Texturing with Quixel Mixer 2021

Texturing with Quixel Mixer 2021

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I'm your host this week Amanda Schade, not Victor Brodin, he's unfortunately not feeling super great today. So please send him all the love and well wishes on a speedy recovery. But the show must go on and we're going to have a great time hanging out and talking about Quixel Mixer today. So our guests are Jonathan Holmes, the community support lead for Quixel, and Juan Paulo Mardonez, the creative director at Leyenda.

So Jonathan, you want to tell everyone a little about what you do here at Quixel-- now, I just said it, Quixel/Epic, otherwise known as QuEpic. JONATHAN: Yeah. Thanks, Amanda. As you guys know my name is Jonathan.

I've been the community manager slash support lead for Quixel for quite a few years now. Started back in late 2014 as a volunteer, moved up to a full time position, and then have been running things on the support side ever since along with the community aspect. So if you've ever interacted with Quixel's public presence, you probably talked to me at some point in the past. I'm usually one of the most responsive people in the company. If you ever need something just write to me and I'll try to see what I could do to help you out.

Yeah. And hey, Juan, let's see what you got too buddy. JUAN: OK. I'm Juan Paulo Mardonez and I am the CEO and founder of Leyenda Leyenda Producciones, which is a company located in Santiago, Chile.

I'm doing a lot of things, wearing a lot of hats, modeling, lighting, texturing, and also directing. Quixel has become a major tool for me and a very important part of my life. So I'm really glad to be here to be sharing with the community.

AMANDA: Awesome. Well, thank you both for joining us. So before we dive in, we have, for those of you that may not be as familiar with Mixer, we have a little video that should give you an overview of the product. [MUSIC PLAYING] JONATHAN: I think we're having some technical difficulties here on Amanda's side.

So let's give her a moment or two to reconnect. But in the meantime that was a pretty cool video. And while we wait, I just wanted to say the mixer has made such a massive improvement over the course of its development, and went from being essentially a surface generating tool, into to a full texturing suite that you can make entire models in now. It's phenomenal how much improvement has been done to it, and the amount of time we've been developing it. But it's still a work in progress. So we're definitely doing what we can to continue improving it.

I can see that we were all talking in chat, so we'll get to you guys as soon as we can. We do plan to have a Q&A session towards the end. But yeah. Like I said, we're going to try to add some of this while we wait for Amanda to come back. Sometimes the internet is a little strange. I think she's at HQ here with us and it's a little cloudy outside so we might have had a power outage nearby that might have caused some problems.

But yeah. Hey, Juan, why don't you go ahead and get started on your demo buddy. JUAN: OK. First I'm going to tell you about the story of how I got involved with Mixer. I started using the software in 2019, when it was only a 2D surface generation software.

And well, the first thing I did was, of course mud with water, and that was, I guess what everyone did the first time. And then I started creating terrain's because I thought if I change the scale-- the scale is relative to one's position, so if I just change the scale, and I start creating terrain's inside Mixer, maybe I can play with images in my mind that I have always dreamed about creating. So I started publishing this and this was the first time as a matter of fact, that I was publishing something inside the Facebook group. And people got interested in this type of work because it was-- pretty much I was showing a snapshot from Mixer, sort of rendering inside Mixer, not rendering outside and showing how Mixer and using the Megascans materials and surfaces could be used for several types of things from landscapes and whatnot. In this case, I'm creating a Mars landscape with Mixer. So I became a bit known inside the community for doing weird stuff.

I created the, I don't know, the Quixel base in the artic and whatnot, and also started creating even cars inside Mixer. It was not a 3D software but I was doing this inside Mixer just with a subtraction addition and some shapes. So I really became very familiar with the software.

And one of the things that struck me the most it's it was so easy to learn. And being easy, it was so inviting. So I became absolutely nuts with the software, started posting tutorials in the group in Facebook. And I think I posted 50 tutorials in a span of two months.

And after that I was invited to become a beta tester for the for Mixer when the plan was to create a software that painted 3D models. And of course I accepted it because it was a huge honor. And we started working with a one texture set version of Mixer.

And it's been two years, right, Jonathan? You are the first one to pick me up. JONATHAN: Yeah. I don't want to get into the details of that.

But back in my former life, when we were just Quixel and not part of Epic, I wasn't part of the sales team, and it was great to be able to bring you guys on board. You've been amazing with this tool, man. I mean, there are people who are passionate about Mixer and then there are people like you, or rather there's a person like you who is you yourself, who is just, you bring the term fanatic to a different level entirely. You are very unique and very talented. And the work that you do with this tool is mind blowing.

I mean, it's incredible that somebody is not-- I need to stop saying that, that you have taken this tool and you continue to push us and its development to new levels and heights. I mean, one dude, thanks for doing what you doing, man. And it's really great to have you on the stream demoing the work that you've done with it. JUAN: OK, man. Thank you. Well, let's move forward.

The thing is I've been developing things with Mixer for a long time. And I want to share a few things that may be interesting for the audience. I created with my team a short last year for the MacInnes Challenge.

And the challenge had one month to create everything, and we have to use some assets from the MacInnes. He gave some assets, a soldier and some houses and whatnot. So that was the perfect opportunity to start reskinning things. So for instance, this was the asset that he gave us, and I start adding dirt to the soldiers and then the face, I think, dirt to the faces, and trying things inside Mixer. And then finally I even painted the IDs to change the colors inside Mixer. So finally, what I did was I pretty much changed everything.

I added a new helmet glasses. Changed everything. I did changed completely the weapon texture, the weapon design.

Mixer was a pretty cool experience, and a pretty good learning experience as I was able to share these with the community-- and the community, and also showing individuals, what I was doing and what I was learning. So finally in the end, we created this short-- I'm just going to highlight some parts of this because the most interesting thing is that we had no experience with a Unreal Engine. This was the first time we were doing something in Unreal Engine. I only had some experience in Mixer, I felt confident with that. But we aimed very high for final pixel in Unreal Engine. This is the CG shots for completely final pixel.

