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Here's how to use custom portraits

KilivitzKilivitz Posts: 746Member
edited June 2014 in General Modding
Well, I guess the thread title is self-explanatory. This is an updated and expanded version of the original post, which I hope will be lot more helpful.

Many many thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread with further advice and/or questions.


1.1 Image file format

Portraits for BG:EE are 24-bit bitmaps (.BMP). You can save images in this format using practically any image editor such as MSPaint, Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. (Check Item 6 for more info on how to properly convert your image)

1.2 Image file dimensions

UPDATE: you can now use a single large portrait, which will be resized to fit the other screens. The optimal size is 210x330 pixels. Keep it at a minimum of 169x266, to prevent blurred images.

Images can be larger than that, but no wider than 1024 pixels. Also try to keep it proportional to the dimensions that have just been mentioned, otherwise, the image will be "squeezed" and may look distorted. (Check Item 6 for more info on how to properly crop your image)

The deprecated directions are still valid and are useful if you'd like your character to have different images for each screen (or, in IWD style, different crops):

To use a custom portrait, you need 3 versions of an image (only 2 are required, though) with different dimensions (width x height, in pixels):

Large - 210x300 (not required - character creation screen)
Medium - 169x266 (for the character record screen)
Small - 54x84 (for the right sidebar of the game screen)

1.3 Image file naming conventions

You can name your portraits however you want, as long as you follow these rules:

· NO spaces.
· Between 1 and 7 characters (not counting the size letter, see below)
· End with the letter L, M or S, according to size.

e.g.: mulderL.bmp (large), scullyM.bmp (medium), krycekS.bmp (small).


In order for your portraits to show up in BG:EE, you must place them in an specific folder, named "Portraits" (without quotes). This folder is not created when the game is installed, so you must create it yourself.

2.1 Where to create your "Portraits" folder

On Windows: go to your User(s) folder. You know, the one that has My Music, My Pictures, and so on. Now follow this path: My Documents > Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition. That's where you must create your Portraits folder.


Once you have the right files on the right folder, all you have to do is select the portrait inside the game.

3.1 On a new character

When creating a new character, once you're prompted to select his or her portrait, you will notice a button labeled "CUSTOM" now shows up on the screen.

This button will take you to the screen shown below, where you'll be able to select the Medium and Small portraits. They're not required to match - you can use different M and S portraits for one character if you so desire.

(hit the spoiler button to see image)

The Large portrait will be selected automatically according to the Medium one, or ignored (if there is no L version).

3.2 On a previously created character

If you're already playing a character and want to change it's portrait, go to his/her Record screen and hit the button labeled "CUSTOMIZE", then "APPEARANCE".

Once you're prompted to select his or her portrait, you will notice a button labeled "CUSTOM" now shows up on the screen.

This button will take you to the screen shown below, where you'll be able to select the Medium and Small portraits. They're not required to match - you can use different M and S portraits for one character if you so desire.

The Large portrait will be selected automatically according to the Medium one, or ignored (if there is no L version).

3.3 On an exported character

Changing the portrait of an exported character is just a little trickier. There are two ways you can do so:

3.3.1 Via importing/re-exporting

Import your character into a new game (or into a loaded multiplayer game), and then follow the steps on 3.2. After doing so, you can export it again so it'll remember your portrait selection.

3.3.2 Using a game editor

You can also use EEKeeper. Open your exported character using the program and click the "Change Portrait" button. You will notice your custom portraits are now listed along the others.


As you probably already know, it's not possible to edit a NPC's portrait or soundset using the Customize menu under their record screen.

If you want to do it, however, you don't really need to use a game editor. There's a simple method that will not only apply to any game (new or previously saved), but it's easily reversible.

All you need is to have portraits that use certain specific file names which will be recognized by the game as the original portraits and be shown instead.

These files can be put on your Portraits folder. In fact, be careful not to use these names if you don't want to change a NPC's portrait. Though you will be able to select it for your character, the substitution will still occur.

To revert the process, simply rename or remove the files from your Portraits folder.

