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Thread: Mega Guide for Theme Basics and Knowledge (For 3.90 and 4.01 CFW)

  1. #1
    osnap1584 is offline Senior Member -Hacks Titan
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    Since the programming section has a mega thread for programming, how about we put this section to life. In this thread, I will be compiling together basic tools needed to create themes as well as some tutorials that I find useful to create your own flash0 themes as well as ctfs. Some download links and tutorials are leeched from other sites so I'll try to credit all. If you see anything that belongs to you and you don't want it up please inform me. I will be updating this thread; feel free to edit this with your tools and tutorial as well Robs. So I'm going to break this down into several sections now remember these are basics so I won't go into too much depth to confuse anyone. There are major issues with the spoiler tag so this huge guide won't have spoiler tags. Sorry if it will be too overwhelming to load the page but like I said it's a mega guide (Don't say I didn't warn you). Please read this guide through so you won't have to ask too many questions or we'll redirect you here. Thank you.

    Some of these downloads require winrar. You can get it Here
    Table of Contents
    - Tutorial Colors
    - Files that You Need to Edit to Create a Flash0 theme
    - Basic Knowledge You Must Know About Before Creating a Theme.
    - Different Color Values for the PSP
    - XMB Dimensions to Position Your Icons
    - Tools:
    - Tutorials
    - Source Links
    - Final Words
    Tutorial Colors
    Bold= Section
    Italics= Text You Should Read
    Green= Subject Area
    Red= Links
    Blue= FAQ
    Files that You Need to Edit to Create a Flash0 theme
    At flash0: \vsh\resource:
    1. topmenu_icon.rco - Main XMB Menu Icons
    2. topmenu_plugin.rco- XMB Text Data
    2. impose_plugin.rco - Volume Bar
    3. system_plugin_fg.rco - Battery icon
    4. photo_plugin.rco - Photo loading icon & folders
    5. savedata_plugin.rco - Save data loading icon
    6. system_plugin_bg.rco - Background waves
    7. opening_plugin.rco - Word/Bootwave (When you turn your PSP on)
    8. system_plugin.rco - Click sounds when you scroll
    9. sysconf_plugin.rco - System config icons/USB slide bar, Theme Preview
    10. game_plugin.rco - Game loading icon/corrupt icon
    11. visualizer_plugin.rco - Images used in Visualizer
    12. 01-12.bmp - Month theme colors
    13. gameboot.pmf - Short video clip when you start a game or homebrew app
    14. msvideo_main_plugin.rco - Video column icons

    At flash0: \vsh\module:
    1. vshmain.prx - Icon position/XMB Font color
    2. paf.prx - XMB Icon transitions, Icon spacing, Submenu font & line color, scrolling speed.
    3. lftv_plugin.prx - Custom Reboot PRX
    4. opening_plugin.prx - Bootsound
    Basic Knowledge You Must Know About Before Creating a Theme.
    We should also get some knowledge about the different color values for the PSP and the values to position your icons.
    Different Color Values for the PSP
    You might see the different color values in 10's, 50's, 100's, 200's and 250's. But the PSP doesn't use this values. When editing the font colors, which would be explained later in the tutorials provided, you must divide each RGB value by 255.
    You can find different colors and the RGB values in this following link: Click Here
    So let's say we use the color "Pale Blue":
    The RGB values are:
    Red= 175 Green= 238 Blue= 238
    You must change the RGB values into 4 byte values. The maximum color channel strength is 1. If you use any number greater than 1, it will just look like it was changed to 1, regardless of the value you enter.
    You'll come out with:
    Red= 0.686 Green= 0.933 Blue= 0.933
    These are the values you will be using to edit your font colors and infobar colors. You can also use this method as well to edit the page data values in RCO Editor. For Example, if you decide not to make a battery icon rather you want to recolor it; you can edit the the RGB Values to recolor it using RCO Editor in the page data tab by scrolling down to the battery input (this applies to other icons like the busy/loading icon as well).

