57 ratings
Using Blender to Create or Modify Assets For SFM - A Basic Guide
By Pte Jack AFK
People have been screaming at me to make a tutorial on how to use Blender to create assets for SFM. This guide is a basic introduction to the process of using a simple existing asset, editing it and getting it into SFM as a new independent model. (We're going to edit the TF2 Photo_badge and tun it into a snapshot)

As Blender has a huge learning curve, I can not teach you how to use it in this tutorial. So I'm going to assume you have basic knowledge of working in a 3D editing environment.

The guide will cover the Free programs available to do the job, where to get them and how to install them.

You'll be taken through the process of

1) decompiling a Valve model to it's model source code,
2) bringing that source in to a 3d Editing program (Blender in this case),
3) editing the model to be something else,
4) Skinning it with the original textures,
5) using the original textures in a Image editting program (GIMP with the VTF plug-in used here),
6) reskinning the new object so that the object become independant on the original model,
7) exporting the smd for the new model,
8) creating the .qc required to compile it
9) creating the new vtf and vmt files to give it in game materials
10) recompiling the source back in to a Valve Model Format

I wanted to keep this simple and get it out as quick as possible, so it is a WIP (Work In Process). I'll be adding to it from time to time.

This is merely an example of something that IS POSSIBLE, the process does not have to be limited to available game assets. Use your imagination and create something new and unique. This process is basically the same whether working on a stand-a-lone prop or and actual character model. Just go to the developer website's modeling category, find and read up on the element where this tutorial is lacking.
Programs Covered in this tutorial (and where to get them)
The first video is an intro. It lays out the structure of the series, what will be covered and how we'll get from the original Valve model to our Custom model that will not have any dependancies on the original.

In the second video we discuss the various FREE programs that we'll use to complete the tutorial and we'll go and download them.
Nem's Tools (GCFScape and VTFEdit), Cannonfodder's decompilers (and the version that has been fixed and patched by Hooch), Blender (a 3d Editor), the GNU Image Manipulator Program (commonly known as GIMP), the SMD import/export plug in for Blender, and the VTF plugin for GIMP that allows you to work directly with the Valve Material File Textures. We grab Notepad ++ (the program needed to hex the Valve mdl file, create the qc required to compile the model and edit the Valve material vmt text files) and lastly Wunderboy's GUIStudlioMDL (the program that will compile the new smd files into a SFM usable Valve Model.)

Program Instalation Process (So they work!!)
Extracting Assets from GCF and VPK files and getting them into SFM
Decompiling the .mdl File to the Model's Source smd File and Exporting vtf Files to an Image File
Using Blender
Blender has a huge learning curve and teaching how to use it is totally outside the scope of this tutorial. So in the introduction video I send you to an excellent site for Blender users, Blendtuts.com. The Site's administrator has a vast spectrum of tutorials on how to use this great tool and gets into some of the nitty-gritty aspects. His tutorials are excellent quality and range from those who are starting to use the program to those who have years of experience and need to discover the new features added to new releases of the tool.
So, watch this intro to Blender and do the homework assignment if you are new to the 3d Editor environment.

http:// http://youtu.be/3MHkaszy1hc

http:// http://blendtuts.com Click here to go to the Blendtuts website

Editing the Model in Blender to Create a New and Independant Model
Creating the New vtf and vmt File
Compiling the Source smd File into Valve mdl Format and Getting the New Model into SFM
End result
< >
Pte Jack AFK  [author] Mar 22 @ 3:16pm 
You have to compile the model using a different version of StudioMDL (the TF2 version I believe), on top of that, you have to add a collision model along with bone constraints, etc (again, I believe), also hit boxes have to be in place on your model. Check the the modeling category in the valvesoftware development wiki.
-=Alice=- Mar 22 @ 2:02pm 
Hi, I watched some videos and they`re very useful. But the thing is that I have a SFM model and I want to make it compatible with GMOD, because If I install the model without tampering anything with it it just appear a static model with a green circle on it and I cant make poses with its arms, legs or face, what should I do in this case?
Tesla The Hedgehog Nov 25, 2014 @ 8:13pm 
Thanks. c:
Tesla The Hedgehog Nov 23, 2014 @ 5:17pm 
I would rather have a reading tutorial...
Fish Lord Nova Jul 1, 2014 @ 1:16pm 
where do I get the source tools for blender?
Fish Lord Nova Jul 1, 2014 @ 1:09pm 
okay, thanks!
Pte Jack AFK  [author] Jul 1, 2014 @ 8:16am 
I am going to be striking this guide out of the guide section. I use old and obsolete tools in this. I haven't used GUIStudio in about 7 months now. I export the Model source files and compile the qc straight from Blender. I no longer have any use for GUIStudioMDL (I don't even think I have it on any of my computers anymore.)

This video was done prior to EP1 going to Steam Pipeline. The problem you are running into is the fact that the path I use in the video now longer exists. I'm going to have to redo this tutorial using todays methods.

Fish Lord Nova Jun 30, 2014 @ 10:54pm 
Also, for the last one video, when setting up GUIStudio and configuring it for ep1, I run into this error message: The "gameconfig.txt" file could not be found in the folder specified.
Please help!