FFXIV Pictomancer STARTER GUIDE: Rotation, Setup, etc

Your first strokes starting as Pictomancer ey? Learn about the Pictomancer Rotation, and other basic info and tips here! Go from meme-tier to Masterpiece!

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DAWNTRAIL HYPE! Initial guide updates...
Viper STARTER Guide / Rotation | Pictomancer Starter Guide / Rotation
How to Unlock Pictomancer & Viper


Welcome to my very basic FFXIV Pictomancer (PCT) Starter Guide! Here I aim to teach you the basics of the Pictomancer Rotation, what’s the best gear for Pictomancers starting out, plus other basic setup and tips!

The most important part of this guide is:
The basic Pictomancer rotation at 80 – with notes up until 100.

This guide is meant for those just about to, or just unlocked the Pictomancer Job, and needs some help making sense of it all! Let’s go!

“The part on Starry Muse is exactly 269 words. It’s one skill.”
Mahiko “-dak” San

Pictomancer Starter Guide – Scroll to: Top (Basics, Unlock, Gear)
Rotation summary | Palette + Paint | Motif + Muse | Utility Skills

Starting out with Pictomancer: Basic Info

Picto Basic Info

What exactly is a Pictomancer?

I’m glad you asked. It mances enemies via Pictures. No, seriously, they paint pictures. Pictomancer is a “ranged” magical DPS class released in Dawntrail. Their job aesthetic is, pretty much, a painter. Inspired by Relm from FF6 I’m guessing. Has very cool animations IMO – “Colorful and Splashy”, even.

Their rotation and playstyle somewhat reminds be of black mage if I really had to stretch to answer that question. I find their rotation unique in that it has “two halves”.

Unlocking Pictomancer

How to Unlock Pictomancer 

Teleport to New Gridania -> Conjurer’s Guild, check for quest The Joy of Pictomancy.
See: How to Unlock Pictomancer and Viper, or FFXIV All Jobs Unlocking & Requirements

You need another combat class at L80 as a prereq for Picto!

PCT Leveling Gear

Pictomancer leveling gear?

While the free one will serve you “fine”, the Augmented Cryptlurker Set you can buy in Crystarium (or main cities) will last you until L90 easily. If you got old tomestones to spare, go for it (can be used for other casters leveling 80+ too.

at 90+, again, if you have tomestones go for the Augmented Credendum (Endwalker tier) from Radz-at-han (or Old Sharlayan? Old Main Cities likely have it). This will last till 100.

Anything further won’t be covered here in a “starter” guide haha.

Pictomancer Rotation L80 (w/ notes to L100)

First, some assumptions, this part speaks about an L80 Pictomancer (the level you unlock at), and I have notes leading up to L100 as well. Let’s start the party with a summary (outline, draft?) of the Picto rotation you can refer to.

“Do Paint / Palette if you don’t have any Motif / Muse goin’ on”

Paint / PaletteCreature / LivingHammer / SteelStarryUtility
    •  “One Button Basic Combo” Fire – Aero – Water. +Palette Gauge, +White Paint.
    • Subtractive Palette uses the gauge, allows use of “powerful combo”.
    • “One Button Powerful Combo” Blizzard – Stone – Thunder. +White Paint.
    • Holy in White to use White Paint Stacks

This is it for L80. Future evolutions:

    • Subtractive also converts 1 White Paint into 1 Black Paint.
    • Comet in Black to use Black Paint Stacks.

Picto AoE Rotation? Use Fire II in Red, and Blizzard II in Cyan instead, but is pretty much identical to single target either way.

Creature cycles between Pom, Wing (L80), Fang, and Claw (96)

    • Creature Motif 1 – Pom – use Pom Muse.
    • Creature Motif 2 – Wing – use Winged Muse.
    • After Pom and Wing, you can use nuke Mog of the Ages.

This is it for L80. Future evolutions:

    • Creature Motif 3 – Claw – use Clawed Muse.
    • Creature Motif 4 – Maw – use Fanged Muse.
    • After all four, slam Retribution of the Madeen (L96).
    • The cycle repeats again at “Creature Motif 1 – Pom”.
    • Hammer Motif activates Striking Muse which in turn sets up…
    • Hammer Stamp. Instant cast nukes.

This is it for L80. Future evolutions:

    • combo extends into Hammer Brush > Polishing Hammer.

These hammer skills are auto CRITICAL DIRECT HITS.

There’s alot to unpack here… Basically, it’s youre ultra two minute cooldown. And I MEAN ULTRA.

    • Starry Sky Motif activates Starry Muse.
    • Leylines-like area buff to party damage.
    • Subtractive Spectrum, basically 1 free Subtractive Palette.

This is it for L80. Future evolutions:

    • 5 Hyperphantasia stacks (L82 trait), reduces cast time on many skills. Use these up to gain…
    •  Rainbow Bright (L92). Makes Rainbow Drip (L92) instant. +White Paint.
    • Note: Rainbow Drip should only be used here (Swiftcast in niche scenario).
    • On initial use, grants Starstruck, allows use of Star Prism (L100).