So the work was really stressing because we didn't know what we were doing. We had to learn how to import animation. And the most terrible thing was the shot that was made by my friend, Dylan. He was not able to make the Vive work.

So so finally we had to track 5 minutes of camera by hand, and that was super, super stressful. I would say that the Unreal Engine part was so enjoyable. And we finally rendered the short in one day because the render was so fast. Now, with a new render cue, we want to go back and render this again because we can do a better job, now that there's a new tool set to render this. So I'm just going to show a little part where the scorpion is, or the character of the scorpion. This guy is like he's reduced, or he's shrinked into a sort of alternate reality, and he realizes that he's no longer big, like he's small, so he is in front of the school boards and everything.

So the thing is I textured the bird, the fly, and this guy that is coming here. So pretty challenging project that we made. AMANDA: How beneficial do you feel like-- this is a little aside from Mixer explicitly-- But participating in contests and things like that periodically, we run game jams and stuff for folks to try out new skills. Do you think something like these kinds of shorts are invaluable and picking up and just running with new tools and platforms? JUAN: Yes. I think doing working in or trying to participate in contests is absolutely the best way to learn. Because having a deadline, a gun pointing to your head is one of the best things to stress you or to get you out of your comfort zone.

So at least for us, for this particular project, it was one month, OK? We made it very long. But that's our fault. I guess we learned so much with it. And with this, that Mixer very, very extensively with it.

So after that, I started working with a game company called San Spear Games, with a game Immortal, which is also meeting Unreal Engine. But I'm in charge of the game cinematics with my company Leyenda. And I started working with the first cinematic for them, and this was in 2020. So Mixer was not able to work with the multiple texture sets yet. And I was able to create this character but with 30 Mixers. So I was texturing part by part with smart materials, importing and, especially I was modeling one part, creating a smart material and then importing the rest of the parts of the bronze parts and just applying the smart materials.

So I would say that the modeling and the prepping was the time, the longest time I have to work on this. But texturing I did it like super fast, because I was able to recycle my bronze and my sort of battle damage in very easily. So I could create this character with its 30 parts from scratch. Now the next cinematic we're going to create for immortals is going to be 100% to make sure like this one, but also it's going to be rendered in Unreal Engine like the shot I just showed you guys.

Some questions, or shall I continue? AMANDA: Sure. They're actually wondering like, they love all the stuff you're showing off is your ArtStation the best place to check out a lot of the work that you've been doing? JUAN: Yes. Yes.

AMANDA: Any other? JUAN: No. Not yet. I'm a Boomer so I don't use social media. My wife is always barking at me because I don't use social media. It's-- I don't know, I need to start doing it.

But the thing is I've been concentrated on the work so much, especially Mixer, and with my company, that I'm not really out there like showing off outside the channels, outside the Facebook, and outside this particular channel. So I guess this stream is going to give us a bit of an exposure. And my biggest interest is that people try and Mixer and the adoption of the software. Because the software is, first is free, and this is one of the most important things that the Megascan ecosystem is free.

The Unreal Engine ecosystem, they're interconnected really well. The ecosystem covers everything from Mixer, Bridge, and then to Unreal. So being free, and also being easy to use, and also fun, which is the most-- I think the most important part for me was that this software had what I call a zero learning curve, which is something that is not usual that you sit in front of the software, and you can start doing cool stuff in one day. This things that I was showing you, guys this was my second mix.

My first one was the puddle with mud and the second was this. So like in one week, I was doing, or two weeks I was doing things like this. So when software is out of the way, it is not a barrier for you to learn.

Your creativity explodes. That's why I'm so-- I'm such a fanatic or a fanboy with a Mixer. Is because it really cleared my mind and allowed me to do something.

I really wanted to do. I always wanted to do surfacing and texturing, but I didn't want to learn any software, that I felt like, oh man, I'm over 40, at this point I don't want, it's hard and that was the story I was telling this story to myself, you can't learn this because you're over 40. It's a stupid thing but I was doing that.

But when I faced Mixer it was like I can learn anything because this thing is showing me that this is easy, it's super well thought. The UI and the UX they are great, and there's a lot of effort that the Quixel people and the dev team put in to simplifying things to make it work under the hood. So I would like to go and show you this character that-- this was the biggest character I developed for the Mixer tool, because we were testing the multiple textures support for this particular feature or release, right? So in this character I was testing the gloves which were one texture set, the helmet, which had four texture sets, the shoots or the boots, which had three, and the suit, which had nine, and the backpack have five. So of course, this samples 22 texture sets it's a lot. I didn't want to make my computer explode, because you must realize that you're working with scan data here. So there's a lot of textures being loaded in your GPU.

So I have a our TX28TTI. But I was aware that I didn't want to strangle my system so I worked in parts. JONATHAN: Hey, Juan.

Two things. How many texture sets did you say that was? JUAN: 22 in total. JONATHAN: Good Lord. That's incredible. And it ran pretty fluidly too? JUAN: But I'm going to show you guys the suit which has 9. And well, this is the renders I made.

And something very important here is that it is a tip because when you're setting up your character you may want to start improvising in Mixer, and you may want to drop a lot of the smart materials in there. But you will clog your graphics card, and you will make your computer explode. And that would happen if you drop a lot of textures whatever. So the thing is what I did here, is I planned my texturing inside my DCC, which was Maya in this case. I decided OK, this is a color pattern I'm going to work with, then I created my texture sets in this case, the IDs and everything in inside Maya, and then I went into Maya. After, I text, this is the file I'm going to show you I'm going to tumble around a bit and then I'm going to do something really special.

I'm going to text you something from scratch. So the cool thing is you can version your characters and Mixer having a great time. And this is the fun part, when you see your character going from this, which OK, this looks OK, the colors are good.

