Adobe has released Substance 3D Painter 8.3, the latest version of the 3D texture painting software.
The update introduces a new baking mode with better viewport visualisation of the model being baked, replacing the old baking window, and adds support for importing and exporting USD files.
New baking mode lets you bake textures directly from the Substance 3D Painter viewport
The main change in Substance Painter 8.3 is the new baking mode, which replaces the old baking window for baking geometry-based texture maps like normals, ambient occlusion and curvature from geometry.
The new system improves viewport visualisation of the process, with both the high-poly and the cage mesh shown in the viewport, and any part of the source mesh that falls outside the cage displayed in red.
Users can also start or cancel baking directly from the viewport, and can continue to interact with the model in the viewport during baking: for example, to identify issues with and cancel the bake early.
Other new usability improvements include automatic highlighting of hard edges on the model without corresponding UV seams – which can result in artefacts in the baked textures – in both the 2D and 3D views.
You can see an interesting feature comparison to texture baking in Marmoset Toolbag, one of Substance 3D Painter’s key competitors for this kind of work, in the comments to this YouTube video.
Import and export assets in USD format
The other major new feature in Substance 3D Painter 8.3 is support for Universal Scene Description (USD).
Users can now import models for texturing in USD format, including variants, skinning data, and at a particular frame in an animation; and can export the textured asset as either a USD layer or a new USD file.
Painter is the latest Substance 3D app to get USD support: new VR sculpting app Substance 3D Modeler supports the format natively, and USD support was added to Substance 3D Designer last year.
Updates to physical size, auto UV unwrapping and Sparse Virtual Textures
The physical scale system introduced in Substance 3D Painter 8.1 last year has also been extended, with UV-based texture projection now supported for Substance materials with physical sizes.
Other changes include the option to lock the orientation of UV islands during UV packing when using the auto-unwrap settings, and support for Sparse Virtual Textures on AMD as well as Nvidia GPUs.
Price and system requirements
Substance 3D Painter 8.3 is available for Windows 10, CentOS 7.0/Ubuntu 20.04+ Linux and macOS 11.0+. Perpetual licences are available via Steam and cost $149.99.
The software is also via Adobe’s Substance 3D subscriptions. Substance 3D Texturing subscriptions cost $19.99/month or $219.88/year; Substance 3D Collection subscriptions cost $49.99/month or $549.88/year.
Subscriptions to the Linux edition require a Creative Cloud Plan for Teams priced at $1,198.88/year.
Read a list of new features in Substance 3D Painter 8.3 in the online release notes
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