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The use of 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.
The Kodi scrapers automatically download artwork with little input required by the user. These pages are for those users that want greater control over their artwork by saving artwork locally or creating their own.
As the topic covering artwork is comprehensive, it has been broken down into smaller and more manageable pages for ease of reading. Make use of the Table of Contents and the NavBox located at the top right of the page. Information common to all categories is located on this page and the Artwork Type page.
Be aware that artwork is skin dependent. Not all artwork types are used in all skins.
- 1 Obtaining Artwork
- 2 What Artwork is Used Automatically
- 3 Choosing Art You Want
- 4 Add-ons to display artwork
- 5 Managing Artwork
- 6 Accessing with skins and JSON-RPC
- 7 Troubleshooting
- 8 See Also
1 Obtaining Artwork
Movie, TV Show and Music artwork can be obtained using a variety of methods. The most common method is via the various Kodi scrapers (also known as information providers).
The defautl sources for information and artwork that are used by the default scrapers are:
Artwork from these sites can also be downloaded manually by visiting and searching the sites and saving the artwork locally as described on the linked pages.
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 NFO files. 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.
The following is a list of Media Managers on the forum. Questions regarding their use should be directed to the media manager developers.
Be aware there are many other media managers available that claim to be Kodi compatible but have not been updated in many years, and are clearly not compatible. Use of these incompatible media managers can break your library and require rebuilding using the Kodi scrapers.
Note: While Media Managers offer some level of control, there are limitations with their use. Kodi is in a constant state of development. Changes to allow new types of data or features into the library must be expected. Media Managers are known to be slow in catching up to these changes and, in many instances, these changes are never incorporated. No media manager is 100% Kodi compatible.
Kodi can create correct and accurate NFO's from the data already in the library which has been populated by a correct scraping process.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- IMDB- A comprehensive listing of ensuring artwork is appropriate and suitable.
- 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.
2 What Artwork is Used Automatically
2.1 Local Art Comes First
Local artwork takes priority, so on update of both music and video libraries Kodi will always use local artwork when it can find some. Only when there is no local artwork found, does Kodi use the artwork that the scrapers can fetch from online sources.
It is important to note that once remote artwork for a movie, tv show, artist or album has been successfully scraped into the library (because there was no local art found when the scraper was run), Kodi will not look for local art to replace it on subsequent library updates.
If you have made changes to either local artwork and/or metadata (in the form of a nfo file), you must instruct Kodi to update using one of the following methods...
- 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 Media sources to Kodi and allow to update. Artwork will be cached
- 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
- 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 Kodi- Choose Art below
- 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
2.2 Available Artwork Found By Scrapers
Scraper results (and NFO files) can include multiple potential images for each single type of artwork. When a type of art has not been found locally then during scraping the first image will be automatically assigned to the media item so skins and other interfaces can access it for display. The full list from the scraper results will be saved for the "Choose art" dialog (even if using local artwork), where you can select a new image for any art type from those available online and of course local files.
Note: If you use a Media Manager to download local artwork and create NFO files, the full list may not be available to use in "Choose art" as most, if not all, Media Managers strip out the additional artwork links.
3 Choosing Art You Want
From within Kodi, you have the ability to manually change the artwork at any time by following these directions.
Note: The following is based on the Video Library. Music Library follows the same process, but the screenshots will be slightly different for Choose Art- Artists and Choose Art- Albums
- Highlight the media item whose artwork you want to change.
- Call up the Information dialog, (Image 1)
- For seasons and movie sets the "Choose Art" option is in the Context menu.
- Select Choose Art. (Image 1)
- From within this page, you will be given the option to select which type of artwork you would like to change. (Image 2)
- If the type of artwork you would like to change is not listed, use the Add art type button to add it. An onscreen keyboard will be displayed. Enter the new type of artwork and select Ok.
- Examples of artwork type are those listed in the following pages- eg clearlogo, clearart, banner etc...
- Once selected, you will then be provided with a list of available artwork at the scraper site, or you can navigate to a local or network location. (Image 3)
- Once you select the desired image, it will replace the existing image. You will be returned to the screen displayed in Image 2
- If you do not intend to change any other artwork types, simply Esc or Back out of the screen
An alternative method for Music and Video library:
- Choose Refresh as seen in Image 1.
- You will then be asked Locally stored information found. Ignore and refresh from Internet? (Image 4)
- To scrape local metadata - Select No
- If no local nfo file is available, Kodi will scrape metadata from the online scraper site
- Local artwork still has priority. If no local artwork is found, Kodi will search the NFO file for valid links to artwork and download artwork if links are valid
- To scrape online metadata (and ignore nfo file, if any) - Select Yes
- Local artwork still has priority. If no local artwork is found, the scraper results are used to fetch artwork
- To scrape local metadata - Select No
4 Add-ons to display artwork
The following add-ons allow you to display your movie, TV show and music artwork.
Want to do more with all that wonderful fanart? Install this 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.
5 Managing Artwork
There are a number of ways to maintain and improve Kodi's handling of the artwork.
Kodi maintains a texture cache on local device storage for all artwork displayed in the GUI, whether from an online source or the local file system. These textures are optimized and stored locally for faster loading.
When artwork is added to the library, Kodi initially only has a URL or path to the artwork. The artwork itself is only downloaded (if from an online source) and then cached when the image is displayed in the GUI or other interface such as the Chorus web interface.
5.2 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.
5.2.1 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.
Kodi has the facility to export and import the library databases and in particular the artwork. The resolution of the artwork when exported is that used internally by Kodi, and may be lower than the original artwork. Export is the way to capture art that has been downloaded from a remote site as a local file.
6 Accessing with skins and JSON-RPC
The primary usage of artwork is to be displayed, and to that end, they can be accessed by name in skins and over JSON-RPC.
There are certain scenarios where attempting to replace existing artwork with new artwork, you may experience Kodi refusing to load the new artwork. This occurs when replacing one artwork with another artwork having the same name. eg replacing poster.jpg with a new poster.jpg.
Rest assured that the new image has been accepted, but due to the same filename, Kodi may take upto 24 hrs to check the image hash, realise the image is different and clear out the cached image and replace it with the new one. This is intended behaviour. Further reading available in the following link
8 See Also
- HOW-TO:Create Music Library
- HOW-TO:Create Video Library
- Add-on:The Movie Database
- Add-on:Universal Album Scraper
- Add-on:Universal Artist Scraper
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