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Substance Painter: Complete How to Create Glass Tutorial

Category: Substance Painter/Designer
July 01, 2022

Here is how to create glass in Substance Painter.

In addition, I'll show you how to add your own customized dirt to the glass and how to export textures so you can set up the glass material in Unreal Engine.

Video Tutorial

Initial Material Setup in 3D Software

Inside your 3d modeling package (in my case Maya), assign separate material to the faces of your geometry where you want the glass to appear.

Having a separate material assigned to the glass will do the following:

  • Allow you to drag a Material or Smart Material in Substance Painter right onto that geometry
  • Not worry about overlapping UVs if the object is combined
  • Makes it easier to create a glass Material in Unreal Engine; the object in UE5 will have separate Material slots (one for the object itself, the other for the glass surface)
  • Upon import into Substance Painter, you will have additional Texture Set Lists for different materials applied on the mesh

To assign additional material to objects in Maya:

  • Select the faces where you want the glass to appear
  • Right-Click hold and Assign New Material
  • Regular Lambert will work

In Attribute Editor, you will see separate tabs for the Materials assigned onto your object. This translates to multiple Texture Set Lists in Substance Painter and multiple Material Slots in UE5:

Export as FBX by going to File > Export Selection, with the following settings:

Substance Painter Texture Set Lists

After creating a project and choosing the exported FBX mesh, you will have mulitple Texture Set Lists. These are the Materials assigned on the mesh in Maya. In my case I have two. One for the object itself (Lambert1) and the other for the Glass (Lambert11).

If you were to rename the Materials in Maya, upon import, the names would match. You can also rename in Substance Painter by double-clicking on the Texture Set List names.

Substance Painter Glass Surface

Go to Smart Materials and search for Glass. 3 Materials will be available:

Drag and Drop any of them to the glass surface. I recommend using either Glass Visor or Glass Film Dirty Mirror:

The glass is NOT transparent yet. There are 2 things you need to change. Go to Shader Settings and change from pbr-metal-rough to pbr-metal-rough-with-alpha-blending:

Go to Texture Set Settings and add Opacity Channel:

You will now have Opacity Control within one of the layers in Glass Material:

Adding Glass Dirt

If you want to add scratches or dirt to existing Smart Material and changing how the defaul looks.

  • Add a Fill Layer
  • Choose Base Color
  • Add Black Mask to the Fill Layer (if you don't add Black Mask then you won't be able to adjust the Color, Fill Layer will become the Mask)
  • Add Dirt Generator to the Black Mask and adjust Generator settings

You can continue to Add Fill Layers or additional Generators to the single Fill Layer.

Export Textures for UE5

To export textures to use for UE5 go to File > Export Textures.

Set the following settings:

When you export, multiple Texture Set Lists become additional textures that are exported. So you will have textures for the object and textures for the glass surface.

Next Tutorial: Substance Painter: Guide to Adding Text/Font and Alpha Design Logos


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About World of Level Design

My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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