I decided to try and make a sandy texture in Substance Designer following this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pIVtZSaGwI
I have very little experience with substance designer, so following this tutorial greatly helped me get a better understanding of how to work with the program. I had a lot of fun experimenting with all the different values in the shader graph, and can definitely see how one could sink countless hours into creating different materials using this program.
Here is what my final render looks like on a sphere:
Here is my shader graph with annotated nodes
And here is the material displayed on numerous shapes
For my final project I am likely going to create a photorealistic environment that requires a sandy beach, so discovering how to create sandy materials in Substance Designer has helped me get a better understanding of how I want the final product to look.