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Creating and Importing Custom Portraits
by Robin Mayne and Derek French

Neverwinter Nights allows you to customize your character in many ways. Adding your own custom portrait is one way for you to take character customization to a new level.

This document will describe the simple steps needed to:

  1. Create a custom portrait
  2. Import a custom portrait into the game
  3. Understand how custom portraits work in multiplayer

Creating A Custom Portrait

Step 1. Using an image editor of your choice that supports the Targa (.tga) format, create a new blank image 256 x 512 pixels in dimension. Example software includes Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and Irfanview.

Only the top portion of the image is displayed in the game, so that the actual size of your portrait is 256 x 400 pixels. The bottom portion of the image is blank and unused.

Areas of the image:

  • canvas is the entire image
  • portrait is the area used by the game
  • blank is the unused area (but required)

sample portraitYou can also download the sample portrait I created, shown left. (This portrait is meant to be humorous, and should inspire you to do better!) You will need WinZip to unzip this portrait. If you view my sample portrait in your image editor, you will see it has the blank area described above.


Step 2. Create your custom portrait, whatever it may be, in the 'portrait' area. Remember, even though the total size of the canvas is 256 x 512 pixels, only use the top 256 x 400 pixels as diagramed above for the portrait itself.

Step 3. Now you need to create five versions of the portrait for the game to use. You have already created the largest version, so you can just resize it to make each of the four other smaller versions.

The dimensions of the five versions needed are:

256x400 (on a 256x512 canvas) - used for the Player Character Bio
128x200 (on a 128x256 canvas) - used for the character sheet
64x100 (on a 64x128 canvas) - used for the in-game portrait
32x50 (on a 32x64 canvas) - used for the party members and radial menu
16x25 (on a 16x32 canvas) - used for the chat thumbnail

Step 4. You must save the images as Targa (.tga) files, (selecting the '24 bits' and 'uncompressed' options of your software). The filenames for the five versions must follow this pattern:

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxh.tga (for the 256x512 canvas)
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxl.tga (for the 128x256 canvas)
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxm.tga (for the 64x128 canvas)
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxs.tga (for the 32x64 canvas)
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxt.tga (for the 16x32 canvas)

Where the prefix "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" is a name you create, is 1 to 15 characters in length, and the same for all five versions.

The 'h', 'l', 'm' ,'s', and 't' that follows the prefix indicates the size of the image (Huge, Large, Medium, Small, and Tiny).

So for my sample portrait, I created these five images:

robinsample_h.tga
robinsample_l.tga
robinsample_m.tga
robinsample_s.tga
robinsample_t.tga

As you can see, my images all have the same prefix of "robinsample_" (since it is 12 characters in total, it follows the rule of being between 1 to 15 characters), and I also have each of the five versions - 'h', 'l', 'm' ,'s', and 't'.

Once you have either created your portrait, or downloaded one, you can use it in the game.

Importing A Custom Portrait

Step 1. Importing your custom portrait is easy to do. Simply copy the five versions of the portrait into your 'portraits' directory where you have installed Neverwinter Nights.

Step 2. Now you can select your portrait when you are creating a new character. Note that your custom portrait will be available for both male and female characters, unlike the original portraits in the game that are male/female specific.

Above, you can see my custom portrait in the game.

Using Custom Portraits in Multiplayer

When you are playing multiplayer and using a custom portrait, the portrait that people will see for you depends on if they have that same custom portrait in their 'portraits' directory as well. (It will look for portraits of the same filename.)

If they do, they will see your custom portrait. If they do not, then they will see you as the game's default portrait (Neverwinter Nights has 2 default portraits - one for male characters, one for female.)

So if you want your friends to see you with your new custom portait, simply e-mail the five versions to them, and ask them to copy the files into their 'portraits' directory.

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