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Editing weapon graphics

Started by RetroTypes, April 03, 2020, 05:42:00 pm


April 03, 2020, 05:42:00 pm Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 05:16:40 pm by RetroTypes
If you're looking to edit weapon graphics, you've probably read this thread. And then you probably tried to download and use the linked TimUtil program and got hit with an error that it can't be run. Luckily, it's a lot simpler to edit this almost 10 years later, so here's an updated tutorial on editing weapon graphics:

1. Download Shishi as part of the FFTPatcher bundle as well as an image editor that supports FFT paletted images (4bpp paletted bitmaps). GraphicsGale is my preferred choice (portable version linked), but I believe Xif's Palette Editor works as well.


3. Run Shishi and open your FFT ISO ("File" -> "Open ISO").

4. Under the "Other Images" tab, use the drop-down box to select ITEM.BIN. You should see all the item sprites with their default colors, as shown below. This is the file you'll be editing shortly.

5. Click the checkbox next to "Import/Export as 256-color palette", then extract the image from your ISO using "Image" -> "Export". Save this somewhere convenient.

6. Minimize Shishi and open your image editor. I'll be explaining the specific steps for using GraphicsGale but it's probably similar using anything else. For those needing the in-depth walkthrough, make sure you use GG.

7. Open your ITEM.BIN bmp. Also make sure the palettes window is open and visible; if not hit "View" and click "Palette", it should have a checkmark to the left of it when it's opened. You can put this window wherever you like; I usually put it to the left of the workspace. The "Loupe" and "History" windows are also nice to have open but aren't necessary.

8. Zoom in on the image and expand the window for it as desired. At this point you should be looking at something like the following:

Application size and file name may vary, I'll explain the name of mine later.

9. Notice all the colors in the box on the left?

That's the 16 palettes for this image. Each row is a palette consisting of 16 colors. These are the vanilla palettes, and you can edit them as you'd like, but for this tutorial I'll be using the standard colors. Note that if you do change those, you change them for every item in the game.

10. You'll notice the image doesn't seem to be using all of the 256 colors in the palette window. That's because we're looking at just the first palette. As the game uses a different palette, it swaps the colors to the correct row, keeping each pixel's color in the same column it was in. So every pixel colored with the 11th color in the first row (the near-white color) will become the 11th color in the eighth row (the bright green) when the game uses the 8th palette, and so on. Since the image is displayed in the first palette, we will be editing with the first row of colors ONLY.

11. Under "View", click "Show Custom-Grid", noticing it's icon in that menu (the white grid). Nothing will pop right away, that's ok. Now click the same white grid on the toolbar (it's located directly beneath and a little to the right of the "Help" button), and select "16x16". You should now see a handy grid that outlines the boundaries of each item. As long as you color in the lines, you're golden. :p

12. Now comes the actual editing. A few more notes before we jump in though: the first color is black and becomes transparent in-game, so don't use this for any part of your weapon unless you want a hole in it. The 2nd color is near-black in all palettes, so use that for the dark spots if needed. Also, you'll be editing against a black background, but the items will be displayed in-game against a tan background. Consider this when outlining your items.

For this tutorial I'll be replacing the first Axe with Cloud's Buster Sword, but you make your edits as desired, modifying existing items or replacing some entirely.

13. Use the pen tool and select your desired colors to draw with (again, only use the colors from the first row), and edit away. I've found that if you stick to the colors near each other (4-7, 8-11, and 12-15), they blend the best when using the rest of the palettes. Here's my image with my new Buster Sword:

Note that it's shown with the first palette colors, but is intended for use with the 13th palette for best results.

14. Once you've made your edits, save the image as a new file. If this is the only image you're gonna edit for your modding purposes, name it whatever you want and ignore the next step.

15. Remember the weird name my image had? I didn't make it up, it serves a purpose. You can manually import your image back into Shishi regardless of what you named your modified version of the file, but if you're importing a bunch of edited files you can use the "Import all images" option under "Image" to import all of the images in a selected folder to the correct locations, but only if they're named correctly. By exporting every image Shishi manages using "Dump all images", you can see what the game names these files, and use those file names to re-import them correctly. Thus, EVENT_ITEM_BIN_0_32768.bmp is the file name needed to replace the ITEM.BIN bmp we edited. I'd recommend putting this in a folder specifically for images to import via Shishi, so you don't risk something weird happening unexpectedly.

16. Close/minimize your image editor and pull up Shishi again. If you closed Shishi entirely, redo steps 3 and 4. Now we're going to import our edited file into the game.

