This page provides an overview of the interface, listing each window and its purpose. You'll find a summary and a link to a page that explains each window in more detail.

Scale of the interface

Designer acquires the specific scale of user interface elements from the OS. Therefore any adjustments to the scaling of the user interface should be done in the display settings of the OS.
To ensure display settings are applied correctly in Designer, sign out of your OS user session and sign back in after changing these settings.

Main Toolbar

The main toolbar lets you access extra menu's, like the Preferences window and has a few buttons to quickly create a new Substance compositing graph and package.

  • File Menu
    This menu lets you create new Packages and resources, as well as save and close packages you are currently working on. Functions from this menu are also available as quick buttons on this toolbar.
  • Edit Menu
    Provides Undo and Redo functions (available as quick buttons below), as well as access to Preferences, for in-depth customization.
  • Tools Menu
    Controls Substance Engine and lets you access the Plugin Manager.
  • Windows Menu
    Lets you hide or show any of the windows (some are hidden by default), and lets you reset the window layout back to default.
  • Help Menu
    Provides access to extra information and online resources, such as Substance Academy or this documentation website.


The Explorer window is the main way of interacting with any kind of file and resource. It gives more options than the File menu in the Main toolbar This is where start and end every working session.

Graph View

The Graph Window is the most important window in Substance 3D Designer. It displays the nodal networks of any kind of graph that is available in Designer (Substance compositing graphs, Substance model graphsFunction graphs, MDL graphs, FX-Map graphs) and lets you build and edit them.


The Properties window is the most technical window. It is always context-sensitive and will present sliders, dropdowns and other elements that change the behavior of a selected resource or Node.

2D View

The 2D View is the simplest previewing tool. It works together closely with the Graph: double-clicking on any Node in the Graph View will display into the 2D View the visual result.

3D View

The 3D View is the most interactive and most advanced preview window. Unlike the 2D View, it uses a number of different output maps to render a full material. This means you see all channels represented, such as Basecolor, Normal and Roughness.


In the Library window is listed to all the default content. To better understand the difference between Atomic Nodes and the Instance Nodes in the library, make sure to read the Nodes Overview.