How to: Make your own PSP themes

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Hey, gang!
For those who don’t know me, my name’s Noel and I’m part of the PSN Store Design Team. I’m back today to talk about making your own custom Themes for the PSP.


Here’s what you’ll be needing:

  • a computer that runs Windows
  • a digital image editing program
  • the “PSP Theme Toolbox
  • a little bit of time

First thing you need to do is download the “PSP Theme Toolbox” zipped file. You can unzip it anywhere, but if you’ll be doing a lot of Themes or want to use the pre-made default while going through this walkthrough, you’ll have to extract it directly to your C:\ drive (C:\PSP Theme Toolbox\).

PSP Theme Toolbox


In the “Toolbox”, you’ll find:

  • Icons and Wallpaper templates
  • “PSP Custom Theme Converter” program
  • Default Project saved as a “.txt” file
  • “How To” Basics and Advanced Walkthroughs
  • Layered PhotoShop template of icons
  • Unlike for PS3 Themes, there is an actual program so you won’t have to be worrying about XML code or funky compiler programs.
  • Open the program (PSPCustomThemeConverter.exe) and we’ll go though it, tab-by-tab.

NOTE: If you’d like to see a working example of each item, go to “File\Open” and select “PSPTheme_default.txt”. This will only work if you’ve extracted the Toolbox to your C:\ drive because of the way the project file links to the associated images.

The first tab is the “Information” Tab.

  • Put the name of your Theme or its description in the “Title” space.
  • The “Product ID” is where you assign what the Theme is associated to, e.g. Game, Anime, Movie, etc.
  • The “Version” is helpful if you want to do keep track of multiple versions of a Theme, but isn’t necessary either.

The second tab is the “Wallpaper” Tab.

  • Wallpapers have to be:
    • * 480 x 272 pixels
      * 24-bit Color Image
      * BMP files
  • Click on the “Folder” button to browse and select any image that matches the required size and format.
  • If the image you select is not useable, an “Error” window will pop-up letting you know what needs to change.
  • You can click the “Preview” button to preview your wallpaper once you’ve selected one that is workable.

Next tab is called “Category Icons”, and is for the main XMB Icons.

  • These icons need to be:
    • * either 64 x 48 pixels or 48 x 48 pixels
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files

The “First Level Icons” Tab is for the icons that appear within a category on the XMB.

  • These are the sub-icons that appear below the category XMB icons.
  • Double click on the icon line or click the “Edit” button.
  • You’ll see a request for two files: the “Icon Body” and the “Icon Focus”. The “Body” is the actual icon.
  • The “Focus” is the glow that pulses around the icon when you highlight that icon. If you’d like to keep things simple, or not worry about having a pulsing glow around your selection, you can either use the default focus image or leave that space blank.
  • The icons need to be:
    • * 32 x 32 pixels (Body)
      * 48 x 48 pixels (Focus)
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files

The “Second Level Icons” tab is for the “Settings” Icon. That’s right; the “Settings” wrench gets its very own tab!

  • Just like the First Level Icons, these need to be:
    • * 32 x 32 pixels
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files
  • Its focus needs to be:
    • * 48 x 48 pixels
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files

The last tab is “Others”.

  • The “Preview Icon” is the tiny thumbnail that appears when you choose your Theme, and needs to be:
    • * 16 x 16 pixels
      * 8-bit Index (32-bit Color)
      * TGA, PNG, or GIM image files
  • The “Preview Image” is the preview for the Theme, and needs to be:
    • * 300 x 170
      * 24-bit Color Image
      * BMP
  • The final option is “Theme Color”. Here, you can assign a particular highlight colour to your Theme, or have it change monthly automatically.


Once you’ve assigned all of the Icons to your images, go to “FILE” and select “EXPORT”.

  • Name your file, click “SAVE”, and the program will create your PSP Theme File (.PTF).
  • With your PSP connected to your computer in USB Mode or with a compatible Memory Stick connected, place the file into the proper “Theme” folder ( \PSP\THEME ).
  • Disconnect your PSP or insert the Memory Stick in to your PSP.
  • Under “Settings”, select “Theme Settings”, and then “Theme”.

Your new Theme should appear in the selectable list.

Good luck and have fun making your own PSP Themes!

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau:

Comments are closed.


21 Author Replies

  • Wow… Sony really hates Mac users.
    No psp media management
    No PS store
    No icon editing

  • Cool, now I’ll try doing a Patapon themed one. Since you guys never came thru with one. Problem with mine though is it won’t have the same flair of the look and sound compared to something that would have been made by the crew that worked on the game. Shame, that title didn’t get enough attention from Sony. =(

    • Patapon Theme is actually in the works.
      It\’s one of my favourite PSP games, so I want to make sure it lives up to the title and Rollo\’s amazing art style.
      Good luck with yours and look forwards to one from us in the future!

  • Thank you Noel! I’ve already got the basics of theme creating down from another online tutorial, but I’m sure this toolbox will help me do the more advanced things, like glowing icons. :)

  • PS: Noel, have you ever seen some of the stuff people have created on good stuff.

    Also, I am working on converting a PS3 theme into a PSP theme by extracting the .p3t file and resizing the images. Is it possible we will ever see a ps3/psp theme converter?

    • It\’s possible that there will be a PS3 / PSP Converter in the future, although considering they use different file types, colour profiles, etc, it could be a little tricky.
      For now, see my previous reply on creating an Action in PhotoShop, and I\’ll do a follow-up How-To in the future that focuses just on this.
      Good luck!

  • It’s time for OS X! Isn’t OS X the industry standard for Visual Communicators (Graphic Artists), Cinematographers and music?