When you see your character and the details come to life, the scratches and everything being photo real, and your effort, or your effort feel effortless, you feel so happy. So well, this was the character I showcased as a battle stress test for the software. And the character is right here. We have the mixture UI here. You can see-- I'm going to explain this a bit better while I'm doing the complete workflow with one small robot.

But this guy has all these things called texture sets. And these are the layer sets, and these on the other side are the texture sets. So this guy has nine texture sets and all these are layer sets. And this is the model.

Then I exported this to my friend here, Bridge. This is the model exported into Bridge, and with one click you export this into Unreal Engine. So you have here a scene where I've been compiling in the last two days, the models that I've been working with Mixer to test and prove that the exporter works really nice. So in here you have the complete model. I can tumble around, and do whatever. And also, since the Mixer exports material which is compatible with or standardized, you get the same type of material that you get with any Megascans asset.

So if you're accustomed to modifying Megascans assets or Megascans textures, you can do that as well here. JONATHAN: Bro, those critters look like something out of Stephen King's The Mist. JUAN: Yeah. This one is a reskin.

And also, remember the scorpion of the shot. Yesterday I was thinking, hey, I should risking the scorpion with a cybernetic look, or something like that and export it to show how it looks inside and real. So here it is. AMANDA: Yeah.

It's looks great. JUAN: So the thing is not only for environment, you can create your characters. So what I want to do now, guys, is well, since I showed that everything is looking good here, I want to reskin this guy inside Mixer. And I guess people will want to ask questions. So I'm going to clean up the scene first. So I'm going to tell him I want a new mix.

JONATHAN: Why are you doing that? I did have a question earlier that I wanted to address. JUAN: Yes, tell me. JONATHAN: We get a frequent amount of questions regarding this.

The subject is usually whether or not Mixer is going to support baking? And for those of you who are unfamiliar with baking, texture baking it's when you take a high model, project that to a low quality model for use with game engines. Currently we don't have plans to do this, we're very aware that you guys want this. It's something we'd like to add if we can. But right now we're focused on other problems that we think that could be a little bit more important.

There's plenty of free alternatives out there for texture baking and we would recommend that you use them. If you'd like to work with Mixer, one of those would be ex normal, off the top of my head. It's completely free and still very much used in the industry.

Other paid solutions would be something like toolbag 4 example, or toolbag 3. Those work pretty well too. But if you want to stick with entirely free, it's almost pretty much the way to go. JUAN: Yes. There's solutions for baking. You can do it also in blender.

I use Marmoset toolbag because it's a GPU based. So I'm very impatient. So I need to do that fast. But, yeah.

There's tools to do that. Unless you have your model and you have your bakes. OK. So I cleaned it up, and I'm going to open now.

I'm going to open this inside Unreal and I'm going to show you guys very quickly the something that, this is going to be fast but it's not the robot. I think this is something that people forget. It's the reskin of a Megascans asset. This is one of the very powerful things you can do. If you have for instance, rocks. Rocks, you have hundreds of rocks inside the Megascans.

But you can reskin your rocks in a way that maybe you can create this stylized look or change completely the environment. So I prepared a little scene. I think there's also a free scene in the sample pack, where they did something.

But I prepared one for you to see. I'm not going to export it, but this is the asset, is called granite rock 2 by 2. And if you see this maybe you want to change the textures, right? So this is the result of the textures after I change them. So how I did this? First, I added the solid with a mask just to enhance the edges, then this guy, which is in multiply. So I get a bit more crevices. And then some moss using probably in normal.

I guess the normal is what I used. And then just the last layer with a bit of normal in a different direction. And finally I get a completely different look. And you can export this to the library and then to Unreal Engine.

So this is one of the uses that I guess people forget that they can do this. It's super easy to do it and you can do it with absolutely everything inside the Megascans library. JONATHAN: Oh, yeah, absolutely. We should also have some content on our YouTube channel that demonstrates how to take existing 3D assets from the Megascans library and give them the retexture job treatment, including stylization too. I think we have a tutorial or something similar to the effect from Jack McKelvey that you guys would totally be interested in.

JUAN: Yes. You can stylize the textures, the same textures that Mixer have or create your own inside Mixer. I made a stream with you, Jonathan last year I think, where I covered a lot of ground with stylization.

JONATHAN: Oh, yes. JUAN: So it's something that it's very recurrent, and people are asking all the time about it. So now we're loading this little guy. This guy, he's going to come with some textures, I guess.

So I'm going to show you. I'm going to delete them. I'm going to show you how I textured it's using the prepared bakes or materials that-- they are not materials, they're the bakes that are already loaded, and also the IDs.

So this is our character, or robot, it has two Udims. So I'm going to clean up the scene and start from scratch. I can't delete a texture set, so I'm going to say for instance, empty or just TS. JONATHAN: Are you going to do an awesome smart material? JUAN: Yes, of course.

JONATHAN: I want to see that. JUAN: Of course. So OK, let's go with a set up first.

I already imported my base maps. But I want to say something that is really important regarding the UI, and finally the UX and Mixer. Mixer is divided in a sort of three stage workflow. And this has to do with how the interface is laid out.

The first thing you do is set up. And setting up a scene meaning loading their geometry and loading your base maps. And once you're done, you close.

And that means you're no longer worried about your setup. So that means that the interface is not showing you everything you can do all the time. Then you have your texturing space, which is this one. You have your layer sets and your layers, I'm going to work in a minute. And once we're ready you have your export tab, where you have the options to export. So Mixer is 1,2,3 set up texture export.

And that's why the interfaces is so clean and so easy to use. OK. So in this case, I'm going to work with this model, I have, as I told you, this is a beauty model as a matter of fact, it has two Udims.

And I'm going to just drop one solid, which is the basic, the most basic texture inside or material inside Quixel Mixer. And look at this. This texture set, at this point is targeting only one Udim, or one texture, to target texture set. So now I'm going to target both of them, and I'm going to change this a bit. The roughness is going to be tighter. So it's like a bit of plastic.

