Project Settings

This page presents the  Projects settings  in Substance Designer, and the settings contained within.

Substance Designer allows you to create preferences per project, and share them across workstations. These preferences can be found in the Projects tab of the Preferences window.

This is very helpful if you want to set up a common working environment for a team working on the same project, by using the same Project File on all systems.

For more information about setting up and integrating Substance Designer in a production pipeline, we strongly recommend referring to the Pipeline and Project Configuration section of the documentation.


Configuration File

This allows you to set the path of the Configuration File of Substance Designer. A configuration file uses the *.sbscfg extension, and contains a list of project files along with a set Compatibility Display setting.

Default: default_configuration.sbscfg

You can use the --config-file <path> command line option to launch Substance Designer with a specific config file.
For more information about Configuration Files, you can refer to the Configuration List - SBSCFG page of the documentation.

Project Files

A project file contains a number of settings which define key aspects of the working environment in Substance Designer, arranged into tabs. These settings are listed in the Project chapter of this page. Project files use the *.sbsprj extension.

You can import multiple project files to be used for your working environment in Substance Designer.
When multiple project files exist, settings which are lists (e.g. library watched paths, aliases, etc.) are combined, and settings which are unique set values are defined by the last project file of the list.

Default: default_project.sbsprj (read only), user_project.sbsprj

For more information about using Project Files in a production pipeline, you can refer to the Project Configuration Files - SBSPRJ page of the documentation.

Compatibility Display

Some of the nodes created with a recent version of Substance Designer are not compatible with older versions of the Substance Engine.
Compatibility Mode will highlight the nodes which are not compatible with the selected Substance Engine, with a yellow outline.

Default: Substance Engine v7


3D View

Default Shader

This setting lets you select the shader which should be used by default when starting a new 3D View.

Default: physically_metallic_roughness.glslfx

Default Environment Map

This setting lets you select the texture which should be applied by default to the Environment when starting a new 3D View.

Default: panorama_map.hdr

Default State File

The 3D View Scene State file includes a number of settings for the 3D View, such as camera position, environment exposure and mesh. It is used to store the state of the 3D View so you can quickly load a scene which is tailored to your needs. Scene State files use the *.sbsscn extension.

This setting lets you select the 3D View Scene State file which should be used when starting a new 3D View.

Default: Empty (in this case, a preset scene state is used)

Default Lighting State

This setting lets you select which of the predefined available lights should be enabled when starting a new 3D View, if no file is set in the Default State File field.

Default: Ambient Light only


Aliases are used to shorten system paths and allow teams to share assets more efficiently. Aliases are used throughout the software as well as in SBS files

This settings allows you to add and edit aliases. When an alias is applied, it replaces the mapped path using the following syntax: <alias>://.

Example: if a resource myResource in the folder myFolder is placed at the location C:/Users/user/Documents, then mapping this location to myalias will result in the myalias://myFolder/myResource path being used in the application and the SBS package the resource belongs to.

Default: sbs; sd-3dview-shapes; sd-3dview-maps; sd-3dview-shaders (Default project)

Aliases are global to the application. This means they will be applied to all paths used in the application, as well as all paths in loaded SBSPRJ Project Settings files. Keep that in mind when setting up your project environment!
Also, we recommend not nesting aliases – i.e. aliasing a path which is also included in another alias.


Default Resource Name

This setting lets you set a default naming template which will be used for the output image files. The aliases available in the baking window can also be used here (i.e. $(mesh)$(bakername)$(udim)$(custom)).

Default: $(mesh)_$(bakername)

Default Preset

When opening the the baking window, you can have it already configured with specific bakers and settings by using this option to point to a presets JSON file. This file can be exported from the baking window once it has been set up according to your needs.

Default: None

Resource Name Macros

Instead of the $(bakername) alias, you can use your own character strings for each baker
When the  $(custom) alias is used in the output image name for any baker, it will be replaced by the character string matching that baker in the list. If a cell of the list corresponding to a baker is left blank, the $(custom) alias will not be replaced for this baker.

