How To Make Your Own PS3 Themes

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Hi, folks!

My name’s Noel Silvia, and I’m a Graphic Artist and part of the PlayStation Network team.

I’m here today to walk you through how to make and install your own Themes for your PLAYSTATION 3. All you’ll need are:

Start by downloading the “HowToMakePS3Themes.zip”.zip file here and extracting it onto your computer.

In this zip are folders with the necessary files for each step of the process.

4folders

Step 1: Create

Let’s start at the very beginning.

  • In this folder, you’ll find the images that make the XMB, its sub-icons, and the background wallpapers for HD and SD resolutions.
  • There is also a file called “PS3Theme_template.xml”, but we’ll come back to that a little later.
  • It’s important that you don’t change any of the file names in this folder. If you do, it will cause problems later on.
  • Start by deciding which icon you’d like to customize and open that image in your image editing program.
  • You can alter the image any way you’d like (change the color, skin the icon, add effects, etc.). You can even replace the image completely with personal photos if you’d like.
  • Just make sure not to change the Pixel Dimensions of the image; so if the icon image is 140 x 140 pixels at the start, make sure it’s the same size at the end.
  • When you are done with your new icon, overwrite the original image with your new custom image.
  • Make sure you save it as a “PNG” file, and not a JPG, BMP, GIF, or any other file type.
  • To create your background wallpaper, follow the same steps above, making sure to maintain the original Pixel Dimensions.
  • The only difference is that when you save your wallpaper image, you’re going to save it as a “JPG” file, and not a “PNG” file like the icons.


Step 2: Assemble

When you’re done making your new icons, it’s time to put the whole thing together and make the actual Theme file.

It helps to have two windows open for this part, one showing the contents of the “Step 1_Create” folder, the other showing “Step 2_Assemble”.

Step2_drag and drop

  • From the “Step 1_Create” folder, click and drag the “PS3Theme_template.xml” file and drop it onto the “p3tcompiler.exe” program found in the “Step 2_Assemble” folder.
  • A new window should appear, showing the program working as it puts together your Theme.
  • If there are any errors, the program will stop at the error, letting you know which file is causing problems.
  • When it has finished assembling the pieces successfully, a “” message will appear, prompting you to press “ENTER” and close the program.

compiler-done_screencap

Step 3: Install

Return to your “Step 1_Create folder.

  • You should see a bunch of new files in the folder.
  • The files with the “GIM” extension are special temp files. They were created during assembly but can be deleted now.
  • You should also find a new file called “PS3Theme_template.p3t”. This is your new Theme file.
  • Copy the file onto a detectable USB device or a one of the compatible memory sticks into the proper “Theme” folder ( \PS3\THEME )
  • Connect the device to your PS3 or insert the memory stick into the reader.
  • Under “Settings”, select “Theme Settings”, and then “Theme”.
  • At the very top, there is an “Install” option. Once you’ve installed your Theme to your PS3, your theme will now be selectable your “Theme List”.

…and that’s how you make your own PS3 Themes!

For those of you that’d like a little more customization, please read the “Advanced Tips Guide” in the included “Step 4” folder with some extra info on how to:

  • change your Theme’s title
  • change your Theme’s preview art
  • change your Theme’s font
  • change your Theme’s color selection
  • change your Theme’s Author avatar
  • create a Theme with random background images

I’ll be back next time to show you how to make your own custom Themes for the PSP, but until then, have fun making your own PS3 Themes!

“If you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”
– William Arthur Ward

Comments are closed.

138 Comments

39 Author Replies

  • Noel, if you are the one behind the graffiti theme then you are really great lol… I like that theme. Simple but great.

    I have a question. Not everybody is a avid gamer and I don’t like game themes because I use the ps3 as a bluray player and I want a more adult theme. Like a media theme with really good icons. Is that possible? Maybe a bluray theme?

    • I didn\’t make the Graffiti Theme, but I like that one too.
      It\’s always good to know what people want and, if possible, we\’ll try to bring it to you. We\’ll make sure to bring you some more media and non-game specific ones in the future, like the Graffiti, Retro, and Winter Themes, as I\’m sure you\’re not the only one out there asking for these.
      Thanks for your input!

  • Hello!

    I just registered to say THANKS A LOT!!!

    It’s fascinating to see how standards like XML and PNG are used to create and build content for PlayStation.


    Do you have a good source where to find user created themes (PS3-themes.com e.g.)?

    • There are some great sites to find user created Themes, such as AllPs3Themes.com and some truly amazing ones that appear on NeoGaf.
      Many of them can be downloaded and installed directly from your PS3\’s browser, so if you have any sites you\’d like to call out, I\’d encourage people to mention them here.

