Media Fanart/Artwork Guide
#1
OK, with the ever evolving support of Fanart and Thumbs in skins, I thought it was about time a tutorial was revamped.
In the old days 'Fanart' and 'Thumbs' were two simple terms, but now, there's a LOT more to artwork for media files than there used to be... so these two terms alone don't do things justice.

This is a first draft of a guide for newbies, AND for seasoned pro's and serves as a helper/reminder for which files need to go where!

The intention is that this initial post will be the MASTER guide (so folks should not have to keep reading the entire thread to keep up with new events, just trust the first postings to be 'up to date'.

If there are errors or omissions, please let me know in the thread and I shall update the OP accordingly. (I do need help in some areas!)

Thanks for additional input go to: JoeBrady, Ronie


******** Flat Movie Structure
<Moviename1>.avi(iso,rar,mkv,mpg,etc)
<Moviename1>.nfo (1)
<Moviename1>.jpg/tbn (2)
<Moviename1>-fanart.jpg (3)
<Moviename1>-trailer.avi (8)
<Moviename2> - CD1.avi(iso,rar,mkv,mpg,etc)
<Moviename2> - CD2.avi(iso,rar,mkv,mpg,etc)
<Moviename2>.nfo (1)
<Moviename2>.jpg/tbn (2)
<Moviename2>-fanart.jpg (3)
<Moviename2>-trailer.avi (8)


******** Hierarchical Movie Structure Where Movie Name and Containing Folder Name Match
Movies\
-- Moviename\
---- Moviename.avi
---- movie.nfo OR <Moviename>.nfo (1)
---- movie.tbn/jpg OR <Moviename>.tbn/jpg OR folder.jpg (2)
---- fanart.jpg OR <Moviename>-fanart.jpg (3)
---- movie-trailer.avi OR <moviename>-trailer.avi (8)
---- extrathumbs\
------ thumbN.jpg (4)


******** Hierarchical Movie Structure Where Movie Name and Containing Folder Name Do Not Match
Movies\
-- Moviename\
---- MismatchedName.avi
---- movie.nfo OR <Moviename>.nfo OR <MismatchedName>.nfo (1)
---- movie.tbn/jpg OR <Moviename>.tbn/.jpg <MismatchedName>.tbn/jpg OR folder.jpg (2)
---- fanart.jpg OR <Moviename>-fanart.jpg OR <MismatchedName>-fanart.jpg (3)
---- movie-trailer.avi OR <moviename>-trailer.avi OR <MismatchedName>-trailer.avi (8)
---- extrathumbs\
------ thumbN.jpg (4)


******** Hierarchical Movie Structure Where Stacked Movie Name and Containing Folder Match
Movies\
-- Moviename\
---- Moviename - CD1.avi
---- Moviename - CD2.avi
---- movie.nfo OR <Moviename>.nfo (1)
---- movie.tbn/jpg OR <Moviename>.tbn/jpg OR folder.jpg (2)
---- fanart.jpg OR <Moviename>-fanart.jpg (3)
---- movie-trailer.avi OR <moviename>-trailer.avi (8)
---- extrathumbs\
------ thumbN.jpg (4)




******** Hierarchical Movie Structure Where Stacked Movie Name and Containing Folder Name Do Not Match
Movies\
-- Moviename\
---- MismatchedName - CD1.avi
---- MismatchedName - CD2.avi
---- movie.nfo OR <Moviename>.nfo OR <MismatchedName>.nfo (1)
---- movie.tbn/jpg OR <Moviename>.tbn/jpg OR <MismatchedName>.tbn/jpg OR folder.jpg (2)
---- fanart.jpg OR <Moviename>-fanart.jpg OR <MismatchedName>-fanart.jpg (3)
---- movie-trailer.avi OR <moviename>-trailer.avi or <MismatchedName>-trailer.avi (8)
---- extrathumbs\
------ thumbN.jpg (4)




******** Hierarchical Movie Structure Where Movie Contains a DVD RIP
Movies\
-- Moviename\
---- Video_TS\
---- Audio_TS\
---- movie.nfo OR <Moviename>.nfo (1)
---- movie.tbn/jpg OR <Moviename>.tbn/jpg OR folder.jpg (2)
---- fanart.jpg OR <Moviename>-fanart.jpg (3)
---- movie-trailer.avi OR <moviename>-trailer.avi (8)
---- extrathumbs\
------ thumbN.jpg (4)
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#2
******** Hierarchical TV Show Structure (Recommended)

