For those who are enthusiastic about loadout building, you’re probably familiar with loadout.tf. It’s a website that lets you create cosmetic loadouts for your mercenaries. This is super useful to preview a loadout before you buy it, or if you just want to have fun and not spend the money.
This guide will go over both the basics and more advanced features, to help you get the best out of your loadout.tf experience.
Go to the website loadout.tf and you’ll be created with a blue screen and a bunch of options.
Look at the bottom right, and select the merc you want to make a loadout for:
Once you’ve clicked them, they’ll appear on the screen, looking directly at you. They’ll be RED by default; if you want to switch them to BLU, click the button on the right side:
Now, to add hats. Click the button the the red arrow is pointing to:
You’ll be greeted with this great big menu:
Here you can choose whatever hats and weapons you want to put on your mercenary. And now you’ve made your first loadout! Tada!
Taking a Screenshot
Super simple stuff.
You can click the screenshot button to directly download an image of your loadout:
You can also press the “Prt Scr” key on your keyboard to take a picture of your entire window, or use the snipping tool. In Windows 10, pressing Windows + Shift + S will quickly bring up the snipping tool, letting you save a screenshot to your clipboard.
Unusual Hats, Taunts and Killstreaks
Click this flame looking button:
You will see this menu pop up on the left:
The first box is for Unusuals. You can search for a specific unusual in there, and add as many unusual effects as you want.
Once you select an effect, a new box will come up. You can click on it to get these sliders:
- The first slider moves the effect left and right
- The second slider moves the effect up and down (similar to adjusting an unusual in-game)
- The third slider moves the effect forwards and backwards
The second box is for Killstreak Eyes. You select the specific effect you want, then click one of the color boxes for the killstreak color.
If you want a shimmering killstreak weapon, go back to the item select menu and click the paint can on the bottom left of any weapon. It’ll bring up a similar menu of killstreak colors:
Finally the third box is for Unusual Taunts. Not much to say, just select the effect you want.
Paints, War Paints, Festivizers, Unusual Weapons
If an item can be modified it will have some icons on it:
This hat can be painted. If you click the Paint Can in the bottom left, you’ll get a menu of paints and even spell paints to apply to it.
Here’s an item with a bit more customisation to it:
- Top Left: apply a Crit effect to the weapon.
- Top Middle: apply a Festivizer to the weapon.
- Top Right: apple a War Paint to the weapon. If you click “Preview” next to one of the War Paint names, you’ll be brought to a page where you can see what that War Paint looks like on all different weapons.
- Bottom Left: apply a Killstreak sheen to the weapon.
- Bottom Right: apply an Unusual Weapon effect.
Quickly going back to item selection, there’s a bunch of ways to filter items:
- Show selected items only: as the name implies, only show items you have equipped.
- Show workshop items: this shows a small selection of items from the workshop, that aren’t in the game.
- Show Tournament Medals: medals from tournaments are hidden by default, since most people don’t have these.
- Hide Conflicting Items: VERY useful if you’re trying to make a loadout for in-game. This will hide items that conflict, making sure you can actually use it in-game.
- Hide Multiclass Items: this hides both multi-class and all-class items, if you want a class-specific loadout.
- Only All Class: only show all-class items, very useful if you’re trying to make a “one size fits all” loadout.
- Do Not Filter Per Class: this is a goofy one that lets you wear any cosmetic, from any character, on any class.
- Hide Halloween Restricted Items: all in the name. Gets those out of the way if you want a year round outfit.
- Hide Medals: also all in the name.
There are also some other ways to sort items at the bottom, like by name or slot.
The large bar is used as a search bar. You can search for either the name of the item OR the equip region. For example, if I just want Pyro heads, I’ll look up “pyro_head_replacement” or a part of that keyword:
Posing is limited to taunts (which you can find in the items section) and other poses you can find in this dropdown box:
There are a few simple poses you can select for a quick and easy loadout preview:
- “Reference” is just the character A-posing
- “Melee stance” is similar to an A-pose but more natural looking
- “Competitive winner” has the character in a cool pose with a gun out
Great poses can be created with a little creativity. Look through any taunt or animation, and press the Pause button in the middle of it (4th button from the left). You can make some pretty neat poses just by chance. For example, this pose was made by pausing at the end of the Schadenfreude taunt:
THIS ONE IS REALLY IMPORTANT!
Click the cogwheel button, 4th from the right:
On the new menu, click the second option on the bar (Camera Options). Then, click “Free Rotation” so it’s enabled:
This will unbind you of all mortal chains, and allow you to move the camera around a LOT more freely. Left-click to orbit around the character, right-click to move them on a 2d plane, scroll in and out to zoom. You can make a lot more creative shots this way.
This is where boys become men.
Click on the cogwheel (4th from the right), and this time go into “Scene explorer”:
This is a list of all elements in the “scene,” i.e. what you’re looking at. That includes the character, what they’re wearing, the camera, and the lights.
Click on “Lights (Group)”. It’ll expand to show all the lights – think of it like files in a folder:
If you right-click any of these items, you’ll see a big list come up:
These are the properties of the item. There are 3 we care about right now: Position, Color, and #intensity.
If you click any of these properties, you’ll get this pop-up:
Typing values in this text-box will change the properties of the lights.
