Adding scanned Cover Art - What is acceptable?

Hello, I’m pretty new to Music Brainz (My account has some months, but still really new at editing). I recently added a release, here: (Feel free to vote and edit anything I may have gotten wrong, would be much appreciated), the only other release on the group was a Digital Release with no Cover Art, so I decided to add my own, but I had some difficulties:

To sum it up into a short question, What is acceptable when talking about a scan?

  • Color correction: I didn’t correct the cover because I don’t have a professionally calibrated display, I’m not versed in the art of image editing (using the guide to add cover arts was my first real use of GIMP) and the only way I tried to correct without destroying it was saturating, which I ended up leaving since it still didn’t look quite right in my eyes.
    The question is: should I still have saturated, even a little bit if it meant it was closer to the real cover? What if it was a tad exaggerated but still closer to it? Is no color correction at all acceptable?

  • Cropping: While trying to crop another cover art, I realized that while trying to crop white space from the scanning, I was also cropping a little bit from 2 sides, like 3 or 4 pixels, but the top part was aligned.
    How much cropping is too much? Should I scan it until everything is almost perfectly squared and then start cutting?

  • Editing imperfections: I was using the recommended resynthesize plugin, I was using it to remove dirt from the images, but at one point I noticed it had a finger marks, they were quite big but I managed to edit out much of them, but I came to the question, how much editing is too much? Is removing print imperfections ok? Copy-pasting a part of the cover ok if its not noticeable? (For example: I tried to remove a finger mark by copying a black part of the cover and putting it over because they were part of the same zone) Should I try to edit out reflections that may come from the scanner?

  • The art source: If for a release group, someone uses the digital image, like, instead of scanning someone took it from here for example: (maybe somewhere with higher resolution), is it acceptable to use them for physical releases? Should we prefer scans for the physical even if they are the same? Or only if we can get higher resolutions?

Another question related to adding art, sorry if it belongs to another topic, I’ll create a new one if its the case: Should I add any bonus that comes with buying a CD, but not necessarily in the case? Like a standee, an acrylic, a plastic poster, postcards, etc.

And a last question, Should I only add the raw and wait until someone edits it correctly? Or is it okay to add one maybe not really well edited, but at a high enough quality?

Sorry for this long series questions, thank you for any input.


You can crop as you did, even if a few pixels are removed.

I would not use filters to remove big things like finger marks. I would rather clean the item before scanning (again).

I guess remove dirt in editor is ok because it is small.

I would not use any kinds of filtering myself, like you.

Adding extra physical items (hype stickers, collection cards, etc.) is welcome.

If you want to upload digital art instead of scan, make sure it is exactly the same (proportions, photo framing/cropping, text colour and placements, etc.).


Hello again, sorry for the late response, I finished editing the Cover Art I wanted to upload before, much thanks to your advise I think I did an acceptable job this time without much thought, still, I added the raw version just in case someone wants to see it completely (though it has some damage). Here’s the release: Release “未体験HORIZON” by Aqours - Cover Art - MusicBrainz
Only thing I forgot to ask was about proportions, may I know which are best?


All I have to say is: Wonderful job, great scans :slight_smile:

edit: Perhaps more helpful, here is what a full release scan of mine looks like. I don’t do any editing unless the colours have been completely stuffed up (e.g. a fluro cover), but that’s largely because I don’t have time. The stack of releases to scan is large! If I scanned that release again now, I would also scan the bottom of the CD/the matrix.


Agree with the above posts. We are trying to represent the item we have in hand, not produce perfection.

I do some small amounts of image correction due to owning not very perfect scanners. I will tweak the black levels as my scanners can produce fairly washed out pale images otherwise.

Also if I have scanned a full booklet and find that a hair has been on the scanner all that time then I will use a small bit of clone tool to paint that back out. Examples from this week: Release “Prism” by The Orb - Cover art - MusicBrainz, Release “The Future Never Waits” by Hawkwind - Cover art - MusicBrainz

Up to you… personally I add everything as I can be an extreme perfectionist. Posters can be tricky as often too big to fit on a scanner and now you are spending ages stitching them together. I’ll add plectrums and mail-in cards too.

The important bits for identification are the front, rear+spine and medium images. Booklets give us credits. Everything else is bonus.

One problem with using web sourced images is they are not always correct. On the Hawkwind link above you can see two Amazon sourced images on the end of the page (currently in the delete queue) Notice that that Amazon cover is the wrong shape with too much cloud at the front. Very incorrect for identifying this release