Follow our step by step guide to give your PS3 XMB (XrossMediaBar) menu a unique look.
Using the PlayStation 3 Custom Theme Guidelines, you can create your very own custom theme to give your PS3 a fresh new look. You will need:-
- Access to a PC; you can create a custom theme on a Mac as long as it is running Windows OS.
- The PlayStation 3 Custom Theme Guidelines zip file, which can be downloaded from eu.playstation.com/ps3-custom-themes.
- A PlayStation 3 system with the latest system software update installed.
- A USB external drive so that you can transfer your theme from your PC to your PS3 system.
A theme comprises the background image on your PS3 system, as well as the XMB menu icons, and it's up to you how many of these you choose to update.
To view a list of pre-installed and downloaded themes on your PS3 system, go to Settings > Theme Settings > Theme and press the X button.
Before you start, you'll need to come up with an idea for your theme. This can be based on anything from your favourite games, movies or characters; it can even be an art style or look and feel that you particularly like.
1. Getting started
Create a copy of the folder PS3_Custom_Theme_v180\sample\simple\ on your PC hard drive and rename it, e.g. MyTheme.
2. Create a background image
Once you've settled on an idea for your custom theme, you can create a background image which will sit behind the icons on the XMB menu.
When creating the image, you'll need to consider how the XMB icons will sit on it so that these remain legible.
You can create the background image using any photo editing software on a PC, such as Adobe Photoshop, as long as you can output the image in a .jpeg file format. Save the background to the folder you created in step 1.
- For High Definiton TVs, you will need to create an image which is 1920 x 1080 pixels and you will need to name the file a_HD.jpg
- For Standard Definition TV, you will need to create an image which is 640 x 480 pixels and you will need to name the file a_SD.jpg
- You can create multiple background images for your particular theme up to a maximum of 24. These are selected randomly by the PS3 system when it starts up.
- The maximum file size for an individual background image is 2MB.
3. Devise a style for your XMB icons
There are over 60 XMB menu icons that can be customised and it's up to you how many you change.
In the folder you created in step 1, select one of the icon files - the ones which have a file name such as icon_game.png - and open this in your photo editing software. You cannot use the file icon.png for this.
You can then base your design on this icon; this could include applying a unique colour scheme, illustration style or simply just adding a photo of yourself to the icon.
Once you've settled on the style of your icon, save it as a .png file by overwriting the existing file.
- You must not change the file name, e.g. icon_game.png, otherwise it will not work.
4. Apply your chosen style to the remaining XMB menu icons
Now you can open the rest of the icons in the folder you created in step 1 and apply the same style to these. Remember that once you've completed each one, you should then overwrite each existing file.
As in step 3, you must not change the file name of any of the icons otherwise these will not work on your PS3 system.
5. Check your background and icons
Before proceeding to the next step, it's really important that you check that your background and all of the XMB icons have been created in the correct file format, using the correct filenames and that they have all been saved to the folder you created in step 1.
6. Name your custom theme
Locate the file simple.xml in the folder you created in step 1, rename it – e.g. MyTheme.xml – and open it in a text editor such as Notepad or Word Pad on your PC.
Find and replace the text "sample(simple)" with the name you would like to use as your custom theme, e.g. "My Theme"; this is also the name that will appear on the XMB menu under Settings > Theme Settings > Theme. Save the .xml file in the folder you created in step 1.
7. Compile your custom theme
Drag the .xml file you created in step 6 over the p3tcompiler.exe PC tool which is in the PS3_Custom_Theme_v180 folder and select Run if prompted. Your custom theme will then compile in a separate window and, once complete, you will be prompted to hit the Enter key on your keyboard.
If everything has gone to plan, the compiler tool should have created multiple .gim files as well as one .p3t file in the folder you created in step 1.
8. Transfer your new custom theme to your PS3
You are now ready to transfer your custom theme to your PS3. On your USB external drive, create a folder called PS3, and within this folder create another folder called THEME.
Locate the file MyTheme.p3t in the folder you created in step 1 and save this to the folder called THEME on your USB external drive.
Once complete, connect the USB external drive to your PS3 via one of the USB connectors. On your PS3, go to Settings > Theme Settings > Theme and select Install. Select from the available devices using the X button and then highlight your custom theme and press the X button to install it.
9. Apply your custom theme
Once the installation process has finished, go to Settings > Theme Settings > Theme and press the X button to select your custom theme.
That's it; you've now created your very own custom theme for your PS3.
If you'd like more detailed instructions, including information on how to set the preview image and icon for your custom theme on the XMB menu, then be sure to read the latest version of the PlayStation 3 Custom Theme Guidelines at eu.playstation.com/ps3-custom-themes.