  • Hey Noel I will post in my Theme for you or other people are interested in seen it. I try to pull out something original when I first did it. I try to make something out from the icons and only make viewable the ones that are in use from the XMB. Unfortunately the PlayStation Network Icon screws it up… Sony needs to let us customize that icon! lol
    (Ones you see my Theme you will understand what I mean bout the PSN Icon thing)

    Anyways, here it is from the PSU Theme section:
    http://www.psu.com/Ink-mess-Theme–theme-62.php
    And here is it from my Deviantart page:
    http://darkaoz.deviantart.com/art/DarKaoZ-INKmess-PS3-Theme-69496749

    Hope you guys can enjoy this one I did, I hope in the future after I get my new laptop I can finish my other projects like a Persona 3 Theme and a DMC4 theme.

  • Appreciate your post… but those of us who really cared knew this months ago. Those of us who do not support Microsoft have been waiting during that time for some MAC support!

  • Hey Noel I will post in my Theme for you or other people are interested in seen it. I try to pull out something original when I first did it. I try to make something out from the icons and only make viewable the ones that are in use from the XMB. Unfortunately the PlayStation Network Icon screws it up… Sony needs to let us customize that icon! lol
    (Ones you see my Theme you will understand what I mean bout the PSN Icon thing)

    Anyways, here it is from the PSU Theme section:
    http://www.psu.com/Ink-mess-Theme–theme-62.php
    And here is it from my Deviantart page:
    http://darkaoz.deviantart.com/art/DarKaoZ-INKmess-PS3-Theme-69496749

    Hope you guys can enjoy this one I did, I hope in the future after I get my new laptop I can finish my other projects like a Persona 3 Theme and a DMC4 theme.

    EDIT: Didn’t know if this got posted or not, since I can’t see it.

  • The industry standard for Graphic design/ music video is Apple. Where’s the support?

  • @Noel

    well, I know these sites to get PS3 themes:

    ps3-themes.com
    allps3themes.com
    bestps3themes.com
    psu.com/themes.php

    Hope you like them ;)

  • @Noel Silvia replied on June 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    When you’re done making your Theme, feel free to post the link to it here! We’d love to be able to share your work with everyone reading this!
    —–

    Well, I finished it up. Ended up ditching the wallpaper I had and going with a recolored version of one I already made. The theme is more about the icons than the wallpaper anyhow. :D

    It can be found here: http://draicus.deviantart.com/art/Black-and-Blue-PS3-Theme-87972534

  • the blog is not letting me post again. argh!

  • Hey Noel, great tutorial But I made a Warhawk one ages ago when the theme builder tools first came out. it took a bit of trial and error but I got one made. there is a thread about it in the forums
    and here’s a dload link: http://www.sendspace.com/file/i3psx5.
    Great news having new avatars for the psn will any be of GTA 4 or Socom Confrontation? It would be great if there were. Fan of both series.

    Also DORA deserves a HUGE RAISE for finally fixing my store issue. Thanks Dora!!!!!1!!one exclamation point!

  • Dora deserves a big raise!!!!
    I tried to post another comment but the blog won’t let me. maybe because I included a link to download my theme WARHAWK theme I made months ago under the moniker of SOOPERGOOMAN187
    http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=ps3media&message.id=71978#M71978

  • I did a warhawk theme but the blog will not let me post a link to it? what gives. keeps saying duplicate posts discovered and deleted. I had written a nice paragraph on this topic. some kudos go out to DORA who fixed my issues with teh store and other users on my ps3. She deserves a REALLY FRACKING BIG RAISE for all her effort.
    also new psn id icons will be nice. will there be gta 4 or socom avatars to use? I sure hope so. keep it coming man, we lubs ya.
    Your pal,
    MGM/TPSPG

  • sorry to triple post, but I was going over some of your replies and this caught my eye and made me Laugh out loud really hard so I have to triple post now:

    “Noel Silvia replied on June 7, 2008 at 9:33 am

    What’s this In-Game XMB you speak of?”

    Yeah right you think we’re going to fall for that. your so funny……..

  • Noel, comeon, you see how many people are asking about something for Mac? You do work at Playstation, which means you have connections, there are quite a few things that have yet to be made available for something other than Mac.

  • “Noel Silvia replied on June 7, 2008 at 9:33 am

    What’s this In-Game XMB you speak of?”

    Easily the best response ever.
    it deserve an applause clap clap clap

  • This program can be run on Linux/Mac using wine. Install wine from http://www.winehq.org/site/download (may need to compile from source on OS X). Copy the MSVCR71.dll from the step 2 folder to ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32/. Finally, run

    # wine p3tcompiler.exe ../Step 1_Create/PS3Theme_template.xml

    instead of dragging the xml file to the program. The steps are the then the same as in step 3. Just tested this and it works on my ps3. Enjoy.