Example: The 'c-mesh' value assigned to the 'Curvature Map From Mesh' baker will automatically rename t_mymesh_$(custom) into t_mymesh_c-mesh for the output of the Curvature From Mesh baker only.

Default: None

SubMeshes Name Filter

When using the Match By Name option in the bakers, the parts of the low and high definition versions of a mesh are matched if the name of those parts before the defined suffixes is identical. This setting lets you set your own suffixes to suit your specific workflow.
Matching parts of meshes can make rays ignore undesired geometry in baking operations.

Example: the body-torso_low  object in the body.fbx mesh would be matched to the body-torso_high object in body_high.fbx, if these objects exist in these meshes.

Default: _low (Low Poly Mesh) / _high (High Poly Mesh)

Similarly, backfaces can be selectively ignored for the parts of a mesh which name include the defined suffix, for specific bakers which include the Ignore Backface option.

Default: _ignorebf

The Ignore Backface and Low/High Poly Mesh suffixes can be combined in any order (e.g. body-torso_low_ignorebf)

Color Management

Please refer to the Color Management page.

Changes to these settings will take effect after restarting Substance Designer.


Substance Templates

When creating a new graph, you are prompted to start working off of a template which can have a number of settings and content pre-configured, such as outputs (e.g. PBR (Metallic/Roughness)).

This setting lets you point Substance Designer to directories where you can store your own SBS files to use as templates. Your custom templates will then be added to the list when creating a new graph.

Default: None

We recommend using the current templates as a reference for configuring and formatting your template SBS files.
The templates can be found in the resources > templates folder in the Substance Designer installation directory.
3D Scenes

By default, Substance Designer uses the MikkT tangent space in the 3D View. MikkT is widely used and is the default in programs such as Unity, Unreal Engine 4, Blender and xNormal.

You can use your own tangent space for the 3D View, which you provide to Substance Designer in the form of a DLL file input in this setting.
The label is auto-detected from the DLL file, and you can edit the description for the plugin.

Default: mikktspace.dll

Always recompute tangent frames.

Default: Unchecked

Normal and Tangent Smoothing Angle.

Default: 180.0°


Normal maps can be processed using either the DirectX or OpenGL format. This setting sets the default value for this format in several places across the software, such as bakers settings and the Normal filter node parameters.

Default: DirectX

Regarding the Normal filter node, you can set the default value for the Alpha Channel Content parameter. You can either choose to force the alpha to 1 in all cases, or fill it with information from its input.

Default: Force Alpha to 1

Image Formats

This lets you specify the default format settings for exported images.

Default: Default (BMP) / Piz-based wavelet, unchecked, unchecked (EXR) / Unchecked, unchecked, 75 (JPG) / Best Speed, unchecked (PNG) / Default (TGA) / LZW (TIF) / Unchecked, 75 (WEBP)

Dependencies Paths

SBS packages generally have dependencies, i.e. reliance on external resources such as other SBS packages, bitmaps or vector files. These dependencies, which are listed in the Dependency Manager, are stored and referenced in the SBS package with a path which points to these resources.

For dependencies which include the same path as the SBS package (i.e. they are located in the same locations or sub-folder(s) from that location), the reference path is written relative to the SBS package location.

Example: for a SBS package myproject/, an image myproject/myfolder/myimage.png will be referenced to the myfolder/myimage.png path in

For dependencies which do not include the same path as the SBS package (i.e. they are located in a different location altogether from the SBS package), you can choose how the path is written.

If it is set to relative paths, the resource will be referenced in the same way as described above.

Example: for a SBS package myparentfolder/ myproject/, an image myparentfolder/myotherfolder/myimage.png will be referenced to the  ../myotherfolder/myimage.png path in

If it is set to absolute paths, the resource will be referenced by its full system path (i.e. its filename).

Example: for a SBS package myparentfolder/mymyproject/, an image myparentfolder/myotherfolder/myimage.png will be referenced to this same full path in

Default: ...relative paths.

In all cases, moving the resources will break dependencies , which will result in Ghost Instance nodes in graphs.
To consolidate all dependencies in a single project folder along with the SBS package, you can use the Export with dependencies... features in the Explorer panel. This effectively creates an autonomous project folder which can be moved freely.


