Instructables

Make a huge printable poster from your iTunes album art!

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Picture of Make a huge printable poster from your iTunes album art!
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This is a instructable describing how to cumbersomely export your existing iTunes album art and arrange all the covers into a huge grid, leaving you with a gigantic, colourful and vibrant mishmash of popular culture ready for printing and, maybe later, your wall!

I decided I wanted to do this a couple of nights ago and now I've come up with a method, it's not really complicated but can be rather time-consuming depending on how large your library is.
I have around 800 albums with attached album art and it took at least an hour, granted most of that time is spent watching your computer doing all the work for you.

The process requires you to download some free applications (links supplied) and you also need a new-ish version of Photoshop (I use CS3) although I'll show you an alternate way of getting basically the same results with Google's free digital photo organizer, Picasa2.

So, for Windows only at the moment, but I'm sure some Mac user can come up with an easier and cooler way to do this. Damn you, I'm switching soon anyway.

More advanced users can check out Step 7 right away for a quick rundown.
 
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Step 1: Locating your iTunes album art

Picture of Locating your iTunes album art
First we need to make sure you actually have some album art to work with.
There's several ways to go about this; you can import the covers automatically from the iTunes Store or you can painstakingly do it by hand for every album.

- Automatically
- By hand

I imported all mine into iTunes by hand, partly because I'm kinda picky and want them all the same size but mostly because I listen to weird electronic music that's just not available in the iTunes Store, forcing me to find the cover art from Discogs.com, Google image search and elsewhere.

Anyway, I will assume you have at least some album art in iTunes (the more the better) and move on.

So let's locate the images on your computer.
The problem, and the one thing that makes this instructable even worth sharing to begin with, is that the images are not readable by Photoshop as is and that they're all spread out into hundreds of strangely nested folders with strange names.
Therefore, we need to decode them and copy them all into one place.

The default folder for your artwork should be in "My Documents\My Music\iTunes\Album Artwork\Local"
If you can't find it there just do a search for the folder "album artwork" on your C: drive.

If you navigate around a bit from here you'll notice that it's very messy, so we have to find all the *.itc files (those are actually just renamed png images with some extra header data) that are thrown around in the myriad of folders and copy them into a new folder so that we can manipulate them without destroying your iTunes setup.

From the Local folder, click Search in your Explorer bar (CTRL-F) and search for any file that has "itc" in it's file name and after a while you should be presented with a list of all the cover art files.
Now, make a new folder somewhere else, maybe on your desktop, Select All the files (CTRL-A) and copy them into your newly made folder.

Make sure you copy the files, don't just move them or you will mess up your iTunes library!
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gidsgoldberg7 months ago

You can also create the montage image with ImageMagick like this:

montage test.tes.00* +frame +shadow +label -tile 5x9 -geometry 500x500+0+0 merge.png

Adjusting the tile value and geometry (size) as appropriate

trgz8 months ago
Like it. Shame it's not possible to do 'spines' - I always enjoyed looking at vinyl collections of friends or in shops to see if I could recognize the album by the spine.
There are scripts around that help export from the MP3 (I guess)
https://www.mail-archive.com/discuss@lists.slimdevices.com/msg87239.html and this thread might be worth investigating:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?44344-How-to-get-Artwork/page4&p=282978#post282978
julietdg1 year ago
Thanks for posting this, really fantastic & just in time for Father's Day... It will make a great gift! Much appreciated bc I know it took a lot of time explaining!!
hollo
robot+more2 years ago
nice Instructable. how do you decode the artwork on a mac (OSX lion)?
monkeys983 years ago
the one in this picture is so cool how did u make it like this
monkeys983 years ago
there is no contact sheet in automate
Thanks for this instructables had fun doing this, just thought id mention to save someone the maths if they are looking to do the same thing I made a 1920 by 1200 background for my monitor.

360 albums, 24 columns, 15 rows

that makes each album cover 80 by 80 pixels and fits perfectly!

24 x 80 being 1920 and
15 x 80 being 1200

therefore 1920 by 1200 wallpaper
NoteToYou4 years ago
 Your link isn't working buddy. Try and update it, I can't find the programme.
rauz (author)  NoteToYou4 years ago
 Sorry this instructable is pretty old by now so some links are bound to be outdated. Try this alternative instead, should have the same functions.
www.easyduplicatefinder.com/download.html
AfxTwn4 years ago
Thanks very much for this instructable, it's great. My only real gripe is with using Picasa to make the poster. I have the latest version of Picasa (3.5) and it is the most infuriating program I've ever used.

Sometimes it finds folders of your photos but a lot of the time it doesn't and won't import them properly. I think I have narrowed this down to it not liking the pictures being resized to 200x200 pixels.

The pictures that it does import are bigger than that size (I'm talking about the original file sizes before re-sizing), hence it will actually show them. But as soon as you resize them to the smaller size then Picasa will not import them properly.

You cannot resize the pictures in Picasa as it doesn't allow you to do that.

Now the other annoying thing is that when you use the Photoshop method it displays the names for each individual picture in the grid. So there is a lot of messing about to do to get it to look just right. Sorry for the long post!
rauz (author)  AfxTwn4 years ago
Hello fellow Aphex Twin lover :)

I think both your annoyances can be remedied. Inside Photoshop, make sure you uncheck "Use filename as caption" inside the Contact Sheet settings, as per my screenshot in the Instructable.
As for the Picasa problem, select "Small Pictures" in the "View" menu.