Hit the spoiler button to view the list of NPCs and their respective file names:
Ajantis - AJANTISL.bmp, AJANTISM.bmp, AJANTISS.bmp
Alora - ALORAL.bmp, ALORAM.bmp, ALORAS.bmp
Baeloth - BAELOTHL.bmp, BAELOTHM.bmp, BAELOTHS.bmp
Branwen - BRANWENL.bmp, BRANWENM.bmp, BRANWENS.bmp
Coran - CORANL.bmp, CORANM.bmp, CORANS.bmp
Dorn - DORNL.bmp, DORNM.bmp, DORNS.bmp
Dynaheir - DYNAHEIL.bmp, DYNAHEIM.bmp, DYNAHEIS.bmp
Edwin - EDWINL.bmp, EDWINM.bmp, EDWINS.bmp
Eldoth - ELDOTHL.bmp, ELDOTHM.bmp, ELDOTHS.bmp
Faldorn - FALDORNL.bmp, FALDORNM.bmp, FALDORNS.bmp
Garrick - GARRICKL.bmp, GARRICKM.bmp, GARRICKS.bmp
Imoen - IMOENL.bmp, IMOENM.bmp, IMOENS.bmp
Jaheira - JAHEIRAL.bmp, JAHEIRAM.bmp, JAHEIRAS.bmp
Kagain - KAGAINL.bmp, KAGAINM.bmp, KAGAINS.bmp
Khalid - KHALIDL.bmp, KHALIDM.bmp, KHALIDS.bmp
Kivan - KIVANL.bmp, KIVANM.bmp, KIVANS.bmp
Minsc - MINSCL.bmp, MINSCM.bmp, MINSCS.bmp
Montaron - MONTARL.bmp, MONTARM.bmp, MONTARS.bmp
Neera - NEERAL.bmp, NEERAM.bmp, NEERAS.bmp
Quayle - QUAYLEL.bmp, QUAYLEM.bmp, QUAYLES.bmp
Rasaad - RASAADL.bmp, RASAADM.bmp, RASAADS.bmp
Safana - SAFANAL.bmp, SAFANAM.bmp, SAFANAS.bmp
Shar-Teel - SHARTEL.bmp, SHARTEM.bmp, SHARTES.bmp
Skie - SKIEL.bmp, SKIEM.bmp, SKIES.bmp
Tiax - TIAXL.bmp, TIAXM.bmp, SKIES.bmp
Viconia - VICONIAL.bmp, VICONIAM.bmp, VICONIAS.bmp

Example: placing IMOENM.bmp and IMOENS.bmp on your portraits folder will make Imoen use these portraits instead of the original.


5.1 My custom portraits don't show up at all! (may or may not include: The "CUSTOM" button on the portrait selection isn't even there!)

Are they in the right folder? Double-check the path and if yes, make sure there aren't any typos on the folder name.

Was the game running before you put them there? If you change the contents of the Portraits folder while the game is running, you need to restart it in order for any changes or additions to be applied.

5.2 The file names show up but not the portraits - all I see is a blue silhouette with a question mark!

Make sure the files are 24-bit bitmaps.

If you are using MSPaint, the program will often save .bmp files as 32-bit, even if you specifically select the "24-bit bitmap" file format.

Simply changing the extension of .JPG images will not work. Open up the files in an image editor and save them as bitmaps.

If you're not sure on how to do that, read the next section.


If you're having problems saving or resizing your custom portraits, here are a few tips:

6.1 Resizing and proportions

To learn how to resize an image using MSPaint, check out this link (thanks to @SableRhapsody).

Now, most of the times the image you want to use as a portrait is not on the right proportions, and you most likely don't want it to be all streched or distorted when you save it. So how do we get around that?

You need to edit the image so it'll better "fit" inside the portrait dimensions. Using MSPaint to do that isn't the most practical way (you'll find out why soon enough), but if you really want to try, @Dee posted a quick guide right here.

Truth is, you are better off using a more sophisticated image editor. It doesn't take a graphic designer to do simple resizing and cropping - only patience and a few minutes to learn. I'll give you some tips on how to do it using free software - I figure if you are an Adobe Photoshop user, you don't need help with this.

6.1.1 Using

(coming soon)

6.1.2 Using GIMP

GIMP is a free (and pretty powerful) image editor. In fact, it might be overkill for the task at hand (it's a 70MB download and it'll take around 150MB once installed), but it's a nice option if you also want to start fiddling around with other stuff (brightness, contrast, colors, etc). However, that's beyond the scope of this guide, at least for now.

To make a portrait using GIMP, follow these steps (hit the spoiler buttons to see the images):

1) Start by clicking File > New. This will open a "Create a New Image" window, where you'll set the file's width to 210 and the height to 330. Keep every other option as it is and hit OK. Now you have a window that looks like this:

2) Go to the folder where the image you want to edit is. Click the file and drag it into the GIMP window, more specifically, into the image area (trust me, it'll work). Once you do that, you should see only part of the image inside the portrait dimensions. Don't worry, we're making progress.

