Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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HellJumper's Blender 2.5 Modeling Tutorial (Old Archived Version)
Ever wanted to create custom models for TF2? Hats, weapons, or anything else? Were you ever saddened because you didn't know how to model? All you beginners, look no more... I present my second installation of the Blender Tutorial!

The compiling portion of this tutorial is outdated. The beginning portion still contains useful blender modeling techniques, but the later parts of the video (compiling) is outdated due to the the import system. Please refer to my newer tutorial for new compiling information.
Picture-Based Supplementary Tutorial
I hope people find this picture-based tutorial useful for quick reference. It obviously doesn't go into as much detail as the video does, but it's great for people who watched the video at least once and want to quickly go back to look at things.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need to install source SDK?

A: Yes. You need it in order to have studioMDL.exe to work properly. Just install it by opening Steam, go to your library, go to the tools tab, and then install the "Source SDK". Once it's done downloading you can use the model viewer which is very useful. Also, you might need to press the "refresh content" button when using it for the first time. Just open the SDK up and there should be a button in the middle for that.

Q: I don't have a sourcesdk_content folder!

A: You must have the Source SDK installed to have access to this folder. Install it via the instructions above, and then run it at least once to ensure your clientside files were unpacked from the SDK gcf.

Q: GUIStudioMDL and MDLdecompiler won't work!

A: You have to put those programs in your C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\USERNAME\sourcesdk\bin\ep1\b in folder in order to work. In addition, MDLdecompiler needs to have all the check boxes unchecked.[]

Q: GUIStudioMDL refuses to work after I set the correct file paths!

A: Usually this problem can be solved by refreshing the SDK content. Do the following: Close everything > Open the SDK > click "refresh SDK content" > close the SDK > now try setting the paths again.

Q: When I compile my model, the texture won't show up, or it shows up as a purple and black checkerboard.

A: Make sure all your file paths are correct (in the .qc and the .vmt files). Check to make sure your materials are located in the folder designated by the $cdmaterials line in the qc file. Then check to make sure the .vmt is named EXACTLY what you named your .tga file. So if you named your texture 'Blender_Heavy.tga' when you exported it from blender, you must name your .vmt 'Blender_Heavy.vmt'

In addition to the above solutions, make sure your texture was exported properly from Blender. To do this, right click your smd and open it with notepad++. Quickly scan through the lines to see if your texture's name is showing up EXACTLY in the following format: "YourTextureName.tga" If there is a filepath or you are missing the ".tga" or the texture name doesn't even show up at all, your texture won't work!

Q: SMD tools isn't working / Blender won't recognize the files.

A: If you are using the latest version of Blender, download the SMD tools script here and save it somewhere easily accessible. If you are using Blender 2.56, then download this one[] instead. The SMD tools version must reflect the version of Blender you are using! Open Blender and go to file > user preferences > add-ons > install add-on. Navigate to your saved script and select it. After doing this, click "Save as Default", and delete the script.

Q: How do I remove a preexisting hat from a character model?

A: Import character model > Select character and go into edit mode > Make sure everything is deselected first > Hover cursor over the hat vertices and press "L" > Delete or hide the vertices ('x' or 'h', respectively)

Q: Why does my model export in a weird rotation?

A: First test to see if the model works correctly in-game via the item test map or whatnot. If it is still at an odd angle, then chances are that you accidentally rotated a bone that is parented to your model. Delete any existing bones, import a fresh character model and reassign the bone you need to your model. If the model works fine in-game but is rotated at an odd angle in the HLMV, this is due to the fact that Blender uses a z-up coordinate system rather than the typical y-up coordinate system. It has no effect outside the HLMV if your model exported fine.

Q: How do jiggle bones work in Blender?

A: Check out this video: Credit to SgtR007_1

Q: How I model / export weapon models?

A: Modeling / Exporting a weapon is a very similar process to hat making. The key difference lies in the fact that instead of using the bone rig of the character model, we will be using the bones of a pre-existing weapon that we want to replace. So for example, if we wanted to make a Sandman replacement, we wouldn't import the scout model, but rather the Sandman model to see what bones it comes with. The following is a process on how to export a weapon from Blender (c_models):

  • Start a fresh, blank blender scene.
  • Extract a model that you want to replace from the team fortress 2 materials GCF (tf/models/weapons/c_models). Make sure to grab the .mdl file and any associated file (.vvd, .phy, etc)
  • Hex the extracted .mdl file by opening the file with notepad++ and changing the "IDST0" to "IDST,".
  • Decompile the hexed model file to get your weapon smd file.
  • Import the weapon smd into Blender.
  • Make your model without altering the imported decompiled model, and when you are ready, superimpose your model directly on top of the decompiled weapon. Make sure the properties of your model are all normal (you can check this by pressing "n" and making sure your scaling is all 1 and your positions are all 0. If they aren't just make sure you change them, and then reposition your model in edit mode).
  • Delete the decompiled weapon and assign the remaining bones to your model via the vertex groups panel. You can check to see that you assigned each bone to the appropriate vertex group via weight-paint mode. Melee weapons usually only have 1 bone whereas more complicated weapons will have a variety of bones that may or may not be shared between different groups of vertices. It is probably advisable to start with something simple like a melee weapon and work your way up to a more complicated model such as the huntsman (complicated!)
  • Now that you have assigned the bones to your model, the process is the same as exporting a hat.

Q: How do I make my hat paintable?

A: Check out this post.

Q: How do I attach particle effects to models?

A: Check out this post. Credit to NBC011795.
Closing Statements
If you found this tutorial useful now or in the past, please support me by visiting my workshop page here:

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Smitty Werbenjägermanjensen Aug 26, 2015 @ 3:41am 
I can't find my name in the files. Please help?
Peter West Nov 7, 2014 @ 6:58am 
where do you get the models from if you are on mac?
Timcor Oct 17, 2014 @ 6:45pm 
So, I'm thinking of making a coat for soldier, how would I deal with all of the bones it would need to be locked to?
devilord1o1 Feb 10, 2014 @ 1:30am 
does this work on mac?
HJ  [author] Jul 31, 2013 @ 6:53pm 
Check out my backpack icon guide:

It explains how to fix the Source SDK.
Sync. Jul 31, 2013 @ 7:30am 
I hope you're still reading the comments, Because I got a question.
When I opened up SDK and tried to launch Model Viewer, it gives me this pop up.
What should I do ?
Ich bin ein Narr Jun 29, 2013 @ 10:11pm 
я захжу в игру на любой серв сVAC пишет вы не можете зайти сюда поскольку здесь установлен анти чит
хоть у меня его нет
Angel Spy Jun 27, 2013 @ 10:49am 
HJ  [author] Jun 26, 2013 @ 10:01pm 
Use my other tutorial if you want to use other programs. This one is more or less for teaching blender principles. You can use other programs and then use the compiling method of my other tutorial.
Darkshifter98 Jun 26, 2013 @ 7:42pm 
Hi, just curious but, could you use the things in the tutorial and apply them to other programs like 3ds Max or Softimage?