Pictomancer Basic Guide
Guide Info
Last Updated: 24 Jun, 2024
Patch Applicable:

Basic Overview

Let’s go over how the individual pieces of the Pictomancer kit fit together. We can broadly group the job’s mechanics into these subsystems:

  • Basic Combos and Palette Gauge
  • Subtractive Palette
  • Creature Motifs
  • Weapon Motif
  • Landscape Motif

Basic Combos and Palette Gauge

Pictomancer has two primary combo foundations: “Palette” and “Motif”. The “Palette” foundation consists of actions that generate Palette Gauge and Paint Charges, whereas “Motif” paints multiple Motifs on Canvas to life as powerful Muses. Both foundations are used to deal damage as a Pictomancer.

Let’s start with spell combos and the Palette Gauge of Pictomancer.

Basic Combo

Fire in RedAero in GreenWater in Blue

Fire in Red > Aero in Green > Water in Blue is Pictomancer’s basic combo. The basic combo and its AoE counterpart generates 25 Palette Gauge and a White Paint charge. Palette Gauge is the main payoff for executing a basic combo and White Paint is used to cast Holy in White, the main resource used for movement.

The Palette Gauge can hold a maximum of 100 Gauge and five Charges of White Paint.

Let’s talk about the main payoff for executing the Basic Combo.

Subtractive Palette

Once you have 50 Palette Gauge you can execute Subtractive Palette and use an enhanced combo (that also generates White Paint).

Subtractive will convert a stack of White Paint to Black Paint. If a charge of White Paint is not available, then the next one obtained will be automatically converted to Black Paint. Only one charge of Black Paint can be held at once and it occupies the same slot on the gauge as the White Paint it took the place of.

Black Paint allows us to use Comet in Black, a significantly stronger spell than Holy in White. Comet in Black can also be used for movement in a similar way to Holy in White.

Subtractive Combo

Blizzard in CyanStone in YellowThunder in Magenta

The Subtractive Combo is significantly stronger than the basic combo. However both the Subtractive Combo and Comet in Black have a longer recast time than normal GCDs. This gets reduced under the effect of Hyperphantasia during Starry Muse, but we will go over that later.

Successfully executing the Subtractive Combo and its AoE counterpart won’t grant Palette Gauge, but it will grant a charge of White Paint.

Motifs and Muses

Next, let’s talk about the other foundation of Pictomancer gameplay: Motif and Muse.

A Motif is a hardcast spell with a long cast time (three seconds) with an even longer recast time (four seconds) that prepares powerful effects called Muses. The Motif cast in itself does no damage and when the cast is stored on the Canvas, a special type of Gauge available to Pictomancer.

Pictomancer has three slots on their Canvas which each store a unique type of Motif: the Creature Motif, Weapon Motif, and Landscape Motif.

A Muse requires and consumes its related Motif to perform powerful off-global abilities. In the case of Creature Motifs, the next Creature Motif cannot be used until the previous Creature Motif has been consumed by its related Muse.

Now, let’s talk about each type of Motif and its related Muse.

Creature Motifs

There are four Creature Motifs that must be used in the order of Pom > Wing > Claw > Maw. Creature Motifs grant the ability to use Living Muses.

Creature Motif Order:

Pom Motif grants Pom Muse

Wing Motif grants Winged Muse which grants Mog of the Ages

Claw Motif grants Clawed Muse

Maw Motif grants Fanged Muse which grants Retribution of the Madeen

Living Muses are all 1000 potency off-global damage abilities and share a 40 second charge cooldown with a maximum of three charges. The Wing and Maw Living Muses (second and fourth Muses) also grant the ability to use Portraits. A Portrait is an off-global ability with an even higher potency. Wing Muse grants the ability to use the Mog of the Ages, while Fanged Muse grants the ability to use Portrait of the Madeen.

Weapon Motif

Currently there is only one Weapon Motif: the Hammer Motif.

Hammer Motif grants the ability to use Striking Muse.

Striking Muse has a cooldown of 60 seconds with two charges. When used, it grants the ability to use what we’ll call the “Hammer Combo”.

The Hammer Combo consists of three spells: Hammer Stamp > Hammer Brush > Polishing Hammer.

Each Hammer Combo spell is a guaranteed critical direct hit.

Landscape Motif

Currently there is only one Landscape Motif: the Starry Sky Motif.

Starry Sky Motif grants the ability to use Starry Muse.

Starry Muse is our 2-minute buff. In addition to a 5% party-wide damage up, it also grants the player:

  • The ability to use Star Prism.
  • A free use of Subtractive Palette.
  • Five faster casts and recasts on spells affected by Hyperphantasia while within the bounds of the area drawn by Starry Muse.
  • After five of these casts have been made, the player gets an instant cast Rainbow Drip with reduced recast time, roughly equal to a standard 2.5s GCD.

General Gameplay Flow

So, how does this all play out? Pictomancer takes resource banking to the extreme.

We want to prep our strong abilities like Muses and Portraits for 2-minute buff windows, while also finding efficient ways to spend our Palette Gauge and prep Motifs. As with all other jobs, our primary priorities should be maximizing GCD uptime, taking care not to lose cooldown usages or overcap on Palette Gauge.

