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Author Topic: High Resolution Album Art Solution  (Read 27271 times)

benn600

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High Resolution Album Art Solution
« on: June 18, 2006, 02:06:29 pm »

I am realizing that album art is not readily available on the internet in high resolution versions.  Since I am going to all the effort and cost of ripping and storing complete FLAC versions of my CDs, it looks like I will be manually scanning in all my album covers.  At this point, I have around 170 albums and that is probably a fraction of what I have overall.  I have been grabbing discs from various areas of my house and haven't even touched my storage area.

Therefore, it will take a very long time and was wondering if anyone has suggestions pertaining to anything involved in scanning all the album art.  I am thinking I will scan at 300 DPI, giving me what I would guess to be a 1200x1200 image or so.  Is album art technically supposed to be perfectly square?  Some of my album art is also damaged or missing so I may have to settle for lower resolution copies in that case--but I have found super high res versions of some album art, so that isn't too bad.

Also, should I simply store each picture as a 100% JPG named Folder.jpg in each folder?  That seems like the best option.  Then, will importing files automatically pick up the album art?

Is there a way I can delete all the Folder.jpg files in my directory now?  I want to delete them all so I know when I have scanned that art in.  I'm betting I can write a cmd line that will delete them.  I know *'s work for file names but I can't get them to work as a folder-- del D:/Music/*/*/Folder.jpg ?  Can I get something like this to work?
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Matt

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2006, 05:57:43 pm »

I recommend storing cover art inside a file's tag.  It's easier than fussing with external files.

Hard drive space is cheap, and images are small relative to lossless files.
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2006, 09:11:54 pm »

How can I easily set this up?  My sister is going to scan all our ~500 albums into the computer at higher resolutions and I agree that the pictures should be stored in the FLAC files.  How exactly can I inport the images into the files?  I need to make it simple and streamlined so she can figure it out and do it repeatedly without forgetting or making mistakes.  Does this mean I don't need to add a Folder.jpg to the folder?  Should I do both?  I want to do what is best.  Please tell me exactly what I should do because I want to do it RIGHT and ONCE.
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2006, 11:30:01 pm »

Is there a very simple and easy to use, dedicated program for adding album art to the data portion of FLAC files?  I am thinking that I don't even need to use the Folder.jpg solution and merely use the picture in the tags method.

Question:  How does Media Center get the album art for an entire album?  Does it check for a Folder.jpg file and if it doesn't find it, does it look in the track #1 file?  I really want to store the album art in each file so it is portable and complete in its own nature.

Next, I would really like to have lyrics in the files.  I wish there was a database of lyrics with complex information for verifying that it is the same song exactly--with cue information so the lyrics could show up when necessary.  That would take very little space and WOULD BE AMAZING!

What size should I save the album art files at?  Should I use JPG 1200x1200?  I'm getting ready to test this out by scanning some album art and seeing what works without being too large.  At 200Kb a song--since the art needs to be in each song and therefore stored around 14 times, that could be around 1.6Gb!  I need to remember this and pick a good resolution but not too large.  I can get around 500x500, in the best situations on the internet, so I at least want 800x800.  I'll play around with it.

PLEASE help me ASAP because my sister wants to start tomorrow morning--at 500 albums and 1 minute per album, that's nearly 10 hours with other setup times, etc.
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modelmaker

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2006, 12:06:06 am »

I've been getting most of my album art from Walmart.com. Their images are 500x500. My fallback are the Amazon.com/.uk/.de sites, (most of their images are 300x300, but more and more of them are now 500x500).

I convert all the images to 900x900. The orig. 500x500s look great on both the monitors & my large screen TV. The orig 300x300s still look pretty good blown up to 900x900. They are all .jpg. I only scan the images of covers I can't find elsewhere.

I use the MC>Tools>Options>File Location: Rule: Next To File [folder.jpg] and check the box for "Store Images in Tags Also".

As long as there is just a single cover art image stored in the Album folder, MC will associate that image with the entire album when it is imported into the database. (It is best to give the image the name of the artist and album when you store it.)

