Knack 2

Jun 06

Jun 06

How To Make Your Own PS3 Themes

Noel Silvia's Avatar Posted by PLAYSTATION Store Team

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 “”.zip file here and extracting it onto your computer.

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


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.


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

Add Your Own

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JDPoZ said:

June 9th, 7:16 am

Mac version please?

Most graphic designers (at least every single one I know) like myself use a mac.

So, not to sound like a snob, but make a mac version and you will see higher quality ps3 themes.


XD9 said:

June 9th, 7:22 am


wow dude really good post…i totally forgot i even had Linux installed on my PS3…when i first purchased my PS3 it was one of the things i did first and since i really haven’t had much of a use for my PS3 other than its obvious BD capability, Linux has certainly taken a back seat…as i mentioned in a previous post I’m a MAC user and a firm believer in the fact that Mr. Gates secretly wants to rule the world…the fact that SONY doesn’t show any love to Linux and very little to MAC and yet obviously facilitates the need to purchase its competitors products is just deeply disheartening.

I even wasn’t left with much of a choice back in the summer of 2007 to satisfy my gaming needs but to purchase a 360 against everything i stood for, but i blame SONY for that…and still to this day any multi platform game I’ll purchase for the 360…with one exception…Rock Band…its better on the PS3.

SONY show sum love NOT to microsoft but to its direct competition!!!!…THAT would solidify a stronger consumer base who also share that anti-microsoft stance…

YES other O/S’s require more knowledge or aren’t as “EASY” as windows to code for…but that boils down to a simple LAZINESS factor…your joe-schmo can learn Linux (basic) in a week or less, and advanced coding through trial and error (or books)… I’m sure your college educated programmers even if they weren’t taught in higher education can learn to take FULL advantage of such open platforms

but then again what do i know…I’m just one of your consumers on the outside looking in from a non-biased stand point…LOL

AFRO said:

June 9th, 9:49 am

oh my god. i was reading, and got lost very very quickly. im NOT computer savy, :( , anyway, is there going to be an official theme creator soon where all you have to do is point and click? I need it to be simple

    Noel Silvia's Avatar

    Noel Silvia said:

    June 9th, 12:07 pm

    There\’s a lot of technical information in there, and even though I tried to condense it down, it\’s still easy to get lost.
    Some helpful commenters have posted some suggestions on non-official programs that you can use, so hopefully one of them can help you out instead!

rmudder said:

June 9th, 2:02 pm

Is there a way to add anything with animation to the theme? If there is please tell how.

    Noel Silvia's Avatar

    Noel Silvia said:

    June 9th, 2:13 pm

    There isn\’t currently any way to add animation to your Theme.
    It\’s possible that this may be implemented in the future, but for now, there isn\’t.

Rux said:

June 9th, 2:03 pm

XD9, it’s pretty ridiculous that you come over to this blog and claim that the PS3 isn’t even a video game console while the 360 is…

Sadly, you represent the majority of 360 fanboys… usually the Halo-loving, Live-praising people that haven’t played any other console yet claim the 360 is automatically the best. Please, just do us all a favor and play the PS3. Play Resistance, Warhawk, Heavenly Sword, Unreal Tournament, Ratchet and Clank, Everyday Shooter… I don’t care. Play the entire MGS series and then MGS4 if you can. Just stop making stupid conclusions and open your eyes to real gaming.

enewtabie said:

June 9th, 2:09 pm

I made my first theme using family pics and changing the color of the xmb icons.Thanks and it really is that easy!!!

    Noel Silvia's Avatar

    Noel Silvia said:

    June 9th, 2:14 pm

    Making your first Theme can be a bit scary, but once you get over that initial hump, it gets a lot easier.
    Good luck on making your next one(s)!

Protopet said:

June 9th, 2:19 pm

Thanks for giving such creative freedom guys!

-Noel, you’re retaining your best replier award! Although, you have good, healthy competition with Kevin McCann.

    Noel Silvia's Avatar

    Noel Silvia said:

    June 9th, 3:08 pm

    I have the utmost respect for Kevin and the folks at TikiGames, so thanks for the compliment.

    Big compliment also goes to everyone here who has replied with help and answers to things that I couldn\’t, such as:
    – programs to simplify the Theme creation process,
    – creating Themes using a Mac,
    – sites for PS3 Themes.

iorkara said:

June 9th, 6:17 pm

Hey Guys. If you need High Resolution Wallpapers for your PS3 Themes. Goto Great PS3 Wallpaper Resource and Great Community.

XD9 said:

June 10th, 1:43 pm


a shame you can’t be the “all-knowing” SONY god…or maybe even rub off some of that typing skill to some other BLOG posters…cuz as one guy said you win the “best replier award!”

