Shaping An Earth-like Planet in Substance Designer

Hello, I am Robert Tudor, Environment Artist in AMC. I’ll show you a fun exercise I did using Substance Designer, the creation of an earth-like planet.

This is simply a way of doing it, I am not a planet builder expert, more of a fan.

It all starts with land and water.

I’ve started with creating a crude heightmap that can define landmass from water. It may look simple, but it creates a slope effect on the shores which looks nice. Ran through a histogram scan and a clean oceans/land mask is formed.

As for water, we decided it would look better with some details that resemble waves or currents. One of the clouds subgraphs plugged into a vector warp node seemed to do the job.

Defining the terrain details.

The terrain was the trickiest to make, especially creating a texture that resembles those specific valleys, peaks and ridges patterns. I did three instances of the terrain generator subgraph with 2 set to greenish vegetation and one for desert, all together blended with masks.

Adding the clouds

The atmosphere is comprised of several types of clouds each packed in their own subgraphs. The big vortex like clouds have the most complex subgraph and are the most interesting. They are created mostly with Splatter Circular nodes with custom shapes that resemble clouds as inputs.

The atmosphere is comprised of several types of clouds each packed in their own subgraphs. The big vortex like clouds have the most complex subgraph and are the most interesting. They are created mostly with Splatter Circular nodes with custom shapes that resemble clouds as inputs.

Star Wars, muse for our planet’s cities

We also created some man-made structures, the cities, which contrasted from the terrain background by having very precise, artificial, geometries, like lines and circles. Their creation was simple, using mainly a circle and rectangle nodes. This city hub is plastered around using a tile sampler with a mask map of the landmass. Around the hubs, another tile sampler is used to spread smaller lights to make them seem like nearby settlements. The planet Coruscant in Star Wars was a source of inspiration.

Et voila!

Robert Tudor, AMC Environment Artist