Character Face Texturing in Substance Painter

In Character Face Texturing in Substance Painter, you’ll learn how to texture a character face from scratch in Substance Painter! Learn the full workflow from the first brush stroke to the final tweaks of the skin shader. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to texture your own characters, using simple and powerful techniques.

We’ll be focusing exclusively on the face since it’s commonly the most complicated and important part. It’ll allow us to talk about topics such as facial contouring, makeup, micro detailing, character personality, and how to solve common texturing challenges you’ll encounter in your work. If you can texture the face, you can texture anything!

About your Instructor

Your instructor, Henning Sanden, has been doing 3D for 15 years. During his film experience, he’s worked on movies such as Alien Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean, Venom, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Batman V Superman – and many more! The techniques shown in this series are based on his career in film, having worked as a texture artist for years.

Covering the Full Texturing Process

We’re starting by exporting our model out of ZBrush and importing it into Substance Painter, covering all specific steps and settings. From there we’ll give the character skin details using tileable maps in combination with the new Warp Projection feature. Along the way, you’ll learn powerful techniques using Smart Masks to significantly speed up texturing. Once our skin details are done, we’re starting on the color map using fill layers, creating the color map one layer at a time. You’ll also understand how to create simple and powerful roughness maps to make your characters pop.

Skin Shading Made Simple

Having done the first pass on all the base maps, we’re bringing the textures into Arnold, where we’ll set up the skin shader. Skin shading can be an incredibly complicated process, so we’ll be sure to make it simple and easy to understand. With a first pass of the skin shading done, this is the step where the character is coming together. We’re also using the FlippedNormals Eye kit, to make the character feel truly alive.

Professional and Tested Texturing Workflow

You’ll learn a holistic way of texturing, covering both texturing in Painter as well as skin shading in Arnold. This is a fast and industry-proven way of working, giving you a solid framework for all your future characters.

Skill Level

Texturing a Character in Substance Painter is perfect for 3D artists with an intermediate understanding of Substance Painter and Maya and who are interested in taking their character texturing to the next level! We recommend that you know how to use both Substance Painter and Maya, as we’re focusing on texturing and shading workflows, instead of going through features A-Z. If you’re interested in learning Substance Painter or Maya, we highly recommend our Intro Courses:

What You’ll Learn

  • Exporting models from ZBrush and importing them into Substance Painter
  • Setting up Smart Masks for an efficient workflow
  • Using Warp Projection in Substance Painter for quickly adding pores
  • Using custom alphas to add skin details
  • Building a color map step by step
  • Making a roughness map
  • Making a SSS amount map
  • Exporting maps from Substance Painter
  • Exporting displacement maps from ZBrush
  • Skin shading in Arnold
  • How to use a tested and simple texturing workflow


When doing realistic texturing and character work, particularly skin, you will need to rely on external resources to achieve a satisfying result. We will be providing low-res versions of the external resources used in this tutorial so you can follow along without having to purchase any additional products. Below you’ll find links to the resources in case you wish to buy the full version.


  • Substance Painter 7.4
  • Maya 2022


01 – Workflow Explained
02 – Modeling is Texturing
03 – Mesh Prep
04 – Smart Masks
05 – Pores Projection
06 – Pores Tileable
07 – Horn Displacement
08 – Pore Fixes
09 – Displacement Balances
10 – Color Base
11 – Horns Base
12 –  Roughness Base
13 – Color Breakup
14 – Bone Base
15 – Maya Scene Setup
16 – Skin Shading
17 – SSS Amount Map
18 – Map Updates
19 – Eye Kit


Average rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars
1 review
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star
  • Awesome tutorial

    coming from video game, i wanted to check how was texturing and rendering for skin character, can’t be better. clear and sharp information. great content, i did it in a day, and i will apply to another character directly.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

    Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • You must log in and be a buyer of this product to submit a review.

    Comments are closed.