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About Digital Art / Hobbyist Core Member Reah Lee A. Tom AttoFemale/Canada Recent Activity
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Do you want to learn how to port models but don't know how? Either because 3D modelling is daunting, you don't know how GMod or SFM works, or you don't know where to get the models in the first place? I hope this tutorial will help guide you through the process.

Texture details will be explained in part 2, so stay tuned!

Please let me know if there are details in the porting tutorial that require more explanation. I'd love to make this as clear as I can for everybody and it's hard to do without remembering how it felt when this was all new (also admittedly pretty late as I write all this so I'm bound to have messed something up).


A major difficulty with porting is finding the required tools for importing, extracting, and converting, not to mention with free programs. Every tool required are included with links directing you to their source.
Blender (Steam version) is what we'll use. This is not a Blender tutorial though Blender tricks will be shared to help kick-start your modelling knowledge.
We're porting for SFM/Gmod so we'll use the Blender Source Tools. Its installation instructions are found on the website.
We're importing BFRES files so here's the Blender script to use. If you plan to port maps, you probably want to have the KCL importer as well for the collision model. The installation is similar to the Blender Source Tools so refer to its instructions as well.
Crowbar will be used as the model compiler (raw-asset to game-usable converter). There are other options for compilation but this one is the simplest, and can also act as a decompiler if necessary.

How can you port without models? Here's several Splatoon 2 model files for porting practice:

The models will be removed upon request if it is deemed illegal. Refer to Romshepherd's website if you're interested in learning more about ROMs (an account is needed to view links) or obtaining more stuff like maps (I can try to upload them somehow).

Note that you need a SZS extractor to retrieve the BFRES model from the model files. Just drag the SZS file onto the executable and the work will be done for you.

Model Import

Menu > Import BFRES. Find the file in the file search. Textures and bones can be imported, and animation support will be added soon. If you have Noesis, you can set its path in the parameter window within the User Preferences to unlock the DDS to TGA option. More information will be given in part 2 of the tutorial.

Model Manipulation

More often than not model manipulation is required for the model to work in a new format. The only one required for GMod and SFM is the maximum number of weight groups a vertex is allowed to be in, which is 3 (in other words every point can be influenced by 3 bones at most). This can be assured by entering Weight Paint mode and select Limit Total on the left menu.

Limit Total by Tomato127
This menu is on the left, in Weight Paint mode. Press T if it doesn't appear

You can leave this step until the very end, but make sure to remember to do it. If you receive a "Too many bone influences per vertex!" error during compilation, it means you forgot this step.

If you want to create models to merge onto the existing Inklings and Octolings, you need to import their bones, which can be done by decompiling the models using Crowbar.

New Materials

There can only be one recolorable part per material, or perhaps you want to make a certain part of a model transparent (such as a logo) without affecting the whole texture. Or maybe you want certain parts to have certain effects such as extra reflection. Whatever the reason, adding a material is actually easy.

Materials by Tomato127
This menu is on the right, in Edit mode.

Click on the plus button to add more materials or minus to remove the material. Assign sets the selected faces to the selected material, Select selects all faces that are assigned to the material, and Deselect deselects all faces that are assigned to the material.

Split Model

Want to make a wristband or a part of a map its own object? After selecting the parts you want to split in Edit Mode, hit P and select the first menu's option (separate by selection). Pressing L while hovering over a vertex will select connecting vertices, helping you select parts of the full object, but it's up to you to practice with selecting areas.

On the contrary, hitting Ctrl+J joins the selected objects.


Flexes are called "Shape Keys", and they are found in the Data tab.

Shape Keys by Tomato127
This menu is on the right.

Add shape keys using the plus button and remove them using the minus button. The Basis shape key will be the first key added and is simply the default state. A flex can only be edited when its slider is at 1, in case you're experiencing odd issues unable to edit the model. Pressing the tack sets the selected shape key to 1 automatically, allowing you to sort through them and quickly edit as necessary.

Flexes can be whatever you want. The bust adjust slider is created by adding bumps to clothing using Sculpt Mode, for example.

