffuse output by default; the 3D View displays the Substance rendered onto a primitive 3D model with basic lighting and shading, while its Parameters appear in the Tweaks Pane, as shown below:

Substance Player main window

The main menu

The main menu offers the usual file-handling features, as well as application options, exporting features, window manipulation, and access to documentation and support.

  • Open: Opens a Substance. Substance Player can open SBS, SBSAR and the older SBSBIN and SBSASM formats. As SBS format files are just XML files, Player will also let you open files with a .XML extension.
  • Recently opened: Lets you choose a Substance from a list of recently opened Substances;
  • Reload: Reloads the current Substance;
  • Auto-reload: Set this to make Substance Player automatically reload a Substance if it detects a change has been made to it. This is handy if you are using Player to view a Substance currently under construction in Substance Designer or Substance Designer Lite;
  • More Substances: Takes you to the Substance 3D assets website;
  • Quit: Close Substance Player.

The main toolbar

This offer quick access to commands also available in the Main Menu:

  • Open: Lets you load a package in Player;
  • Export as Bitmap: Export the current Substance graph outputs to bitmap files;
  • More Substances: Opens the Substance 3D Assets website
  • Render Settings: Lets you select the version of the Substance engine you wish to use. By default, this is set to DirectX which is run on the GPU. Alternatively, the SSE engine is run on the CPU exclusively.
Switch engines dialog

Status bar

A Substance takes a finite amount of time to render. The simpler the Substance, the quicker it renders. The Status Bar displays rendering performance data, such as rendering time (in milliseconds), so you can gauge how well your Substance will perform.

Unlike Substance Designer, Substance Player uses the same real-time Substance rendering engine we license for use in other applications, such as 3ds max, Unity, Unreal Engine, and more. This brings Player's rendering performance as close as possible to that found in those applications. If you are targeting real-time software, knowing how long your Substances will take to render is a very useful metric.


This appears when a Substance makes use of the $time system variable in order to provide animation over time. You can use the timeline to simulate the passing of time and view the time-based animation(s).

The left end of the Timeline contains the usual playback controls. In addition, you can set the time or frame number directly.

At the right end of the Timeline, you will see the maximum frame number, a frame rate selector, and a padlock icon which changes the slider tracking: enabling it prevents Substance views updating until the mouse button has been released, which can improve performance.

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