Dota 2 – Source Filmmaker Tutorial

July 11th, 2012 by Cyborgmatt Leave a reply »

Followers of my Twitter account will know that I have spent the last week or so messing around with Valve’s newly released Source Filmmaker tool which has now entered open beta, which I thought would be a good time to put together a tutorial on how to get the Dota 2 content working inside of the SFM.

Source Filmmaker Tutorial

SFM Step 1

Download the latest version of GCFScape:

SFM Step 2

Launch GCFScape and open the “dota 2 beta\dota\pak01_dir.vpk” file:

SFM Step 3

Extract the “root” directory to somewhere on your hard drive:

SFM Step 4

Get the Source Filmmaker tool from the Steam Store:

Once you’ve installed it, launch the Source Filmmaker from the Steam’s game list, making sure to select the “Launch SDK” option:

SFM Step 5

Inside the Source Filmmaker SDK, under the mod category, press “Create New Mod” link and enter “dota 2″ as the mod name:

Once the mod has been created you’ll see the following (you can hit “OK” once you see this window):

SFM Step 6

Change the “Selected Mod” to dota 2 and click the “Set Selected Mod” link:

SFM Step 7

Go back to the Dota 2 content that we extracted from the VPK files.

Copy across the following folders: “materials, models, particles, sound” into the “Steam\steamapps\common\SourceFilmmaker\game\dota 2″ folder:

SFM Step 8

Next you need to mass edit the vmt material files, for this I suggest using Notepad++ using  the “Find in Files” feature, which you can find under “Search –> Find in Files…”:

SFM Step 9

Using Notepad++’s “Find in Files” feature you need to find “CustomHero” and replace with “VertexLitGeneric”, filter for “*.vmt” and choose the directory “Steam\steamapps\common\SourceFilmmaker\game\dota 2\materials” making sure “In all sub-folders” is also selected:

Press “Replace in Files” when you’ve your options setup like above and you should see the following:

SFM Step 9 (Part 2)

It has come to my attention that more edits need to be made to the VMT files which will fix the problem with some props having texture issues when lighting hits them:

This extra step is basically a copy of the previous step but with one slight difference.

Using Notepad++’s “Find in Files” feature you need to find “GlobalLitSimple” and replace with “VertexLitGeneric”, filter for “*.vmt” and choose the directory “Steam\steamapps\common\SourceFilmmaker\game\dota 2\materials” making sure “In all sub-folders” is also selected:

SFM Step 10

You’re now setup for using the Dota 2 content inside of the SFM tool. On the SDK panel press the “Source Filmmaker” link under the Applications category (Make sure dota 2 is set as the selected mod):

Create a new session:

Load in a map:

I recommend TF2’s itemtest map for a quick/small map:

SFM Step 11

To load a Dota 2 model into the SFM you’ll see to create a new animation set:

Choose “dota 2″ as the mod and hit “Rescan”:

Using the navigation tree, expand the heroes folder and select a heroes` folder (if the hero is made up of multiple parts, you can find a guide on how to deal with those later on in the tutorial):

Pressing open will now place that heroes` model in the map:

And you’re done, you can find more advanced tutorials below.

Applying Hero Animations

Animations Step 1

Now that you’ve a hero model in the SFM, you can import their sequences via their animation set:

Animations Step 2

A “Select Sequence/Activity” window will now open, you can use this to pick an animation:

Animations Step 3

The sequence will then be played out during the current shot:

Dealing With Multiple Hero Parts

Hero Parts Step 1

A number of Dota 2 heroes have multiple parts to their models, in order to get them to work you’ll need to do some extra work.

For this example I’ll load in Nature’s Prophet’s (furion in the files) model and his horn model:

As you can see the horns are not attached to his head.

Hero Parts Step 2

Under the Animation Set Editor section, open the model’s tree and the unknown trees:

Hero Parts Step 3

You now need to connect the joints together, you can do this by dragging the matching joint from the base model to the one on the extra part:

Which will give you:

Do this for the rest of the joints (you can ignore attack_1):

Hero Parts Step 4

Once all the joints are connected you now need to switch to the “Motion Editor” (F3 is the shortcut), select the model part in the animation set editor and drag the “Zero” procedural all the way to the right.

Once you’ve done that, the part should now be in the correct position:

Using The Dota 2 Particles

Particles Step 1

Create a new animation set for a particle system:

Particles Step 2

Once the particle dialogue is open you’ll need to browse to the “Steam\steamapps\common\SourceFilmmaker\game\dota 2\particles\units\heroes” folder:

Particles Step 3

Once you’ve selected the heroes` particle file you’ll now need to pick which particle you want to use:

In this example I will pick Nature Prophet’s staff particle effect and set the “Emission Duration” + “Particle System Lifetime” to 9999.