This is the first thing you may do or you may want to see and wow, this is your model as you exported it from your DCC with the bakes. Now you want to do something cool with it, right? OK. So what we're going to do is I'm going to say this is the head, and the head is 1001. And I'm going to create a new layer set, which is legs. It's going to be legs, and just for the sake of it, I'm going to create a different color.

Legs is 1002. So now I know that where are my objects, right? And also I can look at them here. This is a very nice way to focus on things. For instance, I'm going to hide the second Udim so I can concentrate on the head. Or I can do exactly the opposite and concentrate on only on the legs.

And also we had this telescopic sight, where you can concentrate on the texture sets themselves. In this case I'm concentrating on the legs, as you can see, if I press this one. And if I click the layer set targeting the head, I'm going to be concentrating on this one. So I'm going to leave it as it is now. And in the head, I'm going to go to the library, and I'm going to search for a smart material.

Old dusty thermoplastic is very good. Smart material. Check this out guys. 434 smart materials.

I think I made around 30 for the pilot, 30 custom materials myself, but Quixel already provided almost 400 smart materials. Smart materials are a sort of master class of Mixer themselves. Once you load them, you will see how the system works.

I'm going to search for the dusty plastic material. Old the dusty here. Dusty PVC green. Let's try this. Now Mixer is loading. It's loading.

It sort of makes itself. It has a lot of textures from the Megascans library, and also each one has a mask stuck. JONATHAN: Yeah.

That's because each one of these smart materials was made by hand in house by a team of artists that we've tasked are working on that. So they're some of the best materials you can get out there as far as I'm concerned. Speaking personally, the amount of dedication these guys put into making these things look fantastic is like pardon the pun, but it's just unreal.

I mean, I love it. JUAN: Look at this. I'm going to change the color of the legs because I think I'm ruining this. AMANDA: Yeah, they don't quite match.

Do they? JUAN: Because they don't match. [LAUGHTER] So this is a smart material as it comes. These dusty PVC plastic green.

And I need something for the eyes. So I'm just going to go and go shopping to a library. And I'm going to put scratched.

And this could be an option, the scratched plastic. So I'm going to use IDs for this to mask. Because the one thing that Mixer is, is a super masker.

So we are going to use masks and IDs to isolate and show how we can attach or assign materials to certain parts in this model. OK, now everything is going to become black, right? So I have this marked material and I'm going to add an ID with a letter I or pressing here. And with Q, I'm pressing here. I assign this to the ice.

And that was pretty simple. Now, I'm going to play around with a-- I'm going to add a few smart materials to the legs, and select these solid going to the smart materials, and I'm going to create. I'm going to go for pilot. And I'm going to add one of my favorite smart materials, which I made myself. And I love it because it uses only one source. Smart materials they are way more complex.

They have, I don't know, usually six or seven sources. And with this particular one I was trying to do something with just one source, only one texture, and the rest should be procedural. And as you can see here, this is the result. There's a volume between the paint and the metal.

I can completely change that if I want to. I'm going to let this guy, which is the paint, and I'm going to touch the height a bit. Or even say one, so that the paint is completely flat on the surface. So let's play around a bit with the head, what we can do with a head. All right. So first we should figure out what's happening here, and what we can do? So to do that, what I usually do is deactivate all the layers until I see what's in the base.

And in the base I have this plastic. And as you can see, this is a scanned plastic. You can see that this plastic has some roughness mapped directly to the plastic.

And the first thing I can check with this is how it is applied to the model. This is applied using a box projection. And if I change this slider on the right, I can change the orientation. Or the scale of it if I want to. For instance, if I want these little scratches to be smaller, I'm going to change these to 0.05, and they are going to repeat a bit more.

Now, I think this, if I want to create something like a camel flashed robot, this color will not be cutting it. So I'm going to change it. AMANDA: I think that really depends on your environment. [INTERPOSING VOICES] JUAN: Of course. As a matter of fact, that reminds me when I told the Quixel team that I was going to develop a Mars camouflage, Wiktor Öhman said something like, yeah for Mars forests.

[LAUGHTER] How do you know, I go to Mars every day? I created this one for Mars environment. But OK, let's go back to the robot. OK.

We have a green here, let's leave it at that. And I'm going to change also the roughness of this material. So this is to prove you guys that you don't need to stick to the smart materials as they come. You can use them exactly as you want. So let's see now. JONATHAN: Yeah.

They make a really good base to work from too. In a lot of ways, I would recommend doing that one. Sorry to interrupt you on that one. It's just a-- smart materials should be used as a base.

I mean, you can use them as is, obviously, but to get the most out of them, it's probably recommended that you dive into all the different Mixer settings and adjustments that you can make to really personalize them and make them your own. JUAN: Yeah. As a matter of fact, all the materials I use for my pilot were started as smarted materials from the library.

Also, the character from the Immortal game. I usually don't start from scratch. The only material I started from scratch is the one I have on the legs, because I wanted to challenge myself. But the smart materials are so invaluable. And you can learn so much from them.

Because if you go here for instance, in the edgeware. If you press 9, you will see how the mask is being affected here. So I'm going to turn off all the things here and you have edges in this case. And this is using the default curvature that Mixer calculates. So I'm going to change this from underlaying mix to base curvature map. So now is going to be using this.

Now it's breaking something with a texture, which being protected, and then adding some details, and then a gradient remap which acts like a sort of levels. So if I push the curve, I'm going to see how the mask looks in a moment. If I press 2, I'm going to go into albedo color of this edgeware. Is so close to this one.

We can't really see the difference. And also it's said to overlay. So I'm going to change this. And now you will start seeing the results.

When I apply it, go to PBR metal in this mode, and I can see now the result. Now let's check this scratches. What are they? Oh, those are great. These are affecting pretty much the roughness of the model. So I'm going to leave them as they are. And I think this case should be a bit dark here. Something like this.

And then we have dust. And this dust, very cool, we're going to check the mask that generates the dust. Pressing 9 again, we can check in how it's made. So we have first these cavities, which are being read from the complete mix.

