Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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TF2 Workshop Import Tools : Gold Stars
By Napy Da Wise
How to properly use the new Import tools to improve your chances to get a item ingame.
Why use the Import Tools?
Originally posted by New Contributor:
Why aren't all theses great submission not accepted already? Why does Valve "keep the same contributors and don't want new ones"? Why isn't my well voted item ingame?

Well, most of the time, it's because your item isn't properly packed up. Wrong files, no sources, folder mess, tricount too high, too much texture files... All that stuff takes a long time to tidy up and compile into something usable by Valve.

Originally posted by New Contributor:
But Napy, how can I improve my packing skills? I don't know what to do!

Worry no more contributor! Valve have released a beta of it's Import Tools that will do everything for you.

This compiler introduce new controls for contributors as well as a few restrictions to help maintain rendering performance and keep the import process consistent. The goal being to reduce the time spent compiling and importing, so we can work more on our models. This will help valve add more content quicker, and with less bugs.

Now that you are convinced, let's get started!
Accessing the Import Tools
To access the Import Tools, all you need to do is load TF2, click on Workshop, then Publish a new item (or edit if you just want to repack an old model).

You should then be on that screen

Then you just have to click on the Import Tools button, and bam! You're there!
Now before we have a look at how this cool thing works, let's talk about restrictions.

Currently, the importer is in beta. I means it lacks some options, and is restrictive to keep the game optimized.

As of may 2013, the importers only support Hats and Miscs.

It doesn't support :
  • -Weapons
  • -Animations
  • -Animated textures
  • -More than 2 vmt per team
  • -More than 5 bones/jigglebones (character bones don't count)

The Import tools : the menu

1- This is were you write your item's name (obvious, isn't it?)
2- Check if your item is a hat or a misc
3- Change the equip region, so your item won't clip. You can find a list of all equip region on the wiki[]
4- This is the class tab, where you can change the models and textures for each class.
5- Each class have a different set of bodygroup that you can hide. Don't forget to disable the hat bodygoup if you're making a hat!
6- Models/lods tab. Unneeded lods will be grayed out.
7- Open the tab to edit the QC, in case you need it (you won't most of the time)
8- This button allow you to load your session by importing a txt file that's made when you finish your item. Usefull if you want to improve it and don't want to reload everything by hand.
9- Preview button
10- Verify button
11- Finish button
12- Backpack icon tab
13- Materials tab
The import tools : Importing your models
To start importing you models, pick a class, and load your highest lod.
Load the rest, and you're good to go!
You can then pick another class if your item is multiclass.

Max triangle count is 1400, and the items require Lods depending on their tricount.
LOD 0 is max 1400
LOD 1 is max 1000
LOD 2 is max 700
So if you item is 800 tris, you'll need 1 lod. If it's 400, you won't need lods.
The compiler will grey out the non-needed lods.

When you'll be finished, it should look like that :
The Import Tools : The Materials
Now that your item is loaded, you can load it's materials.
Each lod should have the same number of materials. Each class versions should have the same number of materials. And you're limited to 2 vmts per team.

The importer will unlock the vmts slot based on the info your model uses.

The VMT editor looks like that :

Theses are the only options you have right now. You can't import a custom VMT, nor use custom parameters.
You can tick which VMT you want paintable in the main menu, and edit the vmt parameter individually for each material.
The Import Tools : Backpack icon
Backpack icons must be 512x512 and include an alpha channel outlining the cosmetic. The preview in the tool is the same aspect ratio as backpack VGUI. The cosmetic should not clip outside the preview. It is recommended to take large screenshots in HLMV and downsizing them to get antialiasing on the edges.

Here's a more comprehensive tutorial for backpack icons :
The Import Tools : Preview

Once everything is set up, you can preview your item.
Preview allows you to :
  • See how your item is rigged (and if it clips with the main animations)
  • Have a look at the uber/jarate/burning textures
  • Show RED and BLU versions
  • Test paints
  • View lods

Preview controls :
Left click : Rotate around the character
Shift + left click : Pan the camera around
Right click : zoom in and out
You can click the portrait to reset the camera
The Import Tools : Verifying and Finishing
Once you're happy with your item, it's time to Verify if everything is okay.

Hit the verify button to let the importer check everything for you.

If, for exemple, you forgot the backpack icon, here's the error you'll get :

Once you're done verifying, you can hit Finish.
It'll pack everything and takes you back to the first screen. You can now load your workshop preview, add a name and a description, and upload it to the workshop!

Congratulation, you have a properly imported item! This will up your chances of it getting added by a huge amount!
Was that useful? Do you have more questions? Want to translate?
If you found my tutorial useful, you can credit me in the valuable contributor section. You will not loose any potential money, as valuable contributor revenue is taken from valve's revenue.
You can also credit Mnemo or Helljumper, who both made awesome tutorials.

If you have questions or need help, feel free to add me, but don't forget to leave a comment on my profile stating why. I get a lot of random invite, and I'd prefer to filter the ones that actually need know why they're adding me :p

If you want to translate this guide to your laguage, add me so you can credit me, and so i can make a link to your translation!
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Lord demomedic Apr 10, 2017 @ 7:16pm 
how to upload unusual effect?
Handsome Mug Nov 10, 2016 @ 1:48am 
how to upload a cosmetic with the vta?
Voodoo Sep 14, 2016 @ 2:36pm 
Nice guide but can you elaborate on the material settings if you understand them.
This is one thing that's always been lacking and I can't figure it out.

I have a model that I want some parts to be highly specular. I can't seem to get any additional specular no matter what I try.

I also want a painted part that's illuminated.
Paint is easy> alpha of diffuse map.

I can add illum, but it doesn't use the mask so that entire segment of the model is lit. (only want some pixels)

I can illuminate, but not with paint.

Napy Da Wise  [author] Jul 31, 2016 @ 1:30pm 
If you mean the rim light, as in the thing take makes edges looks shiny, it's actually an intended gameplay feature, as it helps make the characters "pop out" against the background, so you can quickly identify them. You can tweak it under the light rim section of the VMT, but the default setting should work like 99% of the time. Might look wierd when you look at your hat alone, but in the context of the game it has its function.
❄️ Christmas Azyeon ❄ Jul 31, 2016 @ 10:26am 
When I view my model in-game, I see some sort of glisten on the edges of the model. How do I remove that?
Napy Da Wise  [author] Apr 24, 2015 @ 5:15am 
Well this isn't a guide to learn how to model, it's a guide to learn how to properly use the importer.
If you don't know what an smd is, I reckon you're just starting so I suggest you to watch Helljumper's youtube tutorials and steam guides if you're using blender. I don't know the best ones for 3DSmax/maya tho.
Mr. Toxic Apr 24, 2015 @ 4:58am 
Napy Da Wise Im still confused about the entire thing and it works but then coes the Importing holy shit its confusing.... it says * zmd file wth is that
Napy Da Wise  [author] Apr 22, 2015 @ 7:13am 
It depends on what kind, really. I mean some weapons go up to like 15k polys, but you shouldn't use that much for a knife, for exemple. Some designs require more, some less. Just look at the ingame weapons and see which one would be closer to your design
Carbon nanotubify everything Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:41pm 
A melee weapon
Napy Da Wise  [author] Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:20pm 
It really depends on the weapon