Many buttons! but fear not, its not as complicated as it might look at first.
TFMV has 3 main tabs "Items" "Paint items" and "Settings".
Items TabSelecting the TF2 character class and items
When you load TFMV the icon list will be empty, you first need to select a class (Scout, soldier, pyro...) and then an item slot.
In this image the pyro class was selected then the hat slot, you can then see the items loaded, you can double click icons or click the checkbox to select an item.
When an item is selected it will be added to the models list, you can remove the model by unchecking the box or double clicking the item icon again.
You can switch between item slots without loosing the selection and add other item types.
Check or uncheck the "Do not load all class items." on the bottom left of the icon list to show or hide all class items.Managing selected models
This section has the list of models that are going to be loaded in the model viewer and where you can add or remove them individually or all of them as well as save/load the loadouts.
Loading your item selection to the model viewer (HLMV)
- 1- Is the list of models (items) selected, these models will be attached to the "main model", which by default is a TF2 character of your choice.
Up to 4 models can be loaded which is what the model viewer allows.
- Add / Remove
Items an be selected and removed from the list with the button "remove" or all be removed with "clear list".
- Save / Load loadout
The list of models and its class can be saved by clicking "save loadout" its saved to a text file that can be then loaded to load the class and its model selection.
2- You can manually add custom models by giving a model path in the textbox to the left of the Add button, then just click "Add".
The model and its materials must be present in the "tf" directory, or the "tf/custom/yourfolder".
Alternatively you can drag and drop ZIP or VPK files containing your models in the models list (box on the left of the "Remove" and "clear list" buttons), it can be from a workshop generated zip to any zip files that has the models & materials folder structure, TFMV will scan and extract models and materials for you, so you can then load the model of your choice.
- 3 - Override main model
With the "override hlmv main model" textbox you can define a model path to use as a main model, by default TFMV will load whatever player-class model you pick when you pick items, this lets you load any model instead of a player and attach other models to it.
The "Use as main" button will pick the first model in the list and set it as the "main model", which means it will load that model alone instead of attaching it to the selected TF2 character/class.
That model will be then loaded instead of a Tf2 character, you can sitll attach models to that main model.
You have selected a tf2 class and its item models to be attached to it, now its time to load it in the model viewer.
- Loadout to HLMV (F1): loads the TF2 character and the items in HLMV without paints.
- Loadout to HLMV + Load Paints: loads the TF2 character and the items in HLMV and switches the TFMV tab to "Paint Items" and loads the paints editor so you can set the item paints and update them.
- Screenshot (F5) takes a screenshot of the HLMV model preview, make sure to have TFMV selected when pressing F5 and not in HLMV.
- Set HLMV window size: define the dimensions of the screenshot to be taken by pixels then click Update the HLMV window will be resized and when you take a screenshot it will be cropped in these dimensions.
This is very useful to take screenshots without the need to crop them manually later on, for example for backpack icons 512 pixels by 512 pixels.
Gotcha: note that the HLMV window has a height limit, the max height for screenshots that can be taken from TFMV on a screen resolution of 1920x1280 is 796pixels in height.
- Pose sequence: set the character default animation pose.
- Background checkbox: set HLMV background on by default.
- Background color: set HLMV background color by default.
Paint Items Tab
Once you have loaded your items selection in HLMV you can load the paints, unless you already loaded them click "load paints" or the shortcut F2 key, the first time it will need to reload HLMV to make sure it reloads the paintable materials.
There are 4 models slots to edit the item paint settings, only paintable items will be loaded.
In this case I have only loaded one model, the pyro fireman helmet, and loaded the paints, TFMV reads the model file and looks for paintable materials and then lists them in the "paint items" tab inside its model group.
fireman_helmet.mdl is the model and the group.
fireman_helmet.vmt is the material (if you click that, it will open notepan to edit the material manually)
And under is the paints list so you can pick a color:
Pick a color and then click "Update Paints! (F3)" or use the shortcut F3 key, if HLMV is open and with the model loaded, which you should have, it will refresh with the paint color you selected.
That was easy, but wait, there's more!Styles
Some models have styles, TFMV so far handles materials styles, not models styles, maybe in a future version ;)
When a model has several materials, TFMV will load them, up to 4, so you can select the style you want to use and then the paint color.
In this case I loaded the pyromancers mask on the pyro as well as the fireworks bag model.
That's why you see two models, "pyro_pyromancers_mask.mdl" and "pyro_fireworksbag.mdl".
The pyromancers mask has 3 materials styles ( ignore the fourth material "pyromancer_horn_texture.vmt", in this case its just a secondary texture for another part of the model which uses paint so TFMV loaded it anyways).
As explained previously, you can select the paint to apply, but this time since there's 3 styles, you can also select the style, simply check "use this vmt style" under the material you want to use and click "update paints!" to apply the changes, it should refresh in HLMV.