Basics of creating an MDL in Substance Designer

Allegorithmic 2016-09-05 08:39 tutorial  > Making of  > texturing

Introduced in Substance Painter 5.5, you now have the ability to author a MDL , using the nodal graph power of Substance Designer.

Created by Nvidia, MDL stands for Material Definition Language. As its name suggests, this language is meant to describe the property of a physically based material, and how it is supposed to behave. Once you define a material with MDL, you can then use it in all the applications that supports MDL (Iray, Nvidia Mental Ray).

Is MDL like a shading language? Not exactly.

In order to work, a shading language has to define not only the behavior of the material, but also the behavior of the light, and they are generally extremely dependent to each other (which can affect the portability to another platform). MDL materials define the behavior of light at a high level: it basically means that the MDL material "only" contains the material information, leaving the host application handling the light. This separation between light and material, gives the user the freedom to build and easily share MDL materials between supporting applications.

Substance Designer is the first and unique MDL editor available on the market.

Download MDL Tutorial package

Still based on the nodal system that makes the strength of SD, it empowers the user, and give him the ability to try and iterate like never before:

If you are a surface or rendering artist, you can use MDL editor to explore new patterns. If you are an existing Substance user, you can now explore new -more complex- types of materials (like multi- layered ones). You can improve the quality of your materials for your Iray renders.
Substance Designer becomes a material hub where you can create your materials for different render targets

More information about Material Definition language on Nvidia website.

Author: Allegorithmic Editor: Michał Franczak
Tags: nvidia substance allegorithmic painter designer mdl
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