Want To Make Models, Skins, Or Sprites?
Maus Members Join Date: 2002-11-03 Member: 5599Posts: 2,532
edited September 2004 in Customization Help and Troubleshooting
Start here for InformationA couple of important things before we begin:
(1) Back up your files
Before downloading anything from these forums, please back up your files. Its a good idea to copy your entire Models, Sprites, and Sounds directories. The more advanced people out there might wanna do it the elegant way and create a pak0.pak with all this stuff in it. Here is Insanity~Gizmo's guide to doing just that.
If you lose a file because you forgot to back it up, first ask the nearest person to kick you in the nuts. Then DO NOT post a thread asking for the model (it just annoys everyone). Simply join a NS server. If you are missing a required file, the server will automatically send it to you. Problem solved, many flames saved.
(2) How to preview what you download
Half Life Model Viewer ? lets you look at the model in windows, check out its animations, skin, any extras like jetpacks, &c. Once you have it, associate MDL files with HLMV so you can open them easily from explorer. If you've never done this before, simply double click an MDL file in explorer, select "Other" and browse to wherever you installed HLMV.
Sprite View ? lets you look at sprites, naturally. Again, it's useful to associate it with sprite files like HLMV and models.
First things first: Valve's Modeling Tutorial - The definitive reference. Valve distributed this as part of the HL SDK. At first glance it's geared towards 3DSMax users, but contains invaluable information no matter what modelling package you use. Since many people don't bother downloading the entire SDK to get it, DarKcyde hosted the file himself. This is the single most important resource in this entire thread! Get it! RTFM!
Some quick notes:
-HalfLife models are in MDL format.
-You cannot load MDL's into Milkshape or Max, but there are model viewers that can look at (not edit) them.
-Models are composed of Reference SMD's (the mesh itself) and Animation SMD's (uh... the animations).
-Skins are 256 color (8-bit) BMP's, each with their own pallette.
-Skins have a practical maximum resolution of 512x512. These are sometimes called High-res skins.
Before you can edit anything, you're going to need to decompile the models.
Milkshape has a built-in decompiler, but it is far from perfect. Recent versions have started using Kratisto's Decompiler, which is far superior. For those who have been around for a while, weapons don't have to be re-origined if done with Kratisto's decompiler. The nice thing about Kratisto's Decompiler is he has released it in EXE format, so decompiling is no longer tied to Milkshape alone (MAX users rejoice). Mdldec.exe is a DOS program. If you click it in windows, nothing will happen (until you set it up, see below). I suggest placing this (and other related tools) in a \bin directory in your half-life folder. For the clueless, thats C:\Sierra\Half-life\bin
The Decompiler and Compiler are attached to this post. If anyone wants to mirror them please do, because I don't know how long the forum keeps attachments.
Steps to take so you can right-click MDL files to decompile them:
1. Create a .BAT file in the same directory as mdldec.exe. For convenience, call it mdldec.bat. I will use example paths throughout this tutorial, you MUST make sure your paths point to where ever you put the files. You can create BAT files with notepad. Your BAT must contain these commands:
|C:\Sierra\Half-life\bin\mdldec.exe %1 |
-if you put the decompiler exe in a different location, simply point this command there instead
2. In explorer, select Tools->Folder Options, File Types tab. Scroll down to the MDL entry, which should say "Opens with HLMV" by now.
3. Click "Edit..."
4. Click "New..."
5. Action: Decompile Application: C:\Sierra\Half-life\bin\mdldec.bat
6. "OK" "OK" "OK"
7. Right-click MDL files and select Decompile to decompile them. Its a good idea to stick them in an empty subdirectory when doing this, as it can generate a LOT of files (especially player models).
So you've got a shiny new model. Now you have to compile it into an MDL so you can share your creation with the rest of us. If you've got this far, I hope you've read Valve's manual, cuz I'm not gonna tell you what needs to go into a model. I will tell you how to get it compiled though.
Models are compiled with a program called Studiomdl.exe. Milkshape has a built-in version, but it will NOT always compile player models (they can have too many animations, though NS models are fine ... for now). Studiomdl.exe, another DOS program, is better than Milkshape so we'll go through the setup process again.
