Cloudinary Blog

Automatic visual image enhancement for your web application

Automatic visual image enhancement for web apps

Various factors can have an effect on the visual quality of photos captured by a wide variety of digital cameras. Technical limitations of cameras, coupled with changing conditions in which users take photos, results in a wide range of visual quality. Camera-related limitations arise from a combination of poor optics, noisy sensors, and the modest capabilities of mobile camera phones that are used to take photos in conditions that range from bright daylight to indoor scenes with incandescent light or even dark night scenes.

If you have lots of spare time, one option is to spend hours trying to enhance your images by adjusting brightness and color, restoring sharpness, removing noise, correcting for overexposure or underexposure, etc. Furthermore, the results achieved will not only depend on your training and experience with the photo editing software, but also on the quality, condition and calibration of the monitor used. Manual fine-tuning is also time consuming, and as the amount of image content is constantly growing, there is an obvious need for automatic image enhancement

VIESUS logo

VIESUS™ is a software application developed by Imaging Solutions AG that takes everyday digital camera images and enhances them to look more visually attractive. VIESUS first analyses the image data then automatically applies any processing steps as needed: fixing dull colors and bad color balance, removing digital noise, adjusting poor sharpness / blurriness, correcting for overexposure or underexposure, and more.

Cloudinary provides an add-on for using VIESUS's image enhancement capabilities, fully integrated into Cloudinary's image management and manipulation pipeline. With VIESUS's image enhancement add-on, you can extend Cloudinary's powerful image manipulation and optimization capabilities by automatically enhancing images to their best visual quality.

Automatically enhancing images

Cloudinary already supports on-the-fly manipulation using URLs for resizing, cropping, applying effects, etc. Now you can also use VIESUS as an effect by setting the effect transformation parameter to viesus_correct (or e_viesus_correct for URLs) which tells Cloudinary to dynamically enhance the image to the best visual quality using the VIESUS add-on.

Take a look at the following photo of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that was uploaded to Cloudinary's demo account as golden_gate_side.jpg. The original photo on the left has darkened colors, low contrast and poor sharpness, and looks like it was taken on an overcast day. In the VIESUS enhanced photo on the right, the brightness and contrast is increased and the colors appear sharper and more vivid, while the photo now looks like it was taken on a bright sunny day.

Original image

Auto corrected image

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("golden_gate_side.jpg", :effect=>"viesus_correct", :width=>350, :crop=>"scale", :sign_url=>true)
PHP:
cl_image_tag("golden_gate_side.jpg", array("effect"=>"viesus_correct", "width"=>350, "crop"=>"scale", "sign_url"=>true))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("golden_gate_side.jpg").image(effect="viesus_correct", width=350, crop="scale", sign_url=True)
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("golden_gate_side.jpg", {effect: "viesus_correct", width: 350, crop: "scale", sign_url: true})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation().effect("viesus_correct").width(350).crop("scale")).signed(true).imageTag("golden_gate_side.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('golden_gate_side.jpg', {effect: "viesus_correct", width: 350, crop: "scale", signUrl: true}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("golden_gate_side.jpg", {effect: "viesus_correct", width: 350, crop: "scale"})
React:
<Image publicId="golden_gate_side.jpg" signUrl="true">
  <Transformation effect="viesus_correct" width="350" crop="scale" />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="golden_gate_side.jpg" sign-url="true">
  <cl-transformation effect="viesus_correct" width="350" crop="scale">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation().Effect("viesus_correct").Width(350).Crop("scale")).Signed(true).BuildImageTag("golden_gate_side.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation().effect("viesus_correct").width(350).crop("scale")).signed(true).generate("golden_gate_side.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation().setEffect("viesus_correct").setWidth(350).setCrop("scale")).generate("golden_gate_side.jpg", signUrl: true)!, cloudinary: cloudinary)

Further image manipulations

Visual enhancement using the VIESUS add-on can be mixed with any of Cloudinary's rich set of image manipulation capabilities. The VIESUS add-on can also enhance a generated image, so instead of improving the original large photo, you can separately enhance each thumbnail or cropped version you would like to display.