Particles Step 4

Move the timeline half way through your shot and see if you particle effect is visible, if it’s not then you’ll need to disable/reenable the lighting in the preview window:

Particles Step 5

In this example I will need the lock the particle effect onto the staff once it’s in position:

Once in position you can lock it in a similar fashion to how we dealt with multiple hero parts:

If you’ve done it correctly the effect will follow the hero through what ever animation is playing:

Other Helpful Material

The official SFM Wiki:

SFM Tutorial videos:

  • Daviking

    Wonderful tutorial! Thank you so much!

  • Golem

    Oh my god, thats the best thing that happen to me this summer. In the skies! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! IT’S CYBORGMATT!

  • Tarık Bir

    This is great! Thanks for doing a tutorial Matt!

  • Mohammad Reza

    lol So nice!

  • MpPocket

    instead of doing some helpful things, you just wasting your time

    • CK


  • ๖ FalcσŋεяO ๖

    to many THANKS 😀 this is Awesome, GREAT JOB sir cyborgmatt

  • munirockz

    Wow this is cool..thanks matt

  • ๖ FalcσŋεяO ๖

    cyborgmatt RULEz

  • Henrique Pimenta

    wow cyborg NICE!

  • Mordast

    If there any way to scale dota 2 models? It seems like they are much more oversized for tf 2 maps

    • Guest

      I hava the same problem :c

      • Facelesserino

        Sorry for the late reply, but i found the solution.
        Find the root of the model, right click it, click “Add scale control To Transforms”. A thing called “Root_scale” should appear under the list. Click it and resize it, you’ll figure.

  • FoxCharge

    Absolutely awesome guide!

  • Phantom

    there is a new patch at test

  • afanasij

    can you load the “dota2.bsp” map?

  • rottencorpse

    is there a way to load the dota 2 map?

  • R3R4LJ

    Wtf am I doing wrong, every time I open it up, It says there are no .mdl files. The items worked fine but everything else doesnt work. PLEASE RESPOND!

    • Jorge Ivan Morales

      i have the same problem D:

  • Vu Viet Anh


  • Imran Adzman

    Thanks for the guide!

  • Κώστας Τσογγίδης

    It looks like that the link for the GCFScape is broken.

  • ChiAndDota

    Awesome guide. I love u man ^^

  • GigaCake

    Just a question. Is it just me, or do those models seem a bit large, at least in comparison to the TF2 maps?

  • Gaston Peralta

    I love you (from Argentina)

  • Carl

    Excellent tutorial. Despite not being officially supported in SFM yet, hooking up new cosmetics to pieced up heroes works better than I expected it to.

    One odd thing I’ve noticed is that trying to create a particle set from hero_invoker.pcf causes SFM to crash every time, regardless of which particle system it is, but it seems like every other full hero set works. Do you have any idea why that is, and if anything can be done about it?

  • CR

    Thank you! Was very easy to follow and the models are working like a charm.

    Any clue how to go about getting L4D/2 in SFM? lol. I’ve tried a few times now but doesn’t seem to be working.

  • Reyn

    Can you tell me how to fix some of the weapon models not being textured?

  • Reyn

    Do you know why some of the weapon models textures don’t show up?

  • RollingPipeStudios

    Ty very much :) awesome tutorial

    • RollingPipeStudios

      😐 nvm for the fail link xD

  • Jojje
  • Erman Derici

    is there any easy way to lock those models ? it tooks almost 30 minutes to lock all riki’s models :(

  • MewEight

    erm there are no dialogues…

  • Erman Derici

    One more question:I can’t find voice files for heroes like axe’s “good day to fight”
    is there anyway to fix this ?

    • Cyborgmatt

      All the voice work is recorded as an MP3, you need to convert them to WAVs.

      • Bobo1

        Where do I find the voice files?

  • CyanideChrist

    The replacing files is taking a LOT of time :( Is this normal? My notepad++ stops responding after a while :( .. any suggestions?!

  • radio

    Is it wrong that my first thought about this was slash fiction

  • emotion

    Can we Creat Demo Like DotaCinema or another without Sony vegas ?

  • Emotion

    can we creat demo with This Program (creat Demo Like Sony vegas) we can do this In Filmmaker ? plz give me Answer

  • Swordz

    How do you open the particle files Cyborgmatt? I tried on TF2 but they don’t load, is it Portal 2? (I’m installing right now)

  • Jordain

    Thanks a lot for this guide! I really wanted to make a dota 2 video and this helped me in doing so. Check out the video if you like!

    • Nur Super

      how u got that map?

  • Doppelgengar

    I have a few questions with the tutorial. Thanks in advance for any help!

    SFM Step 7: What should we do about the folders and files that are duplicates? There is already a materials folder. After a minute of analyzing your pictures and realizing I didn’t have a hint as to which action to take, so I opted to overwrite with the newer files.