This section lets you curate the custom content of the Library.

The content of all folders listed in the Paths added list will be included in the Library. Any change to the content are reflected in the Library, following a refresh period which can be set in the Library tab of the Preferences window.

In the columns of the list, you can find options giving you more granular control over the way the content of these folders are added to the Library:

  • Enabled; the content of the folder is shown in the Library (Default: Checked)
  • Recursive: the content of all children folders is also shown in the Library (Default: Checked)
  • Exclude pattern: the content which file extension include the input text string is not shown in the Library. Multiple strings should be separated by semi-colons (e.g. jpg;png;tif;fbx). (Default: None)

If SBS packages are added to the Library, the graphs and resources it contains can be shown in the Library as separate entries, if their Visible In Library parameter is set to 'Yes'.
Options are available to define if this parameter should be set to 'Yes' by default when creating/adding a new graph or resource in a package.

Default: Checked

If a Photoshop document (*.PSD file) included in the Library has multiple layers, an option lets you display the content of each layer as a separate image entry in the Library.

Default: Checked

While your custom resources will be added to the Library, it might not be visible because of the filtering rules set for the existing Library categories. We recommend creating your own filters organised in folders, to ensure your content can be reliably found while working on your projects.
See the Customizing the Library section of the documentation for more information.


If you want to add your own MDL modules to the mdl section of the Library, you can add folders which include the modules in this list.
Note that if modules are stored in subfolders, they will added as well and the folder hierarchy will be mirrored in the Library.

Example: If the folder mymdlfolder is added to this list, two MDL modules mymdlfolder/mymodule.mdl and mymdlfolder/mysubfolder/myothermodule.mdl would be added in the Library as the mdl/mymodule and mdl/mysubfolder/myothermodule entries.

Default: None


Substance Designer will automatically load all plugins located in the folders you add to the Url list.

Default: None

Changes to these settings will take effect after restarting Substance Designer.
Plugin packages still need to be installed manually using the Plugin Manager.


This section lets you set up and control scripts to be executed when specific events happen in Substance Designer. It is particularly useful when used in conjunction with the Perforce integration which can be configured in the Version Control tab of the Project Settings.


Substance Designer has pre-configured callbacks triggers, which will execute the script you provide using the interpreter set up in the Interpreters list described below.

The included callbacks are the following:

  • onBeforeFileLoaded – executes the script before a SBS package is loaded
  • onAfterFileLoaded – executes the script after a SBS package is loaded
  • onBeforeFileSaved – executes the script before a SBS package is saved
  • onAfterFileSaved – executes the script after a SBS package is saved
  • getGraphExportOptions – executes the script when the Export Outputs options are called

Python script is included in the installation files, with the functions triggered by each callback already set up and ready to use. You can use it as a starting point and add functionality according to your needs. This script is, located in the tools > scripting folder of the installation files.

Default: None

Initially, selecting a script for any of the callbacks will input that script in all callbacks for convenience. You can freely set up different scripts for specific callbacks after that point.

In this list, you can provide specific interpreters Substance Designer should use to execute the scripts set up in the Actions list described above. Interpreters are identified using a custom alias you can edit in the text field of each entry of the list.

Python 3.6 interpreter is bundled with the installation files of Substance Designer. You can find it in the plugins > pythonsdk folder of the installation files.

Default: None

Version Control

Perforce is the only tool which is currently supported for version control.

Please refer to the Version Control page.

How should you use this?

You should set all preferences that are project-specific in a Project File (*.sbsprj) in Substance Designer. These preferences include:

All the paths are stored relative to the Project File (.spsprj). so you can have a library folder at the same location as your Project File in Perforce, with the following sub-folder tree :

  • maps/
  • meshes/
  • sbs/
  • sbsar/
  • psd/
  • 3Dview/
  • ...

On the same level as the Project File, you may also store a tangent space plugin or default shader.

The Configuration File (*.sbscfg) should be placed in the Perforce workspace alongside the Project File.

For more information about setting up and integrating Substance Designer in a production pipeline , we strongly recommend referring to the Pipeline and Project Configuration section of the documentation.