Bitmap painting tools


This page describes the painting tools available in the 2D View panel for compatible bitmaps.

Overview

The 2D View panel offers basic bitmap painting tools which let you create or edit images manually directly within Substance Designer. These tools are particularly useful, for instance, for quickly painting masks.

The tools support pen input, including pen pressure. To take advantage of pen displays, you may undock the 2D view panel, then place and resize it into any configuration which is more comfortable for painting.

Edits can be undone individually, and all the other features of the 2D View panel are still available to you while you edit the image, such as Histogram panel, Tiled display, and Background image.

You can paint only on 8-bit bitmap resources which are new or imported.

Windows only

Tablet users should apply the settings described in the following page for the most reliable experience in Substance Designer: Configuring Pens and Tablets



Enabling the painting tools

The painting tools will be enabled automatically in the 2D view panel when the following criteria regarding a bitmap are met:

  • The bitmap is a new or imported resource
  • The bitmap has 8-bit precision
  • The bitmap is displayed in the 2D view panel

New bitmaps can be created the following ways:

  • In the Explorer panel, click RMB on an SBS package or a folder within a package to open their contextual menu, then open the New submenu and select the Bitmap option
  • In a graph, create a Bitmap node and select the From new resource... option in the contextual menu

The New bitmap window will open, letting you set the name, resolution and background color of the new bitmap resource.

New bitmap resources always have RGBA colors and 8-bit precision.

For the best performance with the painting tools, we recommend using bitmaps with resolutions which are powers of two – e.g. 128, 256, 512, 1024, ...



Toolbars

The painting tools and options are arranged in toolbars within the 2D view panel. These toolbars can be relocated to any side of the panel or as a floating toolbar, by clicking and holding LMB on their handle – displayed as a triple line – then releasing LMB at the desired location.

Two toolbars are displayed when the painting tools are enabled: the Tool selection toolbar and the Tool options toolbar, which are described below.

Tool selection toolbar

The painting tools can be found in the Tool selection toolbar, which is placed on the left side of the 2D view panel by default. Keyboard shortcuts let you access these tools quickly, and are marked below between parentheses after the tool/function name:

  • The  Color selection thumbnails let you define a primary and secondary color. Click on any of these thumbnails to display the Color editor window and define a color. Tools will use the primary color. The primary and secondary colors can be swapped (X) at any time
  • The  Brush tool (B) applies the primary color at the cursor location, when the pen tip or LMB button is pressed, using the options defined in the Tool options toolbar
  • The  Stamp tool (T) lets you stamp a part of the image onto another. You can define the source which should be stamped by holding the Alt key and clicking LMB. This area of the image will then be stamped onto the target area of the image at the cursor location, when the pen tip or LMB button is pressed, using the options defined in the Tool options toolbar. Please note the source will track the movements of the target, and that the size of the source area will match the size of the brush
  • This tool has the additional  Enable alignment option which lets you define whether the source should stay in place when a new stamp begins, or if it should relocate relatively to the new stamp location
  • The  Eraser (E) tool replaces the current color of the image with the (0, 0, 0, 0) value at the cursor location, when the pen tip or LMB button is pressed, using the options defined in the Tool options toolbar. Make sure the Transparency display is enabled to keep track of the impact of this tool on the Alpha channel.

Tool options toolbar

The options for the tools available in the Tool selection toolbar can be found in the Tool options toolbar, which is placed on the top side of the 2D view panel by default.

Brush selection

The  Brush selection lets you select a preconfigured brush from the available brush presets, set its Size and Hardness (see Shape section of Brush editor), and displays a preview of a brush stroke.

Brush presets can be created and edited in the Brush editor and arranged in libraries. The brush presets which will appear in this panel is the sum of all loaded brush presets libraries. These librairies can be managed by accessing the  Brush library menu (see Presets section of Brush editor)

The  Select background color button lets you change the background color of the brush stroke preview.



Brush editor

The  Brush editor gives access to granular options to define the behaviour of the brush:

Presets

Brushes can be customized then saved as a Brush preset, which will then be available in the  Brush presets list and the  Brush selection panel.

To create a preset, set the properties below to your liking, then click the  Add brush preset button and set a brush name in the Preset name window. The new preset is now automatically selected in the Brush presets list, and at any time you may  update it with the new current settings, or  delete it.

