Practice 2: Forefront: Substance Designer Embroidery

Practice 2

Asa Booth

In starting to look for interesting textile techniques that I can incorporate into my design, I discovered the beautiful embroidery work of Asa Booth. This piece was done in Substance Designer, a software I’ve been dragging my heels at learning due to its complication, but it’s clear that it’s the place to go for customized texturing.

Much of this process is unfamiliar to me, but I think looking into the overall stages now is a good way to familiarize myself with the steps. The overall effect is fantastic – the artist was able to mimic the slightly wobbly direction of embroidery stitches, incorporate some inconsistencies, and create a very realistic textile.

They start out creating the base fabric with a series of gradients and warps to create that woven effect. They added some variation and noise along with knobby errors in the fabric – no textile is perfect and you’ll often see some parts where it was snagged or where threads are uneven. For my necromancer character, I’d like to incorporate quite a lot of this variation since her costume will primarily be constructed from roughspun, hand-made fabrics.

Asa then built the twisted, rope-like shape of the individual embroidery strands themselves. This is likely more detail than I will be going into for a reasonably low-poly game character, but even just looking at the SD diagrams, I’m glad I can make some sense of the steps: simply a series of modifiers and maps that refine the shape, similar to transform nodes in Maya.

The most illuminating part of this process for an outsider was how Asa created the embroidery threads that follow the rounded shape of the fox design. In essence, it was done with a black-white gradient where each shade indicates a certain degree of rotation; she’s created a mask so that the threads fade off appropriately and a rotation map to dictate their direction. The end result is individual stitches that correctly mimic the way threads would be placed to fill in an area of an image.


Booth, A. (2019). Creating Embroidery in Substance Designer. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 April 2022].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s