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Ok here is my version of Skinning for TF2 I think shorter and easier.
1. You need to open up GCFscape. Go to a file that you wish to change “Skin” For example Im going to change the Medic Boxes. So- File\open\tf2\_textures\_dir.vpk\tf\materials\models\items\medkit.vtf. And the .vmt file in tf2\_misc\_dir.vpk in the same directory.
2. You can extract that files to your desktop.
3. Once you have that files to the desktop. You can right click on it select “Open with” Then a box will pop up chose select from browser. Then Photoshop! If you have skin before it should be on the front page or even (Like me) see all .vtf files as PS files.
4. Edit the file as you wish make sure to save often.
5. When you’re done click on- File\Save as\C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\team fortress 2\tf\custom\my\_custom\_skins\materials\models\items (make if it doesn't exist). If it asks you if you want to replace this file, just say yes. Then the .vtf box will pop up THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PART!!! Save the file as a compressed Texture. If you have skinned for Css it is an uncompressed texture but you must save it as a compress texture. (This took me 2 days to find out why it was not working)
6. Now you're all saved and almost ready to go take the .vmt (you extracted this to your desktop with the .vtf file) files and place it in the same folder as the .vtf file
7. Now you should be able to open up TF2 and see all your skins.
If you don't have an items folder you need to create one make sure you spell everything right.
I know how to edit skins even on GIMP or PAINT.net or anything that can save file as .PSD When you open the skin with VTFedit, right-click on it and press copy, than go to your editing program for example GIMP and press cltr+v.
There you go! after you finished, save it as .PSD so VTFedit can open it and save as .vtf
Honestly, how are we supposed to open it if it's still in VTF form? I recall reading something about changing it to a TGA file, but you need to change it exactly or it will seem too transparent.
This is from the perspective of someone who can't afford Photoshop, but knows he can still skin without it. Please add a step for converting them to TGAs to edit