For example, the following code generates and delivers a version of the uploaded golden_gate_side photo as follows:

  • Crops the photo to a width of 80% and a height of 35% with east gravity, and applies the viesus_correct effect.
  • Adds another uploaded png image named viesus_icon as an overlay. The overlay is resized to a width of 400 pixels, positioned 10 pixels from the top right corner of the containing image and is made 40% semi transparent.
  • The entire image is scaled down to a width of 600 pixels with rounded corners.

Without visual enhancement:

golden_gate_side.jpg cropped to 600 pixels with rounded corners and a logo overlay

With VIESUS visual enhancement:

golden_gate_side.jpg cropped to 600 pixels with rounded corners, enhanced with viesus and a logo overlay

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("golden_gate_side.jpg", :sign_url=>true, :transformation=>[
  {:effect=>"viesus_correct", :gravity=>"east", :height=>0.35, :width=>0.8, :crop=>"crop"},
  {:gravity=>"north_east", :overlay=>"viesus_icon", :opacity=>40, :width=>400, :x=>10, :y=>10, :crop=>"scale"},
  {:radius=>20, :width=>600, :crop=>"scale"}
  ])
PHP:
cl_image_tag("golden_gate_side.jpg", array("sign_url"=>true, "transformation"=>array(
  array("effect"=>"viesus_correct", "gravity"=>"east", "height"=>0.35, "width"=>0.8, "crop"=>"crop"),
  array("gravity"=>"north_east", "overlay"=>"viesus_icon", "opacity"=>40, "width"=>400, "x"=>10, "y"=>10, "crop"=>"scale"),
  array("radius"=>20, "width"=>600, "crop"=>"scale")
  )))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("golden_gate_side.jpg").image(sign_url=True, transformation=[
  {'effect': "viesus_correct", 'gravity': "east", 'height': 0.35, 'width': 0.8, 'crop': "crop"},
  {'gravity': "north_east", 'overlay': "viesus_icon", 'opacity': 40, 'width': 400, 'x': 10, 'y': 10, 'crop': "scale"},
  {'radius': 20, 'width': 600, 'crop': "scale"}
  ])
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("golden_gate_side.jpg", {sign_url: true, transformation: [
  {effect: "viesus_correct", gravity: "east", height: "0.35", width: "0.8", crop: "crop"},
  {gravity: "north_east", overlay: "viesus_icon", opacity: 40, width: 400, x: 10, y: 10, crop: "scale"},
  {radius: 20, width: 600, crop: "scale"}
  ]})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation()
  .effect("viesus_correct").gravity("east").height(0.35).width(0.8).crop("crop").chain()
  .gravity("north_east").overlay(new Layer().publicId("viesus_icon")).opacity(40).width(400).x(10).y(10).crop("scale").chain()
  .radius(20).width(600).crop("scale")).signed(true).imageTag("golden_gate_side.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('golden_gate_side.jpg', {signUrl: true, transformation: [
  {effect: "viesus_correct", gravity: "east", height: "0.35", width: "0.8", crop: "crop"},
  {gravity: "north_east", overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("viesus_icon"), opacity: 40, width: 400, x: 10, y: 10, crop: "scale"},
  {radius: 20, width: 600, crop: "scale"}
  ]}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("golden_gate_side.jpg", {transformation: [
  {effect: "viesus_correct", gravity: "east", height: "0.35", width: "0.8", crop: "crop"},
  {gravity: "north_east", overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("viesus_icon"), opacity: 40, width: 400, x: 10, y: 10, crop: "scale"},
  {radius: 20, width: 600, crop: "scale"}
  ]})
React:
<Image publicId="golden_gate_side.jpg" signUrl="true">
  <Transformation effect="viesus_correct" gravity="east" height="0.35" width="0.8" crop="crop" />
  <Transformation gravity="north_east" overlay="viesus_icon" opacity="40" width="400" x="10" y="10" crop="scale" />
  <Transformation radius="20" width="600" crop="scale" />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="golden_gate_side.jpg" sign-url="true">
  <cl-transformation effect="viesus_correct" gravity="east" height="0.35" width="0.8" crop="crop">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation gravity="north_east" overlay="viesus_icon" opacity="40" width="400" x="10" y="10" crop="scale">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation radius="20" width="600" crop="scale">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation()
  .Effect("viesus_correct").Gravity("east").Height(0.35).Width(0.8).Crop("crop").Chain()
  .Gravity("north_east").Overlay(new Layer().PublicId("viesus_icon")).Opacity(40).Width(400).X(10).Y(10).Crop("scale").Chain()
  .Radius(20).Width(600).Crop("scale")).Signed(true).BuildImageTag("golden_gate_side.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation()
  .effect("viesus_correct").gravity("east").height(0.35).width(0.8).crop("crop").chain()
  .gravity("north_east").overlay(new Layer().publicId("viesus_icon")).opacity(40).width(400).x(10).y(10).crop("scale").chain()
  .radius(20).width(600).crop("scale")).signed(true).generate("golden_gate_side.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation()
  .setEffect("viesus_correct").setGravity("east").setHeight(0.35).setWidth(0.8).setCrop("crop").chain()
  .setGravity("north_east").setOverlay("viesus_icon").setOpacity(40).setWidth(400).setX(10).setY(10).setCrop("scale").chain()
  .setRadius(20).setWidth(600).setCrop("scale")).generate("golden_gate_side.jpg", signUrl: true)!, cloudinary: cloudinary)