If the album is already in the database, just select it (edit/select all [tracks]) and use the image tool "add from file".

All 50k+ images use a fraction (a couple of gigs) of memory compared to the several hundred gigs used for the music files, not really worth fussing about.

For lyrics, check out KingSpartas plugin site: http://www.spartalyrics.com/Lyrics/index.html

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Alex B

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2006, 01:10:17 am »

The FLAC format does not allow embedded cover art with the current FLAC plugin. Your only option is external cover art.

I suppose something like 800x800 would be enough if there is no intention to enlarge the displayed images (this is possible in a slideshow). The scanner software used must have a descreen option when printed images are scanned in a high resolution. The printed screen pattern produces usually a nasty moiré effect without descreening.

Usually I scan all printed material that is included with a CD, not only the front cover.  Here is an example.

I have posted a few cover art replies. I gathered some links that may be of help:

http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=22841.0
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=23268.0
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=24016.msg167592#msg167592
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=24047.msg167833#msg167833
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=24820.msg174333#msg174333
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=25165.msg175558#msg175558
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=25269.msg175732#msg175732
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=26058.msg180765#msg180765
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=28203.0
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=29459.msg203230#msg203230
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=29703.msg204660#msg204660
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=29824.msg205388#msg205388
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=29935.msg205979#msg205979
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=30692.msg211400#msg211400
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=32323.0
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=32482
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=33002.0
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=33887.0
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=33953.msg231763#msg231763

Edit: added "32482"
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2006, 01:16:20 am »

I am quite impressed with Walmart's album art database and their image size but I still desire a little more.  Some of their albums have lower quality jpg files so there is distortion.  It seems like the best option for me is to just go through and scan all my 500 albums in.  My sister has agreed to help since I am going to all the work and trouble to get the music encoded to FLAC.

I am thinking that the best option would be for me to have her save the images in a standard folder, "Images," where I would be able to manually go through and import the art one-by-one.  I think she should save them with the general format of Artist name - Album name.jpg and from there, I can make sure I have the option to save pictures in the files checked and then select image for CD from file.

I think it would be helpful if I had a way to remove the old Folder.jpg files, if possible.  Otherwise, I'm assuming if I delete the album art from Media Center, it leaves the files but just removes the link and I'll overwrite the old files.

My current plan is to scan them at 300 DPI with a little extra around the cover so she can just click Scan without previewing each item.  Then, she can crop them down.  At 300 DPI, that offers around 1300x1300 pixels of information which gives a little extra in case the covers have borders, which I often try to remove.  Borders seem strange and unnecessary.  I might increase the resolution to 350 just so there is a little more yet in case the picture needs to be cropped.

More suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated, especially within the next 8 hours, because I'll be starting the process at that time.  Thanks!
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Alex B

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2006, 01:52:26 am »

Quote
I can make sure I have the option to save pictures in the files checked

As I said, the FLAC format cannot contain images in the file tags - at least for now. scthom may implement that later, but there is no guarantee of that.

Quote
I think it would be helpful if I had a way to remove the old Folder.jpg files, if possible.  Otherwise, I'm assuming if I delete the album art from Media Center, it leaves the files but just removes the link and I'll overwrite the old files.

MC asks if you like to delete the image files when you remove cover art. (right-click > Image > Remove Cover Art)


The links I provided should help you a bit. You may just be able to read through the threads during the next eight hours. :)
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hit_ny

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2006, 02:59:19 am »

I really want to store the album art in each file so it is portable and complete in its own nature.
Portable with what ?

Storing album art inside the file is done in different ways with different players so portability is a red herring, doing it this way actually hinders portability across players since there is no standard way to do it.

I am thinking that the best option would be for me to have her save the images in a standard folder, "Images," where I would be able to manually go through and import the art one-by-one.  
Don't store all album art in one main folder, instead store them in each album folder, give them meaningful names instead of Folder.jpg

00-artist--album-(front).jpg
00-artist--album-(back).jpg ...etc

I have lost count of the amt of times ppl using the Images folder method end up losing all image associations when they upgrade to the next version.

