Tutorial Skins - Reskinning SC2 Units


New Member
Hi I havent been on these forums since I quit playing WC3, but now SC2 is nearing release I thought I'd swing buy and post this tutorial about reskinning SC2 that I worked out toady. (I used to have the username Mullit for anyone who remembers me)

Re-skinning Starcraft 2 Units and Buildings

Tools needed:

-Copy of SC2 Client

-MPQ Editor: http://www.zezula.net/en/mpq/download.html

-Photoshop with the Nvidia plugin for reading .dds files (found here )

You can use other image editing software if you can find one that will open .dds files but for the purposes of this tutorial I will be using photoshop

Start by making a backup of the SC2 data file ‘StarCraft II Beta\Mods\Liberty.SC2Mod\Base.SC2Assets’ (should be about 1.7GB)

Now using the MPQ editor you need to open the file you just backed up, it doesn’t have the right file extension but it is in fact a .mpq archive disguised by blizzard, so you’ll need to select ‘all files’ in the open dialog.

Within the MPQ open the folder named ‘Textures’ and it opens a list of all the textures used in the game. For this example I am using the zealot. So find the Zealot in the list and extract the file called zealot_diffuse. If you want to edit a different unit just extract the XXXX_Diffuse file of that unit.

Now open up the extracted .dds file in Photoshop and in the dialog box make sure ‘Load using default sizes’ is checked and ‘Load MIP Maps’ is unchecked

Edit the skin however you like, for this I have made the zealot a silvery colour to match the stalker.

When you’re done editing, save the file and it should bring up the .dds settings dialog box. You’ll need to save as ‘DXT 5 with interpolated alpha’ and because we didn’t load MIP maps you’ll need to have ‘generate MIP maps’ checked.

Now we need to import the new texture back into the MPQ. Go back to the MPQ editor (or re-open it if you closed it) and go to ‘Operations > Add Files’ and add the texture you just created. It will ask to overwrite, just click yes and it will replace the original texture with you edited version.

Here’s a pic of the edited zealot in game



Good Idea™
Nice tut! That's a sick looking Zealot..

I'm not sure if you need to reimport. If you put the file in the same path, outside the MPQ, traditionally in Blizzard games it will look there before checking the MPQ.. :)

I didn't know .dds was a common file type. I was wondering if there was an editor or something around...


New Member
nah you need to reimport, while I was figuring out how to do this i tried just putting it in the same directory and it didnt work. i think it might be something to do with the .mpq being labled as a .SC2Assets file


Staff member
The skin doesnt effect portrait.
Heh, portraits don't use in-game models. Don't think they ever did. They are much higher poly models and video files more than likely, otherwise it would lag a whole lot.


I hit the blunt but the blunt hit me.
So whats to stop you from importing entire skins and models from Warcraft3 directly into the Starcraft 2 MPQ??


(Evol)ution is nothing without love.
.dds is really easy to use. A game called LoL uses them and if I'm right, they might use .sco for the models... Which is what LoL uses for its models, and they're easy to edit. Haven't had a chance to look inside the files for what format models are so...


I hit the blunt but the blunt hit me.
It sounds to me like a Warcraft 3 to SC2 conversion project is just begging to be done. :)

Ya I am sure SC2 models have extra properties like shaders and tessellation
but these values could easily be added to a model with a script and converted.
Direct Draw Surface (.dds) textures are pretty common. Hell, you can even open them in ifranview.
As for m3, it's probably just an evolution of wow models (.m2). There are already m3->obj converters.


New Member

Hey Man, Awesome idea to change the color. Were you using the Beta or full edition. I just tried changing colors and everything went smoothly for the most part. Like when I look in the textures directory and open a zealot dif. its the color i made it but when i go in game the color is still gold. Any thoughts. Thanks.


New Member
I've recently started re-skinning SC2 models and am learning as I go.

Is it possible to make parts of the model transparent so there's no real visual in-game? Such as... making the cannon transparent on a siege tank or something.

Thank you!


Censored for your safe viewing
I would like to know how to specify the locations of your team color on the model. For example, if I want the raynor model to be colored your team color instead of black?


New Member

I try to change Nova uinit skin and I have a problem:
I did all what you said about changing the sikin color, but it dosen't work.

When I try to replace in the MPQ editor it show me this:

I clik ok and he ask me if I want to replace it but it dont work!

What I doing worng?


New Member
Btw using untouched models directly from wc3 would be quite stupid and I highly doubt anyone would like them.

They would be extremely out of place, despite the filetype, how are they suppose to work? Physics engine wouldn't be able to effect them, they would be far more limited then current models and less fluent. Not only that like I said, they would look VERY out of place, and unless heavy modifying was used on the models, any wc3 conversion on sc2 using untouched wc3 models would ultimately fail. The thought is nice, but the reality of it is far fetched.


New Member
Hey im kinda a newb @ this but how do you make a back up of the Sc 2 file ‘StarCraft II Beta\Mods\Liberty.SC2Mod\Base.SC2Assets’ without needing external equipment? i cant seem to copy paste the files elsewhere QQ
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