A portrait is a picture associated with a creature, door, or placeable, displayed in "flat" (two-dimensional) settings, such as when a textual description is displayed (as opposed to the three-dimensional portrayal used in the depiction of the game's world). Players choose a portrait for their character at character creation, while the portraits for other objects are set by the module builder in the Toolset.


A single portrait consists of five (uncompressed, 24-bit) .tga files, implementing the different image sizes used by the game. Each size includes an unused region at the bottom, which is required but never shown by the game. (Some portrait makers store image credits in this bottom portion.) The five sizes are:

  • huge (256x512 canvas; upper 256x400 used), seen during character creation;
  • large (128x256 canvas; upper 128x200 used), seen on character sheets;
  • medium (64x128 canvas; upper 64x100 used);
  • small (32x64 canvas; upper 32x50 used), seen in the party bar, excluding the player's own character, and in radial menus; and
  • tiny (16x32 canvas, upper 16x25 used), seen in the mouse-over name bubbles and chat window.

Each of these sizes can be identified by the last letter ('H', 'L', 'M', 'S', or 'T') of the file name before the ".tga" extension. These files can be included in hak paks or placed in either the portraits or override subdirectories of where Neverwinter Nights is installed. Portraits in the portraits subdirectory will be available during character creation, while those located elsewhere will be available for display as needed. (Thus one could put other players' portraits in override, allowing them to be displayed in the game, but without them cluttering the portrait selection during character creation.)

Female default portrait
Male default portrait

Of the five sizes, the medium size is required; if the medium-sized version is missing, the game believes the portrait does not exist at any size and uses the default portrait instead. The other sizes are only required if they will be used. (For example, the huge size is only displayed during character creation, so is not required for portraits not intended to be available to players.) If a required size is missing (but the medium-sized version exists), that size of the portrait is displayed as a white rectangle.

The five .tga files can be generated by Neverwinter Nights from a single image in jpeg format (usually indicated by the file name extension .jpg). This is done as follows.

  1. Place the jpeg file (e.g. my_pic.jpg) in the portraits subdirectory of where Neverwinter Nights is installed (typically C:\NeverwinterNights\NWN\portraits\).
  2. Start Neverwinter Nights, then start (or load) a game.
  3. Enter the console command ConvertPortrait followed by the name of the image without the extension (e.g. ConvertPortrait my_pic).
  4. Find the .tga files in the portraits subdirectory, zip them up into a single archive file, and share it with the community.

While this procedure does produce files of the appropriate sizes, it is often not the best method for producing portraits. Many of the better portraits involve cropping the image for the smaller sizes, instead of simply scaling the full image down. Cropping allows for more detailed portraits at the larger sizes, while not overloading the smaller sizes with too much detail. For example, some portraits show the full body in the huge size, head and shoulders in the medium size, and just the face in the tiny size.

Changed portraits[]

BioWare changed some character portraits in a patch. Many of the BioWare character portraits are modifications of photographs that were obtained from an agency, but for one reason or another that collection of photographs contained some that were not authorized for modification and use in a computer game. Once BioWare was made aware of the images that were not authorized, replacement images were produced and then distributed as part of the normal patching process.

Original portrait Changed portrait Source
Elf female 01 orig.jpg
Elf female 01.jpg

Angelina Jolie

Gnome female 06 orig.jpg
Gnome female 06.jpg

Perfume ad

Gnome male 07 orig.jpg

This image was later revised to Gnome male 07.jpg.

Leonard Nimoy
Halfling male 07 orig.jpg
Halfling male 07.jpg
Human female 24 orig.jpg
Human female 24.jpg

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Human female 25 orig.jpg
Human female 25.jpg
Jane Seymour
Human male 33 orig.jpg
Human male 33.jpg
Robert De Niro
Human male 34 orig.jpg
Human male 34.jpg

Joseph Fiennes

New portraits[]

Patch 1.66 added the following new portraits.

Po crimprpht h.jpg
Po maskman h.jpg
Po nighthag h.jpg

External links[]

Creating and Importing Custom Portraits @ BioWare