Make sure the flex sliders are all set to 0 before compiling.


If you want to create movable eyes then you're out of luck because I'm still struggling. Fortunately all you need for the modelling part is the center of the eyeball, either the actual center of a sphere or the center of the sphere section, as a compilation parameter later. I'm not too sure of easy ways to calculate this.

Physics collision

Don't get me started on this. It's actually relatively easy: Just split the model and set the weight of each section to their corresponding bone. Model pieces should not overlap to prevent collision glitches, and make sure each object's origin are the same by hitting Ctrl+A and applying location. Compilation details will be added later, however, since I'm not too familiar with this step.

Model Export

More often than not you need to group the model(s) with its skeleton. This allows you to work on multiple parts at once (such as for creating body groups) and choose the exported DMX's name. This is relatively simple to do: just select the models to group and hit New Group. Name the group as you please.
New Group by Tomato127

Now comes the exporting! The export function is unusually not placed in the export main menu, but rather as a property of the scene.
Export DMX by Tomato127
This menu is on the right, in object mode

The Export Path can be wherever you want, and the default values should suffice for both SFM and GMod. I recommend the DMX format over the SMD format due to its more convenient and up-to-date features. When hitting Export, select the group you have created.


Tired? This is the final step, so keep it up! To be able to use the model in-game, it must be compiled into a game-specific format. The compiler requires instructions on how to create a model; these instructions are stored in a QC file. A QC file is really just a text file with a different extension, so create a text file and rename its extension. Every line is a command (empty lines are allowed for organization). Here's a list of important commands:

$modelname path
The path to the exported model, relative to the models folder of the addon, including the mdl extension.

$body bodyname path
The path to the DMX file. There can be multiple of them, or none if they are all body groups (see below). Bodyname can be whatever you like.

$cdmaterials path
The path to the materials, relative to the materials folder of the addon. There can be multiple of them in case of shared resources. The path tends to be "models\" followed by the model path (without the mdl extension) by convention.

$sequence name file
An animation for the model. This is necessary even if there's no animation. I personally use "$sequence idle DMX file".

$texturegroup skin {
texture name 1 }
texture name 2 }
A list of VMTs for the model's alternate skins ("skin" is actually the name of the texture group but goes unused). The first texture name must be the name of the material within Blender.

$bodygroup name {
    studio dmx path 1
    studio dmx path 2 
A list of DMX files for each model of the body group, or "blank" for no models. The DMX names do not appear in GMod but they do in SFM.

$scale number
In the offset that the model's scaling should change, there's no need to re-import the DMX into Blender just to scale it up; it's simpler to change it here.

Inkling and gear scale is 4. Idols scale is 3. Scaling can vary from model to model so it's recommended to set the scale here instead of scaling inside Blender.

$model name dmx file {
$eyeball name bone x y z texture diameter angle iris material iris scale
It can actually get more complex than this but you just need to worry about this if you're doing NPCs with controllable eyes. Until I can figure it out, I invite you to read up the model command and eyeballs yourself.

$modelname "test\folder\box.mdl"
$body body "inputmodel.dmx"
$sequence idle "inputmodel.dmx"
$cdmaterials "models\test\folder\box"
$cdmaterials "models\test\shared"
$texturegroup skin {
    { "oak" }
    { "dark_oak" }
$bodygroup Sticker {
    studio "Sticker.dmx"

Open up Crowbarand find the QC file. Select the game from the drop-down list and hit compile (the UI can be found here). It's that simple.

Note that the models won't have textures! Textures aren't that complex but they deserve their own tutorial. Working on it already.