  • This program can be run on Linux/Mac using wine. Install wine from winehq.org/site/download (may need to compile from source on OS X). Copy the MSVCR71.dll from the step 2 folder to ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32/. Finally, run

    # wine p3tcompiler.exe ../Step 1_Create/PS3Theme_template.xml

    instead of dragging the xml file to the program. The steps are the then the same as in the article. Just tested this and it works on my ps3. Enjoy.

    • Awesome information, entropy!
      Although this isn\’t as good as having a native solution, hopefully this will be a workable solution to Mac-only people looking to make their own Themes until something native is created.
      Thanks to all of you who have provided helpful solutions like this!

  • Thanks I needed help with this.

  • was just wondering i have used other themes before ,and sometimes when try turn on ps3 the screen will just be black i have hold button for 5secs etc

    when just leave default xmb never had problem
    is it the themes causing it ??

  • Thanks a bunch for this update.

    I know quite a few pictures that I’d like to make themes out of.

  • Think you guys can make a Battlefild: Bad Company and MGS4 theme? Please?

  • @114: XxBigP123xX

    I have a Battlefield: Bad Company theme posted on AllPS3Themes, as well as my DeviantArt account:

    http://draicus.deviantart.com/art/BF-Bad-Company-PS3-Theme-85644884

  • Forsaken_Hawkeye

    can one make the sound efect change like when u press left or click something..

  • Thanks for the help, Noel!

    I remember the first day after the update that allowed custom themes, and I downloaded about 30 different themes, from MGS4 to LittleBigPlanet, Now that I think of it, the immediate rush of well-made themes was amazing. I created some “American Gangster” icons for a custom theme I was planning on making, but, with my Mac, I was unable to finish up, and the PCs I managed to use were unable to make the program work properly.

    Now that summer’s finally here I’ll try and make that American Gangster theme, or maybe an Aquabats theme, once I get hold of a PC.

  • Noel,I’ve gotten everything,but what about a ps3/theme folder? I can’t make a folder named that…or am I doing this wrong.I just put the p3t file on a sd card,but the PS3 says there is nothing there.Everything went fine up until the part where you try to put it on the card.

  • A theme I made a long time ago, when theme creation first started.

    http://violhaine.deviantart.com/art/Psychobilly-Theme-69595435

  • And now for the toppings…Good job Noel.

  • “Noel Silvia replied on June 7, 2008 at 9:28 am

    I like the Lost Planet Theme. I’m a big fan of Themes that have really unique XMB icons and random backgrounds.
    John – Let’s talk on Monday about Themes. There are a lot of popular Capcom Titles fans have expressed interested in seeing Themes for.
    John Diamonon’s Avatar
    John Diamonon replied on June 7, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I got a whole bunch of Udon stuff!!”

    I just got aroused.

    • I\’m sidebustin on your comments Noel! :) Get prepared for some Capcom Theme goodness in the near future! Let\’s do this Noel!

  • @Noel, I’ve noticed that the default gray colored “display notification box” overrides any active theme when you’re in-game. Could you use your divine powers to influence others to fix this so I can always see my cool display box in its full Helghan inspired glory?

    @everyone, Check out my KillZone 2 theme with custom icons & sounds with 16 different wallpapers!

    http://www.psu.com/-KillZone-2-With-Sound–Custom-Icons-By-REDNAVE–theme-845.php

  • To enewtabie

    When she said ps3/theme folder it means you take a memory stick, make a folder called PS3, then go in to that folder and make a new one called THEME. Put the p3t files in there. Dont forget to call the folders with big letters.

    And now you know what a / means when you create folders for the rest of your life!

  • couldn’t Sony just make a small cross-platform application to make an easy theme maker?

    could even be done using web standards.

  • Oh, this in-game XMB.

    youtube.com/watch?v=rR3HWj_HtG4

    When we bring it up will our custom theme still be there? Or will it be the regular XMB theme? Thanks Noel.

  • Hey Noel, i love to see that you have responded so many times in the comments section with helpful advice, and promises to share people’s suggestions with people who might actually be able to implement them in the future.

    i’d just like to emphasize that i too would love if future themes might include animated backgrounds, and a feature to save animated clips as wallpaper, or add animated backgrounds to themes would be really cool. and sound effects too! :p the whooshing of the ocean from the ps2 was always a powerful thing, i thought.

    i also liked the idea of more content being released each week on PSN, user-made themes that users give sony permission to share with everyone. i know a lot of people would love that exposure. unless because the service is free, sony only has the bandwidth to release smaller amounts of content each week, i don’t know. but its a cool idea anyways.

    lastly, i wanted to say that i LOVED the how-to, it gives us all more fun things to do and try with our ps3s, and more ways to be creative, and passionate about the artform of gaming, and the console we invested in. i hope you, and your colleagues will make more how-to posts on this blog in the near future. it was exciting to imagine the possibilities!

    thank you thank you!