    SFM Step 9 (both parts): Notepad++ can’t find any files with either sets of parameters given. I’m hoping this is because I overwrote when I wasn’t supposed to in Step 7.

    SFM Step 11: No models are visible when I highlight them in the .mdl selection box. (The box that opens when creating a new animation set for a model) If I check Wireframe, I can see the outline of the models, so I’m not sure what’s going on. If I open it and highlight the model in SFM (as your picture shows) I still can’t see the model in my map. I hope it’s another problem with the overwrite.

    • Cyborgmatt

      Overwriting the materials folder is correct. If you can’t find the files with Notepad++ then you need to double check that you copied them over and you’re pointing NP++ to the correct directory.

      • Valenfar

        I have same problem here.

        • Ziggy Stardust

          I had the same problem. The issue was my GCFScape was messed up. I had to reinstall it. It was not showing any VMT files so it wouldnt extract them.

  • Chow Jing Wei

    cyborgmatt, my morphing model become like this, is it normal?

    • Alex

      I think yes, because ingame morphling is made of particles, guess you need particles…

  • basasasasasasasasasa

    In Invoker, I am all done putting all items except the cape. I tried to put the Root_0 etc.. But theres so many “Invokercape_R2C2″ but i look in the body but its not there.. I have the ZERO to the max but the cape goes inside his body D:.. Please help me Cyborgmatt ! Just this step and im finished! Thanks for the great tutorial anyway <3

    • CoolKoipes

      Yes. That also happened to me. HELP PLEASE

    • PłaskaŚciana

      Help please :C

  • cromex

    I did everything explained in the tutorial and it worked fine…. but my tinker is having some troubles with his texture :

    And for other heroes, they just don’t appear correctly :

    Up to now, i just need tinker’s model, other heroes are not that important.
    Do you have any solutions ?

    thx for your tutorial !

  • Fábio Carvalho

    Cyborgmatt i try, but my hero dont appear, what i need to do? I make all steps right.

    • Fábio Carvalho

      When i choice hero mode the program show the “Error” image.

  • João Costa

    no .mdl files found, what am i doing wrong

  • Samuel Green

    Hero Parts4 is 100% totally confusing and not working for me. I did all the dragging and stuff… but what is the zero thing? I tried with Omniknight and his body parts are just floating all over the plaxw

    Please help!

    • Dreepss

      Same problem with other heroes! What is the “zero” thing?

  • Tomi Wijiaji

    Thanks for this! I’m just starting with the SFM and this helps me greatly

  • Mr_Guy

    The hero folder is not showing up when i want to create the animation “step 11″ help please.

  • Alexander

    Dear Cyborgmatt, I have encountered a problem with launching SFM SDK and I followed steps clearly yet under steamapps>common>SourceFilmMaker>there is still no Dota2 and I have gone back and followed them 5 or 6 times. thats the only part that isn’t going well. I tried creating my own folder there and inserting the files but it didn’t work.

  • Shentor

    My GCFScape don’t extract nothing… I did it like 10 times but still nothing.

  • Max Locher

    Great work! I noticed some of the folders I have now in the root folder aren’t in your tutorial. What about dragging in expressions, guide, or cfg into the sfm dota2 mod game folder?

  • Anon

    The Tinker looks odd with a creepy shiny cover on his texture. Any way to fix this?

    • TheSzotyMag .

      it’s ok, since Tinker has normal model

  • Ava

    What should be the average size of the extracted files after SMF Step 3?

  • SUnrise

    how to connect any weapon to any hero? i didn’t unsderstand

  • Soleio

    Fallowed the instructions pretty well twice but my SFM crashes every time I try to load map, this doesn’t happen when I switch back to usermod.

  • Pjake7

    Hello Matt, I have a bit of a problem. I tried spawning Tidehunter and all was well. I saved and quit, but when I returned he was an error(though his skeleton still showed when I held ctrl), and I couldn’t find any of the Dota files or models. I have ‘Dota 2′ selected, not usermod so I’m not sure what went wrong.

    • Pjake7

      Nvm solved the problem

  • ZeroGravity

    Does anyone know where I can find the captain bamboo model? ive looked in the courier section and its not there

  • heyamates

    Sorry But There is no Set Selected Mode in New SFM any Help?

  • Yayap

    I have a courier, that I want to move from point A to point B, but im having a lot of trouble doing so. Please help me as quickly as possible

  • Chris

    My root folder is empty. What have i done wrong??

  • Chris

    Couldnt solve my issue with the empty “root”. Does anybody know what i have done wrong ? Or can anybody upload the “root” content (of GCFScape)

  • nlyxe

    Hello Cyborgmatt,
    First of all thanks for this amazing, easy to follow tutorial.
    I have a question though. I am having an issue with the multiple parts hero. I am trying to load Dazzle and I have followed all your steps carefully. Unfortunately the object does not place itself as expected. I have tried many times over to be certain I dragged the right joint but it still fails. Did I miss something?
    Thanks for the help.

