Feature: Animated Background

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PLEASE NOTE: Roll20 Enhancement Suite (aka VTT es/ R20es), is not part of BetteR20 or 5eTools. However; as BetteR20 installation is enhanced/simplified by already having VTT es/R20es installed, this Wiki covers its content to (HOPEFULLY) prevent BetteR20 users from requesting help on BetteR20 issues on the VTTes/R20es Discord server or other platforms (Reddit/Roll20.net Forum, etc).

VTTes/R20es v1.20.00

Animated background.gif

Animated Background

Animated Background is a feature that allows the GM to set an animated video to play in the background. As the video shows you have you first know of a usable MEDIA URL you wish to use. 
Here is a public Media URL for an animated background image. Why not try using it to get started? (For more such images, look in the FAQ and comments as the community shares their own creations, and how to make your own)
You should see a blue swirling gaseous nebula looking effect.
The Video plays under the map layer (this cannot be changed), so any things put onto the map layer may cover part or all of the animated background. 
example: You could use one of the ocean animations for a swells on the ocean, then put a Ship or Island Map Asset from the Image Repo, the animation would be playing but the ship / island would appear ontop of those waves.

Feature/Formatting Requirements (if any)

The File can must be of one of the following types; what are most commonly used are .webm or .mp4 video type, and hosted in a location that all the player's browsers can resolve without further authentication or pass through. 
That is a simple way of saying only certain files will play, and that if you're not careful you may see the video, and everyone else might not be able. (See below).
The link must be a valid media URL, aka a direct file link.

Instruction Walkthrough (How to use it)

By default animated backgrounds will be enabled on entering Roll20 for the first time after VTTes's installation.

  • Look for the animated background configuration icon.Icon.png (Located near the top RIGHT-hand corner by the Page Toolbar - NOTE it was recently relocated, and so its location differs from the animation above)
  • Which when clicked a window will open and show...
  • The file will need to be of the appropriate type (.webm .mp4 )

Feature Support

Known Issues/Limitations

You Must Use Direct links
​​​​ What should I look for to know if the link will work? or I have a URL, why isn't it working!?
examples of bad Media URLs (they won't work, and why they won't work -- so you can avoid them in your testing)
That is a local file (that address is a loopback to whatever machine you are on) and nobody else will be able to see it.
That link either requires authentication, or issues a redirect - if pass-through authentication is required the Roll20 client will not pass that, and redirections are most often changes in HTML. The player doesn't know what to do with it.
That's a youtube URL - like above, there is a website side actions that the link asks the browser to take to redirect or initiate some other elements, and the Roll20 client will not be able to act on that so those links WILL fail. 
That's an animated .gif (see the ending bit of text? that says .gif -- the player doesn't use and cannot play animated gifs, if your file doesn't work, and ends in .gif, that's why.
That's the new animated .gif format .gifv.  (and in case you're wondering, renaming a file to .webm or mp4 won't make the file's "type" change - the file is written in a specific language/structure.  The player reads that language, and if its not in that language - it just doesn't work. 
Not everyone can see the animation!
Tier 1
Check to see if the player(s) are using the supported environment, have the most current version of R20ES installed correctly, and that it is enabled.
Check to see if the extension is running, or they are on the supported environment.
If it is not, install or enable the extension/plugin.
See the installation guide.

Tier 2
Most likely the URL you have chosen isn't a public address, and so your browser is playing it because it is authorized already to see that file, while your players are not.

Solution Steps:
Move the file (see Where can I host my Animated Backgrounds ...) to a place everyone has access to.
Grant everyone access to that location.
The best way to see if its a public file is to open a new browser (Chrome if you are using Firefox, Firefox if you are using Chrome - and install R20ES to work in Incognito or Private viewing mode) then log into Roll20 and see if that browser can see the animation.
You can also test this by putting or choosing ANOTHER animation from that site and setting it as a landing page for the players, before play, make sure they can see the animation clearly - then you can proceed with confidence. Otherwise, you will need to have a backup map as whoever cannot see the test animation on the landing page, very likely cannot see the other image.

How do I change the animated background's volume?
In R20es Settings.

Where do I find animations?
You can also use the resources in the next question to create temporary links to YouTube or extract files from there,
DMGE offers a freeware tool to make such (works wonders with the modular dungeon segments.)

