Call of Duty 4: Skinning

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This tutorial will explain how to replace Stock Skins for any models in the game.


  • Adobe Photoshop (or other graphics program that supports the DDS plugin)
  • Winrar
  • The Skinning Tools
  • Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare

Initial Setup

  • Open up and extract the dds.8bi file (DDS plugin) into adobe\photoshop\plug-ins\File Formats (If the plugin is not installed you will be unable to open or save a .dds file)
  • Create a new folder on your desktop and call it “Skinning Tools”
  • Copy the two converters (iwi2dds.exe and dds2iwi.exe) into this new folder

File selection

Go to

Activision\Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare\main

In this folder you should see 14 IW_ files going from IW_00 up to IW_13 the skins are located inside IW_00 – IW_04 (IW_12 stores IWI files used in the map mp_crash_snow and IW_13 stores IWI files used in the 4 maps released in patch 1.6) if you open up these archives you will see a folder called “images” this is where the IWI files are stored.

The IWI image files have been compiled in alphabetical order:

iw_00.iwd contains files beginning with # to Ch 
iw_01.iwd contains files beginning with Ch to Ma 
iw_02.iwd contains files beginning with Ma to Sa 
iw_03.iwd contains files beginning with Sa to Ve 
iw_04.iwd contains files beginning with Ve to Z 
  • Once you have decided upon which file you are wanting to skin, extract it from the .iwd to your “Skinning Tools” folder you created earlier. This should create a folder inside there called “Images”.

File Conversion 1

Take the file from the folder “images” and drag and drop it onto the iwi2dds.exe file.

This will create a second file with an almost identical name however it will have at the end of it.This file can now be edited in photoshop.

File editing

Double click on the new file and it should open it in photoshop. When photoshop loads up a number of boxes may appear asking certain questions.

It may ask you to choose the size of the image if so choose “normal default sizes”

It may ask you if you would like to display MIP maps with the image, select “no” if this message appears

Now this is open you can edit the skin.

Useful tools to use in Photoshop for the editing are:

Opacity level 
Eraser tool 
Blending options 
Magic Pen 
Alpha Channels 

File Saving

Now that you have the file edited you now need to save it. To do this go to File > save as and then select to save as a .dds file.

  • Once you have done that a window should appear asking you how you would like to save the .dds file. The only two options you should be interested in unless you are experienced with it are:
Save format
MIP Maps 
  • Save format should be set to DXT5 and MIP Maps should be set to Generate MIP Maps
  • Once this is done click save in the bottom right corner of the window

File Conversion 2

Now you have your file saved and edited it is now time to convert the file back to an IWI file.

  • To do this take your .dds file and drag and drop it onto dds2iwi.exe this will then produce a new file which is your new skin in a format that Call of Duty 4 can use
  • Before you archive the file however you need to ensure that the name is correct. You should rename the file back to what it originally was called before you started to edit it. This will normally be something like “weapons_ak47_c.iwi”

Archiving the file

To archieve the file and create a working skin you need to copy your newly renamed IWI file into activision\Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare\mods\Modwarfare\images then once thast is done you need to go into the modwarfare folder and double click the makemod icon.

This will create two files. One called mod.ff and another called modwarfare.iwd copy both of these files into a new mod folder (call it what you like so long as there are no spaces in the folder name)

Checking the skins work

To check the skins work you now need to load up Call of Duty 4 Multiplayer and then on the Main Menu you need to select Mods and then find the folder name you chose and select it again.

When the mod screen loads, bring up the console ( ` key) and then run /devmap (map name e.g. mp_crash) to run the map in developer mode this will then allow you to change the viewpoint you see your skin at etc.

Alternatively you can use Xmodel Exporter to view the new skins on Models.