TV Series Banner / Poster / Artwork issues

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SiliconKid Offline
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Post: #1
Hi

I've tried researching this myself and I've searched for previous posts regarding this, I really have, but I'm just not finding answers, so now I'm posting with a detailed explanation of the issues so that I can hopefully get an answer from the XBMC guys explaining this once and for all.

My issues center on TV Series artwork in general and more specifically Banners and Posters and how they are used.

Now, I've spent weeks, literally, reading up on all this and learning how XBMC imports fanart, how to use AdvancedSettings to make it recognise alternative file names like Banner.jpg and Cover.jpg instead of just Folder.jpg etc.

So I really have done my homework on this, but there are still things that just don't want to work. And I'm a perfectionist so this is driving me insane.

I am using the Aeon Nox skin, latest v3.0. But the issues I'm about to describe are apparent in other skins too as far as I can tell.


The Issues
----------------

1. I like to use a Banner view. So in Aeon Nox there is a View called BannerPlex and it uses wide Banner images as the primary images for your series at top level.

So what I did is scrape .jpg Banner images from TheTVDB.com using a scraper that I wrote myself, and I named those images Banner.jpg and I modified AdvancedSettings.xml <DVDThumbs> to recognise all variants of Banner.jpg.

That works, when I set my source and XBMC imports my media it sees those Banner.jpg files and uses them as expected.

This was an issue until I learnt how to use AdvancedSettings.xml properly. I mention it here to give you clear insight on how I'm working.


2. From that main Bannerplex view, if you bring up the context menu for any series there is a "TV Show Information" option.

If you select that and go into the TV Show Information screen, you get a full screen showing you everything there is to know about that series.

BUT, a third of that screen on the left is one massive image. The image has the aspect ratio of a poster. And the problem is, it is using the Banner.jpg image that was imported to fill that entire area.

And in order to accomplish that, it stretches the image vertically, a lot, and obviously it looks horrific.

So clearly it is necessary to somehow be able to use a DIFFERENT image for this screen, than the main "thumbnail" image being used on the main view screen.

Now, what's interesting here is that before Aeon Nox upgraded itself from v2 to v3, I actually had that working, somehow. Somewhere along the line I set something that made the skin use one image for the Banner as expected and a DIFFERENT
image for that Poster area in the Info screen. And when I had it working, the image it was importing from my folders and using as the Poster had to be called "poster.jpg".

I had it working. I even documented it at the time. But now that Aeon Nox has been updated to v3.0, it doesn't work anymore. So I switched to Confluence to see if that would work, and it doesn't seem to be working now either!

Is there a setting in any XML config file that forces XBMC to look for a file called "poster.jpg" when it does it's import and use that in the TV Show Information screen instead of the main "thumbnail" / "cover" image that was imported.


3. All Seasons - If I select a series from the main Bannerplex View which has multiple Seasons, I get taken to another View where I can select a Season and which also has an All Seasons option at the top.

Each Season has an associated Poster image. These are scraped by SickBeard as SeasonXX.tbn (eg. Season01.tbn) and they are recognised by XBMC when it imports media, and are being used correctly.

But, the All Seasons is a little more tricky. SickBeard does NOT scrape an All-Seasons.tbn file so by default there is no dedicated image for All Seasons in my folders.

XBMC logically works around that problem by using the Series image as the All Seasons image, reasoning that All Seasons doesn't need to have any special overlay text like "Season 1" on it.

That logic is sound but unfortunately, when you are working with Banners instead of Posters, it doesn't work out so well because it tries to use the wide Banner image as a Poster image for All Seasons and you are back to having a vertically
stretched or badly cropped Banner image that looks horrific as per point 2 above.

So here again it would be VERY nice if XBMC reverted to using the "poster.jpg" (or folder.jpg, cover.jpg, whatever name is convenient) that is lying in my folders right now and is an actual Poster image, instead.

I did find a workaround to this: If I take my "poster.jpg" files and rename them to "All-Seasons.tbn", then I refresh the series so that it re-imports images from local disk, it recognises that and imports the image correctly and uses it.

That's fine for now, and I can write a small automation app to do that for me automatically for now, but long term there should ideally be a better default way for XBMC to handle this.

I've spent a lot of time working through all of this and trying various combinations of things to try and fully understand how XBMC works, what file names, image type etc. it expects and recognises, and how to optimally configure it to use locally stored Metadata / Artwork. I've made some updates to your Wiki to make certain things in this area more clear as I've been going, but the issues outlined above are still a problem for me.