    XMB Dimensions to Position Your Icons
    The PSP runs on a X and Y axis. It will contain negative values as well.
    Here's an image of the XMB and the X and Y coordinates. This will be helpful if you want to position your icons.
    My favorite image editor:
    Adobe Photoshop CS3
    Since Photoshop isn't free, here's a free alternative:

    Why can't I use MSPaint?
    For one MSPaint sucks if you want make icons and it doesn't have 32 bit support so ditch it, but you can use it for other reasons that I will soon explain.

    You can make icons using pngs or 32 bit bmps. Usually bmps are 24 bit but the extra 8bit comes from the alpha channel which controls transparency. Black is considered as transparency in the alpha channel and white is the image from the rgb channels. What's gray? That's the secret to aero like icons or an alternative to using the blending options for pngs. You should search up how to use the image editting tools above and learn some basic functions.

    The most important tool you will need to edit your rco's:
    RCO Editor v1.15C
    Here's a screenshot:

    As you can see you can replace the icons or extract the icons which come out as 32 bit bmps as well as the different tabs: general resource, textdata, pagedata, anim data.

    Now what if I get these errors when opening my rco's?

    When you get these errors you need decrypted rco's to edit them:
    Here are the decrypted 390 rco's: Click Here
    Here are the decrypted 401 rco's: Click Here

    Alternatively you can use resurssiklunssi v3 on your own rco's instead of grabbing these.
    Resurssiklunssi V0.3
    You need the 1.5 kernel. Place the rco folder in the root of you ms. Place the eboot folder in the game150 folder with your kernel set to 4.xx. Place the decrypted rcos in the rco folder. Run the eboot press x when finished press x to exit. The compressed rcos should be in the ms0:/rco/done folder. To compress the rco's for more room in your flash 0 press circle instead of x when you run the eboot.

    I'm replace my icons with a new image but some of my icons either disappear or are corrupted.
    This is due to the limited resources of the psp. Yes this means high quality icons can be problems so it'll be a pain to fix up
    Here are the rcos that affect your icons disappearing:
    1. top_menu_icon.rco
    2. top_menu_plugin.rco
    3. system_plugin.rco
    4. system_plugin_fg.rco

    You can use a 1*1 canvas transparent png or a 1*1 canvas black 32 bit bmp with a black alpha channel replacing the shadows and glows(focus); replace (tex_sdwn, tex_sdwf, and tex_fcs which will reduce the size of your rco). For the system_plugin.rco, you can also replace the tex_line, tex_line_shadow, tex_3*3 shadow, and tex_3*3 focus.
    Here's a 32 bit bmp I have prepared: Click Here

    Here's a pretty good tool to reduce icon quality as well. What this tool does is turn your pngs into 8 bit pngs:
    PNG for PTF v1.0

    Now we'll work on PRX's. I will provide a tutorial on some hex editting basics in the tutorial section below.
    You will need a hex editor:
    I prefer to use:
    Hex Workshop
    It uses bookmarks which will come in handy as well as make things easy for you to work with.
    Now Hex Workshop isn't free so some good alternatives would be:
    HxD or XVI32
    You can find more free hex editors Here

    An alternative to using Hex Editors to edit your vshmain.prx is using BlessedHand's VSHmain Editor 2.0
    It's a GUI so edit your icon positions should be a piece cake compare to hex editor. However this GUI is only for "3.90" Firmware. Also you are more free to edit your prx's using a hex editor since GUI's are limited. This GUI however provides basic functions that you will need.
    Here's a screenshot of the gui:

    Some themes have icons disabled, how can I go about doing that?
    As you can BH's VSHmain Editor can do that simply by unchecking the function you don't want showing up on your xmb. This is for 3.90 though, to disable icons in 4.01 you will have to hex edit as of now.
    Here are the offsets to disable your icons for 4.01 (simply changed the highlighted hex values to FFFF FFFF to enable and 0000 0000 to disable):

    You can also use Ac_k's:
    Custom XMB Editor
    It will open a 3.90 paf.prx, as there haven't been any changes in 3.80/3.90 paf.prx.

