Working with Substances - Lumberyard User Guide

Working with Substances

Substances are procedural materials created using Allegorithmic's Substance Designer. Lumberyard has the ability to import Substance .sbsar files using the Substance Editor.

Creating Substances for Lumberyard

When creating Substances for Lumberyard using Allegorithmic’s Substance Designer, it is recommended to use the PBR Specular/Glossiness substance as the base. This will involve less adjustments to your default outputs for substances. However, you will need to delete the Glossiness output and save the Gloss map into the alpha channel for the Normal map output in Substance Designer.

If you want to use a PBR Metallic/Roughness Substance and convert it for use in Lumberyard, follow these steps:

  • Change the BaseColor output node to Diffuse.

  • Create a Specular output node in the Substance Graph.

  • Create a RGB-A Merge node in the Substance Graph.

    • Connect the node that was originally going into the Normal map into the RGB input.

    • Note that the A (Alpha) input for this node will be connected later on.

    • Connect the output of this merge node into the input for the Normal output node.

  • Create a BaseColor/Metallic/Roughness converter node in the Substance Graph.

    • Connect the node that was originally going into the BaseColor/Diffuse map into the BaseColor input for this converter node.

    • Connect the node that was originally going into the Roughness map into the Roughness input for this converter node.

    • Connect the node that was originally going into the Metallic map into the Metallic input for this converter node.

    • Connect the Diffuse output of this converter node into the input for the Diffuse output node.

    • Connect the Specular output of this converter node into the input for the Specular output node.

    • Connect the Glossiness output of this converter node into the A (Alpha) input for the RGB-A Merge node.

  • Delete the Roughness output node.

  • Delete the Metallic output node.

  • Save the changes to your Substance and then publish the .sbs as a .sbsar to be imported into Lumberyard.

Exporting Substances for Lumberyard

When using Allegorithmic’s Substance Designer to export textures to Lumberyard, take extra care to select the correct file type. The following file types export correctly: .tif, .tga, .bmp. Avoid exporting with the following common file types: .png, .jpg, .psd.

To export textures in Substance Designer for Lumberyard

  1. In the File menu, click Export Textures.

  2. Click the Configuration tab, and then under Presets, select Amazon Lumberyard.

  3. Click the Export tab. In the file type drop-down menu (upper right corner), select one of the following file types:

    • .tif

    • .tga

    • .bmp

  4. Click Export.

Working with Substance in Lumberyard

Using Substance Editor, you can edit Substance material properties and visualize substances on objects in real-time. Substance Editor also has the ability to generate and export static textures from Substances.

Here are some things to keep in mind when working with Substances in Substance Editor:

  • The Substance Gem needs to be enabled first for the project using Creating Lumberyard projects. For more information on Gems, see Add modular features and assets with Gems.

  • When importing substance files, you must restart Lumberyard Editor before substance textures are rendered correctly.

  • A .smtl (substance material) file and a .sub (substance texture) file are generated in the same directory location as the imported .sbsar for applying the substance material or substance textures to objects.

  • By default, an .smtl file will inherit the .sub files in the appropriately matching channels based on the outputs in the published .sbsar from Substance Designer. For example, a diffuse output texture will map into the diffuse channel for the .smtl file.

To use Substance Editor

  1. Open Lumberyard Editor and select Tools, Plug-Ins, Substance Editor. You can also click the Substance icon in the main toolbar of Lumberyard Editor.

  2. To update imported .sbsar files, click Edit, Reimport Substance. Current changes will not be overwritten.

  3. To remove a substance, click File, Delete Substance.


    This permanently removes the substance and all associated assets from the .sbsar project, which cannot be recovered using the Windows Recycle Bin.

Console Variables for Substances

To control how Substances are handled by CPU and memory, you can set the following CVars in your system_windows_pc.cfg file or editor.cfg file.


Enables substances to run on the GPU instead of the CPU, permitting the output of higher resolution textures. Specifies the engine to load for substance plugin. Possible values are PC: [sse2|d3d10|d3d11]. The default is sse2, which specifies CPU.


Applies CPU and memory changes immediately, rather than waiting for the next render call.


Sets how many CPU cores are used for Substance rendering. A value of 32 specifies all cores. This setting is relevant only when using CPU based engines.


Sets, in megabytes, the amount of memory used for Substance rendering. The default is 512.