The User Interface

The User Interface

Substance Player has a simple user interface. When you load a Substance into Substance Player, the 2D View Pane displays its Diffuse output by default; the 3D View displays the Substance rendered onto a primitive 3D model with basic lighting and shading, while its Parameters appear in the Tweaks Pane, as shown below:


Tip: To resize any of the Panes, move the mouse pointer over the dividing line between them until the pointer changes into drag pointer. You can now drag the divider up or down, or side to side, as desired.

The Main Menu

The Main Menu offers the usual file-handling features, as well as application options, exporting features, window manipulation, and access to documentation and support.


Opens a Substance. Substance Player can open SBS, SBSAR and the older SBSBIN and SBSASM formats.

As SBS format files are just XML files, Player will also let you open files with a .XML extension.

Recently Opened

Lets you choose a Substance from a list of recently opened Substances.


Reloads the current Substance.


Set this to make Substance Player automatically reload a Substance if it detects a change has been made to it. This is handy if you are using Player to view a Substance currently under construction in Substance Designer or Substance Designer Lite.

More Substances

Takes you to Allegorithmic's online Substance shop.


Quits Substance Player.


The Main Toolbar

This offer quick access to commands also available in the Main Menu: Open, for opening a Substance in Player; Export as Bitmap, for exporting the current 2D View image to a bitmap; More Substances, which opens our Substance Store website, and Render Settings, which lets you select the Substance rendering engine you wish to use:


By default, this is set to "DirectX 9". The "SSE" engine is entirely CPU-based

The Status Bar

A Substance takes a finite amount of time to render. The simpler the Substance, the quicker it renders. The Status Bar displays rendering performance data, such as rendering time (in milliseconds), so you can gauge how well your Substance will perform.

Unlike Substance Designer, Substance Player uses the same real-time Substance rendering engine we license for use in other applications, such as 3ds max, Unity, Unreal Engine, and more. This brings Player's rendering performance as close as possible to that found in those applications. If you are targeting real-time software, knowing how long your Substances will take to render is a very useful metric.

The Timeline

This appears when a Substance makes use of the $time system variable in order to provide animation over time. You can use the timeline to simulate the passing of time and view the time-based animation(s).

The left end of the Timeline contains the usual playback controls. In addition, you can set the time or frame number directly.

At the right end of the Timeline, you will see the maximum frame number, a frame rate selector, and a padlock icon which changes the slider tracking: enabling it prevents Substance views updating until the mouse button has been released, which can improve performance.