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Kodi supports automatic downloading or extraction of several types of images for use as thumbnails, movie posters, and more. In addition to automatic downloading or extraction, users can also manually set several images in different parts of the interface.

1 Types of artwork that Kodi uses

2 Audomatic artwork loading

Editor note: This area should explain how artwork is loaded from scrapers, as well as embedded art for music.

3 Manual artwork loading

Editor note: This area should explain both manually setting artwork from within the GUI, as well as using pre-existing files that "automatically" get picked up.

3.1 Naming conventions

Note: Kodi v14 still supports the older ".tbn" file extension, but users are advised to rename those file extensions from .tbn back to .jpg, in order to help ensure future support.

For folders (e.g. tvshows, movies in folders, or just folders on the filesystem)
  • poster.(png/jpg)
  • banner.(png/jpg)
  • fanart.(png/jpg)

Note: Movies in folders can also use the options under files below.

Season images reside inside the tvshow folder
  • season[XX]-(poster/banner/fanart).(png/jpg)
  • season-all-(poster/banner/fanart).(png/jpg}
  • season-specials-(poster/banner/fanart).(png/jpg)
For files (episodes, movies not in folders, video files)
  • [movie file name]-(poster/banner/fanart).(png/jpg)
  • [episode file name]-thumb.(png/jpg)
  • [filename]-(poster/banner/fanart).(png/jpg)

Note: For all use scenarios mentioned above (Folders, TV Shows, and Files), extra fanart and Actor thumbs (click link then scroll down) can also be included using the locations defined in Thumbnails.

3.2 Folder thumbnails

If you store each of your media files in separate subfolders to keep things organized, you can also make the folder have a custom thumbnail image. To do this you either need to save your JPG/PNG thumbnail as folder.jpg and place it inside your movie/album folder, or you can save it as <foldername>deprecated and place it at the same level as the folder in the directory tree.

  • Remember, Kodi first checks for <foldername>.jpg before checking for folder.jpg.
  • Some documentation suggests that folder.jpg can be used. In general folder.jpg is superior as it is detected during a scan, i.e. Kodi will correctly use folder.jpg but not folder.jpg.
  • Note that folder.jpg must be named .jpg, even if it is a .png format image.





Now your media folder will have a lovely custom thumbnail-image.

You can via advancedsettings.xml change the default filename of the image that Kodi uses for music folders. See the <musicthumbs> tag. for more information.


3.3 Music thumbnails

Music Thumbnails are assigned as part of a multi-tier process. First, the Tag Reader runs and caches any embedded art using the album name and album artist (or song artist, if that is all that is available). If the album name or artist is unavailable, it is cached using the path name of the song. This assumes, of course, that you have tag reading enabled.
You can also use "Get Thumb" to download the album thumbnail from (AMG) for a specific album/folder or do a scan of all your music files in all shares.
Thumbnails also get downloaded when you rip AudioCD's to your Kodi device (which is described in the Ripping CDs section).
Recommended is that you store each of your music-albums or artists in a separate subfolder to keep things organized. You can also of course make the folder have a custom thumbnail image.

Note: Running a scan automatically enables 'tag reading' so everything can be cached. Once a scan is run, all your files and their associated thumbnails are stored in the database.
The Album Information dialog (available from the context menu) will allow you to choose between the cover art available for download from and any user-defined thumbnail you may have.
Press the "Get Thumb" button to bring up a choice of the local thumbnails you have, the currently assigned thumbnail and the thumbnail.

The code which assigns thumbnails to files runs and assigns thumbnails in the following order:

1) Cached Album Thumbnail
This is all the embedded album art read by the tag reader and cached using the album name and album artist.
2) Cached filename.jpg
This includes an embedded thumbnail cached with the fully qualified name.
3) Remote filename.jpg
This is a filename.jpg on a remote share/folder which is then cached.
4) Cached folder.jpg
This is a folder.jpg which is cached based off the folder path.
5) Remote folder.jpg
This is a folder.jpg on a remote share/folder which is then cached.
6) Remote foldername.jpg
This is a foldername.jpg on a remote share/folder which is then cached.


In this example audiofilename.mp3 will use audiofilename.jpg as thumbnail:


The same goes for playlists, cue-sheets, SHOUTcast, and internet-stream files, example:

Music fanart

3.4 Picture thumbnails

Kodi will generate thumbnails for pictures and folders in the pictures area using the following methods:

EXIF thumbnail in JPEG images are then read. If no EXIF thumbnail is available, Kodi will load the image and generate a thumbnail from the image. These are then cached.
<MyHolidayPictures>\folder.jpg is checked first. If that file doesn't exist, Kodi will generate a thumbnail from up to 4 random images inside that folder.

3.5 Thumbnails for file sources

You can change the thumbnail displayed for a file source by bringing up the context menu (menu or C) and selecting "Choose thumbnail".

3.6 Library nodes

4 Manually refreshing or regenerating thumbnails

Editor note: This area is for advanced notes related to regenerating thumbnails. This can happen due to an accidental deletion, setting up MySQL, or wanting new thumbnails when changing their default size in advancedsettings.xml.