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Installing Portraits for 2K12

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I will split this tutorial into three sections:

1) Decompressing the portraits.iff file

2) Downloading the portraits you want and making sure they are in the right folder structure

3) Installing the portraits properly

You will need the following:


NBA 2K12 Decompressor

MLB Portrait Installer 1.2 (make sure it is MLB-Portrait-Installer-1.2.7z)
A stock portrait.iff/cdf file





1) Please install the MLB Portrait Installer to a folder on your desktop if possible. The default installation path in the installer used to work fine on Windows XP, but I've run into problems with the tool if I left the install path the way it is on Windows 10.

2) If you don't have a stock portrait.iff/cdf file, do not ask for original files on this site. KC's #1 rule to modding anything for this game, especially if you don't know what you are doing or if you are unfamiliar with what you are working on is to back up your entire MLB 2K12 folder before you install mods, so you don't run problems and you can restore your stock files in the event you break something.

3) if you have, it's likely your portrait.iff file is already decompressed, so you can skip all the way to Step 2 into importing using the portrait utility.



First things first, we will need to make sure that our portrait.iff file is decompressed. This will allow one of the utilities to write back into the portrait file.

We will be using the NBA 2K12 Decompressor for that, primarily because Krawhitham's tool uses Nba2KX_ModTool to do so and it uses Java, whereas the one in this tutorial does not. This makes the utility far more compatible across any OS. Java will not be necessary in this tutorial.

1) Decompressing the portraits file

a) Download and install the NBA 2K12 Decompressor. The default install path is C:\NBA 2K12 Decompressor.

b) Launch the NBA 2K12 Decompressor.

c) Click the browse for iff folder icon:


d) Point this to portrait.iff in your MLB 2K12 directory, and click UNZLIB after you select portrait.iff. It will begin to decompress the file.

e) When it is done you will see a message box that says "READY". You will find the two decompressed files (portrait.cdf and portrait.iff) in the directory where NBA 2K12 Decompressor is installed:


f) Copy and paste this into your MLB 2K12 directory and overwrite the two existing files. Now we are ready to install some photos.


2) Installing the portraits

a) What we want to do is launch the MLB 2K12 Portrait Installer. I've installed this in this path: C:\Kraw's Tools\MLB 2K12 Portrait Installer.


b) The utility is going to ask you to find your MLB 2K12 directory. The way that it will do this is by asking you where your mlb2k12.exe is located. Once you locate the mlb2k12.exe, you'll see this




This means the utility is configured to know where your MLB2K12 directory is, and it knows you have a decompressed portrait.iff/cdf file. Now, with this step completed, we are now able to download some portraits.


c) In this example, I'll download the portraits uploaded by @Alejandro C


Opening this .ZIP file shows me that there is a folder inside it with the .DDS files I need to install inside them. I also know that there are two players on this list without an ID, so I can't just select the .ZIP file with the Portrait Utility and import it like this (which is the reason why I just do it import portraits from a folder vs a file).


d) Extracting the folder in this .ZIP file will give me the folder and the .DDS files inside them to import with the Portrait Utility. I don't need to import Ryan Thompson or Yoshi Tsutsugo (because they don't have IDs yet) so I will delete them from this folder.




With everyone included with their IDs in this folder, we're officially ready to import. Now, this is very important: Every DDS file must have a numerical ID in order for the game to successfully read it.


3) Installing the portraits.

a) Let's go ahead and click on FOLDER here in the Portrait Utility:



b) What we're going to do is select the "New Portraits TB 2K21" folder that I showed you in the screenshot above:




Then we'll click OK. The utility now knows that you're going to install .dds files from this specific folder.


Let's say you want to install portraits as a FILE instead. You got a zip file, you want to just install it as you downloaded it. Well, the modder has to set up the proper structure to make it happen: When a modder creates a portrait pack, the correct structure that the portrait utility can understand if you choose FILE to install portraits is to have the DDS files in the zip/7z file in the package itself and not in a folder within the zip/7z file, so what that means is that you want the portrait pack to look like this when you open the zip file:



instead of a folder within the .zip/7z file, like this: 


There's no "best method" here though. I'm just showing you a method of installing portraits that is proven to work 10/10 times.


c)  Let's go ahead and click "install".



You will see some windows pop up, and then you will get to this message here: 



If you got here, congratulations, your portraits have been installed!


If you haven't, restore your original portraits.iff/cdf and start from the top again.

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47 minutes ago, LouisvilleLipp said:

Thanks for the tutorial KC, much props. However, I have a question. After clicking on ZLIB got a msg that this file is not compressed or it is already decompressed. What does this mean and what is my next step?


The tutorial is meant for users who have never installed portraits before.

However, if you have, it's likely your portrait.iff file is already decompressed, so you can skip all the way to importing using the portrait utility. I should note this in the tutorial among other notes. I want this to be completely fail proof.

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