All input, opinions, advice appreciated.
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thrak76 Offline
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Post: #2
I'm sure that you've seen this, but just in case -

Some viewtypes in Nox have a button for "Use poster.jpg for Poster viewtypes"

You've got that checked off right?

I was having a similar problem, but instead of banners it was using landscape thumbs to fill up the poster-sized area. I was only able to correct it after purging my thumbnail cache and restarting xbmc. After that the posters were showing up correctly.
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SiliconKid Offline
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Post: #3
Ok, THAT setting is what I flipped previously that made it work. But with Aeon Nox 3.0 I can't seem to find that setting.

That's exactly the setting I'm looking for and that WAS sorting it out previously.

Thanks, I couldn't remember what it was called exactly.
I found it. God, sometimes I wonder. Too many settings in too many places Smile

Thank you thrak76. That sorts out my Point 2 issue in Aeon Nox 3.0 specifically.

I was looking everywhere BUT where that setting actually is.

For reference, to help other members, the setting in question can be found in Views settings which you access by sliding out the menu on the left of the screen, then going to "Viewtype settings" when you already have your View set to "BannerPlex".

In there you will find 2 options related to this:

"Use 'poster.jpg' for poster style viewtypes"

"Use 'banner.jpg' for banner style viewtypes"

That sorts out the TV show information screen.

The All Seasons issue remains though. It would be really cool if that setting also made the skin use poster.jpg as the All Seasons image if one isn't explicitly supplied.
(This post was last modified: 2012-06-02 07:45 by SiliconKid.)
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thrak76 Offline
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Post: #4
Glad to help!

I thought that, as you pointed out in the OP, that if no seasonall-poster.jpg (All-seasons.tbn) is provided or manually set with context menu, XBMC did default to the show poster.jpg. At least that's how it is for me, and i'm using Nox 3 also.
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SiliconKid Offline
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Post: #5
Mmmm. That's interesting. It doesn't seem to be using poster.jpg in my case. The TV show information screen has immediately come right, but the All Seasons issue remains.

Do you have other images in your folders thrak76? If we can compare our naming conventions we can identify where we differ. I would like to understand exactly what is being used where because I want to actually document all of this in detail and update the Wiki again and make sure the rest of our fellow XMBC users get the benefit of all this research because it's very frustrating for XBMC noobs like myself who don't initially know what the rules of the game are.

And I'm very technical, so I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for non-technical people who are relying on 3rd party scrapers and don't really understand the naming conventions etc.

What it's actually doing with the All Seasons image, to be 100% clear, is NOT stretching it. It's actually showing small part of a massive image zoomed in. It seems to be zooming in on the dead center of the banner image. The aspect ratio of what is visible looks correct, it's not stretching, it's just very pixelated because it's zoomed right in.
(This post was last modified: 2012-06-02 08:01 by SiliconKid.)
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thrak76 Offline
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Post: #6
I have every image possible in all my folders!

I also have a habit of exporting my library pretty regularly, so there actually are season-all.tbn files in each folder.

[Image: aquateenfolder.png]

So, that means I'm not positive about the defaulting to the show poster.jpg when there's not a season-all file there to rely on.
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SiliconKid Offline
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Post: #7
Ok, thanks for the feedback.

I'll investigate further and try a few things.

The bottom line is that only one file name can be used for the main "thumbnail" that it imports, whether that be a Poster or Banner.

So any "other" image that the skin looks at would have to be a very specific file name that the standard thumbnail importing function of XBMC is NOT looking for.

season-all.tbn definitely works, even if it's a .jpg and renamed to .tbn (I actually have no idea if a .tbn is just a renamed .jpg or is supposed to be a fundamentally different image format at this point, but renaming the .jpg works).
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SiliconKid Offline
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Post: #8
Feedback:

I couldn't find any way to make XBMC use a default image for All Seasons that worked properly.

Eventually I just wrote a C# app to scan my library, look for any series that doesn't have an all-series.tbn file, then copy a poster image (in my case cover.jpg) and rename it to all-series.tbn.

Then I refreshed my Series and the correct images were imported and used.
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thrak76 Offline
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Post: #9
Nice job. It's nice to have the skills to whip up a little program to accomplish tedious tasks such as that!
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