January 31, 2008
11 awesome, highly detailed free vectors with a Japanese theme - there's a dojo, latern, buddha statue, tower roof, street signs, and a few palaces of Japan. They're free and downloadable at keepdesigning.com.
Check out all the thumbnail screens after the jump.
The final EPS downloads have much more detail than can be seen here. Visit the download page for free vectors.
All images used with permission of the designer.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 30, 2008
HISTORY OF SLEEVEFACE (from flickr pool discussion)
Carl Morris placed an old album cover of McCartney II over his face while djing in Cardiff, England. The crowd went wild. It caught on with other DJs who then did the same.
then a few folks opened up a Facebook group, and photo'd themselves a la Sleeveface and well, it's history.
definition: SLEEVEFACE: " one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their boyd or bodies with record sleeves causing an illusion." according to Carl Morris.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 27, 2008
Hands-on with two Dashboard widgets for iTunes: Amazon Album Art and Album Art Widget. Both can search for and add missing cover art to your iTunes library.
Amazon Album Art
HOW IT WORKS: Type in an artist or title and click the button to search Amazon sites. Click the thumbnails button to review all the search results. When you like what you see, click the "Set as album art in iTunes" button. But BE CAREFUL.The default setting is to operate on the selected (highlighted) track in iTunes, which might not be what you're currently listening to. That makes it easy to accidentally apply the art to the wrong album! Unfortunately, I'm speaking from experience here :( I'd recommend changing the preferences to "operate on the current album" if you plan to use it while listening to your iTunes library. Clicking on the cover art itself takes you to the album's page at Amazon.com. NOTE: iTunes must be running before you can apply any artwork.
Another preference allows you to choose between searching Amazon's "Popular Music" or "Classical Music" sections. In addition, you can specify an international Amazon site search: (.at, .ca, .co.jp, .co.uk, .de, .fr).
OPINION: Works well as a handy Dashboard widget for quickly searching the various Amazon sites for missing album art. It functioned fine on my laptop running Tiger OS. Just make sure you apply the cover to the right album - check those preferences! The widget does appear to select the largest size available at Amazon, but it would be nice to see pixel dimensions of the search results.
Album Art Widget
HOW IT WORKS: Displays cover of the currently playing track. If none is available it can be set to auto-search from various Amazon sites, Google images or yesasia. If you like what it finds, click the "Add artwork to iTunes song" button. Doing so brings up 3 button options: 1-save to song only, 2-save to all songs in the album, and 3-cancel. In addition to the album art features, the widget also lets you rate the currently playing song, displays album tracks (did not work for me), can show you the source page for the searched cover image.
OPINION: Worked well for me, but the cover display is pretty small and the image seemed overly blurred. The ability to rate songs is nice, this widget certainly has more functionality than the Amazon one. Unfortunately the track listing feature didn't work for me.
If you're a real widget lover, one of these may be for you. However, broader searches and more options are available with other album art software programs.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 23, 2008
Available March 25 - Panic at the Disco - Pretty. Odd.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink
January 14, 2008
Art Collector 1.5, a free program for Mac, is a great way to find out which of your iTunes library's tracks are missing album art, to find and compare new cover options for quality, and then embed the new art into the ID3 tags of your song files. It also be set to search for lyrics if the song has none. If it finds lyrics it slips them into the ID3 tags also. It sports a very Mac-like multiple column display. Items that are highlighted pink are either missing album art or don't have the art embedded.
Click on an album title to begin searching. The proposed artwork column will begin filling up with cover options. The pixel dimensions are shown for all image thumbnails, making it easy to decide if there is a better option than what you currently have. Drag and drop a cover from the "Proposed Artwork" column onto the album (or song) name. The art is embedded into the ID3 tags and iTunes automatically reflects the changes. As each song gets updated, its pink highlighting disappears. You can also remove the old cover art after upgrading. Just click to highlight the old cover from the "Current Artwork" column and choose "Delete Selected Artwork" from the "File" menu. Covers must be removed from songs individually.
I found Art Collector perfect for determining which of the 7000 or so tracks in my iTunes library did not have the cover art embedded. Clicking the "Hide Covered Tracks" button displayed only the albums I needed to repair. My iTunes had a cover file in most cases, but wasn't embedding it. I just dragged the cover from the "Current Artwork" column onto the album's name and it started embedding.