Blender Tips


        Switch to Edit Mode
Ctrl + Tab
        Switch to Weight Paint Mode
        Join (objects and bones)
        Apply Transform
        Split objects

Simple functions

Remove duplicates
Recalculate normals

Complex functions

Trigs to Quads
Beautify faces


Tomato127's Profile Picture
Reah Lee A. Tom Atto
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art

Contact info

Discord: Tomato127 #9284
Steam: Tomato127

Current requests taken:
  • OCs for :iconntd-secondary: (hold)
  • Inksona for :iconmachalcon13: (hold)
  • Characters for :icondarkmegafan01: (second request; hold)
  • Characters for :iconbrianjacksonii: (hold)
  • Inksona for :iconfnafplayer64: (hold)
  • Characters for :iconszabolcs-radar: (hold)

I'm busy porting Splatoon 2 models to SFM and GMod, but I can still note them down if you have any in mind.
What I can do for requests:
  • Recreating images or renders in SFM
  • Character posing (scene-building not so much)
  • Short animations

Points are accepted but not mandatory (at the moment), though points will certainly tempt me to work on your request faster.
You can contact me through comments or notes or Discord.

More information can be found in the journal entry if necessary.

Gifts from others! (I'll have to stop at some point, unfortunately)
(by ZackTheInkling; removed now, aww. It was the winking animation)
[GMOD] Cyber-Poltergeist by that-motoring-freak (by that-motoring-freak)
Afternoon with the Pokemon by BrokenNooby64 (by BrokenNooby64)
The Splattergrounds (2/3) by Szabolcs-Radar (by Szabolcs-Radar; ask him to review your art!)

I make renders because I can't draw to save my life. I don't know why I'm focusing on Splatoon as opposed to something else; I guess it's because of its rich world.

I do a lot more than just renders. This includes music and programming. I'm a Jack of all trades, master of none.

But better than a master of one.


Will everybody be okay with porting delays due to the sudden release of the Octo Expansion?
I'm really sorry about the sudden departure. I'll make sure not to let that happen again. >.<
It's with great regret and sadness that I'm here to announce Inkling 2.0 models are finished! Both SFM and GMod are available and ready to be installed as a legacy addon. Expect wonderful features such as:
  • Flattened underwear mesh for all your bikini needs!
  • No tentacles! The hassle of invisible materials is no more.
  • The skin bodygroup changes the eyes this time! Extra models for skin tones may be available soon but you can change the skin tone manually as you please (due to the way the TF2 recolor tool works in GMod this technique cannot be used without also recoloring the eyebrows).
  • Properly named finger bones for the SFM version. Also the extra bones from the GMod version is there for some reason, hmm.
  • More skin on the head, exposing my awful modelling and texture skills. This is a nice solution to the boy's fourth hairstyle problem by the way.
  • Non-functional eyes because I didn't figure that out in the one day I spent working on this.
  • I was notified that eldritch horrors may be summoned if you've sinned in the past. I'm unsure how this relates to the models but I'm looking into these claims.
2.0 Octolings and Agent 8 will be available once the latest Switch firmware gets hacked in 7 months. The original enhanced Inkling models were edited by Fission.

Note that any sexual use of the models will lead to their deletion. For those of you who can't resist child pornography, you can earn this permission by becoming a Patreon now!



Add a Comment:
MemeManOmega Featured By Owner 11 hours ago
Heyo, can I ask ya a question?
Tomato127 Featured By Owner 6 hours ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, go ahead. ^^
MemeManOmega Featured By Owner 6 hours ago
Nevermind, it was about the plushie models I'm making but I found a workaround
Trisha611 Featured By Owner May 26, 2018  Student Photographer
Trisha:Happy Late Birthday!,I’m sorry I’m Late!
Tomato127 Featured By Owner May 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahh that's perfectly fine. Thank you. ^^
peridorky233 Featured By Owner May 21, 2018  New Deviant
You've met with a terrible fate...

Haven't you?
melika567 Featured By Owner May 19, 2018
Happy late birthday.
Tomato127 Featured By Owner May 19, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
melika567 Featured By Owner May 19, 2018
Keep it up with the ports!
richardchibbard Featured By Owner Edited May 19, 2018  Student Photographer
I know I'm a bit late for it, but... ^^;
Happy Late Birthday! :D  Birthday cake  icon Birthday Cake birthday cake Me and My Birthday Cake Birthday Cake  :D KimRaiFan's Bday Cake Lily Wishing a Happy Birthday Let them jump out of cake Super Fantastic Golden Platter Cake 3D 
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