Rhino to substance painter and back!

see this video-

I show a quick demo on how to go from rhino v7 wip to substance painter and back-

keys are letting substance do the uv’s and then using those uv’s as a custom mapping object in rhino!

take a look and let us know what you think!


In the future it would be great if the mesh from Elsewhere could be set as the custom render mesh. Then one doesn’t need the custom mapping object.

@andy, @Jussi_Aaltonen, think that is achievable?


that would be amazing and open up all paint programs, not just substance!

Even now it would be great. Furthermore, in my experience custom mapping objects can slow down Rhino considerably.

Yes. My concern is mainly twofold: 1) there is no native Cycles custom object mapping. Adding that is far from trivial. And 2) baking will have all the drawbacks of decal baking I am in the process of fixing by doing native decals in Cycles (maybe not trivial, but far more easy than custom object mapping.)

I just watched the video, Why not just import the substance mesh and use that for rendering/display. The process of applying custom mappings seems a bit tedious. Alternatively you could extract the rendermesh, join that into one mesh and export that to substance, then the custom mapping process is a bit faster. Maybe it even works to join the imported mesh into one mesh, keeping the UV’s

I’m very new to this type of workflow, but I was wondering the same thing - could you simply import the mesh as a painted object back into Rhino and use that for Render?

you could most likely do that- often folks want to keep their models nurbs and this allows for that.

I’m not sure if the extract rendermesh would work, I think you;d have to do the same custom mapping workflow. If you have substance, please try this stuff and let us know.

I am far from a substance expert, I’m hoping to attract some folks with more experience than i have to this conversation.

I’ve been hoping for a long time to be able to detail out models from Rhino like this guy does:


This seems to be a legit path towards that, super stoked!

yes, to be fair you could do that with materials and mapping, but it’d be a pain… since that example model is just paint and texture you’d totally be able to do this in substance painter.

Substance is HAUUUGE… it has tons of features I haven’t even scratched yet. I am dipping but the tiniest bit of my toe at this point.

what I mean is: extract render meshes, join these into one before exporting to painter, then once you import back, you only have one custom mapping object instead of eight.

I just tried it and you can import the substance mesh, make a pbr , assign the channels then assign to the mesh and it renders correctly. BUT its a mesh… so if you don;t have enough polygons you will get jaggys.

assigning it the nurbs allows you to adjust the render mesh as needed.

to each his own…But thanks for the ideas! keep em coming!

Nice useful workflow process and very needed video! Thanks for that.
But NO, this is not “a bit of live link” at all in any way!

Live link means that somehow when modifying the polysurface in Rhino, in Substance Painter is updating the mesh in real-time. And when painting in Adobe Substance Painter, the texture is updating in Rhino in real-time. So you can look at it without a click. I can do this in Unity and Unreal. “a bit of live link” means that you need to press one or two buttons to update all back and forward. And here, in this video tutorial, there is nothing live or liked at all.

Be aware that Substance painter automatic UV mapping is not capable of unwrapping a cylinder! or cylinders (reasonable good for good texturing with constant detail density, parallel for a bump, with good use of space and other issues). For cylinders use rhino UV mapping. And Rhino 3D relying on Substance Painter 2D texture software for UV mapping is a workaround for missing Rhino UV mapping working tools.

Tip to improve this and achieve a sort of link is to make a custom button that export and store the export FBX file always in the same spot. And you do the same in Painter for exporting (I think LUA). [Feature] For updating the texture I guess a single fast [UPDATE TEXTURES] button is missing. that can be placed close over the button [Much…].
But if you modify the polysurface you will lose all the UV mapping of the objects that share the same material. Haa, also in the video you forgot to explain how to set up material in Rhino to be visible in Substance Painter. (Probably I need to think to make a video or video course.) Using layer material for each material.

Anyway is not even a bit and a super useful video. Thx!