Using BatchPhoto to generate an album art catalogue

Sometimes, when I'm on the bliss Facebook page, Facebook make recommendations for similar pages. Frankly these are mostly pretty inaccurate, but one day a suggestion to view the BatchPhoto page popped up.

Reviewing it, and the BatchPhoto website, gave the impression the tool would have similar users to bliss. So I posted about it.

Fast forward a year or so and I got in touch with Mike, who writes the software. I suggested using BatchPhoto to generate a PDF catalogue of album art, as suggested in our ideas forum. BatchPhoto has additional image processing functions that go way beyond what bliss offers.

So here follows an example workflow of using the two tools together. Given BatchPhoto only works on image files (not embedded art), let's start by using bliss to fill in missing images, and making sure they hit a decent minimum resolution threshold, then we'll do our post-processing in BatchPhoto. Although we're generating a PDF here, we could also perform any of BatchPhoto's image processing functions, subsequently embedding them in the files too.

Using bliss to find and install album art

Like BatchPhoto, bliss is available for both Windows and macOS. This walkthrough will show screenshots for Windows, but it should work fine in macOS too.

Download bliss from our download page and run the installer to install it on your computer. Run it; bliss runs as a background process and should load into the System Tray (Windows) or the Menu bar (macOS). The first time you run it, it will open a browser window.

What the bliss UI looks like on its first run

Let's set bliss up. Click Start the tour! or the settings cog at the top right. The folder that bliss monitors is pre-configured, but you can change it if you like. I'm going to use the network path for a folder on another computer, but you can also use the Browse button to look through the local computer's storage:

Setting the music folder using a UNC path

Let's enable the cover art rule. Under Cover art click the ON/OFF button to enable cover art. Check the settings are as you'd like them; in some cases you might want to specify minimum or maximum resolutions, for example, but we can also use BatchPhoto for that!

We'll choose to save a folder image file (the extension is added dependent on what type of image it is, e.g. a PNG, JPEG etc):

Setting the saved artwork filename to folder

I think we should set a minimum resolution threshold, to make sure our resulting PDF looks good. I'll set it to 500x500.

Setting a minimum size for artwork

Once the cover art rule is enabled, bliss will check your albums have album art and, if it's missing, automatically fetch it and install it to an image file with the name you specified.

Click Apply rules and bliss will begin scanning your music library.

As bliss discovers your albums, it will check if art doesn't exist and, if it doesn't, find it and populate it:

Album art filled in automatically

You can change the album art either via the album page, or the Cover art alternatives link.

Post processing with BatchPhoto

As a reminder, we want to generate a PDF catalog of all of our album art. Along the way we'll also use BatchPhoto's smart resizing filter to make sure the artwork is all presented at the same size. It's pretty simple to install BatchPhoto; download it from the BatchPhoto home page.

We'll start by finding all those newly created image files, so we can run out BatchPhoto manipulations on them. In BatchPhoto click Add > Search & Add and enter the root of the music folder and a search for folder.* files:

Search for folder image files

This populates the BatchPhoto interface with all of your album artwork:

Album art in the BatchPhoto UI

If required, we can add extra effects on the Edit Photos pane. I'd advise setting up the resize filter to make sure images are the same size:

Adding a resize filter for album art

Now we can advance to the Setup step:

Setup step - generating a single PDF

Here I've set BatchPhoto to save a single PDF of all images into my standard Pictures folder. Now we can click Process to run the conversion from folder files to PDF:

Processing the image files into a single PDF

And that generates my album art PDF:

The generated PDF

Sweet! I hope this helps give a good introduction as to how bliss can be used to find album art images, and BatchPhoto can be used to process them!

tags: hacking

The Music Library Management blog

Dan Gravell

I'm Dan, the founder and programmer of bliss. I write bliss to solve my own problems with my digital music collection.