3) Now, take a look at the right part of the screen. There's a small window there named "Layers - Brushes", right? Notice that now that you've dragged your image into GIMP, there's a layer there named after your original image. In my case, here, it's "wizard". Make sure this layer is selected by clicking on it.

4) Now, take a look at the left part of the screen. There's a rather tall window there named "Toolbox - Tool Options". What we want to click there is the MOVE tool, which is highlighted on the next image. Click that icon.

5) Now try clicking and dragging inside your new portrait area. You will notice this area is actually a canvas, or a bounding box. Although not completely visible, the entire image is still there. Move it around until it's "framed" exactly as you want. If you want to zoom out and show more of the image, follow the next step.

6) To resize your layer, select the SCALE tool (highlighted on the next image) by clicking on the icon and then click anywhere on the image. You will notice a small "Scale" window showed up, and the layer is fully visible, with a grid over it. Click on one of the layer's corners and drag it to resize it. If you hold CTRL, the aspect ratio will be kept, avoiding any distortions. Once it's done, you'll need to reposition your layer. Use the MOVE tool again as necessary.

7) Once you're happy with how your portrait looks, it's time to save it. Hit File > Export, and on the Export Image window's lower right corner, hit the dropbox that says "All Export Images" and select "Windows BMP Image (*.bmp)". Select the folder where you want to save it, type in an appropriate name and hit Export.

8) Now, before the image is saved, an "Export Image as BMP" window pops up. This is an important step - you need to expand the "Advanced Options" menu and select the "24 bits" option (R8 G8 B8). This will make sure the portrait works. Hit export and you're done...

9) ...or almost. We still need the other sizes, right? To resize a whole image in GIMP, go to Image > Scale Image. On the "Scale Image" window, edit the width and height according to the M and S dimensions. Notice that unless you click the little "chain" button, the other axis will automatically adjust to keep the image proportional. Sometimes the measurements will be off by one or two pixels (the medium image will be 169x267, and the small 54x85, for example). This is okay.

10) Once you resized the image, follow step 7 to export it again to another BMP file.
Post edited by Kilivitz on


  • kilroy_was_herekilroy_was_here Posts: 455Member
    Also, I think they have to be 24-bit bitmaps. At least that was the way it was in the original.
  • DeeDee Posts: 7,718Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer, BG:EE Beta, IWD:EE Beta
    The resolution should be set to 200 dpi for best results. Otherwise, you've got it.
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Posts: 306Member
    I tried adding bitmaps of the proper size to "C:\Users\Administrator\Documents\Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition\override" but I didn't see them show up with the default picture selections and I see no button to access custom portraits. Am I missing something? Has anyone else been able to get custom portraits working? If so do share how you did so!
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,452Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer
    @Nic_Mercy You need to create a folder called Portraits. It's step 2.
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Posts: 306Member
    edited November 2012
    er sorry I meant to say I put the pics in C:\Users\Administrator\Documents\Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition\Portraits

    And it didn't work

    Same goes for voice sets added to C:\Users\Administrator\Documents\Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition\Sounds
    Post edited by Nic_Mercy on
  • KilivitzKilivitz Posts: 746Member
    edited November 2012
    Make sure they are Bitmaps (.bmp) - I never had issues regarding resolution, but JPEGs, GIFs, etc. won't work.

    Changing the file extension won't work either. You need to save the image as a bitmap using MSPaint, GIMP, Photoshop or a similar program.

    Also check if the filenames stay under 8 characters. That would 7, plus the final letter (L, M or S).
    Post edited by Kilivitz on
  • CuvCuv Posts: 2,466Member, Moderator, Developer, BG:EE Beta
    Sounds need to go in your language directory at the location of the dialog.tlk your game is using. You will find a sounds folder in there.
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Posts: 306Member
    Adding sound sets to the specific language directory "sounds" folder did not make them show up in game.
    My pics are bitmaps and still don't show up
    For those of you replying have you ACTUALLY gotten either to work yourselves? Or are you telling me what "should" work?
  • el_Maestroel_Maestro Posts: 7Member
    edited November 2012
    There is no in game access button to the custom portraits (or at least i can't find it).

    edit: I found it
    Post edited by el_Maestro on
  • KilivitzKilivitz Posts: 746Member
    Look under the portrait:

