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The Getty made a tool to help you build an art museum in ‘Animal Crossing’

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

If you’re like us, you’re probably spending your evenings going fishing, checking turnip prices and crossing your fingers for a trip to tarantula island. We’re, of course, talking about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Nintendo Switch game that makes daily chores and paying down your debts way more fun and relaxing than their real-world counterparts.

One of the game’s most novel features is a custom editor that lets you design your own wallpaper, clothes and works of art, pixel by pixel. It seems that the Getty is just as hooked on the feature as the rest of us who’ve fallen deep down the Animal Crossing rabbit hole, because the Brentwood museum just released a tool that makes this process even easier.

The Animal Crossing Art Generator taps into the Getty’s open-access collection, a 100,000 image-strong trove of artwork that you’re free to use however you’d like. You simply search for an artist, artwork title or phrase and the tool will load up the relevant results (plus some handpicked favorites). Then click a work, choose how you’d like it cropped and the tool will generate a low-res version of the painting along with a QR code that you can scan using the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app (the Getty has more detailed instructions here for that part of the process). You’re not just bound to the Getty’s collection, either; the generator has instructions for importing pieces from other museums’ open-access images.

Van Gogh’s Irises
Van Gogh’s IrisesCourtesy the Getty

We’ve already spent way more time than we care to admit with the open-source tool that powers the Getty’s art generator, and we used it to create digital canvases of our cat and an in-game Nook Phone case that features a work of art that we obviously had the rights to reproduce and didn’t just steal off the internet. But we digress: If there’s something we’ve learned, it’s to stick to images that don’t use too many colors or have too many tiny details. And keep in mind that while your work of art may look overly sharp and pixelated once it’s been generated in the tool, the image tends to be smoothed out a little (sometimes too much so) once it’s imported into the game.

Like its masterpiece recreation social media challenge, the Getty is asking users to tag @gettymuseum and use #ACArtGenerator to share their creations.

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