  • Hey Noel, since you seem to be the go to guy for theme info. Do you think you can create us PS Bloggers some unique themes for the PSP and PS3. I know it’s asking alot but if you ever have some free time can you give it a go?

    • An official \”Blog Theme\”? Sure!
      Maybe we can make it \”exclusive\” to the blog too… ;-)
      I\’ll talk to Jeff about this.

      Our art team is currently working on a PSN Theme (that makes the PSN logo not stand out so much), as well as a general one for Blu-Ray Discs.
      I love hearing what you guys would like to see, and if possible, I\’ll try to make it happen!

  • man…the good updates are just rolling out this summer. cool addition to the blog.

    thanks for the tips.

  • @ Noel [30]

    Well I am just saying it in the words of Eric! :P

    But I see, it would be really sweet later down the line to have the ability to see our custom themes when accessing bits of the XMB OS in-game. And yes, you answered my question perfectly, and I appreciate you answering nearly everyones questions and suggestions on here.

    Also, if you are reading this, Noel, there is a program for easy screen and video capturing for your computer. Its called Jing:

    So perhaps you can give us a video tutorial with this, or just more images walking us newbies through the process of whatever you are teaching us how to. :P

    Thanks again.

  • You’re awesome Noel – you actually take your time answering people on this blog. I know at least one name on this blog who could learn alot from you.


  • Sweet thanks! look forward to seeing the themes you guys are working on.

  • PlayStation Network theme, and a Blu-Ray Disc theme? Count me in!

    PlayStation Blog theme is a great idea too. You guys have done some amazing things with the PS Blog.

    It makes us playstation fans feel like Sony is really listening to us.

    The first year was a huge success, and I wish you guys the best of luck on many more years to come.

  • **************************************

    Here’s the Link to downloading the


    Enjoy everyone ;)
    (PS: Everyone needs to pitch in and help!)

  • I’ve been reading this blog ever since it got started but never got a chance to actually post (probably because of the days when we couldn’t change our passwords). But so far the blog posts are just incredibly awsome. These how-to’s are DEFINITELY welcome – infact, you guys should make a brand new category for these.

    Looking forward to more how-to’s! (Video form would be nice too :))

  • PS3 Exclusives Wallpaper/screen plox!

    Anyways, thx Noel for telling us that 2.40 walkthrough is on the way, but you also said in-game messaging, is that in-game xmb or just a friends list. Is there any way to play your music in any game or is this feature not allowed…? yet?

    Thanks in advanced.

  • 2.4 walkthrough on the way to bad 2.4 isn’t just on the way…Will 2.4 make it so we can add friends without leaving a game or send game invites?

  • warezibanez wrote:

    “PLEASE DON’T EVEN CONSIDER JAVA- that language is about to die out, just don’t waste your time on it.”


    Dude, if you personally don’t like programming in Java, or you think the language is not suited for a cross-platform app like the Theme generator, then just say so (and preferably back it up with some logic). Making a ridiculous and wholly UNTRUE statement like the one above just makes you look like an ignorant fanboi, or Microsoft “anti-Java” shill.

    Fact is that Java as a language and a VM platform isn’t going anywhere. It’s in 95% of all cell phones out there (100’s of millions of devices) its an integral part of the biggest sites on the ‘net (eBay, Amazon, etc) and its the standard platform for Blu-ray disc menuing and interactivity features.

    Java would be a great language to build PS3 and PSP tools like the Theme generator because Sony could code it ONCE and people could then choose whichever java-capable platform they want to run it on (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc…)

  • here the video showing what all the promised us….

  • I’d just like to say, to the intel based mac users, the tools provided for making ps3 and psp themes, work just fine when used via the program Parallels.
    Give it a try :)

  • Would be so awesome if in the future there was a theme creator implemented into the PS3.

  • Its really good to hear Noel that Sony are listening to feedback and are also creating more themes. You asked for suggestions so for the PS3 i have:

    LBP (I expect this probably is planned already)

  • And when HOME comes (i cant wait!), it would be suiting to have a home theme :)

  • hey noel could you please tell us if the 2.40 will include custom soundtracks? thanks

  • @62 Xenokai
    Looks that SONY needed some time to reduce the memory footprint of the OS.
    Anywho , i love my PS3 :D .
    And with 2.40 i will love it even more.

  • Distribute your applications in Java, and your documents in pdf, please.

  • Wow, I’ll have to try this one later. Thanks Noel :D

    I just finished making my first PS3 theme using your other tut btw.

    Here’s the preview image:
    Made the bubbles myself in 3DSM (took 5 hours to render!) and just made a custom style for the icons you provided.

    I uploaded the theme to so I’ll have to wait 48 hours until I can see it on there, so I’ll put up another link to It when they’ve accepted it :)

  • awesome tutorial! thank you for all the help and I look forward to your follow up with the PS3 theme creator and how to add sounds to it.


  • gonna give this a go

  • Hey Noel, I got a bit of a random question.
    Do you know any good colleges or majors to focus on if I was gonna try to get a job working for a game developer? Preferably around Boston Massachsetts or Columbus Ohio that focuses more on the art/modeling/animation side? Thanks in advance if you, or anyone else replies…

  • Very Cool!

  • Can I beg you guys to release this toolkit (and one like it for the PS3’s themes) in a cross-platform language like Java so we non-Windows users can use it too?


  • Hey Noel (not sure if you’ll see this since it’s an older blog post but worth mentioning) tell your team they did a fantastic job on the PSN theme, looks very slick.

  • Hey guys when can us Mac users get support for the PSP? I even have the location free device for the Mac using the taxan software and Can’t add remote updates this is bad. I need Mac support guys please help

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