Tempera Coat – Self shield, refreshes if shield used up.

Smudge – Forward dash

Tempera Grassa – Spreads your self shield to all friends. Your personal shield must be up to use it.

Role Actions: Magical / Caster DPS.

In an attempt to summarize: Picto’s rotation has two halves. The paint / palette (infinite cycle), and the motif / muse (cooldown based). These two are for the most part independent of each other. Within the motif / muses, they three too are all “isolated” from each other.

For a more detailed explanation, read below. 

The Palette / Paint half of PCT Rotation

This is your basic bulk actions. Your broad strokes, so to speak. Do this if you don’t have any motifs going on (more on this later).

Basic Cycle

Fire in Red (L1) is your “basic combo” all in one button. This automatically  turns into Aero in Green (L5), and finally Water in Blue (L15). Finishing this combo with Water in Blue grants you PALETTE GAUGE, as well as WHITE PAINT. We’ll call this chain the “BASIC COMBO”.

Palette Gauge?

What to do with Palette Gauge?

Subtractive Palette (L60) uses Palette Gauge to (in simple terms) unlock the use of your other “POWERFUL COMBO” – Blizzard in Cyan (L60), into Stone in Yellow (L60), into Thunder in Magenta (L60). Again this is all in one button. This also generates White Paint.

For now, don’t think about it so much. Once you have the Palette Gauge for Subtractive, use it, then do your powerful combo.

How about Paint Stacks?

What to do with Paint Stacks? (White Paint)

White Paint stacks can be used with OGCD Holy in White (L80). At L80, this is all you need to know.

At L90 in the near future, Subtractive Palette also converts 1 stack of White Paint into Black Paint, which basically upgrades Holy in White to Comet in Black (L90). While not relevant right now, get used to the idea of holding at least 1 White Paint.

Use White Paint “freely” on Holy in White whenever you can, but it’s better practice to use them up before you overflow, rather than always running on 0/1 stacks.

Palette + Paint Summary

Summary of Palette / Paint basics

    • Basic Combo (Fire – Aero – Water), gain White Paint and Palette Gauge. All in one button.
    • Use Palette Gauge w/ Subtractive Palette, allowing use of your “Powerful Combo”.
    • Powerful Combo (1 combo usage per Subtractive) Blizzard – Stone – Thunder. All in one button.
    • Use Holy in White to get rid of excess White Paint.
    • Rinse Repeat

At L80, this is it. In the future…

    • Subtractive Palette converts 1 White Paint into Black Paint.
    • Use Black Paint for Comet in Black.

=== Picto AoE Rotation? ===

Fire II in Red (L25) Is the AoE version of the “basic combo”. Leading into Aero II in Green, then finally Water II in Blue. Again, all in one button. The same goes for your AoE version of the “powerful combo”, Blizzard II -> Stone II, Thunder II.

It’s pretty much the same exact thing except
pressing the AoE version of Fire and Blizzard.

The Muse / Motif half of PCT Rotation

Oh boy. This one is hard to get a grasp on when reading / writing / explaining, but I’ll try my best. This does not really interact with the whole Pallete / Paint system above.

You have three canvases – Animal, Weapon, and Landscape. These are essentially separate from each other, just knowing they don’t interact with each other kind of gives you peace right?

In an attempt so summarize and simplify it:
using a MOTIF “paints” on the “canvas”, allowing you to use the corresponding MUSE spell.

  • Painting Creature Motif (paintings cycle) allows the use of Living Muse. (more on this later…)
  • Painting Weapon Motif (always hammer)  allows the use of Steel Muse. (Hammers)
  • Painting Landscape Motif (always Starry Sky) allows the use of Starry Muse (huge cooldown)

Annoyingly, these Motif Skills in the skill book change name once placed onto the hotbar. And in the case of Creature Motif, changes further.

Here, I explain each pair:

Creature / LivingHammer / SteelStarry

Creature Motif (Pom, Wing, Claw, Maw) and Living Muse

Each time you do Creature Motif (L30), you will get a corresponding painting that cycles through Pom, Wing, Fang, and Claw. Then, your Living Muse (L30) transforms its corresponding skill depending on which painting you have (and some special cases). At L80, this cycle stops at Wing.

Placing Creature Motif into your Hotbar turns it into Pom Motif (initially).

    • Creature Motif 1 – Pom – Living Muse becomes Pom Muse.
    • Creature Motif 2 – Wing – Living Muse becomes Winged Muse.
    • After Pom and Wing, you gain a special buff “Moogle Portrait”.
    • Moogle Portrait allows you to use Mog of the Ages (can save a few charges)

It stops here at L80, but just to illustrate the higher levels…

    • Creature Motif 3 – Claw – Living Muse becomes Clawed Muse (L96).
    • Creature Motif 4 – Maw – Living Muse becomes Fanged Muse (L96).
    • After all 4 cycle, they all get wiped off and you get “Retribution of the Madeen”.
    • this allows you to cast Retribution of the Madeen (L96).
    • The cycle begins anew at “Creature Motif 1 – Pom”.

