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Feedback Can I Make Texture Generation Faster And Easier?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by njbrown, May 24, 2019.

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Is this something you would use?

  1. Yes

    1 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. njbrown

    njbrown

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
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    Hi. I have a side project geared towards making materials. It's in some ways similar to Substance Designer. My aim is to make generating PBR materials very simple and very easy.

    The Problem:
    As a programmer, I find it difficult and very time consuming to build materials or anything art related; I'd either have to find premade ones i'm probably not satisfied with or learn how to make them myself. I want to be able to generate full PBR materials that i want in seconds.

    The Solution:
    Make tools that allow me to build materials by matching surfaces to patterns.
    Here's a sample of one such tool (https://texturelab.io/tools/brick-builder):
    upload_2019-5-23_22-41-16.png

    And if you want to further refine the texture then you can save it and edit its nodegraph (still under heavy development and requires you to create an account)
    (https://texturelab.io/texture/wjzo68mnmq/source):


    If you're interested in seeing what I've made with the tools so far, there's a gallery. Some were build with the brick builder and others from scratch using the nodegraph. All of the materials there can be downloaded and imported directly into unity (https://texturelab.io/browse).


    Here's what i want to know:
    Is this a problem worth solving?
    If so, is this a good approach or are there better ways?
    Would you pay for something like this?

    I'd love to hear your feedback.

    (The website currently works best using chrome)
     

    Attached Files:

    Ony and xVergilx like this.
  2. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    Looks very cool, I've done some texture generation myself using compute shaders etc. Frankly though in my opinion there's no benefit to creating textures inside Unity - except I suppose for procedural generation, but that narrows down your customer base.

    I also have never been good at creating textures myself in photoshop, but Substance tools are very easy for me to use. I'd say that's who you'd be competing with, and they're kind of the industry standard.
     
    angrypenguin likes this.
  3. njbrown

    njbrown

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    It's for creating textures in general; it's not tied to unity. You may be right. Substance is already the industry standard. Might be a bad idea going against them directly.
     
  4. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    On the flip side many people are upset that they're now owned by Adobe. A solid alternative might have a good chance.
     
    Ony likes this.
  5. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Who is the audience?

    As an artist, I see no reason to foregone multi-million dollar industry standard software for something built by a single person. What's the benefit?

    A "substance designer" ultra-lite may be worthwhile for a small number of people who don't have inclination to learn the more robust software but need some procedural materials, but they could more easily just buy materials. Substance programs are super easy to learn anyways and very economical for what you get.

    Something I would appreciate is some basic photo editing tools inside the editor. Check out unreal. You can do a lot of your standard image editing things inside the editor which means you don't got to pop back and forth between photoshop or substance to do your final tweaks. I can't do that in Unity, which is a big PITA.

    Some tools to automatically disable sRGB mode if texture files have metallic/smoothness in the name could be nice. Just all those little clicks you got to remember when doing a high volume of work -- any of that stuff that can get automated is nice.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  6. njbrown

    njbrown

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    I'm gonna have to agree with this. Substance is too big to compete against. I'm just gonna open source my project and move on to something else then.
     
  7. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Photoshop is massively more successful than Substance. Yet there are multiple successful competitors for it like Affinity Photo and Paintshop Pro. An affordable license is far more valuable to some people than being able to run an industry standard application.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
    Ony, angrypenguin and Billy4184 like this.
  8. njbrown

    njbrown

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    heh i like your optimism, Ryiah, and you do have a valid point. It's hard to move on from a project I've sunk so much time, effort and research into but it's also hard to continue working on something that people also might not want.

    My plan is to convert what i have now into an electron app and open source it. If I can create a community/following along the way then I could monetize it with online services or extra features. Until that happens, i wont make it my primary focus anymore.
     
  9. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    well, i mean if you've done the work you can at least try to sell it before open sourcing it, right?

    My opinion is only one opinion.
     
    angrypenguin likes this.
  10. njbrown

    njbrown

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    I had always planned on making access the nodegraph editor itself free so open sourcing it is inconsequential to the business model I had in mind. Access to the tools that generated the textures is what i would have charged for (e.g. the brick builder).
     
  11. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    Not to mention an easier and more focused workflow. I think an application built inside of Unity would already be very competitive for Unity users.
     
  12. njbrown

    njbrown

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    I'd need to know what would speed up the workflow for a texture artist and what problems are they having with substance (or whatever tool they're using) right now. Where would be a good place to ask these questions?
     
  13. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    Probably here actually :) but one thing you'll find is that a lot of the time people don't know what it is that they wish for until they get it.

    From my point of view, a tool that was more geared toward applying textures rather than creating them sounds more useful. In the 3D view, being able to select areas of color or material, change them, save the textures, paint models etc sounds very useful for if I import a model from the store that I want to modify. Adding the ability to create procedural textures would be a good addition to that.
     
  14. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Yeah I mean I don't think artist would be the ideal audience, but rather non-artist who need to some simple to use art tools because they can't afford proper artist.

    So the question then would be, what are the bare bones features I can extra from standard apps like Designer and translate into a braindead-level of simplicity and convenience for non-artist. Also non-artist love things that auto-generate lots of options. Like something that auto-generates a color pallette based on a single selection, auto-apply a range of grunges to a texture so user can see a list of textures they can choose the best option from.
     
  15. njbrown

    njbrown

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    This is true, but time-consuming and riskier than getting actual feedback from actual artists.

    Yea it's the non-artists that would really be the target audience. The Brick Builder is an example of what I'd sell to them. The nodegraph is just there if you want to further refine the material or if you want to build one from scratch.

    Brick Builder - https://texturelab.io/tools/brick-builder
     
  16. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Substance Designer is the best, but some people might prefer something else with very simple interface with few buttons at a very low price.

    It will need more patterns, more noise generators, more alphas diversity, some essential nodes like "levels" , different blendings etc ... it's too limited about what is proposed.
    And have all that organized in appropriate subfolders instead of having them all in the same "library".

    Quick made textures downside is everyone games will have the same textures look, for hobby it's great, for more professionnal work it's not good.
    So the node graph will be the most important if you adress also non hobby users, for those i would not sell it until the nodegraph is working without major issues.


    There is room for other good enough textures generators, for people that want "easy to use" before complexity.
    I checked it and it's a really good start.
     
    Ryiah likes this.
  17. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    I'm a long term subscriber of the Substance pack, but I sincerely believe that people always need competition. So just do it! You will have some people who dislike Adobe and it's enough for them to ride another horse. And if you make something special, you will have the opportunity to win over other people as well (although you need to do something truly special) or you can make something very simple and quick and dirty, so people rather fire up your solution instead of the substance apps.

    So I cannot tell you if I would use your app until I haven't tried it (so I'll get back to you with that). Just do it and do your best and let us know! :)
     
    Ryiah likes this.
  18. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    Will it run in the Unity Editor? That could be one potential advantage over Substance Designer.
     
  19. njbrown

    njbrown

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    This is very true. I should spend a few more months making the editor better before introducing the other tools.

    I will :)

    Nah, I want it to be able to generate textures for other game engines and 3d modeling tools.
     
    zenGarden likes this.