Introduction: How to Edit Materials in Any Source Game.

If you've ever played a source game (hl2, css, portal), you have probably seen one or more materials that just wasn't good enough. It is also likely you have thought "What if i could edit this?" With these steps, you can!

note:
It doesn't have to be steam, as long as it has a .gcf library and uses the source engine
Also:
First instructable!

Feedback is lovely!
Please rate and comment!

Step 1: You Need Programs.

Neither can you find, nor can you edit the materials without any additional programs.
These are your saviors in that matter:

GCFscape:
A program used to open GCFs "Game Cache Files", which are actually folders containing all the games files.
Get it here:
http://nemesis.thewavelength.net/index.php?p=26

VTFedit:
While browsing the gfc, this program is used to open VTFs "Valve Texture File" These are the materials and sprites used in your game of choice.
Get it here:
http://nemesis.thewavelength.net/index.php?c=178

Step 2: Working GCFscape

Run GCFscape, and click on the "open" button. (under file...)

A new window pops up saying "open package". Here you browse your way to
C:\Program\Steam\steamapps

note: where i wrote "program", on you computer it might say "programs" or "program files". On Windows 7 64 bit, it's "Program Files (x86)"

When you're there, you'll find several files with blue cubes as icons. These are the GCFs.

Now, if you want to edit portal files, double click "portal content" (if you have portal,that is. It will work with any other game, yet portal will be my example)

At this point you will find folders. Click on the folder with the game's name, and then the materials folder.

Browse around until you find a VTF (not vmt) file that seems interesting, and open it with VTFedit.

Important!
Memorize the path!
Such as: Portal/Portal/Materials/Models/Props

Step 3: Working VTFedit

Despite the name, VTFedit does not edit.
It merely turns your materials into regular image files. Then you can go on an editing rampage!

Note
converting a .vtf into .jpg or whatever does not remove the vtf, but creates an image file with the same name!
Next step!

Step 4: The Editing

Finally!
I get to edit it!
Open the converted image and do your thing!
I use mspaint, but photoshop is probably better.

Step 5: Making the Texture Possible to Use

So you exported a texture?
Good.
And you're done editing it, and want to cram it into the game?
Alright.

Now go open up VTFedit one last time.

Click on:
File > Import
Then browse to where you saved the edited texture and click "Open"
A window full of various settings will pop up. Click "OK"
Don't change anything here unless you really know what you're doing

Now you should have your edited texture in VTFedit.
Click on:
File > Save as
Save it as a VTF texture.
Remember to keep the original name of the texture!

Bam, now you have an edited VTF texture ready for use.
On to the next step!

Step 6: Using Your Texture

Remember step 2?
Where I, while using GCFscape, wrote "remember the path"?
That was important.

Now, if your GCFscape path was
"Source Materials.gcf \hl2\materials\props_borealis\bluebarrel001.vtf"

You must put your finished texture here:
C:\Program\Steam\steamapps\ [Your steam account name here] \half-life 2\hl2\materials\models\props_borealis
If that folder does not exist, make a new folder with that name.
note:
"program" might still be "programs" or "program files". You should know this.

Congratulations
There. You can now open, edit, use and abuse any source material file!

Another note:
Animated, bump-mapped, glowing and transparent materials are all much more complex, and i don't know how to work with those.

Step 7: Update

I've found that the free and ever so lovely image editor paint.NET can be used to edit VTFs directly, making VTFedit somewhat obsolete.

For this to work, however, you need to download a VTF plugin for paint.NET, which can be found here.
Also, paint.NET can be found here.

Man. Things are so easy nowadays, there's barely any fun to it!

Anyways, happy smurfing!

Comments

author
anonymousrandomguy made it! (author)2010-02-19

"I use mspaint, but photoshop is probably better."
Probably? lmao

Anyway, nice instructable, well written.
Hopefully it gets a few people into skinning.

author
evilmadcow made it! (author)evilmadcow2011-12-27

dude- you have to use a program that recognizes transparency: MS paint doesn't
do that.

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2010-02-20

Thanks for the feedback!

author
YouDucks32 made it! (author)2011-08-16

There is no 'Steam' folder in my Program Files. ?

author
bkidwell made it! (author)bkidwell2011-10-04

it might be program files / 86 or something like that

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2011-08-18

What operating system do you use? On Windows 7 64bit, it's in
C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam. I'll add this to the instructable now.
Also, if you're using a pirated game you might not even have steam.

author
bigbrainkid made it! (author)2010-05-22

It's a nice instructable, but I have one question. I'm editing the metal_box.vtf texture so that all cubes look like companion cubes, but I can't figure out where to save it to. I followed the destination and everything.

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2010-05-23

...\portal\portal\materials\models\props

author
bigbrainkid made it! (author)bigbrainkid2010-05-23

I'M at C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\bigbrainkid\portal\portal, but there doesn't seem to be a materials folder.

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2010-05-24

so make a new one

author
AssarD made it! (author)2016-08-10

Found it, it's changed since this guide was made, the files are now in

Steam\steamapps\common\GarrysMod\garrysmod\garrysmod_dir.vpk

author
AssarD made it! (author)2016-08-10

There are no such files in my steamapps..? Help? Btw, I'm also Swedish :3

author
PartyEscortBotBeans made it! (author)2016-05-19

Help! I bought and downloaded Portal, installed it probably, but i can't find Portal/Portal/Materials/Models/ anywhere!?

author
TehR1ng made it! (author)2016-03-14

I went to steamapps, but there is not a single thing exept for some folders!

author
Thomas.D.Galea made it! (author)Thomas.D.Galea2016-04-21

Yeah, the guy who made this is a bit on the dumb side in terms of leading you to where you need to be.