Steps to compile by right-clicking QC files:
1. Create a .BAT file in the same directory as studiomdl.exe. Studiomdl.bat works nice. Put these commands in your BAT:
|C:\Sierra\Half-life\bin\studiomdl.exe %1 |
-if you put the compiler exe in a different location, simply point this command there instead
2. In explorer, select Tools->Folder Options, File Types tab. Scroll down to the QC entry, which should say "Opens with Notepad" by now. If you don't have QC's in there yet, double click one and associate it with notepad.
3. Click "Edit..."
4. Click "New..."
5. Action: Compile Application: C:\Sierra\Half-life\bin\studiomdl.bat
6. "OK" "OK" "OK"
7. When ready to compile, simply right-click your QC in explorer.
Q: How do I create ironsights, shoulder views, or other-wise reposition a v_model?
A: This is done by using $origin in your QC file at compile time. Place it near the top of your QC file, before the $sequences.
FORMAT: $origin X Y Z
X is left/right. Positive values move to the right.
Y is in/out. Positive values move out, away from you.
Z is up/down. Positive values move down.
Weapons decompiled with Milkshape's old tool should start with an origin of 0 -25 0, and tweak from there.
Q: What are the T models (ie. w_hmgT.mdl), and why can't I open them?
A: T models contain only the texture (skin) for the model. They are part of the same model, so don't separate them. They are created using $externaltextures in the QC. This is the only way to compile a model once it reaches a certain size (about 2 mb).
*** I've compiled these links into an easier-to-navigate bit on my website: http://members.aol.com/handhyle/101index.html
Milkshape 3D: $20 Shareware. Great HL support, can import and export SMD's. Many other formats supported, also makes a good model converter.
GMAX: Discreet's free version of 3D Studio Max. Does not allow exporting or plugins, but otherwise has all features of MAX R4. Can create MD3's, which can then be converted to HL using other tools.
Maya Personal Learning Edition: Free version of Maya. Fully featured, except all renders are watermarked, and doesn't support exporting.
Softimage XSI v.2.0 Advanced: Download, or get 2 CD's by mail, FREE! Valve just switched to Softimage! Milkshape can import .XSI to convert to .SMD's.
MAX R4.x/R5 .SMD Exporter: Max 5 support, fixed UV bugs. Try Valve's old one if Alex F's gives you problems exporting references.
MAX R3 .SMD Exporter: Plugin, doesn't work with GMAX. Hosted by Fileplanet, so login needed.
Vek's SMD Export script: Maxscript, R4.2 only. Requires biped/physique, so again, no GMAX.
Maya 4.0 .SMD Exporter: Maya 3 exporter is in the SDK. Hosted by Fileplanet, so login needed.
www.maxplugins.de: Place to get plugins for all versions of 3DS Max.
www.scriptspot.com: Place to get maxscripts for both 3DS Max and GMax.
Maxscript Utilities: Chris Cookson's site with importers for SMD, MD2, MDX, MD3, MDC, and MDS. For both Max and GMax. This site includes an SMD Export script that will work with 3ds max R6.
Blender 3D and other freebies - Link to Crouching Hamster linking other modelling programs later in this thread.
Modeling Tutorials (Half-Life Specific)
Wavelength: Great HL editting resource. Check the FAQ and QC script reference.
MAX: Setting Up 3D Studio Max: by Scarecrow
MAX: Mesheditting: By Scarecrow
MAX: Digital Sculpting: By Scarecrow
MAX: Skin Meshing: By Scarecrow
MAX: Bipeds and Physique -Skeletons: By Scarecrow
MAX: Figure Mode -Adjusting Skeletons: By Scarecrow
MAX: Half-Life Animation: By Scarecrow
MAX: Compiling for HL: By Scarecrow
MAX: Hitboxes: By Scarecrow
MAX/MS3D: Weapon Modeling Tutorial: By Scarecrow. Shows v_models, p_models, and w_models. For MAX and Milkshape.
MAX: Skin Meshing: By TinyFly
MAX: Modeling a MAC-10: By TinyFly
MAX: Modeling an MSG-90: By TinyFly
MAX/MS3D: Import MDL model to Milkshape, then to MAX: By FoxTrotNiner
MS3D: Setting up MilkShape 3D: By Scarecrow
MS3D: Digital Sculpting: By Scarecrow
MS3D: MilskShape SkinMeshing: By Scarecrow
MS3D: MilkShape Skeleton Application: By Scarecrow
MS3D: MilkShape Skeleton Application: Bipeds: By Scarecrow
MS3D: Half-Life Animation: An Overview: By Scarecrow
MS3D: Weapon W_Model Tutorial: By Rat
MS3D: Weapon P_Model Tutorial: By Rat
MS3D: Weapon V_Model Origin Adjustment: By Rat
Animation Conversion in NS - My (Souris) tutorial on converting models to use any custom animations, such as smartgun anims.
