Introduction to Substance Designer

In this series, we will break down these barriers to enable you to quickly get into using Substance Designer and understanding both nodes and physically-based rendering at a greater fundamental level.

Substance Designer is an incredibly powerful tool to develop realistic tileable materials and stunning unique textures, thanks to its node-based approach. However, with great power comes a potentially greater barrier to entry.

Procedural Freedom

The flexibility that proceduralism provides to the creation of textures is unparalleled. Familiarizing yourself with the structures of procedurality, as well as its conventions and shortcomings will enable you to be a strong artist across the board and give you the tools to develop flexible, long-lasting and battle-hardened art.


Understanding the use-cases for the images created within Substance Designer is critical to proper texture development. This series will flesh-out our knowledge of physically-based rendering and the specific texture maps that this system requires.

Material Workflow

To complement all of the theory, you will get hands-on experience developing a high quality material from scratch. Beyond simply understanding what nodes to put where, you will understand “why” we use each node and how it contributes to the higher, more abstract thinking that Texture/Material Artists exercise when working on their art.

Your Instructor

Charlie “Chunck” Trafagander is a Freelance Game Artist, Indie Dev, Tutorial-Maker and in general a curious mind. Having worked for a few Indie developers, he has been able to touch most roles in game development, which he also likes to breakdown in various formats on his YouTube channel “Get Learnt”.


  • 01 – What is Substance Designer
  • 02 – PBR
  • 03 – Navigation and Layout
  • 04 – Templates Packages Graphs
  • 05 – Atomic Nodes
  • 06 – Parameters and Exports
  • 07 – Height Map Shape Building
  • 08 – Height Map Tiling
  • 09 – Albedo Map
  • 10 – Normal Map
  • 11 – Roughness Map
  • 12 – Metallic AO Height Maps
  • 13 – Parameters and Exporting Material
  • 14 – Render Time

Skill Level

This course is a complete introduction to the Substance Designer workflow and theory, therefore is approachable by complete beginners to the software. It’s recommended you’re at least aware of some of the various PBR-related texture maps, however physically-based rendering and textures are covered in more depth in the series.

More Training

Introduction to Substance Painter
Learn how to use Substance Painter to level up all your textures.

Handpainting Skin Textures in Substance Painter
Learn professional techniques for handpainting skin inside of Substance Painter



Average rating: 4.50 out of 5 stars
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  • Great introduction to substance designer

    A really good tutorial for people who have never used substance designer like me. The main objective of this tutorial is not to create a tillable material but teach the fundamental of this programme and the general workflow.

    Some details are already outdated since the last update but it’s not a big issue.

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  • the definition of quality

    This tutorial is the definition of quality, Charlie “Chunck” Trafagander delivered a phenomenal short course which is in my opinion the best intro to SD in the internet (I have watched and purchased many tutorials before).

    SD is very complex piece of software but the instructor was able to simplifies it, What I like the most is the “up to the point” approach, he explained everything he did throughout the tutorial, The theory part was explained very well and the practice part was so much fun.

    as I mentioned before I tried to learn SD multiple times before and every time I rage quit but this is the first time I feel comfortable going through it.

    In short this course is a MUST take for everyone who want to start with SD.

    Here are my results:

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  • Terrific Primer for Materials

    This, along with FN’s Intro to Painter, are two of the best introductions to the Substance software and working with materials.

    It’s a balance of what to do and why you’re doing it–not just for technical reasons related to the software, but larger abstract reasons like shape design and levels of detail.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Very good course for newcomers!

    I learned a lot about Substance Designer as a beginner from this course! It does a good job of teaching the fundamentals of using this software. I now know the nodes that I’ll be using frequently in the workflow of Designer. I think the course does a good job of not only teaching you how to make materials, but why you do each step and how it contributes to the final material! I’m also proud of the material I learned how to make! Overall very solid course! I learned a lot!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

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