Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool Apps
I use GeekTool to display various different bits on my desktop -- which mail boxes have unread messages in them, and what is currently playing in iTunes. Then I thought, why not have the Artwork as well as the track info on the desktop, as seen at right (click the image for a larger version)? (I basically got the idea from this previous hint.) So here's my solution:

GeekTool runs an AppleScript that fetches the artwork from iTunes. Then a different GeekTool entry displays it. Quite simple, really. I've bundled up everything you need to get this working, along with some screenshots, into this 24KB archive. (There's also a 289KB version, which includes some screenshots that show what you get, and clarify the folder structure.)

After downloading the archive, follow the rest of the hint's instructions to get it all working...

How it works:

The AppleScript gets the artwork from iTunes as a PICT file. Although GeekTool can display this, you can't have a transparent PICT, which we need later. So the PICT file gets converted by Image Events into a TIFF, and is saved as albumArt.tif. The entry in GeekTool that displays the picture is pointed to where the albumArt.tif is saved.

If there's no artwork, or iTunes isn't running, then the albumArt.tif file is replaced by a transparent version. This is then displayed by GeekTool, which to you and me looks like there's nothing there.

To install:

Copy the folder "iTunes Artwork" into your Pictures folder, which is inside your Home folder. Save the AppleScript somewhere nice. In GeekTool, create a new entry and select "Shell." In the command bit, type osascript /path/to/AppleScript, replacing the path part with, hopefully obviously, the correct path. Set the Refresh to what ever you like; mine's set to 10 seconds.

Then create another entry in GeekTool, and select "Picture." In the URL bit, type:
file://file:///Users/username/Pictures/iTunes%20Artwork/albumArt.tif
Replace username with your user's short username. Again set the refresh to what ever you like. Install finished.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one...]
    •    
  • Currently 3.33 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
 
[64,324 views]  

Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool | 22 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: wallybear on Apr 11, '06 08:16:02AM

GeekTool has no problems to display a PICT with transparency set to something different from 100%. It's GeekTool setting, not a PICT proprty.
I have many PICTs on desktop displayed with geektool with transparency set to 70%.
So there is no need to convert it to TIFF.



[ Reply to This | # ]
I want to know something:
Authored by: syko on Apr 11, '06 10:16:21AM

How many of you peeps can actually ever see the desktop!??!

I don't know about you guys, but I have dual monitors, a 20 and a 17 and there is ALWAYS windows on both: Mail, text docs, Dragthing, iTunes, Adium, Fire, Safari, etc..

Right now I can see a sliver of desktop space,, do some of you never work on your machine and just stare at the desktop waiting for it to change or dance? :)



[ Reply to This | # ]
I want to know something:
Authored by: jdv on Apr 11, '06 02:42:08PM

Do you know what happens if you hit F11? ;)



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: notverypc on Apr 11, '06 10:47:07AM
Sorry Rob, just noticed a mistake in the display picture line: file://file:///Users/username/Pictures/iTunes%20Artwork/albumArt.tif Should be: file:///Users/username/Pictures/iTunes%20Artwork/albumArt.tif Sorry.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: alangrady on Apr 11, '06 10:52:40AM

I have to agree with Syko... I haven't seen my desktop in weeks. When would this be useful? If you are using it as a TV or a media center? ...and people that are using it for those reasons have Way too much money. :)

---
-------
Alan Grady



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: jctull on Apr 11, '06 04:41:23PM

You guys really should start using F11. Not only does a quick tap of F11 toggle my desktop so I can see everything below, but it also allows me to grab a file on the desktop to drag to a Finder window or dock icon amidst this clutter. The F9-F11 toggle-switches are really useful and one of the best GUI improvements Apple has made in years.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: syko on Apr 12, '06 05:20:59PM

What does using F11 have anything to do with seeing the desktop?

I've been using F11 since beta, but that doesn't mean i'm going to see my desktop anymore than I would if I weren't doing any work on it!

F11, grab a file, open a folder,, OK, I get to see my desktop for maybe 5-10 seconds..

hehe Seriously, some of you are stretching it now!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: jctull on Apr 13, '06 02:58:30PM

I suppose if you have an untidy desktop with 200 odd files pulled down from the web or whatever laying around, you won't see your desktop. If you are slightly more organized, F11 clears your open windows and reveals, drum roll please, your desktop. No stretch at all.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: jctull on Apr 13, '06 03:01:50PM

And I forgot to mention, it only takes a couple seconds to view the song title and artwork. So, here I am working while listening to tunes, and I have 23 windows spread all over the place. I tap F11, see that I am listening to the song "Smash it Up" by International Noise Conspiracy, and I get to see their album art. Hit F11 again, and back to work. Works for me.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: jctull on Apr 11, '06 04:52:33PM

Everything works except iTunes keeps getting opened when the script is run in GeekTool. I have not had time to try and figure out what is going on, but I think it is because I run iTunesRating.app. Is it possible that the "iTunes" system event check is looking for anything that has iTunes in it, such as iTunesRating.app?

