Artist picture changing... 1.6

Any of us can do our own unscientific survey of artist photos, and the result will be the same.

(1) What this concerns is Basic Photo Cropping 101. The rectangular crop for televisions is an extreme crop. Not just because it is rectangular, but because it is the vertical half of a long rectangle, making it a severe rectangular crop that is both vertically compressed and artificially long.

This is, indeed, a brute force and sledge hammer version of automatic cropping.

What is the result when this is applied to square photos, and the Roon automatic software is forced to fill that space with the photo only? A savage crop of only the very center of the square, which then must be dramatically enlarged, sometimes resulting in a blurry enlargement.

Then facial recognition takes over, and often inserts only the eyes and nose, and then blows them up. When this is compounded by the extreme cropping and enlargement, the result is frequently a photo of eyes and nose that is almost indistinguishable from any other person.

This is a design for software for a trade school of cosmetology with an emphasis on makeup for the middle of the face, or a design for software for a medical school of plastic surgery with an emphasis on a great nose job.

But it is incongruous – and completely inappropriate – for a software application for music, with an illustration of the artist to accompany music.

No one would know that the guy with the sunglasses is Sonny Rollins were it not for his name pasted below the photo. Or Rosanne Cash without her name pasted over her nose. Maybe some would guess that guy with makeup is Boy George base on a photo of his eyes and nose

(2) This is compounded by the source material. Most older photos are more of a square than a rectangle. In the case of jazz or older rock from 30 to 50 years ago, many of the original square photos are not of high quality, so when blown up to these extremes, the result is simply awful.

(3) The problem is not whether the photos are centered or off center. The problem is the high percentage of photos that show only the eyes and a nose. Or, like the Beach Boys above, are just butchered in the crop. Or the example of Faure above that is even worse.

(4) My suggestion for the Now Playing window, in other threads, would marginally help. I suggested putting the artist, album and title on the very bottom of the window, with the play controls next to that. Eliminate the thumbnail of the album which fills in unnecessary space on the bottom. (And isn’t needed if Roon restores the option of album covers anyway.) And the icons for album cover, bio, etc directly above that - which would be close to the bottom – instead of in the middle of the screen as currently. That would result in a significantly larger part of the window area used for the photograph. The automatic result? A less severe crop.

(5) Regardless, Roon needs to dump this approach. It will never work. The sledge hammer approach to force a square image into the vertical half of a long rectangle will consistently fail in a high percentage of photos.

I’m mystified by some of these design choices for version 1.6. In these cases, Roon fell into the Curse of Sonos, and made changes simply for the sake of changes. Like Sonos, they felt compelled to completely change a very functional design that worked well. But instead of KISS they threw out square photos in a box and went for the cool effect of dramatically blown up eyes and noses inserted into a vertically compressed rectangle.

We use Roon to play music, and the illustrations should enhance and not detract from that experience.

Let’s return to what works for that purpose.

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With 1.6 i was hoping to not have to use the Web Controller Extension (great UI just doesnt have all the features). That is not the case. Why is it so difficult to just put the album art as the main part of the display? I do appreciate the configuration of the new “Now Playing” screen, but you do kind of have to build the default to be the most basic and universally appealing screen…Album Art (Centered and as large as allowed) with the basic controls at the bottom (maybe 1" tall…exactly like it is on all the other Roon Screens) and thats it. I like that I can add stuff or change stuff later, but I really only want the album art…Half the artists I listen to are not exactly “easy on the eyes”. :slight_smile:

Honestly, I still think that Roon is completely missing the real benefit of what they have built. Regardless of audio quality, I think Roon is by FAR the best whole home streaming solution. Its fairly open and works with most anything, so its great to be able to just use an Apple TV or Chromecast audio to make a room a zone. This focus on ONLY the audiophile market is really costing us usability. The focus on the audiophile market is what made the architechture so solid and great for audio quality.
But, why are there no Amazon Music, Pandora, Google Music, Apple Music integrations? I get that Spotify does things a little different, but every other whole home platform can support those. I understand that Roon was intended to be a HiRes audio “player” for audiophiles…but what you ended up with is an EXCELLENT whole home audio solution…regardless of what audio quality i want.

The image I posted from BubbleUPnP just illustrates the background fill idea. Since Bubble uses covers, they are square and he doesn’t enlarge the square to fill more of the area (on tablet - on phone it does fill in portrait mode). With the Roon artist pics, they might be square or rectangular. I would think they would be zoomed or shrunk until either top/bottom or sides reach the edge. That would leave a much smaller fill area at the opposite photo edges. We would have the entire photo instead of just part of it. Probably most often filling 90%+ of the area if rectangular, and 80%+ if square (off the top of my head estimates). Square pics, including covers, would fill top to bottom with only some bit of sidebars.

This is a well-recognized phenomenon in editorial circles.

The notion of having attractive women on album covers — artist or not, dressed or not — is not new. It goes at least as far back as the 50s. You can look at it in terms of gender politics, but the fact is, it sells albums (and hifi equipment, and magazines, and tires, and on and on). Based on my observations over the years, men buy more albums than women do.

Thanks for the clarification. I guess we’ll all have to wait and see with subsequent point releases. The Devs are aware and for a major release, there are usually some hiccups. I’m confident it will all be sorted out.