    • Crimson Call

      I got this to work at last, after seeing all my pieces stretching to the infinite. You actually need to check all the trees of the part you want to attach and the trees of the main body and match ALL the trees across the model, not only matching the Unknown tree (my cape has Body, Arms, Fingers and Unknown and needed to match all of them with the main body’s trees in order for the whole cape to stay put after I Zeroed their position with that slider).

      Check it out, even if the answer is late, hope it serves for other people as well.

      • marklar

        Huge help, thanks for coming back to post this! I was trying to import juggernaut and ran into the same issue. Without matching all trees I got was a ball of a model

  • agent47rafas

    I wish i could continue this but i can’t open the SDK, it will just not open, i press “Launch SDK” and nothing happens like i never pressed it what is wrong with it?

  • Nieoryginalny

    I have problem with models in sfm mdl. explorer. Everything can be seen on screenshots. [IMG][/IMG]

    • Lê Thục

      I have the same issues with you. It seems the preview system is not working properly. Did you find out how to fix it?

    • Nur Super

      Open Notepad.Then open ‘find in file’ n fill ”’Find what:”$alphatest” n Replace what:$alphatest..The difference is (“)symbol.Then fill “‘ Find what:$alphatest n Replace with:// $alphatest.And done!!!

      • fullcaber

        Ehhh i think i did what you told but they are still like that, your text is a bit confusing 😀 maybe write it in stebs :D?

  • Antibody

    Im getting this message; Dotagameinfo.txt is missing

    what do i do?

  • Canadian Lumber

    The dota2 loading screen pops up for a second then i get the error “Could not get IGameUI interface GameUI011 from client” can anyone help?

    • The Outdoorsman

      I know, I’m getting the same problem. How do we fix this?

      • Lei

        same here

        • YunChang

          There should be a gameinfo.txt file that was created as soon as you created the dota mod.
          If you happened to remove it, just launch the SDK SFM while using the usermod mod, and before launching make sure dota is one of its search paths.

    • morgan freeman

      i git the same problem

    • Divisi0n_by_zer0

      it’s working only if you name a mod “dota 2″ and any other name!

  • Kappa4206

    Hi cyborg, is it possible to test out the maximum courier effects using SFM? There are always alot of questions e.g.

    Hope to have a reply. Ty!

  • Janfon Pierwszy

    Notepad++ can’t find files.
    “0 occurrences replaced”

  • Ves

    It all went well, thank you! Except one thing. There are no animations for the Hero parts, just the Hero. How can I change that or where to import the animation? Thanks.

    • Ava van Interwebz

      From the Animation Set Editor, right click the corresponding set for the hero -> Import -> Sequence

  • morgan freeman

    what is it supposed to do with GCFScape

  • Kyle46

    when i but the files in on step 7, there is file conflicts and stuff, what do i do? some files are the same, but diff sizes…

  • Connected

    Hey Matt, I’m having some problems with the texture missing from the dota 2 particles, you have any ideas how to fix the checkered boxes?

  • Druce Tan

    i did all the steps mentioned here and i can import the models. Having 2 problems:

    1. The models do not appear in the preview window during model selection
    2. When i re-load the movie, all dota objects become “error” objects. the wireframes are there when i try to edit, but only an error object appears.

    please help

  • Yunchang

    Tip for people having a problem with merging hero parts:

    1) import all hero hero parts
    2) WITHOUT maximizing the branches, just click on the main body part and drag drop on the other parts.
    3) F3 to get into motion editor, then select all side parts and slide “zero” to the utmost right

  • pkthedark

    HI, I follow all step to SFM step 10 but when i select the dota 2 mod from SDK Launcher it give me the same window of SFM step 6 and then return on usermod when i click “ok”. Anyone can help me?

  • Druce Tan

    thanks for this tutorial!! i made a video with it!

  • ShadowPhoenix

    Notepad++ is not finding any occurrences. I copied everything I should have and I clicked replace in files, but it says 0 occurrences replaced. Please help.

  • Marv

    I can’t find the cosmetic items, in this case, the Caustic Consumption set, as I’m doing a Poster for a friend. please help!

  • Adam

    What about the animations of different parts of the model? Such as Luna’s mount? There are no sequences on those

  • Fin

    Erhm, guys, does anybody know how does the Pudge’s meathook chain particle work? pudge_meathook_chain is invisible..

  • Bojan Spasovski

    I did evry step right and when i open some tf2 map it rashes after 1 min waiting to load

  • Demoster

    SFM Steps 9 part 2,leave it like that or press replace in file or find all

  • Silent Hunter

    Can this be adapted to allow DoTA 2 models to be used in Garry’s Mod?