Vtex

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Vtex, or Valve Texture Tool, is the command-line tool used to convert targa (.tga) or Photoshop (.psd) (Orange box SDK) image files into Valve Texture Files (.vtf) for use in the Source engine. It takes a targa (.tga) image and an optional list of compile parameters, and creates a Valve Texture File (.vtf) from them.

It is recommended that you use the third-party tool VTFEdit instead. VTFEdit boasts a user-friendly interface, a wider array of accepted formats, the ability to change most VTF's properties without recompiling, a standalone viewer, and direct GCF access.

Basic usage

  1. Make sure that Steam is running.
  2. Place the targa image to be converted inside the SteamApps/common/gamefolder/materialsrc/ folder, where gamefolder is the game folder of the current game (cstrike/dod/hl2/hl2mp/tf). You can also place the image within a subfolder of this folder, to make Vtex compile the texture to the corresponding materials/ subfolder. (For instance, placing the image in a materialsrc/metal/ subfolder, will make Vtex compile the texture to the materials/metal/ subfolder.)
  3. If necessary, write a text (.txt) file containing a set of Vtex compile parameters. Give it the same name as the targa image (with the exception of the .txt extension) and put it in the same folder. If you choose to omit this list, Vtex will create an empty one for you during compilation.
  4. The Vtex executable (Vtex.exe) is located in the /Steam/SteamApps/common/gamefolder/bin/ folder, again where gamefolder is the folder that corresponds with the target game. It can be executed in one of two ways: Through the easy "drag-and-drop" method (described below), or the more advanced command prompt method, described here. Steam must run while it is executed.
  5. The resulting Valve Texture File (.vtf) will be compiled to the materials/ folder of the current game by default. For instance, if the current game would be Half-Life 2, the texture file would be compiled to the SteamApps/common/Half-Life 2/hl2/materials/ folder. If the targa image resided within a subfolder, Vtex will compile the texture file to the corresponding materials/ subfolder. If that subfolder doesn't exist, Vtex will create it automatically.

The drag-and-drop method

The drag-and-drop method is the easy way to use Vtex. Just drag the icon of either the targa image to be converted, or its list of compile parameters (from its materialsrc/ folder) on top of the icon of the Vtex executable (Vtex.exe) and let go, and Vtex will compile the texture file automatically.

See also