The Graph view

The Graph is arguably the most important view of Substance Designer : this is where you are going to build your Substance by connecting nodes together.

The canvas

The canvas is where you will add, organize and connect nodes together in order to create your substances.


Interact with the graph (pictures to add)

  • Panning:
    • hold middle mouse button and pan

  • Zooming:
    • use the mouse wheel
    • use Alt + RMB Drag

The Menu bar

The menu bar gives  you an easy access to some features that will affect the graph view.

Setup the Graph zoom level

The first two buttons of the Display Options bar () set the zoom level of the graph:

  • The left button will set the graph to fit the set the zoom to fit the selection (or the full graph if nothing is selected)
  • The right button will set the zoom level to the default 100% value

Nodes information Display

Allows the user to able or disable the information which is display around each node:

  • "Display connector name": if enabled, the name of the input(s) and output(s) will appear when you hover the node.
  • "Display Node size": if enabled, the size of the node (in pixels is displayed below the node)
  • "Display Timings": if enabled, displayed the time it took to process the last rendering of the node

Don't forget that the expressed timing is influenced by the power of your computer, and therefore can be different on another one.

That said, it is a great way to compare the process timing of each node to identify some potential performance "bottlenecks" in your graph.

Links Display and connect  mode

Substance Designer offers different ways to handle the links display and connection:

Standard Connection Mode

The standard mode is the most simple one : you create a link between and input and an output and that's it: the link is created !

Material Connection Mode

This mode has no influence on the way links are displayed, but it will affect the way the links are connecting.

Basically, if you intent to to create a link from a node that has multiple outputs, SD5 will analyse the destination node, and try to connect the other outputs to the most appropriate destination.

Compact Material Connection Mode

Like the previous mode, the compact material connection mode will intent to "smart-connect" the links.

 But beyond this, this mode will have a visual impact: each time there is multiple links between 2 nodes, these links will be merged in to one single green link.

As you can see the compact material is really useful to get a cleaner graph by displaying less links.

The Reset Button

Reset All

This option will reset the cache of Substance Designer and  therefore, the timing of the nodes as well as the thumbnails preview:

Reset Timings

Will reset the timing of each node:

Parent size

Introduced in substance Designer 6, the Parent Size parameter, let you specify the size of the parent while working in the graph.

This is extremely useful to visualize your graph at the desired resolution, without having to modify the parameters of the graph itself.

Tools menu


The clean button will remove all the nodes which don't have any impact on the final outputs computation:

Export/Reexport Outputs

Export Outputs... will open The related Export menu window.

For more information about the export Outputs menu, please go to this page.

Reexport Outputs will reexport all the outputs, based on the rules set in the Export Outputs menu

The Filter bar

You can show/hide the filter bar by clicking on the  icon

When you start to get a complex graph, the filter bar can be really useful to find a specific element, as it will highlight some elements according to their types and/or the parameters they use.

Filtering by type

(Set to All by default)

The filtering by type allows you to highlight the atomic node type you have chosen:

Filtering by parameters

(Set to All by default)

Filtering by parameters, will highlight the nodes that using a built-in or custom parameter:

The PSD Exporter

This button will open the PSD Exporter panel on the right of the graph

For more information about the PSD Exporter, go to this page.

The atomic nodes Toolbar

The atomic node bar is just another handful way to access the atomic nodes.

Using the 

Using the node Toolbar ?

There is different ways to add nodes from the toolbar:

  • you can simply drag'n'drop it:

You can click on the node and it will appear in the middle of the view:

When a node is already selected...

If a node is already selected, clicking a node in the toolbar will link it next to the selected node:

If you don't want the node to be connected, you can hold shift while clicking: