Displaying Images link

The defining aspect of a visual novel, lending its name to the form, are the visuals. Ren'Py contains four statements that control the display of images, and a model that determines the order in which the images are displayed. This makes it convenient to display images in a manner that is suitable for use in visual novels and other storytelling games.

The four statements that work with images are:

  • image - defines a new image.

  • show - shows an image on a layer.

  • scene - clears a layer, and optionally shows an image on that layer.

  • hide - removes an image from a layer.

As abrupt changes of image can be disconcerting to the user, Ren'Py has the with statement, which allows effects to be applied when the scene is changed.

Most (if not all) of the statements listed in this page are checked by Lint, which is not the case for their python equivalents.

Concepts link

Image link

An image is something that can be show to the screen using the show statement. An image consists of a name and a displayable. When the image is shown on a layer, the displayable associated with it is displayed on that layer.

An image name consists of one or more names, separated by spaces. The first component of the image name is called the image tag. The second and later components of the name are the image attributes.

For example, take the image name mary beach night happy. The image tag is mary, while the image attributes are beach, night, and happy.

A displayable is something that can be shown on the screen. The most common thing to show is a static image, which can be specified by giving the filename of the image, as a string. In the example above, we might use mary_beach_night_happy.png as the filename. However, an image may refer to any displayable Ren'Py supports, not just static images. Thus, the same statements that are used to display images can also be used for animations, solid colors, and the other types of displayables.

Layer link

A layer is a list of displayables that are shown on the screen. Ren'Py supports multiple layers, including user-defined layers. The order of the layers is fixed within a game (controlled by the config.layers variable), while the order of displayables within a layer is controlled by the order in which the scene and show statements are called, and the properties given to those statements.

The following layers are defined as part of Ren'Py:


This is the default layer that is used by the scene, show, and hide statements. It's generally used for backgrounds and character sprites.


The default layer used by ui functions. This layer is cleared at the end of each interaction.


This layer is used by the screen system.


The default layer used when a ui function is called from within an overlay function. This layer is cleared when an interaction is restarted.

Additional layers can be defined by calling renpy.add_layer(), and using the various layer-related configuration variables. Using the camera statement, one or more transforms can be applied to a layer.

Defining Images link

There are two ways to define images. You can either place an image file in the image directory, or an image can be defined using the image statement. The former is simple, as it involves placing properly named files in a directory, while the latter a allows more control over how the image is defined, and allows images that are not image files.

Images defined using the image statement take precedence over those defined by the image directory.

Images Directory link

The image directory is named "images", and is placed under the game directory. When a file with a .jpg, .jpeg, .jxl, .png, or .webp extension is placed underneath this directory, the extension is stripped, the rest of the filename is forced to lowercase, and the resulting filename is used as the image name if an image with that name has not been previously defined.

This process takes place in all directories underneath the image directory. For example, all of these files will define the image eileen happy:

game/images/eileen happy.png
game/images/Eileen Happy.jpg
game/images/eileen/eileen happy.png

When an image filename is given, and the image is not found, the images directory is searched.

Oversampling link

By default, the pixel size of an image defines the size it will take up when displayed. For example, if an image is 1920x1080 pixels, and the game is configured, using gui.init(), to run at 1920x1080, the image will fill the entire screen.

When oversampling is enabled, the size that the image is displayed at is smaller than the image size would imply. For example, if an image is 3480x2160, and has an oversamply of 2, then each axis will be halved, and the image would fill the same 1920x1080 window.

This is useful when the image might be zoomed in on, and the extra detail is required. Oversampling is also useful in conjunction with config.physical_width and config.physical_height to allow a game to be remade with higher resolution graphics.

Oversampling is automatically enabled if the image ends with an '@' followed by a number, before the extension. For example, eileen happy@2.png is 2x oversampled, and eileen happy@3x.png will be 3x oversampled. Oversampling can also be enabled by giving the oversample keyword argument to Image().

Image Statement link

The image statement is used to define an image. An image statement consists of a single logical line beginning with the keyword image, followed by an image name, an equals sign =, and a displayable. For example:

image eileen happy = "eileen_happy.png"
image black = "#000"
image bg tiled = Tile("tile.jpg")

image eileen happy question = VBox(

When an image file is not directly in the game directory, you'll need to give the directories underneath it. For example, if the image is at game/eileen/happy.png, then you can write:

image eileen happy = "eileen/happy.png"

The image statement is run at init time, before the menus are shown or the start label runs. When not contained inside an init block, image statements are run as if they were placed inside an init block of priority 500.

See also the ATL variant of the image statement.

Show Statement link

The show statement is used to display an image on a layer. A show statement consists of a single logical line beginning with the keyword show, followed by an image name, followed by zero or more properties.

If the show statement is given the exact name of an existing image, that image is the one that is shown. Otherwise, Ren'Py will attempt to find a unique image that:

  • Has the same tag as the one specified in the show statement.

  • Has all of the attributes given in the show statement.

  • If an image with the same tag is already showing, shares the largest number of attributes with that image.

If a unique image cannot be found, an exception occurs.

If an image with the same image tag is already showing on the layer, the new image replaces it. Otherwise, the image is placed above all other images in the layer. (That is, closest to the user.) This order may be modified by the zorder and behind properties.

The show statement does not cause an interaction to occur. For the image to actually be displayed to the user, a statement that causes an interaction (like the say, menu, pause, and with statements) must be run.

The show statement takes the following properties:


The as property takes a name. This name is used in place of the image tag when the image is shown. This allows the same image to be on the screen twice.


The at property takes one or more comma-separated simple expressions. Each expression must evaluate to a transform. The transforms are applied to the image in left-to-right order.

If no at clause is given, Ren'Py will retain any existing transform that has been applied to the image, if they were created with ATL or with Transform. If no transform is specified, the image will be displayed using the default transform.

See the section on replacing transforms for information about how replacing the transforms associated with a tag can change the transform properties.


Takes a comma-separated list of one or more names. Each name is taken as an image tag. The image is shown behind all images with the given tags that are currently being shown.


Takes a name. Shows the image on the named layer.


Takes an integer. The integer specifies the relative ordering of images within a layer, with larger numbers being closer to the user. This isn't generally used by Ren'Py games, but can be useful when porting visual novels from other engines. This can also be useful for displaying an image that will be above any zorder-less image displayed afterwards, without the burden of placing it on another layer.

Assuming we have the following images defined:

image mary night happy = "mary_night_happy.png"
image mary night sad = "mary_night_sad.png"
image moon = "moon.png"

Some example show statements are:

# Basic show.
show mary night sad

# Since 'mary night sad' is showing, the following statement is
# equivalent to:
# show mary night happy
show mary happy

# Show an image on the right side of the screen.
show mary night happy at right

# Show the same image twice.
show mary night sad as mary2 at left

# Show an image behind another.
show moon behind mary, mary2

# Show an image on a user-defined layer.
show moon onlayer user_layer

Attributes management link

As shown above, attributes can be set, added and replaced.

They can also be removed using the minus sign:

# show susan being neutral
show susan

# show susan being happy
show susan happy

# show susan being neutral again
show susan -happy

Show expression link

A variant of the show statement replaces the image name with the keyword expression, followed by a simple expression. The expression must evaluate to a displayable, and the displayable is shown on the layer. To hide the displayable, a tag must be given with the as statement.

For example:

show expression "moon.png" as moon

Show Layer link

The show layer statement is discussed alongside the camera statement, below.

Scene Statement link

The scene statement removes all displayables from a layer, and then shows an image on that layer. It consists of the keyword scene, followed by an image name, followed by zero or more properties. The image is shown in the same way as in the show statement, and the scene statement takes the same properties as the show statement.

The scene statement is often used to show an image on the background layer. For example:

scene bg beach

Scene Expression. Like the show statement, the scene statement can take expressions instead of image names.

Clearing a layer. When the image name is omitted entirely, the scene statement clears all displayables from a layer without showing another displayable.

Hide Statement link

The hide statement removes an image from a layer. It consists of the keyword hide, followed by an image name, followed by an optional property. The hide statement takes the image tag from the image name, and then hides any image on the layer with that tag.

Hide statements are rarely necessary. If a sprite represents a character, then a hide statement is only necessary when the character leaves the scene. When the character changes her emotion, it is preferable to use the show statement instead, as the show statement will automatically replace an image with the same tag.

The hide statement takes the following property:


Takes a name. Hides the image from the named layer.

For example:

e "I'm out of here."

hide eileen

You should never write:

hide eileen
show eileen happy

Instead, just write:

show eileen happy

With Statement link

The with statement is used to apply a transition effect when the scene is changed, making showing and hiding images less abrupt. The with statement consists of the keyword with, followed by a simple expression that evaluates either to a transition object or the special value None.

The transition effect is applied between the contents of the screen at the end of the previous interaction (with transient screens and displayables hidden), and the current contents of the scene, after the show and hide statements have executed.

The with statement causes an interaction to occur. The duration of this interaction is controlled by the user, and the user can cause it to terminate early.

For a full list of transitions that can be used, see the chapter on transitions.

An example of the with statement is:

show bg washington
with dissolve

show eileen happy at left
show lucy mad at right
with dissolve

This causes two transitions to occur. The first with statement uses the dissolve transition to change the screen from what was previously shown to the washington background. (The dissolve transition is, by default, defined as a .5 second dissolve.)

The second transition occurs after the Eileen and Lucy images are shown. It causes a dissolve from the scene consisting solely of the background to the scene consisting of all three images – the result is that the two new images appear to dissolve in simultaneously.

With None link

In the above example, there are two dissolves. But what if we wanted the background to appear instantly, followed by a dissolve of the two characters? Simply omitting the first with statement would cause all three images to dissolve in – we need a way to say that the first should be show instantly.

The with statement changes behavior when given the special value None. The with None statement causes an abbreviated interaction to occur, without changing what the user sees. When the next transition occurs, it will start from the scene as it appears at the end of this abbreviated interaction.

For example, in:

show bg washington
with None

show eileen happy at left
show lucy mad at right
with dissolve

Only a single transition occurs, from the washington background to the scene consisting of all three images.

With Clause of Scene, Show, and Hide Statements link

The show, scene, and hide statements can take an optional with clause, which allows a transition to be combined with showing or hiding an image. This clause follows the statements at the end of the same logical line. It begins with the keyword with, followed by a simple expression.

The with clause is equivalent to preceding the line with a with None statement, and following it by a with statement containing the text of the with clause. For example:

show eileen happy at left with dissolve
show lucy mad at right with dissolve

is equivalent to:

with None
show eileen happy at left
with dissolve

with None
show lucy mad at right
with dissolve

Note that even though this applies to the Show Screen and Hide Screen statements too, Call Screen works a bit differently.

Camera and Show Layer Statements link

The camera statement allows one to apply a transform or ATL transform to an entire layer (such as "master"), using syntax like:

camera at flip


    xalign 0.5 yalign 0.5 rotate 180

To stop applying transforms to the layer, use:


The camera statement takes an optional layer name, between camera and at or :.

camera mylayer at flip

The show layer statement is an older version of camera, with some differences, that is still useful.

show layer master:
    blur 10

The differences are:

  • The transforms applied with show layer are cleared at the next scene statement, while camera transforms last until explicitly cleared.

  • show layer requires a layer name, while camera defaults to the master layer.

Hide and Show Window link

The window statement is used to control if a window is shown when a character is not speaking (for example, during transitions and pauses). The window show statement causes the window to be shown, while the window hide statement hides the window.

If the optional transition is given, it's used to show and hide the window. If not given, it defaults to config.window_show_transition and config.window_hide_transition. Giving None as the transition prevents it from occurring.

The window itself is displayed by calling config.empty_window. It defaults to having the narrator say an empty string.

show bg washington
show eileen happy
with dissolve

window show dissolve

"I can say stuff..."

show eileen happy at right
with move

"... and move, while keeping the window shown."

window hide dissolve

Image Functions link

renpy.add_layer(layer, above=None, below=None, menu_clear=True, sticky=None) link

Adds a new layer to the screen. If the layer already exists, this function does nothing.

One of behind or above must be given.


A string giving the name of the new layer to add.


If not None, a string giving the name of a layer the new layer will be placed above.


If not None, a string giving the name of a layer the new layer will be placed below.


If true, this layer will be cleared when entering the game menu context, and restored when leaving it.


If true, any tags added to this layer will have it become their default layer until they are hidden. If None, this layer will be sticky only if other sticky layers already exist.

renpy.can_show(name, layer=None, tag=None) link

Determines if name can be used to show an image. This interprets name as a tag and attributes. This is combined with the attributes of the currently-showing image with tag on layer to try to determine a unique image to show. If a unique image can be show, returns the name of that image as a tuple. Otherwise, returns None.


The image tag to get attributes from. If not given, defaults to the first component of name.


The layer to check. If None, uses the default layer for tag.

renpy.change_zorder(layer, tag, zorder) link

Changes the zorder of tag on layer to zorder.

renpy.check_image_attributes(tag, attributes) link

Checks to see if there is a unique image with the given tag and attributes. If there is, returns the attributes in order. Otherwise, returns None.

renpy.clear_attributes(tag, layer=None) link

Clears all image attributes for the tag image. If the tag had no attached image attributes, this does nothing.


The layer to check. If None, uses the default layer for tag.

renpy.copy_images(old, new) link

Copies images beginning with one prefix to images beginning with another. For example:

renpy.copy_images("eileen", "eileen2")

will create an image beginning with "eileen2" for every image beginning with "eileen". If "eileen happy" exists, "eileen2 happy" will be created.