Presets are organised and saved in libraries, which can be managed in the  Brush library menu:

  • Export library: save the current presets and all their settings to a library file
  • Import library: load presets from an existing library file, and add them to the current list – presets with the same name are replaced by the ones from the library file
  • Reset library: resets the current presets by the default library
  • Replace library: load presets from an existing library file, and dismiss the current list

Shape

  • The Shape type parameter controls the basic shape of the brush. Available shapes are:
    • Ellipse: a round shape set as a circle by default
    • Rectangle: a straight shape set as a square by default
    • Polygon: a straight shape which has a customisable number of edges and angles
  • Edges count (Polygon shape only): lets you choose the number of faces of the polygon
  • Inner radius (Polygon shape only): provides control over the distance between a face midpoint and the shape center, effectively creating a star pattern
  • Hardness: defines fade radius of the shape

Transform

When applying a brush stroke to the image, the stroke is effectively a repeated stamping of the brush pattern, following the behaviour defined by the controls in this section.

  • Size: sets the diameter of the brush shape in pixels
  • Size jitter: lets you randomize the brush size per stamp, is expressed as a percentage of the Size value and controls the range of random values from 0 to the Size value
  • Size control: if you use a pen input with support for pen pressure, you can use this parameter to let it control the brush size
  • Spacing: controls the spacing between each individual stamp along a brush stroke. This helps separate and define the shape patterns more clearly
  • Roundness: by default, the Shape type selected in the Shape section has a width-to-height ratio of 1:1. This parameter lets you change this ratio by lowering the width as a percentage of the height
  • Roundness jitter: lets you randomize the roudness per stamp, is expressed as a percentage of the Roundness value and controls the range of random values from 0 to the Roudness value
  • Angle: controls the rotation of the brush pattern in degrees
  • Angle jitter: lets you randomize the rotation per stamp, is expressed as a percentage of the Angle value and controls the range of random values from 0 to 360 degrees

Scattering

By default, the shape pattern is stamped strictly along the stroke. You may want to disrupt this by applying an offset to the shape pattern so they can be scattered around the stroke for a more organic or chaotic effect.

  • Scatter: the maximum distance by which each individual stamp should be offset from the stroke, expressed as a percentage of the brush size. Note that this distance is randomized by default from 0 to the set percentage of the brush size, and that the direction of the offset is also random
  • Count: the number of scattered copies of individual stamp

Color

The color applied by the brush is defined by the selected primary color – and the Brush texture, if one is currently applied. This color can be changed dynamically using the controls in this section.

  • Flow jitter: lets you randomize the flow per stamp, is expressed as a percentage of the maximum flow
  • Flow control: if you use a pen input with support for pen pressure, you can use this parameter to let it control the flow
  • Hue jitter: lets you randomize the color hue offset per stamp, is expressed as a percentage of the entire hue span
  • Saturation jitter: lets you randomize the color saturation offset per stamp, is expressed as a percentage of the entire saturation span
  • Brightness jitter: lets you randomize the color brightness offset per stamp, is expressed as a percentage of the entire brightness span

Texture

You can apply a bitmap file to the brush, and use it to stamp that bitmap instead of a flat color. The brush texture behaves as follows:

  • Texture file: defines the path of the bitmap which should be used as a brush texture. You can select the bitmap through your system file browser by using the  button next to the input field
  • The texture only replaces the basic flat color of the brush, meaning that all the brush properties listed above can still be used and function as described
  • The texture's colors are hue-shifted towards the set primary color, meaning that if the set primary color is white, the texture colors can be used as-is. The more saturated the set primary color is, the more the texture colors whill be hue-shifted towards it



Opacity/Flow

The Brush, Stamp and Eraser tools offer controls for the Opacity and Flow:

  • Opacity controls the maximum opaqueness of the stamp. It is additive on separate strokes, meaning the opacity of an area can be added back to its maximum of 100% by performing multiple separate strokes in that area
  • Flow controls the amount of the tool's effect which is applied at any given time. It is additive on the same stroke, meaning the opacity of an area can be added back to its maximum of 100% by performing multiple passes of the same stroke in that area, or multiple separate strokes.



Tiling mode

The Brush, Stamp and Eraser tools also let you set their  Tiling modes, which define their ability to loop back around to the opposite side of the image when a stroke impacts an area outside of the image's bounds:

  • Tiling X and Y: brush strokes tile both horizontally and vertically
  • Tiling X: brush strokes tile horizontally only
  • Tiling Y: brush strokes tile vertically only
  • No tiling: brush strokes do not tile