According to Adobe, the four creators of “Adobe Substance 3D Designer” and “Substance Engine” visual effects (VFX) tools used in many movies and TV shows, have been awarded the Science and Technology Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The Academy, along with Adobe’s VP of 3D & Immersive Sébastien Deguy and Principal Computer Scientist Christophe Somme, who conceived the Substance Engine concept and were responsible for the initial implementation, have completed the design and engineering of Adobe Substance Substance 3D Designer. Sylvain Paris, senior manager of software engineering, and Nicholas Weirmann, senior product manager, who were in charge of the development.
Films using Adobe Substance 3D Designer and Substance Engine include:
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Doctor Strange/Multiverse of Madness
- Star Wars/Rise of Skywalker
- Frozen 2
- buzz lightyear
- Blade Runner 2049 (2018 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects)
- First Man (2019 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects)
Additionally, on the studio floor, artists use Adobe Substance 3D Designer to create materials and textures like worn metal surfaces and brick walls, transforming simple 3D models into battle-scarred spaceships and urban mansions. By letting highly skilled artists create materials via a visual programming interface, exposing parameters, such as metal wear and brick patterns that can be manipulated.
By tweaking the parameters of these materials themselves, other artists can create virtually limitless variations. In doing so, Substance Engine, which has been integrated into popular 3D applications in the film industry such as 3DS Max and Houdini, has been extensively used.
Parris: I think the reason why Adobe Substance 3D Designer is so widely used in the VFX industry is because it provides a powerful solution to reduce production time. You can spend more time improving the quality of your materials and improving the visual consistency of the finished product.
In addition, Weirmann commented:
Weirmann: Adobe Substance 3D Designer was made by artists for artists. All nodes and tools provided by Adobe Substance 3D Designer are made by texture artists and users can customize them according to their own needs
Degay also explains:
Degay: Adobe Substance 3D Designer ensures consistency, scalability and reusability. An artist could create a library of materials that could be reused to bring the spaceship from the first movie into the third sequel while maintaining the same look. If you need to change the resolution in your next game, you can just tweak the settings instead of starting from scratch.
Filmmakers say they appreciate the streamlining that Adobe Substance 3D Designer brings to their work.
Erwin Shu, asset and environment supervisor for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, said:
Xu: Thanks to Adobe Substance 3D Designer, we were able to incorporate a huge number of assets into the scene in a very short processing time.
Gareth Jensen, texture supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic in San Francisco, similarly commented:
Jensen: The power and flexibility of Adobe Substance 3D Designer and its ability to create infinite iterations of surfaces with the same level of fidelity as the scan data really fascinated me.
Degay, who began working on Adobe Substance 3D 20 years ago as part of his doctoral dissertation, said the Academy Award win was a tribute to the entire Adobe Substance3D team and was “a dream come true moment” for him.
Degay, who said he wanted to go to film school before completing his PhD in computer science but was turned down, later founded Allegorithmic to commercialize Adobe Substance 3D before joining Adobe in 2019.
Mr. Deguy: It is a very moving event for us to be recognized for having had a major impact on filmmaking, visual effects, and animation, a field that truly fuses art and science. Ever since I can remember, I have been obsessed with movies. This award is special to me and to many of my team members.
Finally, Som says he feels connected to filmmaking every time he watches Frozen 2 with his family.
Som: As a father, I am very proud to be able to watch this film with my children.