And we had some top normals. These ones are being added, then the musk is broken, projected, and we have some detail mask. So I think I'm going to make some changes in the break. I'm going to change the frequency of this.

I'm going to change it a bit. So I have a bit more dirt on top of this guy. And if we want the dirt to be really popping, maybe we should make the robot darker. JONATHAN: Could even add a little bit of normal depth to it too, so it pops right off. JUAN: Yes.

Let me check the normals how they are at this moment. So I'm going to select the dust surface. I think it was not a very good idea to change the octaves or the frequency.

Yeah, this is better. And let me see-- we have the displacement and the normals. So if I turn of the displacement, nothing happens because the model has not displaced and activated.

And if I deactivate the normals you will see on top of the head here. Let me get closer so you can see it. I'm going to activate the normals again, you can see the normals acting on top of this. So maybe we can force them a bit. So strength, what happens if I push 2? So normals are going to be a bit stronger.

JONATHAN: What if you were to take the displacement channel and drive that a little higher so that the entire dirt layer popped off, including where the mask is? JUAN: It's already a tool, I think. But what I'm going to do is, I'm going to add some posterize note, which is a no. That is criminal. But if you put this in two or three steps and reduce the capacity, you get a more natural look with this. So what else can we do? So we have a dirt layer in here. And this third layer is very, very subtle.

So I'm going to take why. Yes. As you can see the object looks pretty black. So that means the mask is not allowing any pretty much anything to go through.

So we are going to check why. First, we can check if the opacity is in 1, and then we can check why this is so dark. So I'm going to turn off everything. So we have the dirt mask. If I turn it on, you will see immediately that result. I'm going to turn it off.

I'm going to turn it on. So how this thing is built? We have this texture, which is broken by a noise. OK.

This is in multiply. Maybe we can say, not overly right, and then top normals. Top normals are in multiply so they are sort of subtracting and then cavities. And what I want to do here is I want to create a thing called position gradient.

This is what I wanted. I'm going to set this one to overly. So I'm going to push black a bit. So all this event is pretty much happening on top.

I can turn my dust now, and I have all my dirt accumulated on top of the model as you can see here. Pretty cool, right? OK. [INTERPOSING VOICES] JUAN: Yeah. The thing is it's easy once you understand the basics of a smart materials. We can try a different one from the local library.

I'm going to check with this one, the pilot camo chip metal, which is one of mine also. It's going to take a moment to load. JONATHAN: So while we're waiting for that the load, we have gotten a couple of questions about the same topic being, can we import materials made in other software to Mixer? And the answer is absolutely yes. But you can't bring in smart materials authored in other programs because the best way to describe it is they're not going to be talking the same language. So you'd have to eyeball them and Mixer to recreate them. But the base texture maps that you can export from other tools can be brought in the Mixer.

And you can work with them, and you can export them from Mixer. Anywhere you pretty much want to take them to. JUAN: Yeah, that's right. The other thing that you can do, it's something that I usually do a lot, is I'm on the hunt all the time for things that I may need or I may find in art station. Art station has a great marketplace, and you can find a lot of-- I don't know what happened there. Let's give it a moment to load.

I think it failed. No active subscription. Mixer is telling me, we don't know you. JONATHAN: Sounds like a glitch in the matrix. AMANDA: How could they not know you? JUAN: Yeah. No, you're not with us.

Go away. So I say, OK. I hope he recovers from this one. Well, I use a lot of alphas generated in, I don't know, in seabridge or-- because you don't have to create everything on your own. I'm also always on the hunt for models for a kid brushes. In this case, this model is completely done by me, but you see Mixer loaded.

So we are going to fix this in a moment. You can work with a lot of alpha channels and a lot of alphas and also repeat them. So this looks a bit better than the thing I had. So I'm going to delete the dusty thing that we were doing earlier. And I'm going to do something really interesting. This smart material has two folders in it.

It has the camel, and it has the weathering. But the problem is the weathering, which I'm going to turn off now, it's not affecting all the model. I want the weathering to affect all the model. So what I'm going to do is having this layer selected or this folder selected. I'm going to move this layer set to-- I need a new layer set.

And this one is going to be called weather. OK. So the weathering is going to go to weather. And I'm going to make it affect both target texture sets.

Let's give it a moment and figure out what is going on with this little alert that we have here. One texture is not being connected. Yes. So that was a bad idea.

I'm going to move it back. AMANDA: They're stressing out because you haven't saved. JUAN: Yeah, probably. JONATHAN: You like to live dangerous, don't you, Juan? [LAUGHTER] JUAN: OK. JONATHAN: You got to ride that anxiety high. JUAN: Yeah.

No pressure. OK. So I'm going to check what is being missing here, is one detail mask. I think I deleted something by accident, and I broke it. Not totally my fault.

JONATHAN: We just had a question about the Max Res, the mix of supports for textures. And that would be 8,192 or 8,000, but it's highly recommended that you work in for a game max currently. JUAN: Yes. I usually work in 2K, because you'll have the best response in 2K. In the previous version I worked in 4K, but that was only when you were working on flat surfaces. But in this case now, I prefer to work in 2K.

And only when I'm about to export I change things to 4K. Now, if I'm working on Unreal Engine, then I try to export the texture thing 2K, because I don't want to destroy the graphics card. OK. So now I replicated the camel, the Swedish camel, the M90 camel. JONATHAN: Splinter camouflage.

[LAUGHTER] JUAN: Yeah. I love these cammo so that's why I made it. Mixer has its own cammo based on geometry, on a very simple geometry. But I like this one, maybe because I made it. So now, we are going to add some dirt to this.

So I'm going to just add a solid on top of everything, and I'm going to add-- I think we should do this on top of everything here, on the weather, as I was trying to show you guys earlier. OK. So this is, the weathering is targeting both textures sets. So let me see. Head is one.

This one is two. Somehow it's giving me a little issue here. But I'm going to fix it in a second.