    Like rco's, prx's have to be decrypted before editting
    Here's something that schmilk stated that can help:
    Quote Originally Posted by Schmilk
    What kind of prx do i have?
    To determine what state your prx is in open your PRX in hex editor
    If you see .ELF in the first line, then this program will
    If that line says ~PSP. then this program WILL NOT give you a working prx because it is compressed/encrypted)
    BUT, you candelete all data above 0x150 and rename the file to *.gzip, then open with winrar or ungzip and extract the compressed .prx, now you can update it.
    Here are the decrypted prx's for:
    390 and 401

    Alternatively you can decrypt them yourself using Schmilk's advice or using: PRX Compressor V0.41
    You can also use PRX Compressor V0.41 to compress your prx's but I prefer to use matchung's prxrecomp03x.exe
    The 3.90 header is included in both files, it is needed for both apps. To use PRX Compressor V0.41 to decompress your files, select your 3.90 header then click the decompress button then browse for the prx you want to decrypt. To use prxrecomp03x.exe to compress your decrypted files put all of your decrypted prx in the same folder in your Local C Drive, and run prxrecomp03x.exe, select the header and a decrypted prx.

    Now for Hex Workshop bookmarks, they are shortcuts to edit your float values rather then going through the offsets. I will provide a tutorial below on how to use them. Here are the links to the bookmarks for 390 and 401

    Here are links to the font color and infobar color offsets: 390 and 401

    I've seen themes with a reboot function instead of the location free player, how do you do it?
    Use these files instead of your lftv_plugin.prx: Click Here
    You need to edit the top_menu_icon.rco if you use only icons or top_menu_plugin.rco if you use only text or both if you use both in your theme using RCO Editor switching the update and lftv.
    Now we're not done yet we still haven't switch them technically. Open up the vshmain.prx using a hex editor to and switch the Update and LFTV values.
    Here are the values for 3.90 that you have to switch:

    Here are the values for 4.01 that you have to switch:

    A tool to convert your 3.90 prx to 4.01 prx
    Finally the best part of this section, if you want to update your prxs. Use this Schmilk's 3.90 to 4.01 PRX Converter
    I don't recommend converting your themes with just this tool. Please take your time to edit the rco's. At least 3 rco's are required: top_menu_icon.rco, top_menu_plugin.rco, and msvideo_main_plugin.rco. Also this tool doesn't fully update the vshmain.prx. You have to edit the font colors, infobar colors, and lftv to update switch.

    Here's something you haven't seen before. Using Takeshi's XMB Multi Customizer you can edit the paf.prx, vshmain.prx, opening_plugin.prx, top_menu_icon.rco, top_menu_plugin.rco, and system_plugin_fg.rco.

    To convert your fonts, you can find some ttf files of your choose Here, use Anger's PSP Font Converter ULTIMATE
    This tool can be use to resize, italicize, embolden, and edit the shadows of the font.

    To extract your waves into tgas for a bootwave or compress and convert your waves use TGA Wave

    To convert your 8 wavs into vags for custom click sounds (system_plugin.rco) use MF Audio

    To convert your prx's and waves for a custom bootsound use highboy's Bootsound Replacer V4.2

    To use ctf's, use Poison's CXMB 3.2.1

    To extract and create ctfs use Red Squirrel's CTF Manager
    You need a decrypted vshmain.prx, paf.prx, and common_gui.prx.
    Here's a screenshot of the app:

    Mr Shizzy also released a handy theme flashing tool as with some theme modifications use his XMB editor V2
    This is for 3.90 firmware.
    He has also released XMB Editor v3 recently for 4.01 m33.

