Substance Painter 2 + Quixel Suite 2

In this article, I want to share my thoughts, why using a combination of these two great tools will help you to achieve good results fast and easy. But first of all, let’s take a quick look at these two products.

Substance Painter 2 is a standalone 3D painting software allowing you to texture your models, render it with different rendering engines(Yebis 3 and IRay), export your work into any 3D modeling software or game engine. It’s made by Allegorithmic.

Material in Substance Painter 2
Material in Substance Painter 2

If you’re like me, are using Steam, then it will be a good idea to buy this software there because you also will get a product key, which you can register on the website, so you will be able to use it, even if you lose your Steam account. Another reason to buy it on Steam, because you can buy it much cheaper if you’re not living in Europe or USA. You can compare the prices here.

You can also try to use Substance Designer if you want to make materials from scratch. But Substance Painter 2 already has tons of materials, which you can mix with layers and masks to get the desired look for your model. If you want more, you can download more materials, brushes and masks at Substance Share for free.

But sometimes even such amount of materials is not enough to make good models. Of course you can buy new materials on such shops, like Substance Store or buy paid subscription on GameTextures, or even spend a lot of time to make desired material in Substance Designer or something similar. But I want to recommend you another one way to get a huge amount of incredibly good materials for affordable price.

Quixel Suite 2.0 is another one good texturing tool, which is on sale when I writing this article. It has everything to make textures for your models. You can buy it for 79$ if you’re independent developer, freelancer or hobbyist. For such price, you will get 1,000 photorealistic PBR and game-ready materials. In comparison, Allegorithmic mood packs usually contain 15-50 materials and costs 50$. So if you want to extend your material library, then you should definitely buy this product. You need Adobe Photoshop to start using Quixel Suite, but most of us already using it on a daily basis, so it’s not a big problem. Quixel Suite also has pretty good rendering engine(3DO), so you can make pretty good shots in it.

Ok, you got these two tools. How can you combine them? It’s easy.

Here’s my workflow:

1.) First of all, I’m using Quixel Suite for making main materials for models. Sometimes I need to bake material id map if I want to use different materials on the same model. There is a good plugin for Blender to make material id maps. Sometimes I’m using Substance Painter to draw different colors on different parts of models and then to export diffuse map, which will be used later as a material id map.

2.) When I finished my main materials in Quixel, I export them and import into Substance Painter.
I make a fill layer and use a base color, roughness and metallic maps on it. Then I’m adding additional maps, like normal and ambient occlusion in TextureSet settings. Don’t forget to set UV scale to 1 for fill layer and set correct normal map format in settings(it could be OpenGL instead of DirectX for example).

3.) Then I’m starting to add details to my model. In Substance Painter you can draw details with brushes by using height and normal channels for them. In my experience, you can do it much faster and easier than in Quixel Suite by using NDO. Don’t forget to set 4K resolution for your texture, if you want to draw details more precisely.

4.) When I’m finishing texturing process, I usually export the result in rendering software, like Marmoset Toolbag 2, or in-game engine, like Unreal Engine 4 to make final touches. I also use IRay renderer sometimes, which is built in into SP2. One of the big advantages of Substance Painter is that you can easily change export preset. In Quixel Suite I didn’t find an easy way to do it.

Extinguisher. Rendered in IRay.
Extinguisher. Rendered in IRay.

That’s one of the ways to work with these two products, using their best sides to achieve better results. Of course, you can invert this workflow and start making details in Substance Painter and then continue work in Quixel Suite. You can also use this tools separately, which you will do for the most time. But if something can help you make your job faster and better, then you definitely should try a new way of work. That’s all for now. Thank you for your attention.


Ruslan Nazirov

I am 26 years old developer. I had a solid experience in programming and used to be a java developer for four years. Now I’m working on my projects and games, based on Unreal Engine 4.