Allegorithmic, creators of Substance Designer (material authoring software) and Substance Painter (3D painting software), has been acquired by Adobe. Adobe and Allegorthimic both announced the news today.

With one big unspecified amount of cash, Adobe now has more substance and a true 3D Photoshop. Substance integration was already available for Adobe Fuse (3D modeling) and Adobe Dimension (3d rendering) with previous additional investment by Adobe. All of this together, along with Adobe Aero (Interactive AR) and Substance Alchemist (Augmented material creation), shows that Adobe is quite serious about 3D. From Adobe:

With the acquisition of Allegorithmic, Adobe takes a powerful step forward in adding expanded 3D and immersive workflows to Creative Cloud and provides Adobe’s core customer base of designers a new set of tools for 3D projects.

And Allegorithmic says:

You’ll be seeing Substance and Adobe’s tools evolve together within the coming months and years, but the very same teams are still behind your favorite products, and you can still find us in your favorite online Substance communities, which are growing every day.”

The unique revenue-based licensing for Substance products.

Adobe is known for their all-in-one Creative Cloud subscription pricing and product suites while Allegorithmic has been known for their unique revenue-based pricing and perpetual license option for Substance products. Will this change? Allegorithmic was quick to point out that it will remain the same… for now.

When it comes to licensing, nothing changes for now. Your current licenses will continue running and getting updates. As we join the Adobe family, we will also unveil new and more flexible subscription offers in the coming months. We will share more details about these new and exciting licensing options at a later date.

Flexibility is nice, and this points to other subscription/licensing options for Substance, beyond their current options. So, what is the plan for Creative Cloud? According to Adobe:

Adobe will focus on expanding the availability of Allegorithmic tools via subscription. Later this year, Adobe will announce an update on new offerings that will bring the full power of Allegorithmic technology and Adobe Creative Cloud together.”

And on the Adobe blog, Scott Belsky explains:

The addition of Allegorithmic furthers our expansion of Creative Cloud into 3D content design… With this acquisition, Creative Cloud will benefit from Allegorithmic tools that are already helping top gaming, entertainment, retail, and other brands create the textures and materials that give 3D content detail and realism.”

For 3D Professionals who use Adobe’s Creative Cloud, this seems like a wonderful match. However, the Substance user reaction is… well, less than enthusiastic. One user in the Substance forum echoed (many) others saying, “I currently DON’T subscribe to ANYTHING from Adobe and don’t really want to have to. Please tell us that is NOT in our future.” While (few) others like this user stated, “I’m personally looking forward to integrations with Adobe, like say a live link node between Photoshop and Designer?”

The sentiment is split with most of those commenting seeing doom on the horizon with the thought of eventually being forced to an Adobe subscription. Some Adobe Creative Cloud users love the idea of Substance apps showing up in their CC subscription for no additional cost and Substance tech in other Adobe apps-as an Adobe CC subscriber myself, this sounds fabulous. But many existing Substance license holders are completely distraught over the acquisition and changes to licensing the acquisition implies. Which side do you come down on?

There are some other aspects to this acquisition. Adobe’s announcement is titled, “Adobe Acquires Allegorithmic, the Leader in 3D Editing and Authoring for Gaming and Entertainment”. That’s a very pointed statement, it seems to me. Adobe’s gaming legacy, and 3D legacy for that matter, has been rocky with Flash support dropped and a gaming SDK spread across different frameworks. With Allegorthimic’s products and 3D development knowledge, however, I could see a consolidated platform to rival Epic and Unity.

Then there’s the need to support increasing demand for 3D and giving creative professionals a method that is just as familiar, and just as simple you might say, as Photoshop to create and edit 3D assets they receive. Painting a 3D model in Photoshop or After Effects wasn’t very feasible before. Substance products would allow them to create the materials and paint them on.

As Stefano Corazza, Senior Director of Engineering at Adobe, further explains on the Adobe blog:

This is what Allegorithmic’s Substance technology provides, among other things – an easy way to create (with Substance Designer) and paint (with Substance Painter) PBR materials directly on 3D models, authoring several texture maps at once with the simple motion of a brush, in real-time, and leveraging concepts very familiar to Photoshop users such as layers and blending modes.”

Sébastien Deguy, Founder and CEO of Allegorithmic, posted his thoughts about the merger on Medium with some interesting historical tid-bits about the company’s founding. Sébastien will be continuing on at Adobe leading their 3D initiative as Vice President, 3D & Immersive, Creative Cloud at Adobe.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.