In general i would advise against storing album art inside an audio file cos its messy, Only the player that inserted these images is able to remove them, its an audio file, why commingle other media with it.

Given you want high res album art, this method is quite wasteful if you have a large library or plan to build one.

You want a portable way to work with various players, then store album art them the respective album folder as opposed to inside the files.  As mentioned earlier MC will automatically associate art with the files if it's the only one, if more are present then you need to designate which art to associate via Right click->Image->Add from file
Note that the add in this context really means associate.

Make sure Options->File Locations->Track Images Locations has store images in tags unchecked.

If a player cannot use album art that is present in the album folder, ask the makers to include that functionality or use something else.
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2006, 08:09:57 am »

I'm done sleeping now--lol, not just sittin' round.  Now that I hear it from that perspective, I don't really care about storing the images in the tags.  I am not going to do anything but the cover art, either, because 500 is a lot of items to scan and I would never really look at it.  I showed my dad the album art view with the stock, downloaded images, and he was very impressed.  (I'm 18) He probably doesn't even notice the low quality JPG files or the low resolutions.

Now, say I did want to scan in the front and back...in general, is that enough?  Are there other pieces that people scan?  There are books contained in many cases and I definitely don't want to have to scan the entire book.  Also, you said you have to associate the picture for each album.

1. I remove all old album art.
2. She saves each file in a common folder which I pull them from and I will be able to rename them on my own.
3. You said if there is one image, it is automatically associated.  Does this mean it shows up for each album & that it will appear in the tooltip (hover window)?
4. I noticed sometimes an album contains the necessary art but a hover doesn't reveal it in certain songs if I added the art and then replaced a song with a new file.  I have to manually give that song the art.  Another problem is that I will have four databases for my family and potentially a fifth as a guest.  I do not want to go through and select which art goes as the cover art each time.  Is there a way to tell MC in the filename which file is the cover art?
5. Then, where can I view the other art?  I will also have around 13,000 digital photos in this library and prefer not to see album art in the list, but I'm sure filters could remove it--even with a basic file location filter.

Thanks!  Gonna start in a few hours I think.
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Alex B

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2006, 09:55:34 am »

...Now, say I did want to scan in the front and back...in general, is that enough?  Are there other pieces that people scan? There are books contained in many cases and I definitely don't want to have to scan the entire book.

Sometimes I scan just the front covers, but if I think that the booklet, back cover, inlay and CD make a fine piece of art and should be seen as whole I usually scan them all. After I have ripped the CDs and scanned the images I move the CDs to a storage room and hopefully I don't need to pick them up again. I have no intention to print the images, but I use them for example in a slide show during listening the albums. (I have explained that in detail - just check the linked threads.)

Quote
... Also, you said you have to associate the picture for each album.

1. I remove all old album art.
2. She saves each file in a common folder which I pull them from and I will be able to rename them on my own.
3. You said if there is one image, it is automatically associated.  Does this mean it shows up for each album & that it will appear in the tooltip (hover window)?
4. I noticed sometimes an album contains the necessary art but a hover doesn't reveal it in certain songs if I added the art and then replaced a song with a new file.  I have to manually give that song the art.  Another problem is that I will have four databases for my family and potentially a fifth as a guest.  I do not want to go through and select which art goes as the cover art each time.  Is there a way to tell MC in the filename which file is the cover art?
5. Then, where can I view the other art?  I will also have around 13,000 digital photos in this library and prefer not to see album art in the list, but I'm sure filters could remove it--even with a basic file location filter.

1. Select all files and use the Remove Cover Art command. MC will ask if you also want to delete the files from your hard disk.

2. If you intend to edit the images afterwards she should save them in a lossless format like TIFF. Each time an image is saved in a lossy format a part of the information is permanently lost and the compression artifacts become more visible. Save only the final images as JPG.

3. MC can automatically find the correct cover art image even if there is more than one image in the album folder, just name it exactly as [Artist] - [Album] or Folder.jpg depending on the rule you have selected in MC's File Location options. I would recommended to use the "Artist - Album" system.

