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LATEST! Easy and hassle free way to upload your Blender workshop models to Dota 2 Reborn Workshop.
By TooOPLive
Bringing forth a new ray of hope, this comprehensive picture guide will help Blender users wanting to create items for the workshop to compile successfully, now that Valve no longer accepts SMD models.
Hello Dota 2 Modellers! As we know it, Dota 2 has phased out accepting SMD models. I happen to start creating my very first item at this stage and find myself not being able to upload even a simple cube with UV Mapping and stuff on the Dota 2 Tools! So the situation was that my modelling skill is Level 15 (not that good really!), but my uploading skill was Level 0. But now I can say that the latter has maxed to 25 now that I got to figure out how to do it.

The most helpful feature is that you only need the model you want to create an item for (Sniper in this case) and ONLY Blender. That's it! No need of GCFScape or Cannonfodder's MDL Decompiler or even Blender SMD Tools for that matter. I hope this will become one gem of a guide. I will try to improve this guide from any suggestions that you ask for. Contributions are welcome :)

NOTE: This guide assumes that you’re a Level 20 and above modeller, no tips about how to model or UV texture stuff. Also we will create a simple gun model for Sniper. This is focused mainly on how to import and not how to model.
Step 0: Downloading the Sniper model from Workshop
I made this guide based upon the Sniper model. You can directly download the model by clicking here. The zip folder contains textures and masks and a Maya model and a FBX Binary model. We will import the FBX model into Blender.
Step 1: Importing the model to Blender
  1. Start by launching Blender. I have version 2.74 but I guess more recent versions will work as well.

  2. Press A followed by X to delete the default cube, camera and lamp as we won’t be needing them while uploading in the workshop. Press Enter to confirm deletion. We will now have something like this.

  3. Now we will import the .FBX model that comes with our Sniper model that we have downloaded. Press Spacebar, type FBX in the search box and click on Import FBX. Navigate to where you have extracted and select the FBX model.

    Technical note: There are two types of FBX formats, one is ASCII and the other one is Binary. These are Binary FBX models that Blender accepts and this is the format that the Workshop Tool correctly compiles. More on that later.

  4. We have successfully imported our model!

    Note: This image has been zoomed up for visibility. The model is very small to actually work upon. However, your final model should be of this scale at the time of exporting. One way around this is to increase all of the models to scale of 5. (The hotkey is All->Scale->5->Enter). When you are done with the modelling, UV unwrapping, texturing and joining it correctly to the bone, downscale to the original scale. (Hotkey is A->S->0.2->Enter).
Step 2: Modelling Sniper’s Gun
This step is not exactly a step, but merely the basic precautions especially for new modellers. The first precaution has already been mentioned in the above note. If you have skipped the previous step, I advise you to go above a bit and read the note. It is vital to your success.

I have made a very simple cylindrical model. Make sure any object that you create are aligned and positioned like in the picture above. The pose that we see is called the bindPose and the position and angle matters. (Would appreciate some help here as the final image doesn't look correct as of now.)

My gun looks something like this. Told you it is simple!

The next step involves unwrapping the model. So press Tab to go into Edit Mode and press U and press Unwrap. We will not make any textures, rather we will use those textures that came with the Sniper model. For that reason, I did not feel neccessary to screenshot this step. Unwrapping a model for texturing is a different lesson and there are plenty of guides out there.

Now the tricky part is to bind the model. I know of one good utility that will make it easier to select the correct bone. First of all, go back to Object Mode by pressing Tab again and select the bones. Then in the right panel select Armature and check the Names box.

We now have all the bones labelled in the workview! Now we need to bind our gun to WeaponRoot0 bone. I have changed my camera angle to easily get both the gun and the bone to view. Press Z to go display wireframes. Go to Pose Mode as shown in the screenshot below. You need to have the Bones selected to be able to go to this mode.

Selecting a bone will get highlighted in blue in the Pose Mode and the name will get highlighted in white. Now we right click on the model and holding the Shift key click on WeaponRoot0. If it looks something like this then you are half way to success!

The gun model should be in orange and the bone will be blue. Now press Ctrl+P and select Bone to bind the object to the bone.

Now we are ready to export!
Step 3: Exporting the model
Press Spacebar, type FBX and click on Export FBX.

In the Export FBX window, make sure that you are exporting Binary FBX, which I had mentioned earlier on, otherwise the Workshop tool will give an Error and won’t compile an ASCII FBX model.

Give a desired filename and save it. Now we are done with Blender!
Step 4: Importing to the Workshop
Open up Dota 2 - Tools and click Launch Item Tools.

The next few steps are pretty straightforward. I have omitted out the need to screenshot any further, except where required. Select Create New Item, followed by Hero Item. Select Sniper for hero and Weapon for slot and click Select.

I have given the same models for the in-game model (LOD1) and portrait model (LOD0) which are all under low triangle budget. Adding one texture for the Sniper’s gun colour texture would automatically include the rest of the textures as well. Here is what my window looks like before clicking Next.

Keeping your fingers crossed, click Next!

Congratulations! We have successfully imported our model. Time to say GGWP I guess!!

Now I will leave my guide here as you click Next to enjoy our weird texture, simple gun model and yes Sniper is holding it ridiculously. I haven’t figured out the reason why, maybe someone can enlighten me but this guide was just for the sake of simply finding out a way to upload a model!

Thank you for taking the time to go through this guide :)
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TooOPLive  [author] Sep 8, 2016 @ 8:51pm 
Congratulations, its a strange solution but it worked atleast. I did mention that your model has to be scaled to that exact tiny size that you got when importing. If you have scaled it up in Blender by say 2x, then you have to re-scale down to half. So after finishing work, you would select the model and skeleton and type S->0.5 to bring it back to its original size. Then export the model which ever way you got it. I guess lots of changes causes strange things to happen. Your Blender may not match with my version. That's one big problem I am seeing.
DerwyddOdyn Sep 8, 2016 @ 11:52am 
I've been messing around, I've found that if I delete the Hero's model but keep there skeleton, my item will be imported. However, the model is way too large and the textures do not get applied properly.

Thank you for replying!
TooOPLive  [author] Sep 8, 2016 @ 11:40am 
I will try to recreate a simple model and maybe create a video, but it will take some time as I am not really used to making guides.
TooOPLive  [author] Sep 8, 2016 @ 11:39am 
Sounds crazy but today I guess I exported that thing with FBX ASCII and it worked. How it got through I really don't know. Either way, if that doesnt work then I guess Blender is still flawed. I did this guide side by side and how it worked only the computer knows!
No problem loading the model and finally exporting the FBX from there using Maya though, but it really defeats the purpose. :/
DerwyddOdyn Sep 8, 2016 @ 11:02am 
Hi, I've definitely exported as FBX binary, but there is still an error while compiling :/
TooOPLive  [author] Sep 7, 2016 @ 8:46pm 
I hope you have been exporting the Binary FBX. I didn't mention Maya or something like that because I was able to do it in Blender itself. This isn't a solution but just that you could open the model and save it as FBX binary and I think Dota Workshop favours that model much more than Blender. Couldn't possibly ask for the model you're making but I hope you are just trying how to upload a simpler model. As you can see, my sniper gun is not aligned properly and since then I haven't made any such progress. Need a good inspiration for this hero.
DerwyddOdyn Sep 7, 2016 @ 2:59pm 
Hi, this guide has been very helpful. However, I have this error when compiling:

Please could you take a look at this? I have no idea what to do. Thanks