Cloudinary Blog

Cloud-based API for applying effects on images

Create Image Effects and Filters by Using Cloud-Based API

If you Google for “Hello Cloudinary”, you will find some intriguing articles claiming that Cloudinary is a Photoshop replacement. Well, although the comparison is very flattering and we do believe that Cloudinary is a fantastic service for web developers, we never thought of our service as a replacement for Photoshop. However, some image transformation features of Cloudinary allow web developers and web designers to dynamically modify the look & feel of their website’s images in an extremely easy way without manually processing their images using an image editing desktop software. In this blog post we wanted to describe some of Cloudinary’s newest features - applying effects and filters on images.

page load speed 

Image Effects 

Applying image effects is done using the new ‘effect’ parameter or ‘e’ for URLs. Some effects also accept an additional numeric parameter. Here are some examples:

Let’s take the following ‘horses’ image that was uploaded to Cloudinary:

https://res.cloudinary.com/demo/image/upload/horses.jpg

The following examples modify the color saturation of the image. A negative saturation value will reduce saturation and a positive will increase it:

.../image/upload/e_saturation:-70/horses.jpg       .../image/upload/e_saturation:70/horses.jpg

   

If you’re using Cloudinary’s client-side integration libraries, applying this transformation is made even simpler:

Ruby on Rails:

Copy to clipboard
<%= cl_image_tag("horses.jpg", :effect => "saturation:70") %>

PHP:

Copy to clipboard
<?php echo cl_image_tag("horses.jpg", array("effect" => "saturation:70")) ?>
Django:
Copy to clipboard
{% cloudinary "horses.jpg" effect="saturation:70" %}

 

With Cloudinary’s cloud-based transformations you can also change an image’s brightness

.../image/upload/e_brightness:-50/horses.jpg      .../image/upload/e_brightness:50/horses.jpg

   

 
You can also apply a sepia effect. Use either the default sepia level or set a custom level by specifying the extra numeric value:
 
 
And you can also easily convert an image to grayscale or apply an oil-paint effect:
 

 

Chained Transformations

If you read our documentation and follow our blog posts, you probably know that Cloudinary already provides many image transformations and delivery methods. By chaining these image transformations together, you can create images that perfectly complement your graphic design.

For example, the following image is Arianna Huffington’s Facebok profile picture:

Take a look at the following Cloudinary URL that generates the image below:

.../image/facebook/w_150,h_150,c_thumb,g_face,r_20,e_sepia/l_techcrunch,g_south_west,x_5,y_5,w_50/a_10/AriannaHuffington.png 

 

What happened here? Simply accessing the above URL told Cloudinary to remotely fetch Arriana Huffington’s Facebook profile picture, created a 150x150px thumbnail using face detection based cropping, rounded the image’s corners, added a sepia effect, converted it to a transparent PNG format, added a watermark layer on the bottom-left corner, rotated the image by 10 degrees clock-wise and ultimately delivered the resulting image through a fast CDN using smart caching techniques. Isn’t that great?

Same example in Ruby on Rails:

Copy to clipboard
<%= facebook_profile_image_tag("AriannaHuffington.png", :angle => 10, 
        :transformation => 
          [{:width => 150, :height => 150, :crop => :thumb, 
            :gravity => :face, :radius => 20, :effect => :sepia},
           {:overlay => "techcrunch", :gravity => :south_west, 
            :x => 5, :y => 5, :width => 50}]) %>

 

Tweaking a Website’s Color Scheme

Web developers and web designers often encounter a scenario in which a client sees their website and asks for just a tiny tweak to the color scheme they used. Changing colors of texts and other HTML elements can be easily done using CSS tweaks. But what about the images that construct your website’s design? With Cloudinary you no longer need to process all images to generate slightly different color variations. You can simply apply the hue change effect on all images delivered by Cloudinary. It accepts a numeric value between -100 and 100.

For example, the following is a background image used on Cloudinary’s web site.



Copy to clipboard
<img src="site_bg.jpg" width="350" height="135" data-src="site_bg.jpg" 
     class="bg_image"/>

The following URL can be used to generate a version with a slightly different hue:



The same can be achieved using Cloudinary’s client-side libraries. For example, this is how it might look like using our jQuery library:
Copy to clipboard
$('.bg_image').cloudinary({ effect: "hue:50"});

All image effects and filters described above are available for all our paid and free plans. Want to try it out? Sign up to our free plan in seconds.
Please tell us what you think about the new image effects. Should we support additional image effects? Any other image transformation features still missing?

Recent Blog Posts

Create Lightweight Sites With Low-Code and No-Code Technology

Consumers expect modern websites to be mainly visual. But, the more compelling and complex the related media is, the more data is involved, compounding the site’s weight. In today’s content-craving world, delivering unoptimized media can cost you because it leads to sluggish page loads, resulting in visitors abandoning your site in search of a faster alternative. In fact, a page load that takes more than three seconds can cause as many as 40% of your visitors to bounce. Given this competitive, digital-first environment, you can’t afford to lose page views, for time is of the essence.

Read more
A Blueprint for AWS-Secured Webhook Listeners for Cloudinary

tl;dr: An AWS-secured and optimized Cloudinary webhook listener for extending the Cloudinary service

Code: Github

A webhook is a communication medium for sending notifications from one platform to another about events that occurred. In place are user-defined HTTP callbacks that are triggered by specific events. When a triggered event takes place on the source site, the webhook listens to the event, collects the data, and sends it to the URL you specified in the form of an HTTP request.

Read more
New Accessibility Features for Cloudinary’s Product Gallery Widget

Cloudinary’s Product Gallery widget, which launched in 2019, has enabled many brands to effectively and efficiently showcase their products in a sleek and captivating manner, saving countless hours of development time and accelerating release cycles. By adding Cloudinary’s Product Gallery widget with its customizable UI to their product page, retailers reap numerous benefits, often turning visitors into customers in short order.

Read more
Why Successful Businesses Engage With and Convert Audiences With Visual Media

Most business buyers prefer to research purchase options online, as do many shoppers. No wonder online retail sales in the U.S. rose by 32.4% in 2020—an impressive gain of $105 billion.

For B2B and B2C businesses, text-heavy websites are no longer adequate in attracting shoppers. Instead, engaging visual media—spin images, videos, 3D models, augmented reality—are becoming a must for conveying eye-catching details and differentiators about products or services.

Read more
Making User-Generated Content (UGC) Shoppable With Cloudinary

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful marketing tool. Not only does video complement marketing efforts for e-commerce by enabling customers to explore products in greater detail, but UGC also adds an element of trust. As a bonus, user-generated video is an exceptional opportunity for e-businesses to attract website traffic without their marketing team having to create promotional videos from scratch. User-generated content drives conversions and brand loyalty as a direct result of authentic interaction.

Read more