17. While on ITEM.BIN, make sure the "Import/Export as 256-color palette" checkbox is checked, then click "Image" -> "Import" and select your modified ITEM.BIN bmp. You should see the changes reflected in Shishi immediately. If you got an error, it was probably because that checkbox wasn't checked and thus it was the "wrong" file size. If you followed step 15, using "Import all images" and selecting the folder your bmp is in would work as well.

18. Once it's imported successfully, that's it! Shishi saves automatically, so this FFT ISO is now updated with your new item graphics. You can uncheck that 256-color checkbox and scroll through the different palettes to see how your edits look, and go back to editing as needed. Once you've got something you're happy with imported, be sure to update any item graphic/palette usage in FFTPatcher as necessary (remembering Shishi labels the palettes 1-16 but the Patcher uses 0-F), and enjoy your new items!

If anything in here is incorrect or leaving out important info, let me know below and I'll update accordingly.
  • Modding version: PSX


April 03, 2020, 05:56:18 pm #1 Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 12:31:58 am by RetroTypes
Now lets say you replaced an entire weapon type with something else (for example, if you replaced all three of the Axes with Greatswords). You can assign them their correct graphics in the patcher, but when you see them in your inventory (or shop's inventories) you're going to see this:

At first glance, it looks good! ..Except it's still showing its weapon type as an Axe.. Boooooooo!

So, here's a quick tutorial on updating the weapon type icons:

1. I'm assuming you've already done everything detailed in the above post, but just in case, I'll remind everyone that you'll need the FFTPatcher suite and an image editor same as in the weapon graphic tutorial. See the post above to get those if needed.

2. Open Shishi and open your ISO.

3. Go to the "Other Images" tab. It should open to the FRAME.BIN image, but if not, select that one in the drop-down box. If it defaults to palette 6, change it to palette 1. You should now see the following:

4. We're going to extract and modify this image. For this one though, we're going to keep the "Import/Export as 256-color palette" box UNCHECKED since the first palette is the only one we care about for editing the weapon type icons. So export this image using "Image" -> "Export" and save it somewhere convenient.

5. Minimize Shishi and open your image editor, again I'll be using GraphicsGale with the same settings as the above tutorial.

6. Open your newly saved FRAME.BIN bmp and zoom in on the weapon icons as desired.

7. We're going to use the grid again, but this one's a little more annoying. Click the white grid icon on the toolbar located almost directly underneath the "Help" button, and select "Input". Set the sizes for both x and y to 4 and hit Ok. If your grid doesn't show up, click "View" -> "Show Custom-Grid" and it should appear. At this point we're looking at something like this:

8. These icons are 12x12 pixels each vs the 16x16 pixels that the weapon graphics used. You'll have to scale down your new weapons accordingly, so it might be handy to have your ITEM.BIN bmp open as well for comparisons. The 12x12 icon sizes is also why we used a 4x4 grid. They're offset in a way that a custom-made 12x12 grid doesn't line up with our icons, so you'll have to use 3 of the 4x4 boxes for each icon's height and width.

9. Time to edit. Use the pen tool and your palette window to select your colors and draw your new icons. We only have the one row of colors (aka 1 palette) to work with this time so you won't accidentally mess anything up, so use whatever colors you want, but keep in mind the same points I made last time: the first color is black and becomes transparent in-game, and your image will be against a tan background. Use the other icons as a guide as to how to shade yours effectively, this one is a bit trickier than the weapon graphics.

I'm replacing the Axe icon with a Greatsword icon for this tutorial but again, you do you. Here's my updated FRAME.BIN with my new Greatsword icon:

10. Save this however you saved your ITEM.BIN in the above tutorial (either name it whatever you want for manual importing, or use the file name the game assigns this bmp, accessible after exporting all the images from Shishi; it ends up being EVENT_FRAME_BIN_0_36864, as you can see in my screenshots).

11. Close your image editor and open Shishi again. Get back to palette 1 of the FRAME.BIN image in the "Other Images" tab if you're not already there (see step 3).

12. We'll add our new icon into our ISO via "Image" -> "Import" and selecting our modified bmp.

13. It should update the image automatically and you should see your new icon in Shishi, but it might be hard to see how well it came out. Obviously the best way is to load up your newly modified ISO and see it in-game, but if you want a decent preview before all of that, switch to other palettes in Shishi for a good idea of how your work holds up (palette 3 works well enough for this). Once you're happy with your results, you're done! Now you've got a new weapon icon for your new weapons (note that these are hardcoded to use whatever slot they were already assigned to, so if you edited the Axe icon like I did, every weapon set as an Axe in the Patcher will have the new Greatsword icon next to it).
  • Modding version: PSX


  • Modding version: PSX