Tip Visitors to this page will also want to consult Textures in Mass Effect, Troubleshooting: General, Texplorer and TPF Tools articles.
Refresh icon This article has been updated for ME3Explorer v3.0.

Texture use is almost synonymous with the toolset, as such a large portion of the user base uses it for either texture modding, post-installation, or both. This Troubleshooting are is focused on FAQs and issues related to texture extraction and installation. For problems encountered during installation, see the Texplorer or TPF Tools article, depending on which tool you're using.

Texture Creation Edit

All questions related to creating textures. These do not involve the toolset and are generally out of the scope of this wiki. They've been placed here to address the most frequently asked texture-creation questions on the forums.

Is there a basic reference about textures in Mass Effect?

Yep. Look here.

How do I find a specific game texture?

First, use the ME3Explorer Setup Guide, then do a treescan with Texplorer. Consult the Texplorer article for help with searching the new tree. More details about naming conventions and textures themselves, is located here.

What programs can be used to edit textures?

Adobe Photoshop is the only tool that can read all image formats in the trilogy, as long as you have the Nvidia's DDS Plugin.

Paint.NET and GIMP are good options, but cannot read files with V8U8 compression used in ME3. GIMP requires a DDS Plugin that's version-specific; an example is here.

If you're only looking to do simple conversions like changing compression formats or adding/removing mipmaps, you can use Nvidia's DDS Utilities, ATI's Compressonator, or the toolset's own Image Engine.

Can I change the size of a vanilla texture?

Probably. There are four caveats:

  • Textures can be a maximum of 4096px in resolution; this is an upper limit for Mass Effect's game engine (all games use the same engine).
  • Changes in size must always be in powers of two (256, 512, 1024, 2048, etc).
  • Changes much retain the vanilla aspect ratio.
  • Upscaling always works, downscaling can be a little glitchy.

For more details see Textures in Mass Effect.

I need more advanced technical information about editing (normal maps, etc).

Search the web; there are plenty of resources. They are out of the scope of this wiki.

Texture Problems in Game Edit

All FAQs related to a texture's appearance once in game.

I have black textures in game.

  • Black armor texture due to null pointer
  • Black eye texture due to improper alpha

Black textures can be caused by a variety of problems, such as:

  • Outdated/Improperly formatted mods. "Alpha" serves as a way to add transparency to a texture; black is transparent, white is opaque. An improperly formatted eye texture with white alpha will make them appear black or red. You can try to fix textures like this manually, or report the issue to the mod creator.
  • Improper TOCing. If CustTextures0.tfc doesn't get added to the PCConsoleTOC.bin upon an update, then the game can't reference the new texture data and it will appear black. Solve by re-tocing with AutoTOC.
  • Improper LOD Group Reassignment. All modded textures with mipmaps need to be assigned to Texturegroup_Shadowmap upon replacement; this is a modding limitation. TPF Tools and Texplorer should do this automatically, but if it fails, this can cause black textures. Try re-installing the mod.
  • Null Pointers. Null pointers are caused by having a PCC reference the texture in the wrong location, such as if a player removed CustTextures0.tfc from the main Cooked but left modded PCCs in place. This results in the game looking for the texture in the missing TFC, making it unable to display the proper data. You can either fully vanilla, or track down the problem PCC and vanilla it separately.

Character blood is purple, instead of red.

  • Autofix-borked aquarium plants
  • Attempted upscaling of Shepard's visor

This results from an improper alpha layer on a blood texture's normal map. Contact the mod author about the error. If you want to fix the texture yourself, the alpha for the blood spatter should be white (opaque); the background should be black (transparent).

My aquarium plants have gone wonky, or Shepard's visor looks weird.

This was a common problem when using autofix in old versions of the toolset. The aquarium plants and Shepard's visor cannot be upscaled; the vanilla textures must be used. Revisions 718+ should warn the user if they attempt to upscale similar textures. Generally, these problems seem to be restricted to textures with specific visual effects (VFX) applied.

I have some other graphical glitch.

There's no way to account for every type of texture-related glitch possible. There are many. We'll continue to update this wiki section with commonly reported problems. If your problem isn't listed, your best bet is to consult the main Troubleshooting: General article and follow its directions.

Paragon250 This article draws from this forum post by Ottemis.
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