    Here's a tool to create your PTFS (Sony Official Themes) use Sony Theme Converter V1.3
    You will need this to create ctfs.

    Yet another handy psp font converting program made by Skylark and Freeplay: Font Hacker

    Here's a tool to create your own 01-12.bmp use Blessedhand's split merge 01-12

    Here's a tool to get rid of metadata in images for highres 01-12.bmps use SHIFT Key's JPEG Encoder

    Here's a link to an unlocker.bat which will unhide all files in your flash0 (instructions on how to use it is also provided in the following link: Click Here

    Here's tool to edit the 3.90 M33 Recovery Mode and the 4.01 M33 Recovery Mode using Red Squirrel's Recovery Editor V3.0
    *It only edits the color and the line below the recovery mode and you need to know the hex values for your colors of chose.*

    Highboy's alternative to MFAudio, it's a nice gui and it seems to be faster: Clicksound Replacer WAV to VAG
    *It appears this uses atrac3 format so remember to make your wavs atrac3.*
    Here are some tutorials that will be helpful in creating your theme:
    (Guide) How to get cintro's to work on 3.90 & 4.01
    Learn the Basics of Hex Editting using this guide.:
    [Tutorial]How To Recolor Your XMB Font & Option Bar Using a Hex Editor
    [Tutorial]How to Use Photoshop's Batch Process to Recolor Your Icons
    Learn how to extract and replace in RCO Editor using this guide:
    [Tutorial] Replace XMB Click Sounds From Old Firmware to New Firmware
    [Tutorial] 3.71/3.80/3.90/4.01 M33 Custom Themes Installation (Flash0)
    Learn how to compile your own ctf, this applies to 4.01 as well only you need the decrypted prxs (can be found above) to create your ctfs
    *Here's a secret to a good quality thumbnail for a ctf when making the ptf. Use photoshop or any image editor resize your image for a thumbnail. Save it in any format and open it up using MSPaint. Save the image as a 256 color bmp, paint will automatically open up this new bmp then save it as a png. It's much better than turning it into an 8bit in photoshop or using the PNG to PTF converter.*
    [Tutorial] How to use and install CXMB (3.90m33)
    [Tutorial] Custom Boot Sounds for 3.52-4.01 M33 Firmwares
    An wasy way to make a gameboot
    The alternative custom gameboot tutorial
    Learn about some basic RCO Editor Knowledge and Ressurssiklunssi as well.:
    Make Your Gameboots Show Longer than 2.5 Seconds
    [GUIDE] Making 32-Bit Icons For Your XMB
    Learn how to convert your gameboots and cintros to an avi format video
    [GUIDE] Convert PMF to AVI
    Learn how to convert a ptf to an rco using this mini tutorial.
    Convert a ptf to an rco

    Endless Paradigm:
    [Tutorial] Make a Smooth scroll/fade XMB
    Learn how to create and use bookmarks for Hex Workshop:
    [UPDATE]Paf BookMarks.HBK & How to Add Bookmarks ~COME Here~
    Video TUT's by me ORGAN
    Custom wave tutorial for 3.71/3.80/3.90
    Old but still useful to look through:
    GUIDE: Fully customize your XMB
    Icon tutorial
    How to move icons around the XMB
    Learn how to use a high resolution background as a 01-12.bmp:
    [3.80 M33] - HighRes background pictures !!!
    Basics of Hex Editing
    Custom bootsounds/XMB sounds
    Debrand the PSP logo on Gameboot
    Custom Glow Icon's
    Learn how to create some awesome xmb movements:
    Paf.prx Offsets and Icon Animations
    Learn how to modify your info positions:
    infobar .prx modification
    If you come across any problems using the CTF Manager GUI, use this tutorial. It teaches you how to use the batch files provided by CTF Manager to create or extract your CTFs.:
    [Tutorial] Converting Themes With/Without CTF Manager
    A short tutorial on how to make custom xmb click sounds as well as boot sounds(I recommend using this tutorial for click sounds instead. Use the boot sound tutorial from the psp-hacks link as this tutorial is outdated):
    Custom bootsounds/XMB sounds
    A little guide that shows you how to organize your icons such as placing the Camera icon or other icons in the Settings section of your xmb.
    [Tutorial] Understanding subicon organization

