Exploring Digital CMF with Sampler at ArtCenter College of Design

Discover how student talent boosted their digital material creations thanks to Substance 3D Sampler

  • Design
  • Interview

In June 2022, The Substance 3D team set out to Pasadena, California to host a workshop at ArtCenter College of Design. This workshop introduced students from various design majors (transportation, product, environmental) to Substance 3D Sampler, thanks to which they explored digital material creation. Learn more about how they were able to digitally recreate and enhance captured materials within Sampler:

Interview of Valerie Ponce

My name is Valerie Ponce. I recently graduated from ArtCenter College of Design with a Bachelor of Science in Product Design, with a focus on CMF (Color, Material, Finish), and a minor in Social Innovations, in my pursuit of creating innovative improvement.

ArtCenter X Adobe workshop

During the ArtCenter X Adobe workshop, we were assigned the objective of crafting a story as we explored and blended the worlds of digital and physical materials. We were required to craft this story by using Adobe Substance 3D tools and assets. As a creative, this experience has made me realize that creativity is limited by the tools we use. In comparison to other programs we’ve used in the past, getting access to Adobe Substance 3D facilitated our mission to quickly translate a vision for a story into a 3D visual representation, and it also allowed more room for creativity to take place as it provided us with intuitive control to digitally craft detailed custom materials from physical reference pictures or from scratch.

Awakened Worlds

The project I worked on with my teammate Shannon Wibisono is called Awakened Worlds. The story is “One dreamer that ventures between worlds. Two realities, objective and subjective. Exist, wake up.” For our 3D representation of the story our concept was to generate two scenes from the perspective of the dreamer from within a tent. The first rendered scene takes place in the tranquil, familiar, and truthful “Objective Reality”, and mirroring that, the second scene takes place in the enigmatic, strange, and undefined “Subjective Reality”. Presenting both scenes side by side we are awakened to appreciate the ventures of the dreamer between two realities.

3D rendering made in Substance 3D Stager

Export from Painter to Stager

Turntable created in Stager

Discovering Sampler

One of the materials we created thanks to Sampler was an embroidery from a mix of wet paint. This embroidered material was designed for the “Subjective Reality” scene. The image we uploaded to Sampler was taken from a material exploration where we aimed to generate materials that represented qualities of being enigmatic, strange, and undefined.  

I could use Sampler as a tool to conceptualize and experiment with material options and to create digital material samples to clearly communicate the color material and finish of a product to a manufacturer.

To generate this material on Sampler, we first removed the background using Photoshop, then we uploaded the image to Sampler as an image to bitmap, and we applied the embroidery filter over the bitmap.  

We were able to adjust the embroidery scale in the basic parameters and modify the roughness, metallic, and height position properties before exporting the material to Painter.

Finally, in Painter, we were able to apply masks to the “Backpack Outdoor” FBX model we downloaded from Adobe Substance 3D assets, drag and drop our embroidered paint-mix material, and scale to fill the masked sections.

Future Projects

Aside from using Sampler to revamp previous 3D models in my portfolio and future projects, I see Sampler being used more in the middle of my workflow during the ideation phase in the future. As I continue to expand my physical and digital material collection, I could use Sampler as a tool to conceptualize and experiment with material options and to create digital material samples to clearly communicate the color material and finish of a product to a manufacturer.

Rendered in Stager and Digital CMF in Sampler

My post-graduation plans are driven by my desire to make things better by making better things. The plan is to seek out career opportunities where I can channel my skills and comprehensive individual and team experience in CMF, soft goods and wearables, footwear, and 3D modeling.

I aspire to work for companies or agencies that share similar values and missions and where I can allocate my strengths in adaptive curiosity, empathetic relations, and serious fun. On the side, as a hobby, I will continue to develop and experiment with bioplastic material to grow a unique material collection that I could one day digitalize and apply to product concepts using Adobe Substance 3D tools.

Thanks to Valerie, the students and ArtCenter staff who participated in this workshop!

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