Rising to meet the skin: acquiring acceptable artwork in real time

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jonm42 Offline
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Post: #1
Most of you will agree that Aeon sets a new bar when it comes to high def skins. Hell, it sets a new bar, period. There's a problem I'm seeing and I can't seem to find a good solution for it. Most if not all of the video plugins that I've installed and/or contributed to use the art work from the site they're streaming from. Which is usually small, low resolution and/or wrong aspect ratio. This means that this absolutely delightful skin is sprinkled with ugliness.

On the flip side, all the video stored locally has the ability to be scraped from hither and yon, coming up with something on par with the containing skin, resulting in a visual delight (no arguments about fanart vs. not, please Smile).

So how do we combine the two? Would it be possible for plugins to use the locally scraped data? To initiate a call to an external site and then stash locally the same way videos are?

I know this isn't an Aeon specific question, but Aeon is what inspired it and will gain the most from it.
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rwparris2 Offline
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Post: #2
jonm42 Wrote:So how do we combine the two? Would it be possible for plugins to use the locally scraped data? To initiate a call to an external site and then stash locally the same way videos are?

Sure, but it would be slow. Even if you stored the images locally, each time you entered a new directory it would take time to find the images you want, then download them. Not to mention how many images you would be left with eating up space on your hdd (remember, xbox only has 8gb, and the avaliable space on an xbmc live installation might be even less).

Most people (I think) would want a snappier plugin than one that offered higher res images. Remember scraping is IO bound, so you're finding & downloading images & metadata, your plugin will be about as speedy as scanning items into your library.

If you disagree, there isn't anything stopping you from doing this with your plugins (or other people's for that matter) just to test and see if the speed is usable.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search and search the forum before posting.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please read how to submit a proper bug report.

If you're interested in writing addons for xbmc, read docs and how-to for plugins and scripts ||| http://code.google.com/p/xbmc-addons/
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jonm42 Offline
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Post: #3
rwparris2 Wrote:Sure, but it would be slow. Even if you stored the images locally, each time you entered a new directory it would take time to find the images you want, then download them. Not to mention how many images you would be left with eating up space on your hdd (remember, xbox only has 8gb, and the avaliable space on an xbmc live installation might be even less).

Most people (I think) would want a snappier plugin than one that offered higher res images. Remember scraping is IO bound, so you're finding & downloading images & metadata, your plugin will be about as speedy as scanning items into your library.

If you disagree, there isn't anything stopping you from doing this with your plugins (or other people's for that matter) just to test and see if the speed is usable.

I'm not saying download each and every time, but, rather use the image caching capabilities that are used for locally resident media. You'd have a hit the first time, but after that it would be local, the same as a scraped image for a movie. The shows on a given video plugin target don't really change all that quickly. And it would be nice to use the existing frameworks for download, database lookup and caching. Make sense?

On the scraping front, I'm not sure how cool it would be for me to sign up for an access key, then distribute a plugin that used it. Any thoughts on that? How does XBMC use it's access key?
(This post was last modified: 2009-04-14 22:42 by jonm42.)
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rwparris2 Offline
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Post: #4
jonm42 Wrote:I'm not saying download each and every time, but, rather use the image caching capabilities that are used for locally resident media. You'd have a hit the first time, but after that it would be local, the same as a scraped image for a movie. The shows on a given video plugin target don't really change all that quickly. And it would be nice to use the existing frameworks for download, database lookup and caching. Make sense?

On the scraping front, I'm not sure how cool it would be for me to sign up for an access key, then distribute a plugin that used it. Any thoughts on that? How does XBMC use it's access key?
The sites you would want to scrape will have that info. I understand you want to keep a local copy of the files (see point #2) but I still think it will be too slow, because you won't/shouldn't be grabbing art for everything the site has to offer. So if I use NBC universal, each time I go to a new show, you would have to get art for it, not just the first time I run the plugin in general. Am I making sense? I'd love for you to prove me wrong though Smile

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search and search the forum before posting.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please read how to submit a proper bug report.

If you're interested in writing addons for xbmc, read docs and how-to for plugins and scripts ||| http://code.google.com/p/xbmc-addons/
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djh_ Offline
Aeon Project Founder
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Post: #5
You should probably bear in mind that if Aeon's set any kind of bar for video plugins, it's entirely accidental. I haven't really had time to give plugins any though, so just be aware that anything to do with them is subject to change. Though I guess that doesn't change the obvious problems with lo-res artwork from remote sources.
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rwparris2 Offline
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Post: #6
Quote:There's a problem I'm seeing and I can't seem to find a good solution for it. Most if not all of the video plugins that I've installed and/or contributed to use the art work from the site they're streaming from. Which is usually small, low resolution and/or wrong aspect ratio. This means that this absolutely delightful skin is sprinkled with ugliness.

It doesn't really have anything to do with aeon itself, just that he wants pretty thumbs for the pretty skin. I'm moving it to the python forums where it belongs.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search and search the forum before posting.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please read how to submit a proper bug report.

If you're interested in writing addons for xbmc, read docs and how-to for plugins and scripts ||| http://code.google.com/p/xbmc-addons/
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jonm42 Offline
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Location: Portland, OR
Post: #7
rwparris2 Wrote:The sites you would want to scrape will have that info. I understand you want to keep a local copy of the files (see point #2) but I still think it will be too slow, because you won't/shouldn't be grabbing art for everything the site has to offer. So if I use NBC universal, each time I go to a new show, you would have to get art for it, not just the first time I run the plugin in general. Am I making sense? I'd love for you to prove me wrong though Smile

Yes, you are making sense. And the on-demand model is exactly what I had in mind. That way you get nicer artwork for the shows you care about. And of course there would be an option to enable/disable this capability. I found some python modules to go talk to tvdb, so I will go do some experimentation (probably using NBC Universal no less Smile) and pick up this thread with real world info.

(I also need to find stuff to persist and search and the like. If anyone has some pointers, they are most welcome!)
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micster Offline
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Post: #8
Could we use .nfo files like we do for the videos? If it's a show you like and watch often, have a .nfo file that points to a larger/better local thumbnail? Just thinking out loud.
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jonm42 Offline
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Post: #9
micster Wrote:Could we use .nfo files like we do for the videos? If it's a show you like and watch often, have a .nfo file that points to a larger/better local thumbnail? Just thinking out loud.

I don't know the XBMC API well enough to answer that -- I would think that a plugin could check for artwork. I'll have to do some digging (or perhaps some kind expert soul will take pity on me Smile).
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