As social distancing and stay-at-home orders continue to keep the majority of us at home, millions have turned to video calls for work or school as well as virtual catch-ups with family and friends. Now, free anime Zoom backgrounds from the studio behind My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Spirited Away, and Kiki's Delivery Service allow you to hold your next video call from inside one of Studio Ghibli's beautifully animated films.
Whether you're looking to hide a mess of toys left over from your children's homeschool recess, disguise a pile of laundry still waiting to be folded, or are just craving a change of scenery, video call backgrounds can be a fun feature to experiment with during these stressful times. And thanks to the animators at Studio Ghibli, your next Zoom background can do more than hide a cluttered room — it can transport you and the people you're chatting with into the beautiful and whimsical animated films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.
The Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli has released a number of video chat backgrounds featuring scenes from My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, and other Studio Ghibli films. The backgrounds can be downloaded free of charge and for personal use only from Studio Ghibli's website. While the website is entirely in Japanese, visitors should find it fairly easy to download any of the 12 available backgrounds by clicking on the desired thumbnail to access the larger background.
To change your background in the Zoom app, navigate to Settings via your profile in the top right hand corner. Select "Virtual Background" from the menu that appears on the left. While Zoom provides a few default background options, including an outer space backdrop, you can easily upload your own by clicking the + connected to the "Choose Virtual Background" option. This should cause a box to pop up that allows you to upload a photo or background to the app from your computer. Once uploaded, you'll find the background stored alongside Zoom's built-in default backgrounds. Click it to set it as your in-call background.
Unfortunately, while Skype allows users to blur whatever is in the background behind them, the app doesn't allow for using an image to replace the background completely. Similarly, FaceTime users will also find they can't add in a background image to liven up their calls. Still, for those video chatting via Zoom, Studio Ghibli's free anime backgrounds could be a fun and beautiful addition to your next call.