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Selecting The Best Cover Art


mwheelerk

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Good quality cover art is important to me. I am always comparing versions of cover art that I have with others I come across when searching various resources. Based on some discussion of cover art within a couple of other threads here and elsewhere I have begun to wonder about what is the very best artwork to select. There are four things I generally look for.

 

 

  1. Color accuracy
  2. Image detail
  3. size
  4. dpi

 

The first two are my eye and opinion. It is the last two I am wondering about. Generally if I find several size versions posted by the same person) of the same art I will select 1000x1000. Secondly if I find a couple of versions I like (posted by different people) I will usually opt for the higher dpi version.

 

Its too late to turn back now from what I have been doing but moving forward what reasons would there be to select both higher size and higher resolutions if color accuracy and image detail seem to be the relatively the same?

 

I display my artwork either on my HDTV (connected via HDMI to my Mac Mini) or on my iPad using either the Apple remote app or JRemote app.

"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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dpi and size are the same thing. They are both descriptions of the dimensions in number of pixels.

 

I have a (more or less) calibrated monitor and just compare the color and detail of the CD cover with what I am seeing on the screen. Usually I can pick up an existing image from the internet, but sometimes have to use my 600 dpi scanner. Frankly, even if I massage my scanned image as hard as I can, I cannot get the colors exactly right. The lastest example (frustration) was getting the cyan background right on the Buddha remaster of The Guess Who's "American Woman."

Peachtree Audio DAC-iT, Dynaco Stereo 70 Amp w/ Curcio triode cascode conversion, MCM Systems .7 Monitors

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dpi and size are the same thing. They are both descriptions of the dimensions in number of pixels.

 

I have a (more or less) calibrated monitor and just compare the color and detail of the CD cover with what I am seeing on the screen. Usually I can pick up an existing image from the internet, but sometimes have to use my 600 dpi scanner. Frankly, even if I massage my scanned image as hard as I can, I cannot get the colors exactly right. The lastest example (frustration) was getting the cyan background right on the Buddha remaster of The Guess Who's "American Woman."

 

Im not sure I agree with the statement they are the same. At least I don't understand it.

 

How is 600x600 72dpi the same as a 1000x1000 72dpi image? Or how is an 800x800 72dpi the same as an 800x800 300dpi image? The overall file sizes in Kb certainly are not the same.

"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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The files are all displayed on screen as 72 dpi, so the more dense pixelation just means the image is bigger. The dpi is important if you print the image. Color images should be 300 dpi or better; bw probably double that. You can "get away" with fairly low resolution images for screen display, especially on a 1080p TV. On a high resolution computer monitor, it becomes more important.

 

The other thing that may matter is the color space. For display, it is typical to use RGB, whereas for printing, the color space has to be CMYK. When I convert an RGB image to CMYK, it always looks different. It might be that you have to use a CMYK color space to get it to match the CD cover.

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dpi and size are the same thing. They are both descriptions of the dimensions in number of pixels.

 

I have a (more or less) calibrated monitor and just compare the color and detail of the CD cover with what I am seeing on the screen. Usually I can pick up an existing image from the internet, but sometimes have to use my 600 dpi scanner. Frankly, even if I massage my scanned image as hard as I can, I cannot get the colors exactly right. The lastest example (frustration) was getting the cyan background right on the Buddha remaster of The Guess Who's "American Woman."

 

 

DPI, is Dot Por Inches.. Only important when you print and have nothing to do with Pixel.. and Pixels are what is important in a monitor and the measurement in a monitor is in PPI not DPI

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The files are all displayed on screen as 72 dpi, so the more dense pixelation just means the image is bigger. The dpi is important if you print the image. Color images should be 300 dpi or better; bw probably double that. You can "get away" with fairly low resolution images for screen display, especially on a 1080p TV. On a high resolution computer monitor, it becomes more important.

 

Not exactly true in my experience.

 

When I clean up covers in Graphic Converter, before adding them to an album's tracks, I have regularly found that with some covers, increasing the resolution -- say from 72 PPI to 576 PPI -- and then resizing back to, say, the cover's original 800x800, gets rid of or reduces on-screen pixelation.

 

And especially since I use a retina iPad for controlling my music library, that high-resolution difference makes a difference to my eyes.

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Music is love, made audible.

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I have been scanning at 300 dpi and resizing image to 1000x 1000 or 800 x 800 using max jpeg

 

I like to have the correct cover for the item on my system. If I am listening/viewing the AF SACD then I want to see their slip case vs. the standard cover. If I am listening to an original RCA Bowie CD then I want to see the cover art with the RCA logo like my CD.

 

I then want to have a resolution that can be well displayed in JRiver Theater Mode "now playing"...take up a big portion of my display w/o looking stretch to fuzz.

 

Then I like good crops, colors and detail.

 

AlbumArtExchange is frequently used along with my own scanning & PS.

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I'm not making my choices based on bigger (1000x1000 vs 600x600) or more (300dpi vs 72dpi) is better. I hold color accuracy and image detail in equal high regard. The first thing I notice is where there is an inaccurate hue to the color, grays that have a magenta caste to them, blues that tint towards green. Probably the greatest error I find with album art postings online is over saturation of color (back on the more is better theory I guess). It sort of reminds me of walking through Best Buy or Costco and seeing all the TVs with the settings totally jacked up and just glaring at you. Image detail is equally important. Is it sharp and in focus or fuzzy or soft? Are there crisp edges or pixilated? I take the time to closely compare versions to select the best. Displaying crappy artwork on an HDTV is not pretty. It's hard to find some older covers with good quality but I keep my eye out for better versions of art that I have as I search for the new artwork I need.

"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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  • 4 weeks later...

I too like my cover art to be an exact copy of my CD's cover, with accurate colors and sharp image detail. Some of the cover art got from FreeDB is excellent, but I'll need to scan a few.

 

I read that scanning to TIFF is better than JPG. Will I get better results if I do the initial scan as a TIFF, make any image quality adjustments, resize it, then save the final image as jpg? I tried that yesterday with a couple of covers. The color accuracy was spot on, but the sharpness could be better. I know next to nothing about digital graphics, so I'm experimenting based on loose assumptions at this point. I'm aiming for 400 x 400 and a reasonable file size.

 

Regards,

Vincent3

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albumartexchange.com

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I too like my cover art to be an exact copy of my CD's cover, with accurate colors and sharp image detail. Some of the cover art got from FreeDB is excellent, but I'll need to scan a few.

 

I read that scanning to TIFF is better than JPG. Will I get better results if I do the initial scan as a TIFF, make any image quality adjustments, resize it, then save the final image as jpg? I tried that yesterday with a couple of covers. The color accuracy was spot on, but the sharpness could be better. I know next to nothing about digital graphics, so I'm experimenting based on loose assumptions at this point. I'm aiming for 400 x 400 and a reasonable file size.

 

Regards,

Vincent3

 

JPG are a lossy compression format so in general theory the unimpressed raster image of TIFF might be better but as in many things the trade off of quality versus size is always a consideration. A lot of times images are edited in TIFF and then saved as jpg for use (with varying degrees of compression).

"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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Will I get better results if I do the initial scan as a TIFF, make any image quality adjustments, resize it, then save the final image as jpg?

I tried resampling a few covers with IrfanView. With the sharpening feature selected, it got the image detail where I want it to be.

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