FOLLOW THESE STEPS: for each of the Point lights (Point light 0, Point light 1, Point light 2), click the specified properties and change the values:
Point light 0
- Position: 0 -500 100
- Color: 2 1 1
- #Intensity: 0.3
Point light 1
- Position: 250 250 250
- Color: 1 1 1 (same as default)
- #Intensity: 1.5
Point light 2
- Position: -500 100 200
- Color: 1 1 1 (same as default)
- #Intensity: 1.2
Now we’re going to add a new light. Right-click “Lights (Group)” and click Add -> Lights -> Point light:
This will create a new light called PointLight. Right-click it and do the same thing we did before, with these values:
- Position: 100 0 -100
- Color: 1 1 1 (same as default)
- #Intensity: 0.3
And that’s it! You should now have slightly fancier lighting.
I highly recommend you mess around with these lighting settings yourself, especially the Color and #Intensity properties. Even messing with the AmbientLight can make some cool effects. I’ll end of this section with a few tips that are a bit more complicated:
- Color’s value is in RGB, but not your typical 255 255 255. For example, “2 0 0” will be heavily red, “0 0 2” will be heavily blue.
- Point light 0 (in my setup) is positioned to hit the character face on and to the right, kind of like a bounce light.
- Point light 1 (in my setup) is positioned to hit the back right of the character, like a rim light.
- Point light 2 (in my setup) is positioned to hit the front left of the character, kind of like the sun of the scene.
- The newly created point light hits the character underneath and to the left, to brighten up some of the darker shadows.
Loadout.tf has slightly more limited face posing compared to something like SFM. It’s serviceable, but you’ll have to deal with your merc staring at you… forever…
Click this smiling face icon:
You’ll get a list on the left side of sliders to change your character’s emotions. There’s a lot of different options here, I’ll try to summarise the different types:
- At the top and bottom are for posing the eyelids.
- If a slider ends in “upper,” it will affect the eyebrows, cheeks and nose (or any combination of those).
- If a slider is long and doesn’t end in upper, it will also affect the mouth, alongside the eyebrows, cheeks and nose.
- If a slider is only 1 or 2 letters like “ee” or “n”, it will only affect the mouth. Try to imagine the sound those letters will make – that is the shape your character’s mouth will take.
- Some sliders like “blink” or “defaultface” don’t do anything. Don’t worry about them.
It’s easy to overdo face posing and have weird GMOD-esque looking faces, so it’s best to use the sliders in moderation. Here’s an example:
Here’s what I used for this face:
- “happysmallupper” nearly at the end, to raise eyebrows
- “multi_closelid” moved slightly right, to make his eyes more disinterested
- “ds” & “oh” moved just slightly up, to create an open but still resting jaw
This is just slight face work to make for a slightly different emotion. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t try to make expressive faces!
It is hard to give exact instructions for how to make a good face. The best advice I can give is to be very careful with the sliders, use them together and be aware your camera angle can also affect the emotion your character is giving off.
Here’s some sliders I think are most important:
- “multi_closelid” will change that default death-stare characters have, and can also counteract some other sliders that change the eyes
- “happysmall” and “happybig” are the easiest ways to get smiles
- “scaredupper” is the easiest way to raise eyebrows
Other: Changing Background
You can obviously photoshop your image after taking a screenshot, but there are some built in ways to change the background.
Click the cogwheel again (4th from the right). In the “General options” section of the left menu, there’s a Background section:
You can easily change the color of the background with that color palette. There’s also a drop down where you can upload your own image or mess with “Shader Toys”:
If you want a transparent background, you can slide the transparency slider on the right of the color palette selector. You’ll then have to click the “Save picture” button on the top right bar. If you can’t see the buttons in the top right, select a darker color in the color picker and they should pop up.
If you look above there’s also a button to “Show Competitive Stage” – this shows the stage you see at the end of a competitive game. You can also type in your own map in the box that says “Map” but I haven’t found success with any map other than “itemtest.” And even then, it’s a bit wonky to control around, so I’d recommend against this unless you’re just goofing around.
Other: Removing Class Props
This is for if you want to remove some default equipped “items” like Scout’s dogtags or headphones.
Click the cogwheel and go to “Scene explorer” again. This time click on the item that says your class name. I’m using Scout so it’s “Scout (Source1ModelInstance)”:
You can see there is all his default equipped items there. Just right click the ones you don’t want, like “dogtags (Entity)” and click “Remove”. You will have to refresh the page if you want it back, so you can also click “Visibility” to just hide the item, however it’ll come back every time you add a new hat to your character.
“What’s the deal with Sniper’s glasses? You can’t even take them off! I mean really!”
Other: Multiple Characters
If you click the cogwheel again, and go into the section “Meet the team” and click “Setup meet the team,” the Meet the Team photoshoot will be set up for you with all classes in it:
However you can also manually setup multiple characters with the “Scene explorer” tab we saw earlier. If you setup Meet the Team or even loaded two classes individually, you can go into the Scene explorer and change their Visibility:
If you did load the classes individually, you will have to right click them in the Scene explorer again to change their position values. The first number is for left and right, second is for forwards and backwards, third is for up and down. There’s also a slew of “Rotate” properties you can use to, well, rotate your characters. Otherwise, your mercs might be a bit too close for comfort…
Finally, when you have more than one character on screen, you’ll need to click them to modify them. After you’ve clicked them they’ll be highlighted (slightly brighter), and you can change their items, poses, facial expressions, etc.
That’s about it
Let me know if there’s anything you think is unclear or I should add. Hope you enjoyed!
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