Uh, all right. I know what. AMANDA: Do you know what it was? JUAN: Yeah. I was putting everything inside the eyes, [LAUGHTER] and the eyes are masked.

So that's why. I'm going to add a bit of dirt on top of this. And to do that, I'm going to create the position gradient and work my way out in musk model. So I have this. And then I'm going to add a texture map.

And it's going to be a base map, and it's going to be an inclusion. And in this case, I'm going to see how it goes if I multiply this. So what I can do now is increase the contrast of this and check it out. So I will see that my gray thing is affecting only the things that are coming from above, which would make sense if we were working in that sort of dust layer, right? But I need to break it a bit.

So I'm going to break it. To do that, I'm going to bring in a texture map. And this is going to be a library asset. And I'm going to search for imperfections. Well, I mean, smart materials that's why. Imperfections.

And let's try for instance, this stains. So let's give it a moment to load. OK. It loaded. So now, I'm going to say, let's use overlay with this one. So it fills these gaps.

And I'm going to project from above without, which means clipping on top of this one. And I'm going to say, box projection 0.5. What I want now is a bit more a contrast in the texture I loaded. And let's see what happens if I converted. Very interesting. Look here.

So let's check the albedo. And of course, this dirt shouldn't be this color. So we are going to add dark color, some dirt here. And also, well, this is pretty rough. So as you can see, if I move the light with a shift button, and right button, you can see how light affects the different channels in case you want to see, for instance, what is going on with a metalness. You press 3, and there's the metalness, you press 5 and there's the normal, 6 to displacement.

And this is the roughness which is in 4. So you're able to see that where is completely white, this is completely rough, and where is black it's more shiny. So as you can see here, that was black, is more shiny now. I'm going to turn off some layers here.

JONATHAN: So Juan, while you work on that, we got a question, actually a couple. Number 1 was, are normals created in Mixer, or do they need to be brought in on the import? Like, when you bring in your low quality. And generally speaking, speaking as someone who works with the software quite often, if you're working with a low quality model and you do have normals, you need to bring them in. You're not going to be the author of normal maps in the traditional high to low baking settings in Mixer. However, it will load normal apps that you've provided to it and you can also create normals on the fly. Additionally, we also have a question regarding-- what was it? How do you figure out which layer to put where? And I think you should probably answer that because you're the one who's showing it off.

JUAN: Yeah. Give me a second. I'm going to add rust. I think the best solution or the best approach is to start slower than I did, [LAUGHTER] because I started dropping smart materials so the life stream doesn't go like for a complete day. But usually, when I start things, I'm going to show you right now. I'm going to collapse this and leave it completely without anything, any weathering, anything.

I work with solids. Only solids unmasking. And then what you can do, is you can-- give me a second I just need to make sure that everything is off here. Weathering is off, leg is off, head is off. Give me a second. These are the eyes.

I'm going to change then-- well, this is important. I guess this addresses the question. First thing first. And I'm forgetting about my number 1 name things.

Ice. Because I had the name of the smart material and I was getting lost. So I know now that the eyes are those. And these guys completely separated and that's why I was completely losing it. These are the things. So one recommendation would be to name your things while you work.

And this is for instance, we have this is a pilot chipped metal. So this is going to be the head. And I have this rusty metal here, which is interacting now with the normal nap and the curvature.

So that looks pretty good. But we may change the color, or we may think, OK, this looks good but I don't like. I want to use part of it but not everything. So what if we say for instance, let's multiply. Of course, it's going to look black, completely black because the base is black.

I'm going to multiply it. Going to look dark as I said. And then let's change the basic color. And let's try something completely weird. Something like this. We can keep that.

Understands now. I know where they are because I named them, right? And now I can say, hey, man. This could be dust, or dirt. That would be nice. Strange. So what I can do now, look at this mask stack that I have here.

Let's call this an investment. I already made my investment in this layer, right? But I would like to have a texture there. So I'm going to go for a surface. And let's type in dirt. And what do we have here? Or dust.

Dusty concrete. Look at this. Amazing. Or even this one, metal dust.

So look at this. I'm going to steal from myself. As I said earlier, Mixer is a super masker. So if you create a mask in Mixer, you will be able to use it in a lot of different ways with surfaces, meaning Megascans, scans or solids.

In my case, I was working with this one, which is solid, which is the easiest and fastest way to test masks. But now I'm going to steal this mask. So I'm going to copy mask stack. And I'm going to paste it here.

Paste mask stack. And now I can turn this off. So you can see now that instead of using the solid, I'm using this scan.

And now we can check this scan placement. For instance, if these blobs are too big, we can go to the box, to the projection of the can here and say, OK, I want this to be 0.5. So it repeats more and it doesn't show tiles because this is an exoplanet projection. But you can see there that looks great. If I go to point 2 even better.

And as you can see, we've been layering things on top of this with some effort. So I don't know if I answered the question. [LAUGHTER] JONATHAN: I think what you're saying is that a natural progression mimicking how these surfaces work in real life is probably the best way to approach it, such as having a base layer of metal, which you then apply paint to like you would in real life. And then as that surface ages over time, you would see dirt, paint wear, and other imperfections start to accumulate as the surface continues to age. JUAN: Absolutely.

JONATHAN: Yeah. JUAN: You remind me something which is super important. There's channels of people that work with real models like scale models, tanks and everything. And there is one I think is called Night Shift.

And I saw his videos where he was polishing the tank and painting the primer with gray and then applying layers. And I started using exactly the same techniques as him but in Mixer. So finally I got great results because absolutely it has to be like that. You have to create your-- have to know if there's metal first, is if there's painting first, later.

And then if there's dust. So in this case, we have a metal, we have some paint, and we have some dust. And we would like to have the dust covering the eyes of this thing, right? Because the eyes at this point, they are completely clean. So how to do this I think it's pretty simple I hope. I think I'm going to move this up. And now the eyes are covered.

