Hi everyone! I've been into into Rendering and Modelling for a few days and I was trying to extract models and textures from Paladins without success, no guides was updated enough so I decided to create one myself, hopefully I'll help someone making their own renders and awesome fanarts!
I'll try to help with images and videos as far as I can, this is an easy/medium level guide, nothing complicated but you need to know some basics terms here and there.
- Paladins game files (duh)
- Umodel (to extract models)
- Raw TFC Export (to extract full resolution textures, an account on Xentax forum is required, I don't really know if I can post the .zip directly here)
- Blender (but Maya works too, you'll need Blender to convert the models from PSK to FBX, useful to open the models in ZBrush too)
- PSK and PSA import/export plugin for Blender (models and animation plugin to import PSK and PSA in Blender)
- Quickviewer (viewer for .dds texture files)
Let's extract the umodel zip, open umodel.exe and select the Paladins game folder path (you need to travel to Paladins gamefolder ChaosGame CookedPCConsole, that's where models and animations are stored, Ovverride Game Detection and select Unreal Engine 3 with Smite (same engine, there's no profile for Paladins) and click OK (correct setting screenshot).
Just wait for it to load and then select All Packages, you're now seeing all models stored in Paladins, you'll recognize some name, in this guide I'll use IO as example, search for her in the search bar and select only the files related to her, click on Export and select the path where to save the exported models and animations.
Actually Umodel exports textures too, but recently Hirez changed the compression method and umodel creators decided not to update it, they probably never will, that's why we use an external program (TFC Raw Exporter), the only textures extracted from umodels are 64×64 (completely useless). You can find these textures in IO_ASSETS_SF.
I extracted my models and animations in my Download folder, IO_ASSETS_SF is the in-game model location, in this guide I'll use Blender so you'll need to install the PSK/PSA plugin I linked on Software Requirements, plenty of guides on how to install third-party plugins in Blender. If you want/need to use Maya and Zbrush, just import them first in Blender, select the imported model and export it in .FBX.
Let's open Blender and import the .psk model from File > Import, I'll select the default IO model located in IO_ASSETS_SFSkeletalMesh3SKL_PC_Io_Skin00A.psk, IO will now appear on screen with her rig marked (screenshot) (you can hide it clicking on the eye icon on top-right near the model infos), IO is composed by two materials (head/tail and body/eyes), so we'll need to find the related color textures for both of them.
We now have our model imported in Blender, let's find our textures, navigate to the Paladins game folder and go into ChaosGame CookedPCConsole, use File Explorer search bar and write .tfc, you are now seeing only the texture files in the .tfc format, there are plenty of them as you can see, normals, emissions, speculars, colors, too many and without a single indication on what's inside them, in this guide I'll just extract the colors textures (or diffuse, whatever) located in CharTexturesHighRes3PATCH.tfc. In this file (after looking for a while) we can find some colors for various skins and characters, including IO, but other Characters or Skins can be found in the other files (Normal Textures are located in CharNormalsHighRes3PATCH.tfc).
To extract them I suggest you to place the CharTexturesHighRes3PATCH.tfc in a separated folder ( I called mine Textures), inside it we need to place the TFC Raw Exporter Files, right click on an empty space of the folder and open the PowerShell Prompt, call the Paladins executable to extract the CharTexturesHighRes3PATCH.tfc using this command:
The extraction will start, tons of .dds files will now appear in the folder, without a single name, indication or whatever info (sigh), eventually the extraction will end and you'll see hundreds of .dds file that you can manually inspect using QuickViewer (software noted in Software Requirements, nope, Photoshop doesn't open them). We're only interested in this guide for IO colors textures located in CharTexturesHighRes3PATCH_281.dds (body/eyes) and CharTexturesHighRes3PATCH_278.dds (head/tail), just move those two files somewhere else (I put them in Downloads).
Let's go back to Blender, select IO, go to Material Properties and select her first Material (MIC_PC_Io_ID1_Skin00A), this represents head/tail, click on Use Nodes and on the little circle near Base Color, select Image Texture and locate and click on CharTexturesHighRes3PATCH_278.dds, in Blender to see Textures you need to enable ViewPort Shading Material Preview or Rendered (to see lightning effects too), you can easily enable them selecting the little circles located top right of the 3D Viewport Editor.
Let's do the exact same thing selecting the second material (body/eyes), but now we'll select CharTexturesHighRes3PATCH_281.dds, that's it, we now have IO with her default colors ready to render, you should actually search for Normals, Emissions and Speculars too if you want a perfect result, instead of selecting Base Color you'll select Emissions/Speculars and then Image Texture. If you want smooth edges right click on the model and select Shade Smooth.
Extra: Character Animations (Emotes)
You can actually see (and edit I) animations using Blender, these are located in IO_ASSETS_SF AnimSet. Go back to Blender,File > Import PSA and navigate to the AnimSet folder, you can select various animations, let's try the Yawn emote (before importing the PSA you'll need to have the rig visible and selected), click play on the animation toolbar (middle-down) and here's the result.
Hopefully this guide will help eliminating the confusion around these topics for Paladins, if you have questions/doubts/suggestions let's discuss in the comment section, have a nice day!
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