New "ClearArt" overlay type of FanArt

Request a website or interface feature.

Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:19 am

reaven in the XBMC Community Forum have come up with a new overlay type FanArt concept which he calls "ClearArt", more about the idea behind it here:

This new transparent "ClearArt" can be used anywhere in HTPC software applications skins, like for example to overlay a video in OSD (On Screen Display) mode on top of a video like for example when it is paused, (or any time the OSD menu is displayed for that matter), or somewhere else in a skin as a overlay type of FanArt.




Image ... t001-2.jpg ... t004-1.jpg ... t003-3.jpg ... t000-5.jpg

What is needed is for a site like to pick this up and make it into a new standard.

The draft of "ClearArt" requirements today as set by reaven:
- No less than 300w x 200h in pixel resolution
- Full body pictures, (refer to samples), these ClearArt images should be able to be shown anywhere in the skin, so no 'amputees' please!
- Full Transparency, no background(.png)
- Horizontal orientation, with no edges on the top, and no right/left edges, only the bottom may be cut off!
- Again, please refer to the samples!

Some "ClearArt" samples to download: ... mview=grid

List of ClearArt samples available so far at this time of initially posting this:
The 4400
The Amazing Race
The Backyardigans
Band of Brothers
BattleStar Galactica
Beavis and Butthead
The Big Bang Theory
Boston Legal
Breaking Bad
The Closer
Desperate Housewives
Dinosaur King
Doctor Who
Family Guy
Father Ted
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
How I met your Mother
In Plain Sight
The It Crowd
Law & Order SVU
The Office
Quantum Leap
Terminator:The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Saturday Night Live
The Simpsons
The Sopranos
So you think you can dance
Stargate Atlantis
Star Trek
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien
True Blood
The Tudors
The Venture Bros.
The West Wing
The Wire
The X-files

Stay up to date with all the ClearArt's via this ClearArt RSS feed.

ClearArt RSS Feed ... t/feed.rss

Last edited by Gamester17 on Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:21 am, edited 12 times in total.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2298
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:23 pm

Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:26 am

I got your PM on the XBMC forums, but was letting it stew a bit. I'm not sold on this image format, since I'm not sure its uses are as flexible as the other image formats. These really need to be placed on a white or black outer glow in order to stand out from the background, which is something that some skinning engines could do. However, we'd have to flag the glow color for each, which is something I'm trying to get away from. I was planning on seeing the implementation by a full skin rather than just that one mod, since I'm frankly not all that impressed with that implementation. It's different, yes, but doesn't yet warrant full site resources for. Once some other skins pick up on it, then it'll be more likely to be included.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2298
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:23 pm

Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:28 am

Note that these could also be done using a simple image mask that would be applied to existing site art as well. So people would just upload a grayscale mask for any fan art, which could be used to automatically make those parts of the image transparent. I see that as being a more flexible option and like it more since it would not only make use of existing images, but would also use far less bandwidth.

Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:26 am

szsori wrote:I'm not sold on this image format, since I'm not sure its uses are as flexible as the other image formats.
This ClearArt concept images could obviously be used in many different places throughout a HTPC skin, where and how to use it is entirely up the imagination of the skinners, checkout these other examples:

You can put the ClearArt images anywhere within the skin to enhance the fan artwork effect:


Via XBMC Media Center skinning-engine a skinner can also use colour defuse to change the ClarArt to any color you like, for effects like this example below:


Here below used on top of FanArt in the skin, but ClearArt would probably also look great on top of episode thumbnails in the menu like this too:


Only the imagination is the limit here what could be done in different HTPC skins with these ClearArt images, (these examples above are just one view mod of the Aeon Auriga skin).


PS! I do not know why but this forum crops away a bit of the right side on all these images, so for full images see:
Last edited by Gamester17 on Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:26 am

More "'ClearArt" example uses would be to make a flag for use of it as here in a TV Shows list view:


Closeup of above:

Site Admin
Posts: 278
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:38 pm

Sat Jun 20, 2009 6:04 am

Personally, I really like this idea. However, it needs some work before I would consider allocating server resources to it. The majority (a lot anyway) of existing "clearart" images on the RSS feed above are really bad quality and rather than improving the on-screen display it actually makes it look really cheap instead.

If we could come up with real guidelines (as well as noob guides) on how to create the cutouts and somehow ensure we don't let "bad" ones thru (which would require manual moderation, or at least some sort of thumbs -up/-down system) I'm all for it though.

In terms of the bad quality images I was talking about, the "House" one (as well as [all] the other House ones available in the RSS feed) on your last screenshot is a prime example of an image that was cut out far too quickly without much (or any?) QA before uploading. The end result is something that looks less than stellar when presented on-screen.

Sat Jun 20, 2009 9:33 am

hmm, all HTPC software that would use these small ClearArt artwork use a 10-foot user interface that are designed for the living-room.

Will you really notice such details on such a small image? :? ...thinking most people today have a 720p or 1080p TV of 40-50" size :| not like you will sit and look at these images on a desktop computer interface 2-foot away on your media center software :roll:
Site Admin
Posts: 278
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:38 pm

Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:59 am

It depends.
My intended usage for these would be as an overlay on moving video where a slight halo effect would be very apparent. The same goes for displaying these on a static image where the image has a stark contrast to the 'edge' of the cutout (since most seem to have a white-ish edge this would be seen on pretty much any background color).
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2298
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:23 pm

Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:27 pm

Also have to consider that many of our API users aren't HTPC-specific anymore. Sure, XBMC, MyTV, MP, and Meedio are the biggest chunk of them, but we have to make sure everything works as well for a 2' interface as a 10' interface. The quality might be what's bothering me about these... I dunno. It really wouldn't be that complex to add it, but I'm hesitant to just throw new formats into the mix until they're fully "mature" and supported. The 16x9 panel is the lone exception since it fills a gap that I've been considering for a while.

Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:30 pm

A little OT, but have you already decided which formats will be used at the new site?