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Texture Editing Guide

A Tutorial for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

1. Introduction

This tutorial will be guiding you through the process of learning how to export, edit, and replace textures in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. 

1.1. Some Notes Before Starting

This tutorial assumes you have an exploitable Switch, are capable of modding the game, and know how to install mods with the Ultimate Mod Manager. 

Credit any content you may have used for your mods when releasing or showcasing. Taking credit for content you did not create from scratch isn't cool or permitted.

Also, here's a list of what all the UI portraits are used for and where to find them.

2. Requirements

  • Switch Toolbox (If the newest release gives you problems I would try the beta release)
  • CrossArc
  • StudioSB (Optional, used for previewing edits before you test them ingame)

3. Preparing Our Files

Before we start, if you're not familiar with using CrossArc, the FAQ section of this guide explains all you need to know about getting accustomed to using it.

The first thing you'll need to do is to locate the texture or textures you wish to edit. For characters, most textures are contained in their body's costume folder. For example, if you wanted to edit Mario's overalls to be a shade of blue on the first costume slot, you would locate the folder fighter/mario/model/body/c00/ in CrossArc. 



You can extract the contents of a folder in CrossArc by simply right clicking and clicking "Extract file(s)." You won't be needing any of the other extraction options for our purposes.



Now that our files have extracted, they should appear in the proper directory and be ready for editing. Textures for characters and ingame models are generally stored as .nutexb, but most ingame interface UI files are stored as .bntx files. However, both of these types can be edited in the same fashion using Switch Toolbox.

The three most commonly used types of textures are listed below:

  • Textures with col at the end are the "main" texture, otherwise known as the diffuse. Edited most commonly in simple recolor mods, and are usually the only thing you'll need to change for simple recolor mods.
  • Textures with nor at the end are normal maps. Normal maps are used to bring out extra depth and detail. Normal maps also handle the visual transition effect used when you get inked by the Inklings and other miscellaneous effects.
  • Textures with prm at the end are packaged PBR maps. Each color channel represents a different type of PBR texture. 

For a more complex explanation of texture types for the advanced user, there is a research document that details them in more depth here.

4. Editing a Model's Texture

The first thing you'll want to do is open up Switch Toolbox as listed in the requirements. You should be able to go to File > Open > and select a file of your choosing. You can also just drag it into the scene and it should show up.



Once you find the texture that you're looking for, You can export as a whole bunch of different formats. You can export as either DDS or PNG, but since this is just for editing purposes, I usually just export to PNG. If the texture is a PRM texture or a texture with usage of the alpha channel, I would export as PNG, export as TGA, edit the TGA, and then export back to PNG.

Right click on the texture's name on the right side and export and save under your preferred format. Make sure on the top UseSizeRestrictions is enabled as it will prevent you from accidentally going above the texture's dimensions.



Now you're free to edit the texture however you like before exporting.

4.1. Texture Editing Methods

For importing your new texture, you have several options with different pros and cons.

4.1.1. PNG Replacement

Switch Toolbox has the ability to easily import PNG files which makes for a quick and easy method for texture editing. However, enabling the Good Quality option can take several minutes for very high resolution textures. This method is also not as good at compressing your texture in general. 

If you use this method, Switch Toolbox will automatically detect what settings you need outside of the two settings highlighted in this screenshot:



You'll want to make sure the Compression Mode is set to Normal (Good Quality) even though it may take some extra time to replace the texture. If you're replacing UI and the original texture looks darker or higher in contrast than it looks ingame, you'll want to tick the Gamma Fix option like in the screenshot to make sure the colors are accurate ingame. 

4.1.2. Intel DDS Plugin

For users with Photoshop, the Intel DDS plugin is the best method for exporting textures. You can find it here. You'll want to check the compression and make it match accordingly to what it says in Switch Toolbox. 




For the best quality, I would only use the Fine options. Note that BC7_UNORM is the same compression type as BC7 Linear.

If you're replacing UI and the original texture looks darker or higher in contrast than it looks ingame, you'll want to use the Adjustments option from the top left and use Gamma Fix before saving to make sure the colors are accurate ingame. 

4.1.3. TexFactory

TexFactory is a program that lets you convert to many different DDS types and has many complex features and export options. If you don't have photoshop and are having trouble compressing a texture with the PNG method, you'll want to try tooling with this to get your file size right.

If you're replacing UI and the original texture looks darker or higher in contrast than it looks ingame, you'll want to use the Adjustments option from the top left and use Gamma Fix before saving to make sure the colors are accurate ingame. 

5. Exporting and Testing In-Game

Now that your texture is visible in Switch Toolbox and you are ready to save, right click on your edited texture from the left side like so...



..and you should be able to overwrite/replace the texture or export to a new folder in Ultimate Mod Manager and test your mod ingame!

Keep in mind for creating mods you'll need to make folders that replicate the directory. For example, UltimateModManager/MODS/Super cool mario recolor!/fighter/mario/model/body/c00/
would be for a reskin of Mario's original costume.

6. (Optional) StudioSB Previews

If you'd like to more closely preview what your texture is going to look like without having to go through the process of restarting your switch each time, you can also load up the model in StudioSB, a program that lets you view models from Ultimate and even import custom ones over them!

All you have to do is overwrite the texture files wherever you extracted them and load up the costume folder by File > Open > Folder. Then, on the left side, double click the model.numdlb file and your character should show up in their default pose.



7. Troubleshooting

7.1. Textures Cannot Compress

When textures are detailed with many colors for shading, it becomes harder to compress it down due to being complex.

While it is not the only method, one trick to avoid this is by limiting the amount of colors on the whole texture or in an area in an image editing software. You can accomplish this by using tools like Posterize in paint.net and by limiting your Color Palette in GIMP. 

Another method is to fill the areas that aren't used by the character or model you're retexturing with empty space. You can also even downscale the texture and then rescale it back up in order to simplify some more complex parts. 

7.2. When I test my Custom UI In-Game, some pixels stretch to the side infinitely

You'll need to make sure there are no pixels touching the border of your texture. I would rescale so the UI fits completely, but if that is out of the picture, you can simply remove each side's very last pixel row.

8. Conclusion

By the end of this guide, you should be relatively comfortable with the process for editing textures in Smash Ultimate. If you have any questions, please leave a comment with detail to some degree so I can assist you better, or PM me on here. With that being said, good luck!
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  • Mario and Sonic Guy avatar
    Mario and Sonic Guy Joined 4y ago
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    19d 19d
    It's probably worth mentioning that when editing texture parts that have an alpha layer, you'll likely have to convert the exported .png image into a .tga image before making any actual edits.

    The reasoning for this is because certain Adobe Photoshop revisions (such as CS4) read .tga transparency differently than with .png images. And if a texture part has multiple transparent colors, you have to be able to see the colors when editing; just because the colors are transparent, does not mean that they will not appear in-game (such as with Lucario's textures).
    Texture & Moveset Editor
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    Nohbdy Joined 2mo ago
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    Yo I wish this existed like 2 weeks ago when I started, this is great. I'll make sure to link people to this whenever they ask where to start with texture editing.
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