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Home icon grey.png   ▶ General topics ▶ Artwork

The use of artwork takes pride of place in Kodi. The artwork will transform your mundane media player into a showpiece to be proud of, especially when teamed up with your favourite skin. Kodi will allow you to display Movie Posters, Fanart, Album Covers, Actor and Artist images to name a few. Install the Kodi slideshow add-on, and you will have a constant display of video or music fanart to brighten your entertainment room.

As the topic covering artwork is comprehensive, it has been broken down into smaller and more manageable pages for ease of reading. Choose the subject that interests you to obtain further information. Information common to all categories is located on this page. Specific category details are located on linked pages.

Be aware that artwork is skin dependent. Not all artwork types are used in all skins.

1 Obtaining Artwork


Movie, TV Show and Music artwork can be obtained using a variety of methods. The most common method is via the Kodi scraper.

1.1 Scrapers

A scraper is a Kodi core function which, in combination with the relevant metadata API add-on, will preform an automatic online search for movie, tv show and music information and then retrieve all relevant metadata and artwork and import the data into the Kodi Library and the artwork into the cache. The default sources for information are:

Movies- The MovieDB
TV Shows- The TVDB
Music- The AudioDB

There are many other scraper informationsources, but most are specialist listings for foreign language movies or Disney movies, for example.

The Video scraping process is reliant on your local directory and file names being named in accordance with the title listed at the scraper site. To ensure correct naming, simply visit the website, search for your title, and copy the title from the site and paste into your directory/filename.

The Music scraping process is reliant on correct file naming and music tags.

Kodi will then match the video or music and download all relevant metadata and artwork. It is important to note that if you already have correctly named artwork in the video and music folder, then Kodi will scrape the local artwork and ignore the online source. Metadata will still be downloaded though.

If you subsequently locate artwork that is preferable, it is possible to replace the Kodi selected artwork. Refer to paragraph 2.1 below.

1.2 Media Managers

There is a range of software that can create nfo files and download artwork and save them to the correct location and correct naming. They perform the same process and function as the Kodi Scraping operation does natively, but they do not add any entries into the Kodi library. Instead they create what is known as a nfo file. This file holds all the metadata for that particular movie, tv show or music. The software will also download associated artwork from the scraper site. Kodi can then read this file and scrape it into the library along with the artwork.

Although these programs are quick and easy to use, they are more suited for use where a movie or tv show is not listed at the scraper site. You are then able to create the metadata from scratch. You would normally use this for, say, home movies, sporting events or other items that are not listed at the scraper site.

It is always best to use Kodi for the normal mainstream scrapes and the Media Managers for the non-listed movie, tv show and music scrapes.

1.3 Web Search

Using an online search engine can help you discover individual artworks, or additional sites where artwork is hosted. When downloading, check that the resolution is of an acceptable standard. Also pay respect to any copyright notices that are attached to the artwork.

Once downloaded, they must be named and saved correctly for the artwork to be visible to Kodi.

1.4 Create Your Own

So you are not happy with the artwork the scraper downloaded? And you just can't find that perfect artwork by manually searching the internet. Then, you will just have to create your own. For those who are artistically minded and can easily navigate around image editing software, then you should be able to easily create your very own user-defined artwork on your computer. Only your imagination is the limit, but be mindful that the artwork needs to remain true to the movie or tv show it represents.

If you are unsure where to start, the following links may prove useful. Especially if you plan to share your masterpieces. If this is the case, it is best to stick to the posted guidelines.

