Blog Posts

Substance Designer Workflows and Tips

This is a living document detailing all the cool workflow shortcuts and node observations I’ve found while working in Substance Designer. This post is sticky on my front page, so check back if there are more. Shoot me an email if you have a tip too.   Effects The Distance Node will only expand pixels whose values are 128 or above. Anything below will just be discarded. Gradient map too flat? Blend a White Noise Fast to the pattern, set to Add/Sub, and a litttle bit of strength. Disconnect the outputs for a speed boost if you just need to work […]

Substance Designer for Pixel Art

I love Allegorithmic’s tools. Substance Designer is a godsend. The focus of the tool is to create high-end procedural materials for realtime rendering, but I wondered if I could use it to create some old school-style art? This is just a prototype of the filtering method I’m using in the node graph. The brick generator node is fed into the tree and out comes pixel art coolness. All of this is generated inside Unity (or Unreal if you prefer) in realtime, so you can see the potential here. Surfaces are no problem, but what about items? I thought a little […]

Working in Substance Designer

  So this was fun. For those who have been working in Substance Designer, you’re well aware of the fact that anything can be done 1000 different ways. That’s a good thing in the long run, but a pain in the butt for those starting out. In this exercise, my goal was to just get a plain ol’ concrete. You’d think you might start out with a noise, adjust it, render a normal, then go back and start adding different effects. I’ve found that workflow can be painful and I believe it’s important to work modularly in Substance Designer. Initially I […]

Unity Blog: From Art Director to Asset Store Publisher

Unity was gracious in writing a wonderful blog post about my journey from AAA to self-employed. You can read it here:

Incredible Substances!

Joshua Lynch, and environment artist on PolyCount, has been posting the best looking Substances I’ve ever seen. Take a look: So very, very inspring. It’s incredible to see what’s possible with this toolset. Here is a sample: Remember, this is all procedural.    

On Competition in the Game Dev Space

Why are you competing? This is art, not a competition for survival. I often read how your design/art/code/game needs to be better than the other guys’ or you’ll just get put into obscurity and irrelevance. “Do your best, then do better than that! Look at all these other people who killed themselves making their game. They are the example. You’ll have to go bigger now.” Working in the industry for over a decade, I’ve heard from upper management saying something similar like, “We need to beat Call of Duty and Gears of War!” Directives such as this are ultimately stupid […]

I Quit!

Buh Bye After almost 13 years of being part of Ubisoft’s biggest games, I’ve decided to resign. I will be working for my company, Quantum Theory, full time starting 4/10/2015. In recent years, the game industry has a made a dramatic shift in accessibility for ambitious developers. The cost of development has hit the floor. Publishing a game has gone from tens of thousands to almost free. Advertising costs to get your game in front of millions are almost non-existant. Games that are profitable and enjoyed around the world are now commonly made by small groups, sometimes even an army […]

Why? Because Zombies.

Being an asset publisher has its perks, one of which is seeing your content used in the wild. “Because Zombies” is a cool take on Tower Defense games. There’s a zombie attack occuring in the city and it’s your job to head it off (pun intended). Search for your daughter , utilizing attack dogs, explosive barrels, and a whole array of other zombie-killin’ tools. You progress through the environments placing the defenses the way you like all while watching the zombies march to their doom.T The developer, “DoubleSmoked Software,” utilized my Urban Construction Pack to create many of the levels […]


PolyWorld, for those who don’t know, is a suite of tools and 3D artwork to create a flat-shaded, faceted world right inside of the Unity engine. You can find out more about it at the main PolyWorld site. It’s a pretty powerful kit that produces some cool results. The release of Polyworld: Ancient East marks the second release in the series, the success of which will determine if the intellectual property needs to grow further. The whole idea came about after seeing many screenshots of indie games that had this simply-colored-yet-3d-look to them. Games like Monument Valley, Grow Home, Paper Fox, or […]