Steam\steamapps\common\GAME\

From there, where-ever the files you need are stored.

author
Whovian Gamer made it! (author)2015-10-23

Can somebody please help me. I do not seem to have any of the GCFs for any of my source games, but I have run them all multiple times and I acquired each game from Steam. Why do I not have them and how do I correct this problem?

author
kamrana made it! (author)2015-01-29

dude after we have edited the jpg image what has to be done do we have to change it back into VTF or what

author
naughtybearfreak made it! (author)2014-11-27

Could somebody help me? The files with the blue cube icons are not showing up in my steam apps folder.

Capture.PNG
author
naughtybearfreak made it! (author)2014-11-27

Can someone help me? The files with the blue icons are not showing up in my steam apps folder. Is there any way to fix this?

Capture.PNG
author
naughtybearfreak made it! (author)2014-11-27

Can someone help me? The files with the blue icons are not showing up in my steam apps folder. Is there any way to fix this?

Capture.PNG
author
naughtybearfreak made it! (author)2014-11-27

Can someone help me? The files with the blue icons are not showing up in my steam apps folder. Is there any way to fix this?

Capture.PNG
author
naughtybearfreak made it! (author)2014-11-27

Can someone help me? The files with the blue icons are not showing up in my steam apps folder. Is there any way to fix this?

Capture.PNG
author
naughtybearfreak made it! (author)2014-11-27

Can someone help me? The files with the blue icons are not showing up in my steam apps folder. Is there any way to fix this?

Capture.PNG
author
naughtybearfreak made it! (author)2014-11-27

Can someone help me? The files with the blue icons are not showing up in my steam apps folder. Is there any way to fix this?

Capture.PNG
author
naughtybearfreak made it! (author)2014-11-27

Can someone help me? The files with the blue icons are not showing up in my steam apps folder. Is there any way to fix this?

Capture.PNG
author
SacrificialYT made it! (author)2014-08-11

When I use GCFScape I navigate to SteamApps but nothing appears. No blue boxes.

author
SG MarA made it! (author)2014-01-10

Hello, i tried to create a skin for the portal gun, but I can't load it in my game like he doesn't exist. All of tutorial i see say you must create a folder 'materials' or 'custom', but still doesn't worked, so if you can help me with that :)

Have a nice day (sry for my bad english)

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2014-01-13

Did you save it in .VTF format?

author
Galore4306 made it! (author)2013-08-28

Can someone help please? I have portal but there's no portal content. Can someone help?

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2013-09-17

Have you installed, and played the game via steam?

Did you actually buy the game?

author
megadarkwood made it! (author)2012-07-05

Hey can you find me the jel and the jel dispenser from portal? and possibly an .avi or something? i want to use it for a movie. if you cant its ok..
THANKS!

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2012-07-09

I'm guessing you mean the mobility gels from portal 2?
.avi is a video format. All in-game textures are in .vtf (and possibly .tga) format.
You'd probably be better off just recording the game with fraps or something.

If you really want to find those files, look for them yourself. I don't mean to be rude or anything, just consider it a learning experience.

author
megadarkwood made it! (author)megadarkwood2012-07-18

Yes and ok. Thanks for ur reply tho and sorry for my late one

author
GLaDOS V3 made it! (author)2012-02-25

How do I do this to The Orange Box for xbox 360?

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2012-02-26

I have no idea. As far as I know, The Orange Box was ported to X360 by EA, and has loads of differences from the PC version.

author
GLaDOS V3 made it! (author)GLaDOS V32012-02-26

could you do this on any xbox 360 game?

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2012-02-26

What?
I just said I don't even know how the Source engine works on 360.
Now you're asking me about all the other games?

author
GLaDOS V3 made it! (author)2012-01-02

what file is that?

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2012-01-05

If you mean the Weighted Companion Cube, it's located in
materials/models/props/metal_box_skin001.vtf

author
albylovesscience made it! (author)2009-08-11

Garys mod rocks and who is that smily face guy

author
coco911231 made it! (author)coco9112312009-09-12

his name is the awesome face

author
evilmadcow made it! (author)evilmadcow2011-12-27

no it's epic face

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2009-08-12

garrysmod owns indeed, it is awesome smiley

(if you liked it, download is www.garrysmod.org/downloads/?a=view&id=74574)

author
GeneralMastiff made it! (author)GeneralMastiff2011-03-11

for the people who don't own Garry's Mod:



sorry, you have never expiericed awesomenesss before

author
Spencer . D made it! (author)2011-08-23

Can you do this in mine craft

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2011-08-29

Actually, it's much easier in minecraft. In the minecraft.jar file it's just a plain PNG file. There are plenty of tutorials on making "texture packs", just google it.

author
evilmadcow made it! (author)evilmadcow2011-12-27

that helps with my plans.also- to find your .minecraft file click on run in you thing that says windows & type '%appdata%

author
bkidwell made it! (author)2011-10-04

how do i add my .vtf pic back to the game immmm sooooo confused but ur great maybe you can help

author
Kirbsome! made it! (author)Kirbsome!2011-10-05

You need to be more detailed be fore I can help you. Do you have the .VTF? Are you confused about where to put it? Is there a problem with exporting the file from VTFedit?

author
mkarafiat made it! (author)2011-09-05

can you do this in need for speed undercover

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