Getting art from the National Gallery into Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a good game to play during the Great Coronavirus Lockdown of 2020. Even without the bits where you get rewarded for Just Buying More Stuff, it’s a handy reminder whilst we’re not at work of the rewards that capitalism provides for exploiting nature.


In the game you can create little 32×32 artworks which you can display on easels, or floors or your own clothes. Drawing your own pictures is relaxing, but hard.

Getty have provided a tool (explanatory blog post here) which lets you convert any of their artworks into a QR code which you can scan on your phone and send to the game.

For example, here is Picasso’s self-portrait:

They have also provided an importer which takes an IIIF metadata file and allows you to send the image described by the metadata into your game. There is a list of IIIF-participating organisations but navigating those sites and finding works which actually have the IIIF metadata is a giant pain in the ass, so I gave up with that list and wondered about the National Gallery. It’s not on the IIIF’s list, but it turns out that they do have a research wiki and do actually have a test IIIF server!

All you have to do is search and find a painting you like, right-click the red and blue “iiif” logo in the top right corner, copy the URL it links to and paste it into the importer. With luck you’ll then just need to scroll back up to see your imported painting, ready for you to scan!

This means that you can import works like van Gogh’s Sunflowers straight into Animal Crossing to impress all your island visitors. Have fun decorating!

Art detail

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best film I’ve seen in the last six months. It’s imaginative, exciting, funny and constantly visually inventive.

If that wasn’t enough, the artists have posted a slew of content about little details in the film (which Simon Willison has gathered in a twitter thread), and interviewed the team about the processes they used to create such great results. They used and abused their pre-existing in-house tools which allowed them to write custom Python code and use procedural generation to prototype and create detailed CG effects that looked and felt hand-drawn, which is incredible.

And hey, if you want, you can even read the screenplay! Excelsior!