Author Topic: How to protect substance tools  (Read 70 times)

Hello !

I'm working for a compagny where I make some sbsar with designer to painter. The CG supervisor asked me if there is anyway to protect them to be taken by artists who come in the compagny, sometimes for only few days. Sbsar are archives, and can't be opened, but surely be copy and used, even if the name/icon of the owner is customised.

It may be strange, but making tools and materials are a huge investissment and a part of the compagny identity, and I gess there is a proper way to "lock" nodes in the network, as I suppose Naughty Dog must had the same question in the past.

Thanks for your future help ! :)

There is no way that I know of, except maybe watermarking, which is not without issues and does not fully solve the problem.
Yes, files may be stolen by dishonest people, but the same thing can happen with most of the other assets you produce in your company, be it meshes, bitmaps, movie clips, sound, etc. How is it different with sbsar materials ?
Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 06:29:27 pm

It's of course the same problem for many assets, but as one of the main purpose of substance designer is to be a matrix of materials, it's a bit different.

Bitmaps are raw material, and modeling are most of the time different for each project. But as sbsar are thought to cover most of the case, to be iterative, it's more precious, as a pipeline and tools are important for a compagny.
I had the same discussion with rigging people who have an autorig, which they made in many years, and it's a part of their work, of their "unique ability", (as competition is important in our jobs, thoses skills become more and more precious) and they have to protect them, by many ways.

I don't talk about dishonest people, it's just that it's always the case that at the end of a project, artists take precious elements. But some elements are more important thant others and I consider that sbsar are very precious for a compagny :)

Interesting discussion.

I could imagine putting an optional hashed license key in the .sbsar file.
If no key hash is found, it opens normally.
If that key hash was found, then it would be checked against the current license which allows you to run the product and looks for a match.
Plenty of complications about... Designer-vs-Painter keys, individual artist in a company vs. a site license, maintaining the keys, unlocking it in the future if you wanted to, and so on.

Ultimately, they weak link in security almost always comes down to people.
Even if it's protected... "Hey Bob, you're my buddy.  As an admin, could you give me an unlocked copy, please?"