For more detailed information on implementing this automatic visual enhancement to your images, see the VIESUS™ add-on documentation, and for a full list of Cloudinary's image manipulation options, see the Image transformations documentation.

Summary

Enhancing your images and user uploaded photos makes your website look nicer and improves user engagement. The VIESUS add-on is utilized to extend Cloudinary's powerful image manipulation and optimization capabilities by automatically enhancing images to their best visual quality. Simply add a single parameter to your image URLs and everything is done seamlessly, dynamically and automatically for you.

VIESUS automatic visual enhancement  add-on

The free tier of the VIESUS add-on is available to all our free and paid plans. If you don't have a Cloudinary account, you are welcome to sign up to our free account and try it out.

Recent Blog Posts

Hipcamp Optimizes Images and Improves Page Load Times With Cloudinary

When creating a website that allows campers to discover great destinations, Hipcamp put a strong emphasis on featuring high-quality images that showcased the list of beautiful locations, regardless of whether users accessed the site on a desktop, tablet, or phone. Since 2015, Hipcamp has relied on Cloudinary’s image management solution to automate cropping and image optimization, enabling instant public delivery of photos, automatic tagging based on content recognition, and faster loading of webpages. In addition, Hipcamp was able to maintain the high standards it holds for the look and feel of its website.

Read more
New Image File Format: FUIF: Why Do We Need a New Image Format

In my last post, I introduced FUIF, a new, free, and universal image format I’ve created. In this post and other follow-up pieces, I will explain the why, what, and how of FUIF.

Even though JPEG is still the most widely-used image file format on the web, it has limitations, especially the subset of the format that has been implemented in browsers and that has, therefore, become the de facto standard. Because JPEG has a relatively verbose header, it cannot be used (at least not as is) for low-quality image placeholders (LQIP), for which you need a budget of a few hundred bytes. JPEG cannot encode alpha channels (transparency); it is restricted to 8 bits per channel; and its entropy coding is no longer state of the art. Also, JPEG is not fully “responsive by design.” There is no easy way to find a file’s truncation offsets and it is limited to a 1:8 downscale (the DC coefficients). If you want to use the same file for an 8K UHD display (7,680 pixels wide) and for a smart watch (320 pixels wide), 1:8 is not enough. And finally, JPEG does not work well with nonphotographic images and cannot do fully lossless compression.

Read more
 New Image File Format: FUIF:Lossy, Lossless, and Free

I've been working to create a new image format, which I'm calling FUIF, or Free Universal Image Format. That’s a rather pretentious name, I know. But I couldn’t call it the Free Lossy Image Format (FLIF) because that acronym is not available any more (see below) and FUIF can do lossless, too, so it wouldn’t be accurate either.

Read more