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Best Practice Album Art

I'm looking for some best practice ideas cover or album art. This is about if you rather search the internet for a digital version or do you scan the CD cover, what do you do you when the cover is not a square?

I currently scan a few CD covers and try to improve the process of doing so. Like that you don't need a perfect crop in VueScan but you can do that later. But you should turn on Descreen to get a better result.

I mostly went on this topic because I noticed that I got a 12 MB file from MusicBrainz for a cover which simply too big for that, so I explored better ideas.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #1
I will use Google image search to try and find my covers. If no luck I will try Discogs or scan it myself. If it's not square I will crop it. I then save at 600x600 pixels.


Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #3
DB Poweramp & PerfectTunes. :-X

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #4
I typically get 600px square art at albumartexchange.com. Filesize averages 200k. I'm not big on embedding and just put the "Cover.jpg" in the same folder as the FLAC files.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #5
I typically get 600px square art at albumartexchange.com. Filesize averages 200k. I'm not big on embedding and just put the "Cover.jpg" in the same folder as the FLAC files.

I don't know where you are in the world but albumartexchange and freecovers have been down for ages here in the UK.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #6
I usually check the iTunes Artwork Finder first. The artwork here is often 1500x1500 or higher saved at maximum jpeg quality. The filesizes are pretty large at that quality setting, though, so I typically use Gimp or PhotoShop or similar to resave as a level 9 (or 90% quality), which radically brings down the filesize without, to my eyes, visible quality loss. At this stage I'll also crop to square if necessary. My goal is the highest resolution I can get for 1MB or less, saved as a "folder.jpg" rather than embedded.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #7
I usually check the iTunes Artwork Finder first. The artwork here is often 1500x1500 or higher saved at maximum jpeg quality. The filesizes are pretty large at that quality setting, though, so I typically use Gimp or PhotoShop or similar to resave as a level 9 (or 90% quality), which radically brings down the filesize without, to my eyes, visible quality loss. At this stage I'll also crop to square if necessary. My goal is the highest resolution I can get for 1MB or less, saved as a "folder.jpg" rather than embedded.
Exactly the same process minus that I leave the original file as is. I'm also not fond of embedding to each file the same file for artwork, it's redundant. I just leave it with the title "albumart.jpg" which seems to work even on Android.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #8
Usually Amazon. Maybe Google images. Resample and resize with Corel PhotoPaint. GIMP will do the same for free.

Everyone should be familiar with some sort of photo software, after all. I don't depend on anything automatically downloading images for me. Sometimes I even have scan a cover, myself.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #9
Why resizing? For me a jpeg frontcover anywhere between 500x500 and 900x900 is good enough.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #10
I often download albumart from Tidal jpeg's are at 1280x1280.
And I save my front covers as "folder.jpg", so they can be displayed in windows explorer as thumbnails, instead of just folders.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #11
1. I download the album art here. If the image there is in 600x600, I'll find the album art on Amazon that mostly uses the 1500x1500 size. If I still can't find it in decent quality there I'll try Last.fm. My last resource is Google Images.
2. I crop the image to a square if needed, using Ps.
3. I slightly retouch the image if needed, to bring the most of the image while respecting the artist's vision. That mostly happens with covers from 20 plus year old albums.
4. I resize the image to 1400x1400 Bilinear.
5. I save the image to jpg 80% quality, optimized and without metadata. That gives me a 400k to 700k file.
6. I finally embed the image to the Alac file.

If you don't display the album art on a TV or something bigger, for everyday use on a phone or laptop, 1400x1400 will do the trick. All my album covers are 1400x1400. Even if I need to downsize, upsize or squeeze to the standard size. I don't use album covers with parental tags. I edit then in Ps if I can't find the "clean" version of the cover. The cover must be from the exact version of the album. Deluxe albums with a different deluxe cover will get the deluxe version cover.

 

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #12
On Ben Dodson it is worthwhile to use the country selection box which defaults to United States, and also try an European country such as Germany, Sweden, or wherever the artist is from, as some albums are region locked or have a different artwork image.

I usually keep the full size image for future reference, but resave it to at 98/12 quantization, as the originals are usually rather low quality, and produce an additional 1000px version cover.jpg, which loads faster. Surface blur and Dust and scratches are useful while undoing JPEG artifacts. The downsizing algorithm depends on how busy with high frequency detail the source image is. Sometimes I might create 2 layers and use cubic for photographic parts and linear for shapes and edges, or linear with gamma compensation and slight gaussian blur.

For example: "Jarre Equinoxe Infinity" has two different versions of the image, one with a sunny tint and brighter clouds, which is the most common, and another one in daylight blue for United States. It is also very sharp, and gets darker without texture if downsized in a usual way. Old artwork scanned from paper is all over the place in quality, and usually must be downsampled with blur and cubic to avoid aliasing.

Other sources of artwork are Fanart.Tv, Rate Your Music and MusicBrainz (where some members have obtained art from additional sources). If the album has a very common short, title, or is self-titled, I might try to find an itunes version via Google Images with "itunes" or "apple music" keywords, and edit the URL to get higher quality.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #13
I don't know where you are in the world but albumartexchange and freecovers have been down for ages here in the UK.
albumartexchange (hands down the best source, IMHO) works from Italy: maybe your IP was banned?

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #14
Actually it came back up just before New Year. I always check it with 'Down Right Now' and that always says it is down for everyone.

I would say AAE has been down more in the last 2 years than it has been up! Freecovers is still down.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #15
I usually check the iTunes Artwork Finder first. The artwork here is often 1500x1500 or higher saved at maximum jpeg quality. The filesizes are pretty large at that quality setting, though, so I typically use Gimp or PhotoShop or similar to resave as a level 9 (or 90% quality), which radically brings down the filesize without, to my eyes, visible quality loss. At this stage I'll also crop to square if necessary. My goal is the highest resolution I can get for 1MB or less, saved as a "folder.jpg" rather than embedded.

I vouch for this.

Re: Best Practice Album Art

Reply #16
Personally, I am grabbing artwork and essential tags from iTunes within Mp3Tag.

 
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