-- TV Show\
---- tvshow.nfo (1)
---- folder.jpg (2)
---- fanart.jpg (3)
---- season-all.tbn (5)
---- season-specials.tbn (6)
---- season01.tbn (7)
---- clearart.png (12) *custom hack
---- Season 00\
------- S00E01 - Xmas Special.avi
------- S00E01 - Xmas Special.nfo (1)
------- S00E01 - Xmas Special.tbn (2)
---- Season 01\
------- S01E01 - Pilot.avi
---- Season 02\
------- S02E01 - A New Season.avi




******** Flat TV Show Structure (Not recommended)

-- TVShowName - S00E01 - Xmas Special.avi
-- TVShowName - S00E01 - Xmas Special.nfo (1)
-- TVShowName - S00E01 - Xmas Special.tbn (2)



******** Custom TV Show art hacks (only supported in some skins with specific skin mods)
SkinFolder\
---- Media\
------ Showart\
--------- <TVShowName>.png (11)
------ Clearart\
--------- <TVShowName>.png (12)
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#3
******** Hierarchical Music Structure (Recommended)

-- Artist\
---- folder.jpg (2)
---- fanart.jpg (3)
---- Album 1\
------- 01 - Some Track.mp3 (2)
------- folder.jpg (2)
------- fanart.jpg (3)
------- cdart.png (9) *custom hack
---- Album 2\
------- CD1\
------------ 01 - Some Other Track.mp3
------- CD2\
------------ 01 - Yet Another Track.mp3
------- folder.jpg (2)
------- fanart.jpg (3)
------- cdart.png (9) *custom hack



******** Other Custom Music Art Hacks (some nice extra art, but only supported by some skins)

SkinFolder\
---- Media\
-------Backdrops\
----------Artist_Fanart\
-------------<Artist>\
---------------- <albumname>.png (9)
---------------- <anynameyoulike>.jpg/png etc (10)
---------------- <anynameyoulike2>.jpg/png etc (10)
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#4
(1) NFO file used to hold detailed description of the media.
The content and format of the NFO file is similar (but different) for Movies, TV Shows and Music, and describes most of the meta information (title, producer, artist, actor etc) for the media. Depending on where the NFO exists, it can describe an individual Movie or TV episode or album, or it can describe an entire TV Show, or Season, or Artist.


(2) This file holds the 'thumbnail' for a media file.
The thumbnail is usually the cover or similar image associated with a CD, Movie or TV show. Depending on where the file exists, it may be the image for an individual media entity (eg a movie) or it can be an image for an entire tv show, season or episode, or artist, album, or track.
NOTE: MOST skins expect this image to be portrait for movies and square for music in order to render 'DVD or CD box' lookalike images. but SOME skins break away from convention and expect landscape images.
The essential rule here is... you need to KNOW how your chosen skin looks, and plan your artwork accordingly. If you KNOW your chosen skin is rendering TV show 'covers' in landscape... then you need to be finding suitable images to use (unless you want your images squashed / stretched)
Note: for some audio files, Cover images can be embedded in the media file itself. If XBMC finds artwork in a file, it will use it*

*unsure how xbmc resolves the situation where multiple tracks have different embedded art, or when a single track has multiple embedded art.


(3) This file is commonly referred to as 'fanart'. For the moment, this is typically used as hi resolution artwork for wallpapers, or imagery synonymous with your media. In almost all cases these images need to be good quality large images in landscape orientation, since most skins use them as full screen wallpaper / backgrounds or sometimes as complimentary artwork when drawing sexy user interfaces.
Remember... it's the SKINS that choose how to use the art will be used.


(4) Extrathumbs are typically used to display a series (e.g. thumb01.jpg, thumb02.jpg) of thumbs related to movie / tv stills.
Whilst these images do not technically HAVE to be video stills, this is the most common usage.
Some skins (not all) can use these thumbs to display additional smaller images associated with your media, often images that might automatically change on screen as the skin displays a slideshow of the extrathumbs.


(5) This is a special thumbnail designed to represent 'all seasons'. Depending on your XBMC setup, some skins can offer an option to show every episode of a TV show across all seasons in one big list... this image is used to represent that option.


(6) This image is designed to represent special 'one off' episodes that don't fit into the regular season guides. (e.g. Christmas specials, or other one off productions of the show). This corresponds to all the episodes marked as 'Season 00'. I have no idea why the filename isn't 'Season00.tbn', it just isn't.


(7) This image is designed to represent a specific season (usually a DVD cover type image representing a season (e.g. season01.tbn), but it doesn't always HAVE to be a DVD cover type image, since some skins have been very creative in how they represent a season).