BZKlint said:

June 10th, 8:29 pm

Thanks man :)
I’ve been looking for a good tutorial for theme making. I had all my icons and everything done (fun to make actually) but I never was able to build and save it properly until now. I’ll make sure to do this ASAP but I gotta hit the hay for now. By the way, will we ever be able to use custom avatars sometime in the future? Either by hosting it off some image sharing site or somehow getting it on the PSN? Wanted to use this one…( Thanks again :)

gamelover2 said:

June 11th, 8:25 pm

Yeah congrats and where it pride that’s why i love sony cause they care about the fans. I been a fan of sony from age of 11 and now. A member of GAP for a long time too. But Im glad some I have came a member of this too. PlayStation rules and xbox sucks eggs lol.

mai01 said:

June 11th, 11:53 pm can u make your own theme in psp?thanks..

    Noel Silvia's Avatar

    Noel Silvia said:

    June 17th, 2:47 pm

    Check back later this week and I\’ll be giving a walk-through on how to make your own PSP Themes right here on the PlayStation Blog!

LoadedScorpion said:

June 12th, 10:38 am

JU_JU_KING said:

June 12th, 9:44 pm

i got a question how can changes the sound

BZKlint said:

June 13th, 5:58 am

(Quoting Noel)
“It is possible to add sounds to your Themes.
However, adding sounds are a little complicated as they require using special audio files.
I’ll do an update in a few weeks once everyone is familiar with the basics and talk about some of the more advanced tweaks you can do with Themes.
Thanks for the suggestion!”

BrushYourTeeth said:

June 15th, 10:59 pm

I have created a theme finally and thank you so much for this post otherwise that wouldn’t have happened…but now that I created it, I can’t delete the folder HowToMakePS3Themes (I extracted it from the zipped file…if that’s any help) does anyone know how to delete it? said:

June 17th, 2:30 am

Hey Noel,

Will support for creating your own “flash” based themes like the original XMB wave theme ever be available? We get this question several times a day over at our site so would be great if you could enlighten us. Thanks!


    Noel Silvia's Avatar

    Noel Silvia said:

    June 17th, 2:46 pm

    I can\’t promise that this will be a feature in future updates, but it is definitely something that I\’m pushing for and requesting.
    Thanks for coming to the blog – you\’ve got some really talented folks on your site with some great Themes!

tbag101 said:

June 17th, 2:28 pm

WOW!!! Yo thanx i didn’t know this. This sure helps me learn more about my PS3. i’ll have to try this. By the way tight icon!!! Okami is cool.

tbag101 said:

June 17th, 2:32 pm

Sorry to leave a 2nd message but i wanted to mention that this is in fact my PSN name for any one who wonders about the name or has seen my name before!

rower002 said:

June 18th, 5:15 am

dear noel,

once again, back to this psn avatars.
i understand the worry about the possibility of nsfw avatars, but on the other hand people can play poker and other games with webcam transmission now…. hm.

i doubt it’s really necessary, but you could implement a report function. then, once a avatat is reported as inappropriate the avatar could by permanently exchanged by some silly one as some kind of punishment. or in case the report was unfounded, the avatar could be approved as legitimate forever (to reduce further efforts).

best wishes,


BrushYourTeeth said:

June 18th, 11:30 am

Thanks once again for allowing some of us the ability to create themes…it’s been fun. But once again, I am having trouble deleting the HowToMakePS3Theme folder due to the fact that it keeps saying folder “Create” is read-only or something. I know it doesn’t take up any space really and that’s not what I care about, I am just wondering if that folder can be deleted…at all? Thanks for all your help said:

June 18th, 2:28 pm

BrushYourTeeth: Try to right click on the folder and click “properties”, then have a look that the “write protection” box isn’t checked. If it is then uncheck it and try to delete the folder again.

BrushYourTeeth said:

June 19th, 8:44 pm

Thank you…that was all I needed to do. Wow, and I thought I tried that…guess not.

iorkara said:

June 23rd, 5:09 pm

RenTheRedStar said:

June 24th, 7:30 pm

Thank you for the Post. It’s pretty good. I was wondering does Sony plan on changing the template for the XMB bar. I think the simple left to right up and down bar is a bit limiting. Also Will they allow real Avatars? I think it would be cool if there was a type of Smiley face that could talk and say something when i log in. Perhaps tie it in to the message banner so we could get an Animated up dated from the Avatar instead of the message banner. Personally I would love to have my smiley face icon tell me a new game is out.

BZKlint said:

June 26th, 9:04 am

Yeah, took my (first PS3 theme :D
Here it is. And I put a link back here btw!

TypeF said:

June 30th, 1:56 pm

complicated T-T

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