    Console Spot:
    More Basics on how to Hex Edit:
    [Tutorial]Hex Editing
    [Tutorial]battery icon
    If you want to use the new visualizers from 4.05 on 4.01 m33 use this tutorial:
    How To get the 4.05 Visualizers working with 4.01 M33(-2)

    Highboy's Site:
    Boot Text Tutorial
    Using TGA Wave to Create a Bootwave

    Girl Gamers
    Learn How to stop your battery icon from blinking while your battery charges.
    [Tutorial]How to stop the battery icon from blinking while charging.

    Most of these tutorials are outdated but helpful. For the tutorials that require hex editing please make sure to use the offsets for the firmware you are creating the theme for.
    Source Links
    Most of the tutorials come from sites like:

    Sites to links to downloads come from above as well as: <---- Good Place to get Updated Freeware
    Final Words
    I am not responsible to whatever happens to your PSP. If anyone doesn't want their tutorial posted here, please inform me. Any links taken from other sites that aren't allowed please inform me. All in all have fun making your themes and please share your work to others. Hope this guide helps anyone who feels motivated to create their own themes.

    All credits go to all the writers and devs that contributed to this guide

    Last edited by dbrums; 04-13-2013 at 12:39 PM. Reason: updating

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  2. #2
    Rob S.'s Avatar
    Rob S. is offline Senior Member -Hacks Titan
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    Nice start up guide osnap. It will be very helpful to the new theme creators.

    Maybe add some of the info from this thread:

  3. #3
    osnap1584 is offline Senior Member -Hacks Titan
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    yea I'm adding that tomorrow when I get to prx and the tutorial sections finished the rcos.

    edit: doesn't look stickied

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  4. #4
    buckeyes937's Avatar
    buckeyes937 is offline -Hacks Ninja
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    very nice I just with you would put on there how to compress prx files. I always have a problem with that. But good job

  5. #5
    osnap1584 is offline Senior Member -Hacks Titan
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyes937
    very nice I just with you would put on there how to compress prx files. I always have a problem with that. But good job
    A little later, I'll be working on the prxs later on today.

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  6. #6
    osnap1584 is offline Senior Member -Hacks Titan
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    bump almost done just need to get tutorials, links and credits up. Truly overwhelming stupid spoiler tag doesn't work so well guess I have to use it for the whole guide.

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  7. #7
    KINGSUSHI001 is offline -Hacks Smarty
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    Can i upload the hex bookmarks for the font/info bar color offsets for 4.00 and 4.01, or are there already bookmarks for them?
    PSP History

    1.52 > 2.00 > 1.50 > 3.52 M33-4 > 3.71 M33-3 > 3.90 M33-3 > 4.01 M33-2......still happy.

  8. #8
    osnap1584 is offline Senior Member -Hacks Titan
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    they are not in bookmarks.

    edit: links to new programs. I might take some unimportant one down if it gets out of hand and takes up a whole page. Did I mention it's a mega guide?

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  9. #9
    KINGSUSHI001 is offline -Hacks Smarty
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    Lol. So is that a yes or a no for the bookmarks? Coz it wil help the complete noobs
    PSP History

    1.52 > 2.00 > 1.50 > 3.52 M33-4 > 3.71 M33-3 > 3.90 M33-3 > 4.01 M33-2......still happy.

  10. #10
    osnap1584 is offline Senior Member -Hacks Titan
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    no bookmarks for font color offsets. I'll be providing robs's tutorial instead. It's pretty easy. FInd one offset for the font colors and you can pretty much find the rest.

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