Alhambra is a custom node for Substance Designer created to easily generate a wide variety of tiling patterns. It does so by tiling an input map according to the 17 wallpaper groups. This means that it allows you to generate, theoretically, every pattern that exists.
Its name comes from the wonderful Alhambra fortress, one of the most stunning examples of Islamic architecture. It is believed to be the only building in the world where every wallpaper group is found.
But what is a wallpaper group? It is a classification of a wallpaper. To put it bluntly, it is a type of pattern. There are, in total, 17 wallpaper groups. If you want to understand them, I recommend, Wikipedia's article about them (or one of the many other resources available online).
Alhambra operates by arranging the UV coordinates in such way to emulate each wallpaper group. Why did I say emulate? Because to make everything tile in a square (as Substance must do), Alhambra is not actually precisely arranging the coordinates as it should. It is stretching things to make them fit the shape we have to follow. Doing so guarantees that everything that is generated is tiling, and that is fundamental to make Alhambra a useful tool.
The node is very straight forward. It has the following options:
- a menu to select the desired wallpaper group
- a handy slider to scale the output
- a handy button to invert the output
- an optional output to display the UV coordinates that are used to arrange the input map (you can use them with something else, or you can just use it to understand what going on)
- an ID output to easily mask part of the output. Use it together with a Color to Mask node.
Alhambra is provided in a Grayscale and a Color value. Both work in the same way.
The download includes three files:
- an SBSAR providing Alhambra
- an SBS providing a bas relief material created with Alhambra (so you can have a real life example of usage)
- an SBS containing many little tidbits of improvised things Alhambra can do