We want to use Motifs and the Subtractive Combo during periods of low movement, as they have long cast times.

Going into a 2-minute buff window, we want to make sure Striking Muse and Starry Sky Muse are both prepared to be used. We also want either Wing or Maw Muse prepared as well. All of these Muse preparations require us to get our long casts out of the way during convenient times. For example, during times where low movement is required, or during downtime.

There are a few caveats to remember which will grant us great flexibility in setting up sequences on Pictomancer:

  1. It is important to remember that our Basic Combo isn’t exactly a true combo. Because the Aetherhues buff lasts 30 seconds, we can interrupt the Basic Combo with other spells and still come back to it. For example, we can use Fire in Red > Pom Motif > Hammer Motif > Aero in Green > Starry Sky Motif > Water in Blue and it would still count as a valid Basic Combo.
  2. The Hammer Combo is also not a true combo, as we have no other combos with the special text “Combo Action” to interrupt it. This means that we can also use other spells in between Hammer spell casts. For example, we can use Hammer Stamp > Blizzard in Cyan > Stone in Yellow > Thunder in Magenta > Hammer Brush > Polishing Hammer if we so desired.
  3. Because the Subtractive Combo shares the same Aetherhues buff as the Basic Combo, we can also use Subtractive Palette in the middle of a Basic Combo. For example, we could use Fire in Red > Aero in Green > Subtractive Palette > Thunder in Magenta > Blizzard in Cyan > Stone in Yellow > Water in Blue as a valid sequence. Because we are not losing any subtractive combo casts, this is not a DPS loss.
  4. While the Starry Muse damage buff and buff windows in general only last 20 seconds, it is important to remember that the other buffs like Inspiration and Subtractive Spectrum, granted by Starry Muse, last 30 seconds. This means that we do not need to fulfill all buff conditions within the 20s buff window itself. This is important, as there are powerful sequences we can perform that cram additional potency into the buff window. This will also delay less important personal kit buffs and effects until after the 20s buff window is finished, leaving 10s of personal kit buffs remaining.
  5. Subtractive Palette technically grants the Monochrome Tones buff, which converts White Paint to Black Paint instead of a direct conversion. What this means is that if the player does not possess a White Paint charge, the next White Paint gained will automatically be converted to a Black Paint charge at that time.
  6. While a Black Paint charge is active, Holy in White cannot be used. This is an important limitation for buff window set-ups that rely on Comet in Black.
    For example, if Comet in Black must be cast as the first GCD in buffs, or if the set-up needs to use two Comet in Black casts in the 20s buff window.
  7. The buffs granted by Striking Muse last 30 seconds. This means a Hammer Combo does not need to be used immediately after Striking Muse is used. This grants us additional flexibility for buff windows to use Hammer Combo in buff windows without drifting the Striking Muse cooldown. Striking Muse cannot be used again until the previous hammer combo is finished.


As touched upon in the previous section, we want to use our long cast spells such as Motifs and Subtractive Combo spells during periods of low movement. Spell combos will grant us Holy in White and Comet in Black resources to use during periods of high movement.

Preferably, the Hammer Combo and Comet in Black should be used over Holy in White in terms of instant casts for movement, assuming the fight has low enough allowable movement. This is because Holy in White is a very slight DPS loss, as it fills up space where we could have used the Basic or Subtractive Combo instead. However, this is often not possible when fights have more movement than those spells and our regular fast casts can cover. Do not sacrifice GCD uptime trying to minimize usage of Holy in White. This is something that should only be considered for extremely low movement fights.

Outside of movement, the most important aspect of Holy in White usage is adjusting GCD timelines to get the ideal entrance into buff windows. Care should be taken not to overfocus on generic potency per second averages, and instead to examine specific sequence setups in optimized scenarios.

We should aim to stretch our movement resources by trying to abuse Smudge as often as possible. If it will cause mechanical execution issues, do not use Smudge in an unsafe or unnecessary way. Because Smudge has such a low cooldown and has a movement speed buff attached to it, we have much greater mobility than our instant cast number would suggest.


We want to aim to swiftcast Rainbow Drip on the last hit before phase transitions, or when the boss is about to die. The long recast time and long cast time are mitigated in these circumstances, making it a hefty gain over most GCDs.

We also want to aim to use Motifs during downtime if possible. As the Motifs have no potency, preparing them will allow us to use Muses that can deal damage when we return to combat. For this reason, Pictomancer is very strong in fights with frequent downtime, such as Dragonsong’s Reprise (Ultimate).

Defensive Utility

This is a short overview on how Pictomancer’s unique defensive utilities work.

Pictomancer has two shield abilities that share a cooldown: Tempera Coat and Tempera Grassa.

Tempera Coat has a base cooldown of 120 seconds and grants a shield equal to 20% of your maximum HP. If this shield is broken, the cooldown is reduced by 60 seconds, effectively becoming a 60 second cooldown.

Tempera Grassa will “spread” your shield, replacing your single target shield and granting the entire party a shield equal to 10% of their maximum HP. If this version of the shield is broken, its cooldown will be reduced by 30 seconds, effectively becoming a 90 second cooldown.

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  • 26 Jun, 2024
    Needs coloring on text. Unsure on how to do that.