If an album has several artists you need to use the "Album Artist (auto)" field instead of "Artist". By default MC uses the (Multiple Artists) string for various artists albums. For example, you should name this cover art image as "(Multiple Artists) - Garden State".

4. The "Image > Quick Find In File / Cover Art Directory" tool can find your new cover art images after you have placed them correctly. You can also use "Library tools > Update Library (from tags)". Just select all music files and let MC find the images. You need to remove the old image links and link the new images in each library separately.

5. There are several ways. For example, you can make a new view scheme that can show them together with music files.
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BullishDad

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2006, 09:59:47 am »

If you have your heart set on scanning, make sure that you try a few, and compare the image to a 500x500 that you can get from the internet.  Do the comparison by looking at the screen in the applications you use most that will benefit from the higher resolution.

For Album Thumbnails, for example, I doubt there will be much a difference.  For some full screen visualizations, the higher rez will probably help.

I think you may be underestimating the time needed for your project.  One minute per Album seems too little.  You have to scan, view, edit, name, associate, etc.  I've scanned a few covers, and its a pain.  I can't imagine scanning 500 covers.  

Using either Amazon, Walmart or Google Images, I've been able to get most of my covers at 500x500, which I'm satisfied with.  As an alternative you may want to get as many 500x500 as possible, then scan the remainder, which would reduce the time needed significantly.  

The other factor, and it could just be my scanner, is that even though the resolution is higher, the image just doesn't look as good.  Sharpness, color saturation, excess border and crookedness detract from the scan.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Alex B

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2006, 10:17:58 am »

Here is an example of what descreening does (a 200 dpi scan at 100% size):



A straight scan. No descreening and just automatic image adjustment. Actually, this example is not very bad. I have seen much worse moiré effects.




This is scanned with the Descreen option. Colors are manually corrected already in the image preview.


Here you can find the final resized (800x800) cover art file after some further corrections: Rage - Saviour.jpg.
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Alex B

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2006, 10:28:47 am »

I think you may be underestimating the time needed for your project.  One minute per Album seems too little.  You have to scan, view, edit, name, associate, etc.  I've scanned a few covers, and its a pain.  I can't imagine scanning 500 covers.

Usually I scan my cover art sets during ripping. Most of the time MC is ready before me and I continue the process during listening to the new album.

Just a front cover takes about 5 minutes. A complete set of images can take anything from 10 to 40 minutes.
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2006, 10:50:20 am »

First, thanks to everyone for writing me so quickly!

I think the Folder.jpg setup works best for me because I often find myself changing artist names ("The Beatles" to "Beatles") and album names often change if I find there is a better name and I'm not sure if MC will move the jpg's and rename them.  I'll be perfectly happy with this.

If I understand this, I can save the cover art as Folder.jpg and use the Quick Find In File option and it will get them.  If I want to view the other art in a slideshow, how do I go about this?  I see a play option under Image.  Do I have to scan the entire Music folder in addition to capture all the other jpg's?

I definitely edit the photos before saving as JPG!

We scan at 350 DPI, giving me about 1400 pixels to work with and we then crop the image, removing borders that clutter the art.  We try to remove the unnecessary borders from the scanned images.

Perhaps I will scan the cover art, the inside viewable cover, and the back cover, removing all areas which were folded.  I am very particular with fixing the images as well so there aren't many defects.  After trying a few as a test, I am very pleased with it's quality.  Most of my album art is in very good shape.

In the end, I will end up with exactly 1200x1200 pixels and believe me, I do use the descreen feature.  I might even want to apply some saturation tweaks to each image to make them look a little more vibrant.  I'm going to push the start poitn of this project a little later today so I can wait for more feedback.  Thanks!
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Rob L

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2006, 10:58:07 am »

Hm, well, this thread just really shows that it's all a case of personal preference.

I really can't see any reason to do anything other than store the cover art in the file. OK, so some players don't handle it, but so what? You won't find a solution that works for everything - at least this way it will work with a LOT of players and you don't really have to think about it. You can get the cover art back out later if you change your mind anyway.