  • Fanart.TV- The premier repository for all things artwork. They have an in-depth guide for artwork requirements
see : Image Creation Guide
  • The MovieDB- The go to movie scraper site for Kodi. In addition to metadata, they also hold a large repository of artwork that are created and uploaded to the site by people just like you. Read their easy to understand artwork creation guide.
see : themoviedb- Image Creation Guide
  • The TVDB- The go to TV Show scraper site for Kodi. In addition to metadata, they also hold a large repository of artwork devoted to TV Shows. Read their easy to understand artwork creation guide.
see : theTVDB- Image Creation Guide
  • IMDB- A comprehensive listing of ensuring artwork is appropriate and suitable.
see : IMDB- Image Submission Guide
  • TheAudioDB- The go to scraper site for all things music. They hold metadata on Artists, Albums and Songs with a large collection of music artwork.
see : TheAudioDB- Image Creation Guide

2 Importing/Scraping Artwork

This section does not apply to the Kodi scraper or any other add-on scraping process. It only applies to artwork you have manually sourced and saved.

When performing an Update Library or Scrape, Kodi will always use Local Artwork first if it exists. If there is no local artwork, Kodi will obtain the artwork from online sources.

It is important to note that once a movie, tv show, artist or album has been scraped into the library, Kodi will ignore them on subsequent scans. If you have made changes to either artwork and/or metadata (in the form of a nfo file), you must instruct Kodi to update using one of the following methods...

  1. If the Library has not yet been created, or the source has not yet been added
    • Ensure your artwork is named and saved correctly. Add the Sources to Kodi and allow to update. Artwork will be cached
  2. This Movie/TV Show/Album/Artist is new and has not been added to the library yet
    • An Update Library will scrape and cache the artwork, or
    • For Videos, navigate Videos>Files, navigate to the item and call up the Information page. This will start an automatic scrape for that single item
    • For Music, navigate Music>Files, locate and highlight the new artist or album. From the context menu select Scan item to library
  3. I added new artwork for Movie/TV Show/Album/Artist already in the library
    • For videos follow instructions for Kodi- Choose Art below
    • For music follow instructions in Music_artwork
  4. I added new artwork for a lot of Movies/TV Shows/Music already in the library
    • Update each Movie/TV Show/Music manually using instructions in the previous option, or
    • Remove the Source and clean library. Re-add the source and allow the Update Library

2.1 Kodi- Choose Art

From within Kodi, you have the ability to manually change the artwork at any time by following these directions. To change music artwork- see Music_artwork

  1. Highlight the Movie, TV Show, Season or Episode whose artwork you want to change.
  2. Call up the Information page, (Image 1)
  3. Select Choose Art. (Image 1)
  4. From within this page, you will be given the option to select which type of artwork you would like to change. (Image 2)
  5. Once selected, you will then be provided with a list of available artworks at the scraper site, or you can navigate to a local or network location. (Image 3)

An alternative method:

  1. Choose Refresh as seen in Image 1.
  2. You will then be asked Locally stored information found. Ignore and refresh from Internet? (Image 4)
    • To scrape local artwork and metadata - Select No note- If you have no local nfo file, Kodi will scrape metadata from the online scraper site
    • To scrape online artwork and metadata - Select Yes

3 Managing Artwork

Skin.rapier fullscreen music.jpg
Rapier new tvshows.jpg

There are a number of ways to maintain and improve Kodi's handling of the artwork.

3.1 Cache

Kodi maintains a local texture cache for all artwork that is scraped either from online or local sources. During this caching process, artwork size is modified to default sizes. This allows faster access and loading times of the artwork which is especially noticeable on low powered equipment. These default sizes can be modified in the advancedsettings.xml- Refer paragraph 3.3

When Kodi performs an online scrape to download the metadata of your videos or music, it also downloads the associated artwork. The URL link to the original online artwork location is stored in the video or music databases. The downloaded artwork is then saved in the Cache located in \userdata\thumbnails directory. An entry in the texturesxx.db is recorded that connects each image to the appropriate video or music library entry.

If you have stored local artwork with your video or music file, Kodi will scrape these as described above. Once scraped, these original local images are no longer accessed by Kodi. Note that Extrafanart and Extrathumbs are a skin function, and these are not cached, but accessed directly by the skin.