Basics of Smoothing Groups in Milkshape - My tutorial to help people get going on one of the more opaque parts of using MS3D
Modeling Tutorials (MAX & GMAX)
Start to Finish model tutorial: "Male member" (stupid swear filter) Dastardly takes a simple cube model in Max and goes through all the steps of texturing and exporting it to Q3A. Simple model, but VERY complete.
Joan D?Arc: a great walkthrough building a female figure (the legendary Joan of Arc).
Tips & Tricks for low-poly modelling by Paul Steed. Very useful.
3DS-Max Tutorial: Multi-page tutorial by Zeo-Cartin using 3DS Max.
Map Object Model creation: Todd Gantzler's (toddg33) tutorial on making and skinning a simple map object model.
Low Polygon Modeling for 3D Computer Games: Modeling a Light Post with 3 Different Polygon Limits in 3D Studio MAX by Max Zeilke
Max Modeling Tutorials: These tend to be more general in nature, that is not game related.
Beginner-oriented MAX tutorial: NilreMK shows some of the basics in modelling with 3DS Max r4, but skips through some areas easy, so it's not a "for dummies" tut....
XYZ Tutorials: Includes box modeling, unwrapping, modeling from refs, and Brazil rendering setup.
Modeling a Simple Spaceship: An entry level 3DS Max tutorial by Max "Ghoul" Shelekhov.
GMAX: Skullbox's IK & FK setup example files: Two .gmax setups, one FK and one IK and animated walk cycle of the IK setup.
*Movie Bay Raitt's Time Lapse Box Modeling movie: Bay Raitt shows box modeling in Mirai in this .avi (very similar to working in Max). 9Mb.
*Movie More Bay Raitt Time Lapse videos: Short .gif file animations of modeling several subjects in Mirai. Similar to box modeling.
*Movie Max AVI tutorial: modeling "principles" can be applied to MilkShape/Animator
Modeling Tutorials for Milkshape 3D
MS3D Help File. Includes basic usage and a couple tutorials. Hosted by Fileplanet, so login needed.
www.polygods.com: Many tutorials, including videos, for Milkshape.
Psionic's Milkshape 3D Tutorials: Tutorials on modeling and skinning in MS3D.
Introduction to modeling using Milkshape 3D: Excellent 6 part series by Ben Moss.
ChumbalumsOft's tutorials links page: Links to specific tutorials for using Milkshape 3D.
Modeling Tutorials for Other Tools
Blender 3D: Convert a Blender model into Milkshape or gmax: Polycount thread post by biotek detailing the process of converting a model made in Blender into other formats. Many link resources.
Modeling Tutorials: Non-Tool Specific
Surface Tools for Low Poly Modeling: Scott Ruggels shows a method for modeling from a drawing.
3D Artists: General modeling tutorials.
General Model Optimization & Skinmapping Tips: HyPer shows how to manually (and intelligently) reduce poly count on a model.
Subdivision Modeling: tool used is Mirai, but the tutorial is applicable to "box-modeling" with mesh-smooth modifiers applied in Max.
MAX3D at 3DLuvr: Link to 3DS Max tutorials, plug-ins and other goodies.
Modeling a VERY Low Poly Head: What it says ...
UVW Skin Mapping & Unwrapping Tools
Ultimate Unwrap 3D: Standalone unwrapping tool, $30 Shareware. MS3D users should definately use this. Supports many model formats.
LithUnwrap v1.3: Last free version of Ultimate Unwrap 3D before it went shareware. No longer supported, but it still works, and its free.
MAX:ChilliSkinner: Excellent UVW unwrapping Maxscript.
UVW Skin Mapping & Unwrapping Tutorials
Unwrap 3D Tutorials: Tutorials using the Ultimate Unwrap 3D tool.
Applying Multiple Materials to an Object in Max: A UT tutorial on "Multi/Sub-Object" materials, which HL models require as well.
Ishtar's Unwrapping Tutorial: Ishtar uses 3DS Max, Chilliskinner and Texporter in this step by step.
UVW Unwrap Tutorial Maverik uses Texporter on a weapon.