Anyone have a workaround so this check is more clean?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: muzak75 on Apr 12, '06 06:24:29AM

I had to run the script by doubleclicking it before the artwork showed up on the desktop. Still don't have any text... Any ideas what's wrong??

Otherwise, this looks like it will be quite nice.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: notverypc on Apr 12, '06 07:03:59AM

The text is displayed using a different script from this Hint:
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=2004070301135736

I've also notice that sometimes the script seems to stall, doesn't show artwork but haven't been able to figure out why yet.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: muzak75 on Apr 12, '06 07:26:04AM

it hasn't quite worked yet. It worked the first time I double-clicked on the script. Since then, even after a reboot, it's showing the artwork from the first song with no change. I've noticed in the iTunes Artwork folder in Pictures that the "from iTunes" PICT isn't updated. Don't know what that means.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: phillims on Aug 05, '06 05:28:32AM

Yeah, i had this problem too. Turns out the "image events" tell part needs the comand "launch" at the beginning. So...

Tell application "image events"
Launch

etc.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork with iTunes
Authored by: Heiko on Apr 19, '06 09:35:29AM

I don't want to spoil your peeps party. But you can display the cover artwork within iTunes itself by using my little Visualizer plugin "Cover Version". Get your free copy at http://www.imagomat.de/coverversion/. That way you don't need to free your desktop estate to get a glimpse of the artwork. And you can even choose among different visual effects for cover display.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork with iTunes
Authored by: jctull on Apr 20, '06 03:55:54PM

I actually came across this yesterday independent of your plug here. I found that it consumes considerable cpu cycles. Additionally, it does not do what some of us here would like: to display song information directly on the desktop. The geektool method is really not very stable, and it consumes some cpu (but much less than your plugin). But it is the best option. Additionally, no desktop real estate is compromised, unless you do not want any items sitting on top of the album artwork.

Your plugin would be great on a deadicated computer for playing music. Run the plugin in fullscreen mode and all is well.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: jaysoffian on Sep 27, '06 01:47:33PM
I modified your script slightly. I took your entire script and wrapped it in:

on checkiTunes()
...
end checkiTunes
Next I added two handlers:

on run
	tell application "System Events"
		if exists (application processes whose name is "iTunes") then my checkiTunes()
	end tell
end run

on idle
	delay 10
	tell application "System Events"
		if not (exists (application processes whose name is "Finder")) then quit
		if exists (application processes whose name is "iTunes") then my checkiTunes()
	end tell
	return 0
end idle
I then saved it as an Application Bundle with

[ ] Run Only [ ] Startup Screen
[X] Stay Open
I then navigated to the saved bundle and edited iTunesArtwork.app/Contents/Info.plist adding to the top of the dictionary:

...
<dict>
        <key>LSUIElement</key>
        <true/>
...
Then I just added the app to my login items. Finally I omitted running the applescript via geektool+osascript (that should be obvious). You may have to logout/login for the app to stay hidden.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: francois_paris on May 13, '07 05:05:27PM

Hello,

I am a newcommer to GeekTool. I tried this hint and all works fine execpts a little thing : artworks do not refresh automaticaly : I have to run the script manually.

is there any fix to this ? Did I miss something ?

Francois



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: killer54291 on Dec 21, '09 12:50:10PM

If your using geektool 3 then just change the refresh rate under the command or path box



[ Reply to This | # ]
Check out the OmniGrowl support for GeekTool 3
Authored by: loren_ryter on Sep 23, '09 08:55:13AM
Forgive the plug, but I've included a clean, fast, easy to configure, implementation in OmniGrowl version 3.7.

(It requires GeekTool 3 and neither needs to poll iTunes for track changes nor refresh GeekTool unless the track changes.)

Included an iTunes GeekTool template for the new iTunes plugin that will display iTunes artwork and track info on the desktop with GeekTool 3 installed and some minimal configuration. (See Advanced Info.) Since OmniGrowl handles everything, this is a much better solution for GeekTool users than anything currently available (just try it).


[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: killer54291 on Dec 21, '09 12:37:38PM

im getting this error when i try to run the iTunesArtwork.scpt

error "Canít make \"Q1:Users:eric:Pictures:iTunes Artwork:From iTunes:albumArt.pict\" into type file specification." number -1700 from "Q1:Users:eric:Pictures:iTunes Artwork:From iTunes:albumArt.pict" to file specification



[ Reply to This | # ]
Display iTunes artwork on the Desktop via GeekTool
Authored by: ericruijun on Mar 24, '13 01:31:52AM

I've been battling with this for about an hour, and i think I found the problem.
I think it's with the script, when I run the script, it says:

error "Canít make \"Macintosh HD:Users:eric02px2017:Pictures:iTunes Artwork:From iTunes:albumArt.pict\" into type file specification." number -1700 from "Macintosh HD:Users:eric02px2017:Pictures:iTunes Artwork:From iTunes:albumArt.pict" to file specification

The file specification part is wrong. I heard about how that part changed when mac was updated to snow leopard. pls someone help!!!! I'm not going to give up.



[ Reply to This | # ]