So in a way-- JONATHAN: I have this urge to clean this thing off so bad. [LAUGHTER] AMANDA: Just start making virtual videos of you cleaning like digitally dusty items. JUAN: We cleaned it. [LAUGHTER] We cleaned it. JONATHAN: Oh, thank you.

My OCD is like-- oh, God, no, it's back. [LAUGHTER] JUAN: OK. I'm going to do something that you may like. AMANDA: I'm just going to make a game for you to-- it's like methodically-- JUAN: Look at this.

This is Jonathan cleaning up as he progresses. JONATHAN: Yeah. It's much better. I like that. Yeah.

JUAN: This is much better, right? JONATHAN: Well, it's good to see that all these different stacks works so well in real time too. I mean, you're working with how many layers that's here and it's still really fluid? JUAN: I don't know. I think I have maybe 20 layers.

And we can check how many materials we have in the asset manager. The asset manager is going to open and it's going to show me all the assets that I have here. This is a very useful Window. So we have this rust that I'm not sure I'm using now. You can delete things that you are not using, but you can check also your imperfections.

And if you check the name, it's going to show you where they are. I'll click, I don't remember, I never use this but you can see everything here. You can see the mat IDs, the bakes, the textures, the scans, everything. So that window is really, really powerful. AMANDA: Is there a way to easily group like all the assets, or materials, or textures rather that you're not using and just remove anything unused all at once or is it a step by step process? JUAN: For now is a step by step process but [LAUGHTER] I requested that to the devs, and I hope they can indulge me. JONATHAN: Mixer is an ever going work in progress.

I'm sure we'll continue updating it. JUAN: Yes, absolutely. So I think the color pattern is a bit dull. So if you have an art director, maybe he wants to change or she wants to change something.

JONATHAN: I'm the art director, you're going to make it purple. JUAN: Purple. Roger that. So let's go to the base color.

Look at this, man. I made this with a multiply. So making it purple, I guess is going to be hard but-- JONATHAN: No excuses, just make it happen. JUAN: I'm going to make it happen.

I'm going to create a solid, make it purple, darker. JONATHAN: There you go. That's what I want to see. JUAN: All right.

And this one, I want the metalness not to show. I want the roughness not to show, and I want the albedo as an overlay. And let's see what happens Oh, because everything is very dark here. JONATHAN: That actually looks really cool in that grayscale style that you had there.

JUAN: Yeah. It looks cool. JONATHAN: It's got hints of purple in it too. It's not like it's just all gray. JUAN: Yeah. You're right.

This is something that I usually do a lot, like working in molds. If you're trying to texture things all the time like this, sometimes you get lost because you're seeing the all channels, metalness, roughness, and color at the same time. So sometimes you want to work in albedo mode and say, all right, I'm just concentrating on the color, I want to do something special here. Let's see. If this is multiply, what happens if I change these color and make it more saturated? JONATHAN: Juan, we've got a question coming in. I want to answer all fast if we could.

JUAN: Yes. JONATHAN: So we want to know whether we're actually looking into adding a painting toolkit to Mixer to improve it further? And while it does have the ability to real time paint right now, we've been investigating what we would think that could make the 3D experience and painting even better. And currently it's one of these really big requests, right? We want to continually improve this. Everybody wants us to do it. But right now to pull it off the level that we're looking to get it to, we need to change our priorities a bit. And that might not really benefit you guys in the long term.

So we're going to focus on painting right now. But we do want to look at it in the future. So keep an eye out.

I'm sure we'll address it in future updates. JUAN: Yes. But you can stamp things. I'm going to just stamp the Quixel logo here.

Let me see. I'm using a solid with a Quick mask. So I guess I'm going to stamp a big Quixel over here. There you go.

I know I can play around with this guy. JONATHAN: Looking good. JUAN: This is a Quixel logo. And we have the sunburn on top. So if I want to I could scratch this guy a bit. So I'm going to paint on top of him with some DK.

It's not that I want to touch my beloved Quixel people, but I'm going to scratch. JONATHAN: Think about what you're doing here. JUAN: Oh, man.

JONATHAN: No. No. No. No. [LAUGHTER] JUAN: Look at this.

I made a mistake. I have to use the black value. JONATHAN: No. Don't do it. Oh, actually looks really good in there.

You keep doing it. JUAN: Yeah. Yeah.

Trust me man. All right. I'm going to do something else now. I want to add a gradient to this.

So this is the logo, right? So I'm going to add another color. And I'm going to keep this one. And this one is going to be this color. And this color, I hope I can put the position gradient in this one.

And I'm going to work in mask mode because it helps. Let's give it a moment. And now I know that if I move my gradient down, and I stretch it a bit, and move it up, and my queue was not that big.

So I think on my gradient should be a bit tighter. If I press 1, I'm going to be able to see the result. There you have it. So using clipping masks, allow you to create gradients and whatnot.

And also we may need or we may want to change the appearance of this. So let's say, for instance, that this we don't want this cue to be completely rough. So we want it to be more shiny, and even more we want it to be, let's try that this is metallic. So I did it on the lower layer, right? So instead of doing it on the clipped one, what I can do is just keep the color and turn off the ones that I'm not using.

So with that, I have this metal decal of the cue on top of the model. Horrific. So you can paint some things. It's not the complete focus. But you can paint things.

You can use the procedural masks. There's a lot of ways to do things. I would say that instead of using the paint, add paint layer. I use that a lot until I saw Josh Powers' video, the last one, where he did exactly this same thing, a painted mask into a solid, and I was like, man, if I knew that before. I completely forgot about that and it saved me a lot of time. And because it's way less resource intensive.

So any other questions regarding the-- AMANDA: Well, now that you have this fine looking Quixel bot, they're curious of bringing that back into Unreal Engine. So for some of the folks that may not have seen that previously, how do they make the leap? JUAN: Well, the leap is done using the export. I think that may take a little while. So I'm not sure if we should do that.