Chilliskinner Tutorials: Instructions for unwrapping with Chilliskinnner
Mapping with UVW Unwrap in 3dsMax
Bug Limb tutorial: Shows some texture unwrapping techniques.
Unwrap the skin of a character model: HyPer shows how to select pieces of a model for planar mapping.
Unwrap Tutorial-Advanced: HyPer Unwraps a more complicated model.
Rorshach on proper Unwrapping: Rorshach uses before and after references to show good skin map layouts.
Skin Prep and Mapping: HyPer shows some tricks for manipulating the gizmo (in this case on cylindrical mapping) for good effect.
Planar Mapping: Thornbird shows how to planar map a head in Max.
Milkshape skin mapping: by Gusher.
Character Animation: Principles and Practice Great animation basics. Also some modeling tuts, not really game related.
Walking the Walk: Paul Steed on creating a Walk Animation
MAX: Adjusting Your Biped: Paul Steed on adjusting biped form to fit model in Character Studio
MAX: Character Studio (part 2): Paul Steed, part 2 of biped tutorial
MAX: Setting up a Q3A model with a 3DS Max biped: Paul steed shows an in-depth walkthrough on connecting and adjusting the biped model to a character.
MAX: Bringing a Character to Life: Character studio tutorial
MAX: How to animate wings using Character Studio: SkullboX shows how to use "dummies" to add additional controls to the standar CS biped.
GMAX: Rigging a Leg in gmax: Skullbox shows how it's done in this polycount forum post.
MAYA: Character Rigging: An 10.1 MB .avi movie (with audio narration!) about doing IK rigging on a leg. Done in Maya, but probably relevant for 3DS Max too.
The GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program, open source (free) tool for linux and windows. On par with Photoshop or PSP. Can't beat the price.
Half-Life Model Viewer - The only model viewer you'll need, plus its import/export ability for skin replacement makes it incredibly useful for skinning - no compiling required!
Weapons Skinning This is the "X" tutorial JediYoshi praises later in the thread - it really is incredible.
HFX tutorials - basic metal tutorials, clear and easy to follow
Baneforge Skinning Tutorial: Chemical Burn's Photoshop skinning lesson.
Harelequin's qbranch: Many tutorials on game model skinning, including skin layout, metal and rust, cloth and fabric techniquees.
Skintutor: Slaine focuses primarily on Q1 and Q2 model skin painting. Still, some good painting techniques here.
Photoshop Resources: Tutorials and links.
Photoshop Step-by-Step: Gusher's detailed walk-thru of skin creation for 3d models.
3d Effects using Photoshop Channels
Texturing 3D Weapons: by Shadowfire.
Metal Shapes: by Phong.
Human Skin Tones: by PolyKarbon.
Metal Shapes: by Absolute Cross.
Making Effective Chrome: Paint Shop Pro
Basic Web Interfaces: Paint Shop Pro
Metallic Navbars: Paint Shop Pro
Matte Black Metal video tutorial
Photoshop Tutorials: Making aged metal surfaces, Scratches, and Overlays.
Raised Stamp Effect
Metal and Scratches
Hair 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Pipes 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (1-3 are a set, and the site they're on has other good PS tutorials)
Wires 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | (1-4 are a set, and the site they're on has other good PS tutorials)
General Painting Tutorials
Adobe Photoshop- digital hair: Nuts and bolts tutorial on creating hair on photographs, including creating custom brushes.
dhaibih: Painting techniques.
Wacom's Photoshop Tips: Some tips and tricks for doing some basic things with Photoshop.
Sprite Tools and Resources
Sprite View: Uh... views sprites.
Sprite Wizard: Windows sprite compiling tool.
Sprite Maker: Another sprite compiler.
Wavelength 2D Art: Sprite tutorials. Also decals, wad textures, skin editting.
And finally ... Hamster sent this link to me and I haven't had time to go through it to sort some bits of it out into the relevant sections of this post, but this site is full to the brim with handy tutorials for 3D and general graphics work: Tutorial Hunt
Yanked from the DoD mod forums, and inspired by (and largely ganked from) the excellent Q3A Modeling Resources thread at Map-Center.
If you have any tutorials or tools that are missing, please post them and this can be updated.
This attachment contains Valve's new studiomdl.exe (required for compiling models), with support for transparent textures, and version 1.2 of Kratisto's decompiler, mdldec.exe.
Post edited by Unknown User on