A space-separated string giving the components of the old image name.


A space-separated string giving the components of the new image name.

renpy.flush_cache_file(fn) link

This flushes all image cache entries that refer to the file fn. This may be called when an image file changes on disk to force Ren'Py to use the new version.

renpy.get_attributes(tag, layer=None, if_hidden=None) link

Return a tuple giving the image attributes for the image tag. If the image tag has not had any attributes associated since the last time it was hidden, returns if_hidden.


The layer to check. If None, uses the default layer for tag.

renpy.get_available_image_tags() link

Returns a list of image tags that have been defined.

renpy.get_hidden_tags(layer='master') link

Returns the set of image tags on layer that are currently hidden, but still have attribute information associated with them.

renpy.get_image_bounds(tag, width=None, height=None, layer=None) link

If an image with tag exists on layer, returns the bounding box of that image. Returns None if the image is not found.

The bounding box is an (x, y, width, height) tuple. The components of the tuples are expressed in pixels, and may be floating point numbers.

width, height

The width and height of the area that contains the image. If None, defaults the width and height of the screen, respectively.


If None, uses the default layer for tag.

renpy.get_ordered_image_attributes(tag, attributes=(), sort=None) link

Returns a list of image attributes, ordered in a way that makes sense to present to the user.


If present, only attributes that are compatible with the given attributes are considered. (Compatible means that the attributes can be in a single image at the same time.)


If not None, the returned list of attributes is sorted. This is a one-argument function that should be used as a tiebreaker - see this tutorial for more information.

renpy.get_placement(d) link

This gets the placement of displayable d. There's very little warranty on this information, as it might change when the displayable is rendered, and might not exist until the displayable is first rendered.

This returns an object with the following fields, each corresponding to a style property:

  • pos

  • xpos

  • ypos

  • anchor

  • xanchor

  • yanchor

  • offset

  • xoffset

  • yoffset

  • subpixel

renpy.get_registered_image(name) link

If an image with the same name has been registered, returns it. Otherwise, returns None.

renpy.get_say_image_tag() link

Returns the tag corresponding to the currently speaking character (the image argument given to that character). Returns None if no character is speaking or the current speaking character does not have a corresponding image tag.

renpy.get_showing_tags(layer='master', sort=False) link

Returns the set of image tags that are currently being shown on layer. If sort is true, returns a list of the tags from back to front.

renpy.get_zorder_list(layer) link

Returns a list of (tag, zorder) pairs for layer.

renpy.has_image(name, exact=False) link

Return true if an image with name exists, and false if no such image exists.


Either a string giving an image name, or a tuple of strings giving the name components.


Returns true if and only if an image with the exact name exists - parameterized matches are not included.

renpy.list_images() link

Returns a list of images that have been added to Ren'Py, as a list of strings with spaces between the name components.

renpy.mark_image_seen(name) link

Marks the named image as if it has been already displayed on the current user's system.

renpy.mark_image_unseen(name) link

Marks the named image as if it has not been displayed on the current user's system yet.

renpy.seen_image(name) link

Returns True if the named image has been seen at least once on the user's system. An image has been seen if it's been displayed using the show statement, scene statement, or renpy.show() function. (Note that there are cases where the user won't actually see the image, like a show immediately followed by a hide.)

renpy.showing(name, layer=None) link

Returns true if an image with the same tag as name is showing on layer.


May be a string giving the image name or a tuple giving each component of the image name. It may also be a string giving only the image tag.


The layer to check. If None, uses the default layer for tag.

renpy.start_predict(*args) link

This function takes one or more displayables as arguments. It causes Ren'Py to predict those displayables during every interaction until the displayables are removed by renpy.stop_predict().

If a displayable name is a string containing one or more * characters, the asterisks are used as a wildcard pattern. If there is at least one . in the string, the pattern is matched against filenames, otherwise it is matched against image names.

For example:

$ renpy.start_predict("eileen *")

starts predicting all images with the name eileen, while:

$ renpy.start_predict("images/concert*.*")

matches all files starting with concert in the images directory.

Prediction will occur during normal gameplay. To wait for prediction to complete, use the predict argument to renpy.pause().

renpy.stop_predict(*args) link

This function takes one or more displayables as arguments. It causes Ren'Py to stop predicting those displayables during every interaction.

Wildcard patterns can be used as described in renpy.start_predict().

See also link

Statement Equivalents : how to use most of the features described here in a python context.

Displayables : other objects to display, more diverse than basic images.