Makes more sense when you lay it out like this ey…

Weapon / Hammer Motif and Steel Muse

Thankfully much simpler than the Creature one. Placing Weapon Motif (L50) into your Hotbar turns it into Hammer Motif.

    • Hammer Motif (L50) turns Steel Muse into Striking Muse (L50). Grants “Hammer Time”
    • Hammer Stamp (L50) can now be used, always a critical direct hit.

This is it al L80, but to give you a preview of higher levels…

    • Hammer Brush (L86) is the next combo step from Hammer Stamp.
    • Polishing Hemmer (L86) is the combo finisher.
    • All of these are Critical Direct Hits! and are ALL IN ONE BUTTON!

Basically, press Hammer Motif and “Go Ham”, more.

“This is my 2 minute ultra giga cooldown!”
(It’s impractical, but admittedly pretty cool)

Landscape / Starry Sky Motif and Scenic Muse

Placing Landscape Motif (L70) into your hotbar turns it into Starry Sky Motif (L70).

    • Using Starry Sky Motif turns Scenic Muse (L70) into Starry Muse (L70).
    • Starry Muse has many effects… I’m not joking either. *inhales*
    • In a large area, the party deals increased damage for a moderate duration.
    • Gives Subtractive Spectrum, which is basically 1 free Subtractive Palette.

This is it until L80. But wait, theres more…

    • Grants Inspiration, and 5 Stacks Hyperphantasia… (L82 addition effect)
    • Inspiration reduces cast time of “various” spells as long as you’re in the Starry Muse area. Each time you use this reduction, it’s -1 stack. Using all 5 stacks removes Inspiration. (WHY HAVE 2 STACK TYPES? Why not 5x Inspiration!?)
    • Once you lose Inspiration, gain Rainbow Bright (L92 additional effect)
    • Rainbow Bright – allows the use of Rainbow Drip (L92) with much shorter cast time. This also gives white paint. Rainbow Drip shouldn’t be cast without this or Swiftcast…

Thought we were done? Just like Ardbert said,
“If you had the strength to take another step… could you do it?”

    • Grants Starstruck upon use (L100 additional effect)
    • Starstruck allows the use of Star Prism (L100). A giga nuke with AoE healing.

Let me remind you. This is ONE skill. My friend and FC mate Tiffany Faye sent me an example of another skill from the same game, FFXIV:
Bloodspiller (DRK L62): Delivers an attack with potency of 580.

It might seem like a lot, but trust me it makes a lot of sense in-game, haha.

Pictomancer Utility Skills

Finally, the odds and ends – Pictomancer Utility, Defensive, and Mobility skills.

Tempera Coat (L10) is a self-shield which you can use again if the shield gets completely used up. (I thought it was Tempura Coat. Like the breading on a Tempura – you can’t unthink it now, ey?).

Smudge (L20) is a short forward dash.

Temperra Grassa (L88) – Spreads your Tempera Coat (the above shielding skill) to all your friends. You MUST have Tempera Coat on yourself active to use it. (Wait a second… Tempura Oil? Hmm)

Mahiko San Note: Tempera is actually a method of painting in the old days.

As for the other utility skills, Pictomancer uses Magical / Caster DPS Role Actions.

Pictomancer Starter Guide – Scroll to: Top (Basics, Unlock, Gear)
Rotation summary | Palette + Paint | Motif + Muse | Utility Skills

Summary, Closing, Other Info

Is it Pallette? Pallete? Palette? Pal, it’s whatever…
Mahiko “nfused” San

Man are my fingers tired. I wanna put links here or other things, but Starry Must got me shook. In any case, I hope you found my Pictomancer Starter Guide helpful, hopefully the rotation won’t be so abstract to you anymore!

Im honestly super impressed with Picto as a whole – both Dawntrail classes are very cool. If you’re here, check out Viper Starter Guide / Rotation.

5 thoughts on “FFXIV Pictomancer STARTER GUIDE: Rotation, Setup, etc”

  1. When it comes to casting the muse/motifs, should they should be used on cooldown? I’m only 90 right now so I only have the two creatures, but during longer fights I’m waiting until the muse is about 5-6 seconds left on CD before I cast a motif (or I’ll cast motif during some downtime where I can’t DPS) so that I can use the muse on cooldown.

    1. The short answer is “yes”, the longer answer is “when its most suitable for the situation”. But what always holds true is “Don’t let them overflow” (let’s not discuss setting up the ultimate starry yet)

      Lots of movement coming up? Hammers. Downtime in fights? Paint any picture.

      Animal is OGCD based so it’s not that big of a deal when you use it.

      AS you get into more advanced forms of Picto DPS, your other goal would be to “setup the next starry sky to pack the most punch possible”.

  2. Oh this was super helpful, thanks! Though not quite sure when to use the OGCD and not lol… I guess start with OGCD, then circle through motifs and in between use OGCD again??? Gahhhhhh

    1. I’ll add to this since I rushed Picto to 90 to use during the DT MSQ. I’ll update this tongiht. Yes, while there’s lots of instants it’s not exactly clear which is OGCD or not.

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