  • It’s unbelievable that people still think, that “all you need is a computer” means, that you need a PC with a Microsoft operating system (Windows). Sony, wake up. Many people are Playstation fans because they don’t like Microsoft. They would never buy a XBox. They have removed Windows and MS Office and Internet Explorer from the harddisks.
    But you force those people to install Windows on their PC in order to use all features of a Playstation ?!

  • @ralfk

    LOL…so true…MAC all the way baby…except i did buy a 360 to satisfy my gaming needs

  • PS3 = Bluray Player

    360 = Gaming Console

  • @120 Enedok
    Thanks a lot man.There are some nice people
    on this blog after all.

  • Very cool. I actually just started making a theme last week. Weird that there would be a how to post on how to make themes as I’m making mine. Looking forward to seeing what other people come up with as they pop up online.

  • Hi Noel,

    I’d like to chime in with a few comments that mirror some of the others that I have read in this blog post.

    Seriously, where is the LINUX and MAC versions. Why the hell would I support your competition by using Windows ? I don’t care that 90% of people use it. I don’t and I want something different (which is essentially why I chose the PS3 over everything else) but here you go, making programs for your competition… What gives ?

    Why would Sony be so “Gun-Ho” and promote that Linux can be installed on the PS3, then turn their backs and say “Oh, we won’t create any software for the OS we allow to be installed on our console…” God forbid someone actually USES Linux… What gives ?

    The compiler isn’t Linux compliant, your Blog widgets aren’t Linux compliant, the Store Downloader isn’t Linux compliant, PSP Media Manager is not compliant… come to think of it, nothing you do is Linux compliant. But here Sony is, making products for their competition but marketing the PS3 as a computer…. a computer you can’t even install their own software on… seriously… what gives ?

    This is why I keep losing faith in Sony…nothing you do seems to make any sense at all. It seems like you’re all flying by the seats of your pants… and taking the consumers on a ride.

    I’m glad to see that you will “pass along the concern of my Mac-using brethren” to your “people” but you know, Mac’s aren’t the only OS out there…. It wouldn’t surprise me to see that more people run Linux then they do Mac, plus you allow Linux to be installed on your system… come on, throw us a bone….

    Thanks
    TristanMike

  • I think everybody is missing the point that unfortunately windows is the most available OS right now and most people have access to it already. Imagine if they only posted it for Mac or Linux there would be alot more complaints. I can’t stand MS but they kind of have the market saturated.

  • I am a graphic designer and I want a job with Noel, sounds like you guys really have a lot of fun!

  • How do you get the down load for the programs that you say we need to get for this program

  • I can get rigistered on my laptop for this blog but not on the playstation, and this is the same problem that I have with trying to create my own theme. I can not even get the zip zip file to even start

  • Great post, but I NEED help. How do I get the right dimensions for the icons. Can I alter images to equal 128×128? PLEEEEEASE HELP

    • Hey, josemd.
      Most of the icons are 128 x 128, so if you resize or crop your existing images to 128×128, you should be okay, so long as they are PNG files.
      Just be careful as some of the \”general use\” images (i.e. Video Folder, Music Folder, Image Folder, etc.) aren\’t the standard 128×128 size.

  • This is great that the PlayStation.Blog is staying up to date with the user feedback.

    I give major props to Mr. Silvia for reporting back on everyone’s comments.

    – matthew|Granda

  • Sony, God damn it! Write your little applications in Suns Java, please.

  • Hi Noel,

    I’m from Hong Kong. Although I have set up multiple accounts in my PS3 to cater for different regions I always wonder why the SECH is doing such a bad job at updating their PSN store? I mean I’m willing to pay for the games like Everyday-shooter (which has been out for ages!) only if they are available in the locl PSN store, let alone the numerous FOC themes that other regions are enjoying!

    Damn it, SCEH!!!

  • original_copycat

    Playstation theme builder (http://www.lili-chan.com/products.htm) is the best ps3 theme creation program I’ve used: very simple and easy to use.

    • Great find.
      Again, I haven\’t used this program, but if it makes Theme creation easy, then by all means, go for it!
      This tutorial was supposed to show people the \”bare bones\” of how-to make Themes, and show some of the code that goes on to make the Theme appear. It\’s great to know that there are so many cheap and / or free applications that do the same thing with a simpler GUI.
      Thanks for sharing, O_C!

  • Thanks but i’ll stick with Nevada’s guide on QJ.net, it explains everything, even how to add custom sounds.

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