  • KilivitzKilivitz Posts: 746Member
    And here's the selection screen (although I got some dimensions wrong):

  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Posts: 306Member
    edited November 2012
    Now see my game does not have that button for some weird reason... should I try to reinstall? Or is it something I have to enable?
    Post edited by Nic_Mercy on
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Posts: 306Member
    edited November 2012
    here's a screenie:
    Post edited by Nic_Mercy on
  • Eddie_KaspbrakEddie_Kaspbrak Posts: 29Member
    I have L, M and S all the right dimensions and bit depth and they're showing up under Custom - however when selected no picture appears... What am I doing wrong?
  • LordLeviathanLordLeviathan Posts: 76Member
    I have already a custom portrait, I wanted to know how to adjust it to the right size.

    If anyone can tell how to do it, I will be very thankful.
  • SableRhapsodySableRhapsody Posts: 38Member
    Anyone know where the NPC portraits are located now? I'd like to replace a few of them.
  • kilroy_was_herekilroy_was_here Posts: 455Member
    FYI: I've noticed that when the small sized portrait is sized correctly (54X84), it will look wrong in the custom portraits preview (there will be empty space at the bottom and right of the small box) but it is the correct size and will display correctly in-game.

    I would post a screenshot but for some reason every single one of my custom portraits violates forum rules... I'm sure it's a coincidence. :P It is visible in Kilivitz's last post above this one.
  • kilroy_was_herekilroy_was_here Posts: 455Member
    edited November 2012
    @LordLeviathan to adjust the size of a pic, open it with MSpaint (it comes with windows so everyone has it)

    Under Home, click on the 'resize' tool. Click on Pixels and change the size to whatever it should be (ie: 54 horizontal 84 vertical for a small portrait). Make sure 'Maintain aspect ratio' is unclicked so you can get the exact size.

    Then click OK and save the file. Make sure the file type is set to 24 bit BMP or it will not show up/display correctly.
    Post edited by kilroy_was_here on
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Posts: 306Member
    I still don't see the custom button under the default portraits and I don't know why. I created a portraits folder in the correct location and added portraits of the correct format and dimensions

    C:\Users\Administrator\Documents\Baldur's Gate - Enhanced Edition\portraits



    I tried with and without the underscores in the file name. I don't know what else to try.
  • Eddie_KaspbrakEddie_Kaspbrak Posts: 29Member
    your folder title needs a capital P for Portraits (or so it says above)
  • DeeDee Posts: 7,718Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer, BG:EE Beta, IWD:EE Beta
    Also, the file name (minus the L, M, or S) needs to be seven characters or fewer. What you've got there is eight characters long. The underscore is also unnecessary.
  • LordLeviathanLordLeviathan Posts: 76Member
    I have window vista but I can't work it properly with paint, I don't know how to adjust it correctly.
  • LuigirulesLuigirules Posts: 404Member
    I'm having the same problem Nic is having. No custom button.

    Little help here, people?
  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Posts: 306Member

    your folder title needs a capital P for Portraits (or so it says above)

    tried that didnt work

  • Nic_MercyNic_Mercy Posts: 306Member
    edited November 2012
    Aosaw said:

    Also, the file name (minus the L, M, or S) needs to be seven characters or fewer. What you've got there is eight characters long. The underscore is also unnecessary.


    Now if only you could tell me how to make custom sound sets show up! I tried putting them in:

    E:\Program Files\Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition\Data\00766\lang\en_US

    but that didnt work
    Post edited by Nic_Mercy on
  • DeeDee Posts: 7,718Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer, BG:EE Beta, IWD:EE Beta
    @Nic_Mercy Make sure the file's name (including the M/L/S suffix) is eight or fewer characters long. The example you gave was 10 (with the underscore; 9 without).
  • LuigirulesLuigirules Posts: 404Member
    Mine still isn't working. Troubleshoot?

    C:\Users\Owner\Saved Games\Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition\Portraits

    Saved them all using paint, 24-bitmap, tried running in admin mode, nothing.
  • LuigirulesLuigirules Posts: 404Member
    Nevermind, got it to work.

    So, for custom sound sets, do we need to create a folder called "Sounds" in the same place we put our custom portraits and put the .wav files in there?
  • LordLeviathanLordLeviathan Posts: 76Member
    I still need help for my custom portrait.

    I am running on window vista so I don't know how to adjust it correctly with this version of paint.
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