3.2 Recovering Disk Space

After years of use, it is expected that your system will gather some clutter- that being either orphaned artwork files or corrupted artwork which will not display. There are two methods available to maintain a healthy cache and database:

3.2.1 Texture Cache Maintenance

Texture Cache Maintenance utility is a python script created by MillhouseVH, that can do a number of artwork related maintenance on the Kodi library. The script can be used to pre-generate thumbnails, clean up old thumbnail files, find corrupted files, and much more. The script can work on any OS that can run Python 2.6 or higher.

3.2.2 Delete textures13.db

One sure way to repair any caching problem is to delete the textures13.db database. This procedure does not affect the entries in the Video and Music libraries. It affects the artwork database only.

Be aware that this should be a last resort procedure. Deleting this database file will remove all cache entries and links, requiring your artwork be re-scraped.

You will need to perform the following for a clean start with respect to Artwork.

  • Exit Kodi
  • Delete texturesxx.db located in the \userdata\database\ folder.
  • Delete the Thumbnails directory located at \userdata\ which stores all the cached images,

Once the above steps are performed

  • Restart Kodi
  • Kodi will automatically rebuild the Textures database from Local Artwork saved alongside your media file. If there is no local artwork, Kodi will download from the scraper sites for Movies, TV Shows and Music.

3.3 Advanced Settings

There are a number of advancedsettings.xml tags which can be used to modify the caching of artwork. The following preset defaults are used unless modified

  • Fanart will be cached to a maximum of 1920x1080. Larger fanart is reduced to this size.
  • Smaller fanart and all other artwork types are cached to a maximum of (*)x720 height.

If you are experiencing slow loading images or lagging GUI navigation on low powered equipment and/or you have minimal storage available, these defaults can be modified to further reduce the size of artwork.

For higher powered equipment the settings can be increased to maintain the original artwork size. (eg 3840x2160 fanart)

An easily understandable explanation of the effects of some of these settings can be located in the forum here.

3.4 Import/Export

Kodi has the option to Export and Import the library databases. These options may be used for a number of reasons including the following more popular ones:

  • Perform database backup and recovery (This is not the only method for backup and recovery)
  • Reorganization of data or eliminate database fragmentation (export, clean/remove database, re-import)
  • Move data between Kodi databases on different platforms (eg Widows to Linux)

3.5 Add-ons

The following add-ons allow you to display your movie, tv show and music artwork

3.5.1 Screensavers

Want to do more with all that wonderful fanart? Install the Kodi screensaver. Just like a screensaver on computers from yesteryear, the Kodi screensaver will produce a slideshow of your Movie and TV Show fanart, or set it to display your Music Fanart. Don't like either of those? Then setup a directory with your own pictures and it can produce a screensaver from your selection of photos.

4 Movie Artwork

Movie artwork are images directly related to a movie, preferably of high quality that are displayed when viewing the movie entry in the library. The artwork support in Kodi's video library is very flexible and able to display many types of artwork depending on the skin in use.

See: Movie_artwork

5 TV Show Artwork

TV Show artwork are images directly related to a TV Show, preferably of high quality, that are displayed when viewing the entry in the library. The artwork support in Kodi's video library is very flexible and able to display many types of artwork depending on the skin in use.

See: TV-Show_artwork

6 Music Artwork

Music artwork are images directly related to an artist or an album, preferably of high quality, that are displayed when viewing the album or artist entry in the library. They may also be used as visualizations while playing music. The artwork support in Kodi's music library is very flexible and able to display many types of artwork, depending on the skin in use.

See: Music_artwork

7 Music Videos Artwork

This wiki covers the artwork found in the Music Videos section of Kodi

8 TV Artwork

There is no user definable artwork for the TV section of Kodi

9 Pictures Artwork

There is no user definable artwork for the Pictures section of Kodi.

See: Pictures

All images added to Pictures are cached as follows:

  1. Embedded EXIF previews are scanned and cached. If none available then
  2. Preview images are created and cached
See: Artwork Cache

To add an image to the folder icon:

See: Folder Image

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