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Fundamentals of Substance for Environment Art

Fundamentals of Substance for Environment Art

A 6-week course using the Substance Suite to create pattern based, hard-surface, and organic materials. Students will learn how to create an asset in a texturing pipeline.
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Substance for Environment Art

In Fundamentals of Substance for Environment Art, students will build their knowledge using the Substance suite. Students will work on the tools they needed to create excellent 3D artwork. Students will start by creating simple geometric patterns and become familiar with the UI of both Substance Painter and Substance Designer. We will learn how to bake from high to low poly to aid us in the texturing process across the course.

In the later weeks, we will delve deeper into Substance Designer learning the process of creating both pattern based and organic materials. We will tackle all aspects of material creation, first by breaking down the height map and normal before learning color and roughness textures. We will learn how to create an asset texturing pipeline in Designer before moving into prop texturing using Substance Painter, both using provided game ready assets. *Note: This is a precursor to the Advanced Substance for Environment Art course.

Registration Now Open
Registration Period
Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
Course Start
Jul 11, 2024

Course Format


Skills Level



6 weeks


Once a week


Individual recordings

Lecture Type

Due each week. Expect to spend 10-20 hrs/wk viewing lectures, Q&A, and assignments
Basic knowledge of a 3D modeling software such as Maya, 3DS Max, Blender etc.
Materials: Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Marmoset, Maya (3DS Max or Blender ok)

The more you know, the better.

Course overview and weekly breakdown | PBR Guide
In week one, students will learn how the basic UI of Substance Designer and Painter work, and how to arrange viewports to work efficiently across multiple assets. Students will also learn how to set up models for baking and cover how some of the basic tools work across the two programs. The homework assignment will focus on creating simple base patterns just focusing on black and white to get to grips with all the designer nodes.
In week two, students will pick a tiling material to create from reference. In part one, we will start with techniques for gathering and sourcing reference, how to break down the reference and how to approach the height and normal map creation. Students will also learn how to set up the viewport to view the materials in a clear and concise manor. The homework assignment will be to recreate your own version from scratch
In week three, students will cover how to create the remainder of the textures from week two. Taking the existing height and normal map created, we will generate the roughness, metallic, and Albedo textures. The homework assignment will be to finalise your material.
In week four, using provided game ready assets student’s will start by creating scalable base materials. We will create master graphs and learn how to texture our assets using mesh maps. We will learn how to layer up different materials to create effects such as edge wear and dirt on the model. We will also start with an introduction to marmoset and how to utilize it to provide good renders in the final session. The homework assignment will be to texture the provided assets in your own style.
In week five, students will import their models and mesh maps to texture the asset using Substance Painter. We will create a reference board for our prop. We will learn how to build successful smart materials and use systems such as anchor points. We will cover how to assign materials to different areas of the model using material IDs and masking. Students will also learn how to set up groups and layers of materials, and how to blend them together using masks. Finally, we will add hand painted details and refine our final asset. The homework assignment will be to texture the prop in your own style.
In week 6, the focus is rendering. You will start by combining the tiling materials and assets you have created in Substance Designer and Painter to create a small scene. You will learn the basics of lighting exploring three-point lighting setups, as well as further tweaks to any prior work. As well as a final scene we will also create successful material renders with the aim to have an excellent body of work for the end of the course. The homework will be to create compelling final renders.

Igniting your imagination

Senior Environment Artist
Course Start: Jul 11, 2024
Ben is currently working as a Senior Environment Artist at Rocksteady Studios in London, UK. He has worked on numerous environments on various AAA productions and projects for over 6-years. He's worked on titles such as EA's Need for Speed franchise, Sony's VR worlds with PlayStation VR, and on Halo Wars 2. His work has been featured on the Algorithmic homepage, Polycount, and CryEngine forums.

Instructor's Gallery

Game Art
Game Art
Game Art


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Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
COURSE BEGINS on Jul 11, 2024
Fundamentals of Substance for Environment Art

What makes this learning experience unique?


Receive personalized feedback on all assignments from the industry’s top professionals.


Enjoy lifetime access to the spectrum of course content, including lectures, live Q&As, and feedback sessions.


Show off your Certification of Completion when you turn in 80% of course assignments.


Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with flexible, online course scheduling.


Ben is very focused on the student—he gives long and outstanding homework feedbacks.


Ben was great, I really enjoyed his instruction and he really knows Substance Designer and Painter and can relate his knowledge well.


Really happy to have Ben as an instructor! His videos and feedback are simple and clear, and I never felt that I was completely lost when taking the course. He also really went out of his way to answer all kinds of questions, especially in the Q&A. I took this course to learn the tools and mindset of Substance, and I believe I achieved this goal with this course.


I really appreciated the frequency of feedback Ben was able to give. It really helped me improve rapidly week-to-week.


Ben was absolutely fantastic to learn from. I felt pretty intimidated trying to learn game art from a pro but he was very open and nice. He made it easy to ask questions and gave thorough answers.


Ben did a great job of breaking it down in a clear and concise manner with no fluff—just the theories and professional practices to use and get great results. So thanks again for all the effort he put in and the speedy reviews and feedback.


I appreciated Ben’s attention to detail during this course. His openness made it easy to ask questions, and his willingness to explain even small things made it feel like he cared about my personal growth.


Ben, is by far the most thorough instructor I have had at CGMA. All of my classes have been great but I feel like I have gained the most constructive learning from this course. Thank you endlessly!


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