Art Spotlight: Cruise Watch

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About Me

Hello, my name is Wes McDermott. I work for Adobe as the head of the Substance demo artist team. I’ve been a 3D artist for over 15 years and worked for the Substance team for 6 years prior to joining Adobe.

Cruise Watch Demo Project

Working with Substance at Adobe, our team is often requested to create demo content, provide training and demos to various customers and departments. For this project, I was asked to create a model that we could use to demonstrate the use of real-time content for online retailers. I was also able to work with the Sketchfab team to create the demo, which used a combination of Substance and a modified version of Sketchfab’s technology to view 3D content on the web.

For the model itself, I was able to choose from a category of assets that were being showcased on an internal demo of a retail e-commerce site. I chose to go with a watch model, because I felt it would showcase the materials I wanted to create as well as be fun to model.

The project required me to create three variations of the watch materials. The goal of the demo was to showcase a customer viewing a product variation with the ability to view the results in real-time.

cruise watch variations


The model was created using Blender 2.8. This was a fun project because I was just starting to learn Blender and I was able to use this project to get me up to speed quickly. The texturing was done in Substance Painter and the base materials were created using Substance Alchemist. The rendered product shot was done using Adobe Dimension and Sketchfab was used for real-time rendering.

cruise watch final

Creation Process

The modeling and UVs were created in Blender.

cruise watch uvs

I also used Blender’s vertex paint tools to create material IDs that I could bake to a map using Substance Painter’s integrated baking toolset. Having an ID map makes it very easy and quick to make material masks. In your 3D program, you can often make complex selections more easily with access to the mesh components. I find using vertex paint to create IDs is much faster than trying to hand paint masks. Also, I can use the vertex paint to visualize material locations while I am in the model stage.

cruise watch material ids

Using Substance Alchemist, I took images of various leathers and converted them into seamless base materials using the BitmapToMaterial filter. These materials were imported into Substance Painter and applied directly to the mesh using the ID map I baked from the mesh’s vertex color.

cruise watch material

I also relied on Substance Source for some of the materials such as the sport fabric mesh. Using the Substance Launcher, I was able to send Source materials directly to my Substance Painter shelf.

I didn’t use an anisotropic shader for the brushed aluminum on the watch face. Instead, I opted to fake the result by using an anisotropic noise in the roughness channel. This gave me a similar look of brushed aluminum without having to use a more complex shader.

cruise watch maps

I was able to create the stitching directly in Substance Painter. I find it to be more efficient to create geometric details using height and displacement than trying to model the details from scratch. By using texturing techniques, I am also able to keep details such as stitches a procedural process where I can make rapid iterations and changes without having to change the actual geometry.

I created a custom tool in Substance Painter to paint the stitches. This tool consisted of a pre-made alpha from Substance Designer. By saving my brush and material setup for the stitch as a tool, I can use it on many different projects.

cruise watch leather band

Sketchfab Setup

Uploading to Sketchfab was a snap. I simply used the Sketchfab export preset in Substance Painter. The Sketchfab Output Template will export the maps and then allow me to log in to my account and upload my content. For the renderer, I am using the PBR model. The Sketchfab 3D view quality is great. I love that you have the capability to add lights, tweak material properties as well as add post effects. My favorite effects are SSAO, Bloom, Sharpness, Chromatic Aberrations and Tone Mapping. For Tone Mapping, I will often opt to use Filmic as it gives an S-shaped view transform.

sketchfab 3d editor settings

For the watch face glass, I created a separate material so that it would become a texture set in Substance Painter, where I then applied a separate opacity shader. In Sketchfab, I was able to use Clear Coat for the material and this gave me a more realistic reflective look to the glass.


About the author

Wes McDermott

Head of the Substance demo artist team at Adobe

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