It really doesn't take that long to scan the cover art. Anyone who says it takes more than 1 minute seems to me to be doing something wrong, or they have a very slow scanner or bad scanning software!

OK, it might take you 5 minutes to find the CD and get the sleeve out if you haven't got it to hand, but really there's not that much to it.

It sounds like you're talking about scanning OUTSIDE of Media Center, though, and I wouldn't recommend that - that's just going to make your life harder.

If you've already got your music ripped, you can just highlight the album in MC (not the individual tracks) and then use the "Get from scanner" option. You should only need to choose your settings for the scan the first time, as it should remember them. You will find that the covers vary slightly in size - and obviously some will vary quite a bit, but most of them are more or less the same size. Adjusting the crop area so you get the whole cover without borders is easily the bit that takes the longest, but as long as your scanner software is reasonable, it shouldn't be a problem.

As long as you do it from within MC, there's no issue of associating it with the files, it'll take care of all of that itself.

I guess if your scanner software is VERY crappy this just isn't going to work for you, but it's worked VERY well for me for yours - with different scanners over the years.
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Alex B

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2006, 11:33:07 am »

Hm, well, this thread just really shows that it's all a case of personal preference.

As often said, your mileage may vary...  :)

Quote
I really can't see any reason to do anything other than store the cover art in the file. OK, so some players don't handle it, but so what? You won't find a solution that works for everything - at least this way it will work with a LOT of players and you don't really have to think about it. You can get the cover art back out later if you change your mind anyway.

This is not an option with FLAC. Embedded images are not supported.

Quote
It really doesn't take that long to scan the cover art. Anyone who says it takes more than 1 minute seems to me to be doing something wrong, or they have a very slow scanner or bad scanning software!

OK, it might take you 5 minutes to find the CD and get the sleeve out if you haven't got it to hand, but really there's not that much to it.

It sounds like you're talking about scanning OUTSIDE of Media Center, though, and I wouldn't recommend that - that's just going to make your life harder...

I meant the complete process. IMHO, a high resolution scan should be tweaked with Photoshop or similar. Besides linking I also import the images to the database and tag them. (I use these in slide shows and also for checking in-depth album details (back & booklet).


If I understand this, I can save the cover art as Folder.jpg and use the Quick Find In File option and it will get them.

That's how it works. Naturally you need to have each album in a separate folder.

Quote
If I want to view the other art in a slideshow, how do I go about this? I see a play option under Image. Do I have to scan the entire Music folder in addition to capture all the other jpg's?

Please, check the links out.
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Rob L

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2006, 11:41:08 am »


This is not an option with FLAC. Embedded images are not supported.


Fair enough, good point. Apart from that... :-)


I meant the complete process. IMHO, a high resolution scan should be tweaked with Photoshop or similar.


Out of interest, then, what kind of tweaking do you find yourself doing?
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2006, 12:05:58 pm »

I have good photo editing software that I will used to edit the photos.  I am scanning separately because I need the added control.
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hit_ny

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2006, 12:07:34 pm »

I really can't see any reason to do anything other than store the cover art in the file. OK, so some players don't handle it, but so what? You won't find a solution that works for everything
Some ? try all, each has their own way of saving cover-art inside, which makes it useless, if portability is the idea. Ok so u find 2 apps that can handle it, only a mater of time before another comes along and does not understand it. If you want to switch to another player, then you are stuck. bad idea.

- at least this way it will work with a LOT of players and you don't really have to think about it. You can get the cover art back out later if you change your mind anyway.
Heh, what is the idea here ? that you cover art wil some how vanish, so if you save it, in the file then it won't get lost. I'd rather look at why it vanished in the first place no ? would not feel too confident if files started dissapearing...

Given some audio files, and one coverart file stored alongside, i would expect the player to understand that its coverart and display it wherever it does this. That's not asking much, more chances a player can do this then successfully dig inside a file and find it.