I'm not sure that development is continuing on this program, but it worked for me using Tiger OS. Art Collector comes with Menuet, a system preference that puts a tiny cover in the Mac menu bar. It has playback controls also. Both are charityware, so check it out.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | Comments (1)
January 11, 2008
The new Ford navigation system, being previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show, incorporates a new user interface that combines Gracenote's voice control and cover art offerings as part of an enhanced music library navigation solution. Ford drivers will now be able to enjoy cover art from Gracenote's database of hundreds of thousands of licensed cover art scans, all on a high resolution eight-inch display.
"The combination of voice control to navigate the car's music library coupled with the cover art we are providing will bring ease of use and enjoyment of in-car entertainment to the next level." - Jim Hollingsworth, SVP sales and marketing, Gracenote.
photo credit: Ford
OPINION: When I first heard about this news I was thinking something more like Apple's Cover Flow, so it was pretty exciting... you know we love to see album art spread to display devices of all kinds. But after seeing the screenshot above, I can't help but be disappointed. The cover is tiny and tucked into an odd location. The design of the whole GUI is just plain uninspired.
I know there are considerations for touch screen displays, but those buttons are just plain ugly. They look like bad Flash buttons circa 1995. The font looks to be Eurostile, which actually matched well with tech design... in the mid 70s. The kerning is so tight that the letters almost mash together.
Some button text is center-left aligned, yet others are top-left aligned, so as to accommodate the single 2-line button for 'Music Library'. That's their design solution?!? Wow. I'm sure the voice activation is cool, but man... even if that's the night time view settings, it's just bad interface design.
OK, rant is over. If you squint, the cover art probably looks pretty good.
January 10, 2008
WHAT IT DOES
Searches for album cover art for your current iTunes track at amazon.com and downloads it to your hard drive. The next time you play that track, it uses the image on your hard drive. You can also choose to save the art to iTunes
iTunes Companion is a highly customizable, highly functional iTunes remote which also searches for song lyrics. Lyrics are saved right into iTunes, so you can also see the lyrics on… your iPod.
This Yahoo! widget can also publish cover art and track info as an html page for a web server.Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | TrackBack
January 06, 2008
iTunes 7 stores downloaded album artwork in a separate folder, "Album Artwork" in ~/Music/iTunes, by default. The Embed Artwork AppleScript by Brian Webster will re-apply the artwork data to the selected track's files. It ensures that cover art is stored in the ID3 tags of each song file.
Posted by Eric Fritz
Very handy if you take your music files to work or move them to another computer. That's how many people prefer to keep their iTunes library. Still others like to have all their album art separate from the song files - for file size considerations, or in order to use cover art for other things. If that sounds like you, here's how to get album art out of iTunes.
January 03, 2008
As chosen by the readers of Rolling Stone, here are the top 25 album covers of 2007. Click image for a larger view.
source - [link]Posted by Eric Fritz | Permalink | Comments (2)
January 02, 2008
CD Art Display works alongside your Windows music player, neatly displaying the current track's cover art in a stylish floating window on the desktop. It also sports playback controls and the ability to search for missing cover art and lyrics. Several viewer display options are available - all with nice reflection effects. In addition, user-created skins can be downloaded and created.
The display window can be moved anywhere on the desktop and can be set to float above all other windows. Volume is controlled with your mouse's scrollbar (when you hover over the cover). There is also a nice dissolve transition when the album art changes. Double click to open the song in your media player.
Pull up the lyrics window and CD Art Display will search for and display song lyrics, saving them to a folder on your hard drive. You can also easily search for missing album art though Amazon, Google and Discogs, but you must manually get the cover image from your browser to the program.
ADD MISSING COVER ART WITH CD ART DISPLAY
In the diagram I'm using albumart.org (read earlier post) to search for cover art. Simply drag the chosen image from browser window to desktop, then from desktop onto the display. iTunes also gets updated, so you can delete the file you just dragged to the desktop. Unfortunately the cover art does not get embedded in the actual song files.... but that's a future post.
The program works with many popular music players - AlbumPlayer, Helium Music Manager, iTunes, Winamp (not Winamp lite), Windows Media Player, MediaMonkey, foobar2000 (with Winamp API Emulator plugin), MP3Toys, QMP and musikCube.
I think this is the best Windows iTunes display companion mainly because of how the 2 transparently work together: Rate a song or add missing album art in one program, the other reflects the change automatically. That helps to keep your iTunes music library organized and complete. It's also free, simple, looks pretty slick, works with many popular players, and it's skinnable for future display freshness.
One wish for v2 is some overall size control. I'd like to make the covers bigger when I'm working on another computer.
CD Art Display is for Windows XP/Vista and requires VB6 Runtimes. Version 2.0 is in limited beta (at the time of this writing).
Some info sourced from FreewareGeniusPosted by Eric Fritz | Permalink