Let me know if this works.
AfxTwn rauz4 years ago
Yes! Praise the Lord it worked perfectly.

Thanks very much for that. I tried the remedy in photoshop also but I prefer to use the Picasa method as you can create a nice border round the pictures and easily add spaces between each picture to the size you want. I know I could probably do this in Photoshop but as you can see, I'm not very technically minded lol.

Thanks a lot for your help.

P.S. Richard D.James rocks!
Joh(a)n6 years ago
The Command prompt guide you linked too is dead. I tried working out how to navigate myself... but this is all that happened, even though I'm certain I Have the folder in the right place:
untitled.bmp
try using cd art, the folder must already exist.
zafiros5 years ago
How do you do this on vista? step two won't work and I thought it was because I'm using vista.
rauz (author)  zafiros5 years ago
Sorry I wouldn't know. I wrote this guide for XP and I've since switched to MacOS X. I'm sure there's some way to do it on Vista though - what seems to be the problem?
Not bad, I like it.
brainlock5 years ago
I don't use iTunes, but wanted to do the same thing in ubuntu. I have my cover art set as a folder.jpg file in my mp3 folders. Most of my cover art is a 300x300 res jpg.

First I recursively searched for all jpgs in my folder tree that were above 10k using gnome-search-tool
Saved the results as jpgs.txt
Created a bash script to copy the jpgs to a folder with IFS stuff for dealing with white space
#!/bin/bash
SAVEIFS=$IFS
IFS=$(echo -en "\n\b")
for file in `cat jpgs.txt`
do
echo "processing $file"
cp "$file" $RANDOM.jpg
done
IFS=$SAVEIFS
Then mogrified the jpgs to make sure they were all 300x300
mogrify -resize 300x300! *.jpg
Created many smaller montages, since 2400 jpgs will crash montage
montage -tile 7x7 *.jpg montage.jpg
Loaded all of the smaller montage pics into gimp and aligned them to grid to create a giant montage.jpg
Converted montage.jpg to pdf so I could use pdfposter
convert montage.jpg montage.pdf
pdfposter -v -s 1 montage.pdf pdfposter.pdf

pdfposter dumps out a pdf a la rasterbator, so I can print out my 7.5 square foot poster on A4... without the rasterizing of rasterbator..

and that's that.

CraZyBob7 years ago
great instructable! however, I don't have a credit card and can't sign up for an iTunes Store account, is there an easy way for me to get all my artwork, or will i have to look it all up manually?
401446 CraZyBob6 years ago
.... you don't need a credit card to get an itunes account.... just check "none" when it asks u for payment method... : )
rauz (author)  4014466 years ago
That's new to me, is that a recent change?
CraZyBob rauz6 years ago
"none" isn't an option for me.... see the image i attached
untitled.bmp
401446 CraZyBob6 years ago
Never Mind on That last comment ... this is how to do it without a card... ready .... ok First of all open itunes and go to the itunes store Now click on redeem code/card Enter this code X3P6XANELWXH Now it should say that it is expired and you cant redeem it DON'T WORRY this is supposed to happen .. Now go back to the main menu of the itunes store by pressing the little house button ... click sign in and now click create account .. enter all your info and when it comes to that payment screen ... just press none ... HOPE THIS HELPS !!! : )
401446 CraZyBob6 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
rauz (author)  4014466 years ago
Hey guys, try this Google search and see if you find something.
http://www.google.com/search?q=itunes+store+%22no+credit+card%22
CraZyBob rauz6 years ago
I figured it out
go here and use this code as if it were a giftcard under the redeem menu.
after that (whether or not it works [ie, you are Canadian like me]) you can choose the none option in your payment options.

hope that helps everyone
hi, this looks great but im having problems at the start of step 2

i type in "copy /b * test.tes" but it says:
the system cannot find the file specified
0 file<s> copied.

please help!!!
thanks
Shifrin6 years ago
Wow, This is really cool, this is one of those things that you would hang up in an awesome Apartment! Nice Job! ~Shifrin
I can't figure out how to make it work in step 2! My PC doesn't recognize bitmaprip!
bitmaprip.bmp
You might see better with this one :) PLEASE HELP ME!!!!
bitmaprip2.bmp
rauz (author)  TheBikemaniac6 years ago
Hi! I think it might be because bitmaprip is not in the same folder as the one you're working from. Put it inside the "itc" folder and try again.
Thanks a lot! I realized that my bitmaprip was a separate folder inside the itc folder.
rauz (author)  TheBikemaniac6 years ago
An easy mistake, bonne chance!
HookahGuru7 years ago
I just finished making one (actually 2) to fit on a 23" x 32" poster. I set it at 100dpi and each thumbnail at 200x200. Let's just say it took awhile to render but well worth it. Until I realized I had a few doubles. Even after clearing out most of the doubles there were still 3200+images. Thanks for this Instructable!
ContactSheet-001.jpg
That is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
rauz (author)  HookahGuru7 years ago
3200 images, that great! Thanks for sharing.
ffolliet7 years ago
quick tip to add to this great instructables.

when using fotosizer do the settings FIRST before adding appropriate folder.

once the folder has been selected it automatically converts to the default custom size. if you have over 1500 files it takes a while and if you try to alter the settings as it runs it crashes.
CD Stacker is a different way to get the same result much more quickly and automatically for all those iTunes users - makes it desktop wallpaper instead of a print quality graphic though.
http://www.krrrk.com/downloads.htm
This download is great for people like me who are too lazy to do it all themselves and just want a neat desktop background! Thanks!
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