If there is more than one cover art file, i'd expect a slideshow, unless i say no. You can get the slide show in MC but it requires the extra step of adding the various art files to the playlist. Something that is considered uncessarily complicated for the job.

This last point has been brought up countless times but has been ignored by JRiver to date.
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Matt

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2006, 12:15:30 pm »

Some ? try all, each has their own way of saving cover-art inside, which makes it useless, if portability is the idea. Ok so u find 2 apps that can handle it, only a mater of time before another comes along and does not understand it. If you want to switch to another player, then you are stuck. bad idea.

APE, WMA, and MP3 all have nicely defined systems for internal cover art.  This is the most compatible way to store art for these files.
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Matt Ashland, JRiver Media Center

hit_ny

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2006, 12:27:27 pm »

Thx for that Matt,  i stand corrected on there not being a std way to embed images in these formats. It's down to preference at this point then.

How about a slideshow ?

If you have more than one, will adding images to the file allow it ?

I guess this is one area thats hard to nail down , ppl either want music with images or the other way around :)

The way it works currently allows the same way to do both.
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Rob L

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2006, 01:56:18 pm »

I have good photo editing software that I will used to edit the photos.  I am scanning separately because I need the added control.

But what kind of added control?

Have you actually compared doing it externally to doing it within MC?

That's almost certainly going to be significantly more work.
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modelmaker

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2006, 02:21:08 pm »

What is all this talk about using other players?? Other than portables, why would one want to?? Isn't MC the best player in the world?  ;D ?

I haven't used another player for more than 5 minutes in years, it just takes tooooo long for them to load my library (40k+ songs). MC has been doing just about everything I need it to do. :)
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Jay.

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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2006, 03:19:43 pm »

Thanks again.  My big question is how can you guys accumulate that many songs?!  40,000 songs!  I had 8K before I started ripping to FLAC and everyone I told that to went crazy.  I have around 500 CDs (I'm estimating) that I am ripping and I am almost to 200 at the moment.  That seems like I will be close to 8K songs on this new session and that doesn't include the iTunes songs I got because I'm essentially throwing them out and getting only CDs.  That isn't a worry, though, because they were pretty much all free through coupons or free songs of the day.  Our 500 CDs must have cost thousands of dollars!  You have 5 times what I have?!  $25,000 on music?  I doubt it's all on CD.  Perhaps you guys save more sound effects and such?  I don't know, I'm just wonderin'

Would it be a good idea to save the album art I scan in a lossless format like BMP?  I don't think I need to since it isn't that important to me.

When I try JPG's, I get 1.5MB for a 1200x1200 file at 100% quality or about 1MB for lower quality.  What should I settle on for lossy here?
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2006, 05:26:24 pm »

I tried removing the album art and clicked YES to remove the files from my hard drive but they weren't removed.  Can someone help me figure this out?  I think the easiest solution is for me to search for Folder.jpg and just delete the list.  Then I can also remove the album art all at once.  I will then add my scanned images manually.  For the ones where my album art is not in top shape, I will search the internet heavily for a high quality replacement.

Now, I have a lot of log files because of the encoding process.  I would like to remove these.  It seems that as long as I got 100% on the encode, the process succeeded what appears to be perfectly with no flaws in the disc that made it unable to read the song and the song, therefore, should be absolutely perfect.  Does anyone think that going through and making sure every song got 100% and then deleting the files is a bad idea?  I actually do this after every 4 discs (I have four drives) and make sure they are all 100%.  If not, I delete the track and then clean the disc again/stick it in a certain drive.  One of my four drives is much better at reading scratched discs than the other 3.  Then, if I end up with a real problem, I will usually just delete the entire album and set the disc aside to be replaced.
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2006, 01:02:42 am »

I started.  I am not very impressed.  After 10 scans, I am very disappointed.  The more fixing and blur I apply to fix the magazine (laser printer) problems, the less legible it becomes.  I also noticed that MC stores low quality versions so even if I take a super high quality jpg and then enlarge the thumbnails to the largest they go, there is quite a bit of distortion because of the thumbnails saved.  I think I may manually access an image for each album from walmart's web site.  Please tell me if anyone knows of good sites for album art.  I found a few that I will check out but more advice would be great!  I want the best quality ones I can get.

