How to customize your Raspberry Pi splash screen (Raspbian Stretch April 2019 Version)


How to customize your Raspberry Pi splash screen (Raspbian Stretch April 2019 Version) 1

Real Raspberry Pi homebrewers love to get every detail right. Such as the splash screen when you boot.

You have just built a beautiful digital picture frame. Now let’s customize the boot-up screen like a painter signs his work at the end of his artistic journey.

Make sure you use the most recent set of instructions

When I did some research about splash screen customization, I found many incomplete and outdated instructions.

With every new Raspbian release, some things change, and earlier instructions may not work anymore.

So here is the definitive manual of April 2019 that I have tested with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and Raspbian Stretch desktop kernel version 4.14.

One word of advice: It probably makes sense that you do this when everything else works fine.

Although I found that the start-up commands scroll down far too fast to be able to read much anyway, the boot screen may contain some useful information if you are still in debugging mode.

But fear not, you can revert to the Raspberry Pi’s original boot show quickly.

Polishing the boot process

To present a clean and undisturbed splash screen, we are disabling the display of these items (in order of appearance)

  • The four raspberries in the top left corner
  • The boot message log
  • A blinking cursor top left
  • The splash image “Welcome to the Raspberry Pi Desktop”
  • A one-liner with boot notifications below the splash image

Creating the new splash screen

Find out what the resolution of your screen is. If you don’t know, connect to your Raspberry Pi Terminal and enter

fbset

It will return something like

mode "1920x1080"
geometry 1920 1080 1920 1080 32
timings 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
rgba 8/16,8/8,8/0,8/24
endmode

There you have it: 1920×1080.

Now start Photoshop or whatever program you use and create a PNG image in the same pixel size and call it “splash.png”.

Move the file over to your Raspberry Pi home directory.

If you haven’t installed file sharing, open a new Terminal window on your PC or Mac (do not connect to the Raspberry Pi!), navigate to the directory where you keep your splash.png file, e.g.

cd Desktop

Secure copy (scp) splash.png (replace the IP number with the IP of your Raspberry Pi) and enter the password of your Raspberry Pi at prompt.

scp splash.png pi@192.155.198.46:/home/pi/

Now the file is on your Raspberry Pi.

Cleaning up the boot process

Open a Terminal connection to your Raspberry Pi again and copy the splash.png file from the desktop into the Plymouth directory.

sudo cp /home/pi/splash.png /usr/share/plymouth/themes/pix/splash.png

If you like it clean, you can now remove the splash.png from your home directory. It has safely been copied to its rightful place somewhere deep down in the system hierarchy.

Let’s remove the one-liners below the splash screen.

sudo nano /usr/share/plymouth/themes/pix/pix.script

Comment out the following lines (i.e., add a “#” at the beginning):

message_sprite = Sprite();
message_sprite.SetPosition(screen_width * 0.1, screen_height * 0.9, 10000);
my_image = Image.Text(text, 1, 1, 1);
message_sprite.SetImage(my_image);

Let’s clean up everything else. Type:

sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt

A long line will open. At the end of this line add

logo.nologo vt.global_cursor_default=0

My entire line then looks like this: (don’t just copy it; your PARTUUID will be different)

dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=serial0,115200 console=tty1 root=PARTUUID=f404ba9e-02 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline fsck.repair=yes rootwait quiet splash plymouth.ignore-serial-consoles logo.nologo vt.global_cursor_default=0

And finally

sudo reboot

You should now have a clean boot process only displaying your customized splash screen.

Wolfgang Männel

Photography has always been a passion of mine. Since 2005, I have looked at countless ideas on how to enjoy beautiful images digitally, making the experience entertaining, amusing, and stimulating. In my other life, I am an entrepreneur, consultant, and bicyclist based near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

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