How do I Generate Usable Media URLs from Online sources?

This method requires VLC player

Where prompted, Enter the URL / Link to the video (such as `https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahwMlwJXPPs`)
  • Then in the menu at the top click on Tools
  • Choose `Media Information` (or Ctrl + i)
  • At the bottom, under location - you can triple-click on that to copy a direct link to the video or double click & ctrl + c (It will be a very large string of letters and numbers)


this link does expire in several days (varies but as a guess around 20 days), so you may this, but realize you will need to update the link from time to time.

Get a link from Alltube

The method creates temporary URLs that will expire in about a day* (assumes From Youtube)

  • Find a video on or upload a video to youtube you wish to use.
  • Get the URL for that video and copy it.
  • Go to https://alltubedownload.net/
  • Paste your Youtube video's URL
The URL that is provided will expire in about a day.

  1. Create an account  & Login
  2. Go to https://www.opendrive.com/files/
  3. You can choose a folder (eg. Music) or create a new one
  4. Drag and Drop your sound file (mp3, ogg, ...) on the page
  5. Wait until the end of the upload, then right click it
  6. Choose "Links
    OpenDrive 1.png
  7. Then copy the "Direct Link (streaming)"
    OpenDrive 2.png

NB: OpenDrive gives you 5GB of storage but you can [get free space here](https://www.opendrive.com/free "Get Free Space")


  1. Upload the file to dropbox
  2. Create a link
  3. The link will end in dl=0, change the dl=0 to dl=1
  4. Paste that modified URL into the Media URL field.


  1. Install [this extension on chrome](https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tab-save/lkngoeaeclaebmpkgapchgjdbaekacki).

How do I resize the video?
You change the page dimension. The animated map maintains its aspect ratio and scales with the page's dimensions.
TVs/ monitors work within a  16:9 ratio so use that as a metric that to avoid letterboxing (dead space around the image) as much as possible.
Page's X value Page's Y value
16 9
32 18
50 28
64 36
ultimately you'll need to play around so that the scale matches the encounter in some capacity, and some of the animated backgrounds are made intentionally to be modular - so those files you save locally then manufacture complex systems for players to wander through.

How do align the grid to the animation's grid?
Most often, you don't. there is some chance it will work, but most often its best to turn off the grid and go from there.

How do I make my own Animated Backgrounds?
Manny Sykes uses this tool to create many of his animated backgrounds, and you can too. DMGE is tool offered by /u/mcdoolz through his Patreon site .
  • You find a game with a virtual environment you enjoy
  • confirm there is a 'no clipping' sort of crack or feature.
  • use a software for recording the screen.
  • then... post the video onto Imgur; YouTube; etc etc.
  • use the same practices as above to generate a usable link.
Watch this  to help walk you through the process

Where can I host my Animated Backgrounds so that my players can see and marvel (as can other GMs)?
Loads of options abound. But... GoogleDrive, Onedrive,  Amazon - are most often not usable. so
  • youtube
  • imgur
  • github (under 25mb)
  • webmland (under 100mb) site has closed.
  • mixtape.moe
  • dropbox
  • or.....leave a request in the notes with a link to the file
Best Practices

None as yet (Do you have any suggestions?)

ARTIST attribution

Dynamic Dungeons

youTube Playlist
Patreon Site

Tabletop Things

artist: Tom Swogger
WebSite: https://www.tabletopthings.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TomSwogger

Manny Sykes

artist: Manny Sykes
youTube Playlist

Note: most (if not all) of these maps are screen captures from video games, as a result, they tend to be relatively small and do not lend themselves easily to battle maps as their visual elements often suggest the scale of the image is a total of ~30ft across.

Related Features

Did that answer your question(s)?

If not please check the under Support; Troubleshooting or the Known Issues page for further guidance, or go to the Discord community and leave a comment in the issues channel.

If you enjoy the project, please follow this link to see how you can contribute and help make it even better.

PLEASE NOTE: Roll20 Enhancement Suite (aka VTT es/ R20es), is not part of BetteR20 or 5eTools. However; as BetteR20 installation is enhanced/simplified by already having VTT es/R20es installed, this Wiki covers its content to (HOPEFULLY) prevent BetteR20 users from requesting help on BetteR20 issues on the VTTes/R20es Discord server or other platforms (Reddit/Roll20.net Forum, etc).