I bet those sites get the images right from the digital files the pictures were printed from.  Scanning sucks!  I am totally willing to do the work but it doesn't even look very good!
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Radman

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2006, 03:28:14 am »

       Been following this thread the past couple of nights. I have also been disappointed in both the quality of cover art, and consistency/accuracy of hits, as obtained over the internet. My solution has been to batch scan the CD covers @300dpi, save these files as my "high-res" jpeg set, then batch resize to 500vertical pixel resolution for use in Media Center. I use an Epson Perfection 3490 scanner, and an old version of Dell Image Expert for the batch resizing. After resizing,I store the images in Media Center as "folder.jpg" in the album file.
       I have been pleased with the visual quality of the 500pixel images, even when viewed on high-def TV. The files are small, and I can always go back to the original high-res scans if needing something of higher resolution. I have about 1400CD's and I have not completed the project yet( I have a life) but I will eventually complete this, as I am somewhat obsessive-compulsive. Would be nice if there were a way to share this work with others.
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Alex B

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2006, 04:19:36 am »

I started.  I am not very impressed.  After 10 scans, I am very disappointed.  The more fixing and blur I apply to fix the magazine (laser printer) problems, the less legible it becomes.

As I said, your scanner/scanner software need to have a proper descreening option. You cannot remove the screen effect afterwards by blurring without making the image soft. I have used an old and inexpensive 600 dpi Canon FB630P scanner for cover art scans. It has the needed option in the scanning window. It is actually better for this kind of work than my expensive high resolution UMAX scanner.

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I also noticed that MC stores low quality versions so even if I take a super high quality jpg and then enlarge the thumbnails to the largest they go, there is quite a bit of distortion because of the thumbnails saved.

Thumbnails are supposed to be small and fast. That is why MC makes small copies of the images. The Action Window image display already shows the actual image data and the main cover art display is naturally MC's main display.
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2006, 07:56:38 am »

I played with the descreen option quite a bit.  I tried all the presets and then scanned with custom LPI in 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110.  It seems like the more I use, or the lower the number, the more blurry it gets.  I also could still see the dots quite easily so I did a final blur on the image to help.  Perhaps I should try a different scanner because we have 3.

Again I'd like to ask how do you guys accumulate so many CDs?  1300!?  That's more than twice what I have and we have so many more than most people.
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Alex B

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2006, 08:38:26 am »

I played with the descreen option quite a bit. I tried all the presets and then scanned with custom LPI in 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110. It seems like the more I use, or the lower the number, the more blurry it gets. I also could still see the dots quite easily so I did a final blur on the image to help. Perhaps I should try a different scanner because we have 3.

Perhaps try a different scanner. The old Canon works better than the high end Umax for me. The Umax is probably too good and tries to reproduce the original printer's screen accurately. The Canon has only one tickbox for the descreen option without any further adjustments, but that seems to work in this case.

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Again I'd like to ask how do you guys accumulate so many CDs? 1300!? That's more than twice what I have and we have so many more than most people.

We have about 2000. Our family has 2 music lovers and we have been collecting music for a long time. In addition, I have digitized about two hundred old vinyls (there is 300 more to go, though some of them are already ripped from newer CD versions.) Besides, there are other sources for music like the fantastic Live Music Archive. I have downloaded about 100 complete live shows from there in a lossless format.

Actually, our 800 GB HTPC/Server has mostly high bitrate lossy copies of the lossless music files that are archived elsewhere. Besides the music it has about three hundred gigs of videos and several thousand photos (it's our family album too).
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2006, 09:28:58 am »

I will check out the live music archive for sure.  I have been looking around for some artists I like and haven't really found any live concerts from them.  Are there a lot of big bands there?
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benn600

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Re: High Resolution Album Art Solution
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2006, 05:54:24 pm »

I tried a different scanner and the software seems to be somewhat better in some areas but worse in others.  I think I will continue the process using this scanner instead.
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