(8) Trailers are small promotional videos / clips helping to summarise a move. Some skins can detect the presence of a movie trailer and even offer the option to play it.


(9) This is a CUSTOM HACK used by some skins to support an image representing the currently playing CD (just like the real spinning CD in your music system!). The file MUST be PNG with transparency (so that the 'round' image works).


(10) This is a CUSTOM HACK used by some skins to support multiple fanarts for one artist... thus acting like a slideshow showing multiple images of the currently playing artist.

(11) This is a CUSTOM HACK but no idea what this is for!... needs investigation

(12) This is a CUSTOM HACK used by some skins to represent a logo or branding for a TV series but with transparency. The general idea is that it might be displayed when requesting info on a show, or pausing a video.... acting as a small overlay on the screen to display the show brand.

EXTRA NOTES:
Some of you may have noticed that there are sometimes more than one way to name an artwork... so what happens if you have more than one artwork specifying the same thing?... What's the priority?
At the moment, I have not checked this, but it's on my list of things to do!.... soon.
For the moment though, the essential rule is... you only need ONE (not all) variation/s.
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#5
More reserved
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#6
What about movie trailers? What's the naming format for those and where should they go?

Great job, by the way!
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#7
Ooblivion Wrote:What about movie trailers? What's the naming format for those and where should they go?

Great job, by the way!

I'm on the case!... real life interrupted me grrrr
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#8
This thread helped me a lot. The last two days I have been trying to get some of this .tbn and .nfo info.
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#9
BORIStheBLADE Wrote:This thread helped me a lot. The last two days I have been trying to get some of this .tbn and .nfo info.

You're very welcome... I'm reasonably au fait with all of this and I still screw up sometimes. The 'flexibility' tends to make it harder than it should be, 'cos there's so many ways to do it.

Also, some skins use some innovative 'hacks' to get new artwork features, and this is a real doubled edged sword!
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#10
AnalogKid Wrote:Also, some skins use some innovative 'hacks' to get new artwork features, and this is a real doubled edged sword!

CdArt for example, done two different ways in two different skins.Shocked
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#11
joebrady Wrote:CdArt for example, done two different ways in two different skins.Shocked

haha, don't get me started!
I love all the extra art (for us nerds), but I have, countless times, championed XBMC core to clear up the mess. It's just such low priority for the guys though (IMO).
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#12
Well, I just started using Ember Media Manager (a wonderful program, BTW) and that program saves the trailer in the Movie folder as: <movie_name>-trailer.<ext>

Don't know if that's what's expected.
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#13
joebrady Wrote:CdArt for example, done two different ways in two different skins.Shocked

I think I found (and documented on here) one of the ways...I can't find the other.
If someone can post me a link to the other way, I'll document it here.

Yes I did use 'search', but it's not the best search solution ever implemented is it?
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#14
Ooblivion Wrote:Well, I just started using Ember Media Manager (a wonderful program, BTW) and that program saves the trailer in the Movie folder as: <movie_name>-trailer.<ext>

Don't know if that's what's expected.

I've already updated the opening post for trailers :-)
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#15
AnalogKid Wrote:I think I found (and documented on here) one of the ways...I can't find the other.
If someone can post me a link to the other way, I'll document it here.

Yes I did use 'search', but it's not the best search solution ever implemented is it?


Well, Transparencey! is the only skin to officially support it. Reaven's Aeon Mods can work different ways....I have all of mine in one folder so I didn't have to create a seperate folder for each artist.

http://xbmc.org/skins/transparency/3/

08. OK, but what this cdArt you keep bragging about?
cdArt will show a spinning cd during playback in the fullscreen info window and on the Home Screen.
this feature is enabled by default (Settings > Skin Settings > General > Enable cdArt) and will use a blank cd if no custom cd images are available.
if you want to use your own images, go to Settings > Skin Settings > General > Music Folder Path and enter the path to your main Music folder.
(e.g. /home/xbmc/Media/Music)
Next put a semi transparent cd image of a certain album in the folder of that album. The filename should be cdart.png
(e.g. /home/xbmc/Media/Music/Blink-182/Greatest Hits/cdart.png)
Note: this will only work with a directory structure like: Music/Artist/Album.
Note: the names of the ‘artist’ and ‘album’ folders on your harddrive need to exactly match the ‘artist’ and ‘album’ names as listed in xbmc.
Note: if the cd disappears after a few seconds, just hit the ‘i’ button on keyboard/remote and it will reappear. from now on it will be always visible.
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