Maybe we can try it while-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] AMANDA: While we have some other questions? JUAN: Yes, I think so. So I'm going to save the-- first I'm going to save the mix. AMANDA: Uh, we did it JUAN: Saving the mix. Yeah. Let's save this one as-- let's imagine that this is-- oh, the purple. I'm sorry, man.

JONATHAN: But if you would crash, you would have lost everything. How dare you save? [LAUGHTER] JUAN: No. One thing that is very nice is that Mixer saves the file. Every time you save the file it saves once with every asset that you included the custom sources in a folder. But after that if you're going to save the file again, then it saves all the files again. But if you continue saving without adding things, the save is super fast.

So I'm not sure that I really like the metalic things. So I'm going to change it a bit. I'm going to change the base. Let's say that this is not really metallic. Because the cue was not being so present.

JONATHAN: I got to say I love this comment I just read, that not saving is hardcore mode. [LAUGHTER] JUAN: Yeah. AMANDA: Either get to the end or you don't. JUAN: Been there, done that.

Yeah. So I'm going to say it again. And this, as you can see is going to be a fast save.

And the other thing that may help a bit is that I change the flight background to the gradient or to the skybox, because not everybody can see what I did because it what? What a dull robot. It's black, man. I really like to work with colors, but this time, I had to do with the black. AMANDA: He's just low key with the pop of color? JUAN: Yeah. So to export, usually, this is the usual window as you get it from Mixer. But in this case, what I'm going to do is set this to the library.

And the library has already pre set for, which is line to Megascans. This is how Megascans works. So this is everything he's going to export. And what I need to do here is draw a demo.

And I'm going to add a category, and it's going to be droid. I need to cross my fingers and export to the library. So we may answer some questions while this guy exports, because he's going to export the maps and also he's going to export the geometry. JONATHAN: Cool.

We actually do have one question. Wanted to know if-- actually it just scrolled up and I totally missed it. But the question was basically do we have any learning content for Mixer? And absolutely we do. We've been making it for well, over a year now, on the Quixel YouTube channel, which I'm sure will be linked in live chat. It is comprehensive. There's tons of tutorials from different people, from Wiktor Öhman to Josh Powers, to heck, I think there's even something I put out there at one point.

So we're always adding more content and always adding more tutorials. And it's definitely something you guys want to keep watch on because we are always adding as much as we can. So you guys can get up to speed as quickly as you can.

JUAN: Yeah. One of the great things about the tutorials is that they are edited and so all the decision making is-- they are super well scripted. Every time Josh releases a tutorial, I have to congratulate him because it's like I'm not an expert in Mixer. I feel like the more I know, I think that the less I know. But with all of his tutorials I learn something new.

And I watched-- one of the things people ask me is, how do you know, or how do you learn. And I usually learn making mistakes, but also I really love to look at basic tutorials. The 1,2,3 tutorials. I watch all tutorials. For instance, to learn seabridge, I watched the tutorials like how to open a scene.

The biggest learning exercise for me is watching basics because when you get used to the things, you forgot the basics, something like the Josh was showing the other day, painting a mask on a solid layer is something I didn't use for a year, because I was trying to make things maybe more complicated. So OK, I think he exported. Let's go to our friend, Rich, and here we have the droid. And let's see. OK we have the droid, and I'm going to tell him, would you be so kind to export him to Unreal Engine please? So I hope Unreal-- multiple mesh? Yes, I want my multiple mesh, sir. And once that gray window opens, it means we're good.

AMANDA: And that brings all the materials and-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] JUAN: Everything is connected. So give it 3, 2, 1, window. [LAUGHTER] [INTERPOSING VOICES] 3, 2, 1.

JONATHAN: If I'm not mistaken. AMANDA: Say that again. JONATHAN: Juan, that should come through with our Bridge program as well, shouldn't it? JUAN: Draw a demo.

Yeah. Yeah, the Bridge-- oh, man, sorry. [LAUGHTER] Stupid.

There you have it. I was dragging the folder inside then Unreal Engine. So here we have our little pal.

And let's see. I'm going to get closer. And one thing I like to do here is I like to stress a bit more the some materials. For instance, the metalness. For instance, I'm going to go in this guy. And in the metallic controls, I'm going to say, hey.

I'm going to push this further. Save it. And metalness is coming through better. I'm going to do that again with this other guy. Metalness. JONATHAN: While you're doing that, we did get a question about bringing in, I would assume material IDs and the Mixer.

And that's really simple. You just load up the texture map that you generated for your ID'S inside of the, I believe it's the asset import window instead of Mixer. It's a maybe a 10 second process.

Should be really easy. JUAN: Yeah. One thing that is really important, and I made this mistake so I'm going to share it, you can, in the setup, name your Udims, which is pretty logical.

If you are in this one-- if you are seeing at least I'm working now in a-- I need to show you these, guys. This is my window where I work developing things. This is the progress on the notes and everything. It's pretty massive.

And I'm working in a crocodile now. And you will see. Look at the amount of Udims there. It's 18 Udims.

JONATHAN: Good Lord. JUAN: Yeah. But I know that I can do this.

Mixer can handle this. The thing is which one is What [LAUGHTER] So the thing is I have to name them. And it's not an effort, and Mixer really helps you with that. So if you-- JONATHAN: As a Florida man, seeing a gator makes me smile.

JUAN: Excellent. AMANDA: It's piece of home. JUAN: All right.

So-- JONATHAN: Yes, it is. JUAN: In this case, I would name, if we're talking about the croc, we would name the pieces. But if you export the Udims with the name, Bridge will get confused and export the textures, also with the names, breaking the connection with the virtual textures inside Unreal. So once you're working with Udims, and if you name things, just make sure that in the setup you delete this. If I say for instance, head, and also these one legs, if I export this I will break the connection. I know the devs are working on this to sort of bypass it, because I discovered this like yesterday or the day before by accident.

So if you name your Udims just delete the names like this before exporting to Bridge. And if you do that, Bridge will do its job perfectly and it will send your model to Unreal Engine perfectly. AMANDA: Good little tid bit t

2021-05-12 03:31

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