This article relates to the game Dota 2. Click here for more information.
This article relates to the workshop tools for Dota 2. Click here for more information.
This article's documentation is for Source 2. Click here for more information.


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Model Editor layout summary and breakdown of the various panels available.

Model editor layout.jpg

1. Main Menu


Common file operations such as Save, Save As, Recent Files, etc. Model editor can open files from game ( .vmdl_c ), as well as content side ( .vmdl ) files.


Show and hide UI elements.


Access model editor tools:

  • View Sequences: Launches the view sequences widget.
  • View Materials: Brings up a widget with the model's materials on it.
  • Edit Material Groups: If material groups are present, brings up a UI for editing them.
  • Morph Explorer: UI for previewing morph shapes.
  • Bone Merge Tool: UI for bone merging models into the session.
  • Load Stock Hero Items: For DOTA heroes, brings in their default items.
  • View Keyvalues: View keyvalues compiled into the model.
  • Preferences: UI for setting, saving and loading preferences.
  • Screenshot: Take a screen shot of the viewport.
  • Force Save All: Save every file the session depends on.
  • Recompile > Recompile Asset: Recompile the asset.
  • Recompile > Force Recompile Asset: Force recompile everything the vmdl depends on.
Note.png Note: Recompiling should happen on save, use these menu items only if the asset is not updating when it should be.


Access the asset menu, allows inspection of the high level asset options.


Toggle viewport display elements.


Toggle various viewport shading options.


Add meshes, hitboxes, and attachments. See Model Menu.


Add animations. See Animation Menu.


Select the LOD level currently displayed in the model.

2. Tool Bar

Selects the mode the gizmo is in.

Available modes:

  • Move
  • Rotate
  • Scale
  • Box Scale
Note.png Note: The selected object determines what modes are available. For example attachments can use move and rotate, while hitboxes can only use scale and box scale.

3. Outliner

The outliner is a hierarchical view of the model. The outliner is composes of two parts, editable data and compiled data. Selecting an editable data item in the outliner will send the data to the Property Editor where it can be edited.

Tip.png Tip: All outliner items have a right-click context menu. The menu items vary based on the selected item's type.

Editable Data

  • VMDL item
    • The first item in the outliner represents the VMDL. of the model.
    • Items under the vmdl represent data that is saved directly in the vmdl, or external data the vmdl is referring to.
    • Child items of the VMDL in the outliner tree represent different groups of data associated with the model.
  • File
    • Items under the files represent the on disk files the vmdl is dependent on.

Compiled Data

This section of the tree represents the complied model data. This data is visible in the viewport but cannot be edited.


Ground Plane 
Select this item, and edit the properties in the property editor to change the appearance of the ground plane.
Origin Axis 
Select this item, and edit the properties in the property editor to change the appearance of the origin axis.
Head Light 
Select this item, and edit the properties in the property editor to change the attributes of the head light. Note: This is not supported in Dota 2.

4. Viewport

The viewport contains a rendering of the model being worked on.


Camera controls:

WASD+RMB Camera forward, left, back, right.
Alt+LMB Camera orbit around model.
Alt+RMB Camera zoom.
Alt+MMB Camera pan.
RMB Camera rotation.
Shift+A Center on model.

Display > Reset Camera resets the camera to the defaul location.

Model Stats 
Toggles model information including polygon count.
HUD Messages 
Toggles the display of viewport messages that alert the user to various events (i.e. the model is read-only, imported from Source engine, etc. ).
Frame Rate 
Toggles the frame rate display.
Toggles the wireframe grid.
Origin Axis 
Toggles the origin axis.

Display Menu

Use this menu to toggle display options related to the model.

Shading Menu

Use this menu to alter the shading of the model, as well as toggle wireframe overlays.

5. Property Editor

Displays the editable data for a given selected item. The Property Editor supports multiple selection.

The Property Editor with an animation item selected in the Outliner, showcasing a lot of the standard functionality.

Outside of the standard editing (text, checkboxes, or numbers) there is some custom UI that shows up in the property editor.

File Browsing

  • Next to "File Path" you will see a text field with some buttons associated with it. This UI element indicates that "File Path" is something that can be browsed to.
  • Clicking on the magnifying glass icon will bring up a browser that allows a file to be selected.
  • The file name is almost always going to be relative to the current content directory.

Adding and removing list elements

  • The "+" icon means you can add a new element to a list. In this case, clicking it next to Activities will add a new activity.
  • To remove the element, click the red "x" icon.

Add a new element

  • The circle with a "+" icon indicates that a item can be created. In this case, clicking the icon associated with "IK Rules" will create a new "IK Rules" element.
  • To remove an element, click the red "x" icon.

Combo boxes

  • Type in the text field of a combo box to filter available options by that text.
  • Typing in the text field and hitting enter will force that text to be the value. This is useful when the required text is not available in the drop down UI.

6. Timeline

Use the timeline to control animation playback.

Model editor timeline.jpg
  1. Time slider
    • Grab the slider to pause and scrub the animation
  2. Bind Pose
    • Hitting this button will force the model back to the bind pose ( the pose before animation is applied )
    • Animation will not play while in bind pose
  3. Physics Simulate
    • Hitting this button will force physics to take over
    • Animation will not play when in Physics mode
    Note.png Note: This does not work in the initial release of the Tools.
  4. Cloth Simulate
    • Hitting this button will force the cloth to simulate
  5. Playback Controls
    • Restart
    • Go To Start
    • Step Back
    • Play/Pause
    • Step Forward
    • Go To End
  6. Playback Speed

See also