Cloudinary Blog
Simplifying the email image conundrum

My email banner looked hideous!

Recently, I was tasked with building an email invite to ImageCon, Cloudinary’s annual image and video management conference. This email was destined for the inboxes of almost our entire database, and as you can tell, it wasn’t going well.

After staring at the preview in disbelief in Marketo for a few seconds, I quickly cycled through the seven stages of grief. Actually, I got stuck on the first one - anger. I mean, just take a look at this monstrosity:

Simplifying the email image conundrum
Not pictured: me throwing things in a fit of rage.

It’s never a good sign when your images make you wonder if you’re long overdue for a trip to the optometrist. Considering this email was going to hundreds of thousands of developers - and we are known for our abilities to deliver optimized images - I needed to seriously improve the email graphics.

On the surface, replacing a banner on an email template should be simple. In Marketo, you should only have to find the URL of the image and replace it with one of equal size. It’s a straightforward swap… or at least it should be.

However, with the explosion in popularity of devices with high-resolution displays like the Galaxy Note 7 (ba-dum-tiss), things have gotten a little more complicated for marketers. Our images need to be optimized for the device on which our users engaging with content, while also loading quickly and efficiently.

Now what does all that have to do with my banner image?

Well, it turns out that, the 600x200 image I was using was being set to a Device Pixel Ratio DPR of 1. That basically means that you get fewer pixels in your image which, when viewed on a high-resolution display, comes out looking like hot garbage extremely blurry. This effect happens because high-resolution displays can fit more pixels in essentially the same amount of visual space.

It fortunately displayed just fine on lower-resolution devices, but that wasn’t much consolation knowing that many individuals receiving the message would be viewing it on high-resolution devices.

Ruby:
Copy to clipboard
cl_image_tag("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg", :dpr=>2.0, :width=>600, :crop=>"scale")
PHP:
Copy to clipboard
cl_image_tag("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg", array("dpr"=>2.0, "width"=>600, "crop"=>"scale"))
Python:
Copy to clipboard
CloudinaryImage("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg").image(dpr=2.0, width=600, crop="scale")
Node.js:
Copy to clipboard
cloudinary.image("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg", {dpr: "2.0", width: 600, crop: "scale"})
Java:
Copy to clipboard
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation().dpr(2.0).width(600).crop("scale")).imageTag("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg");
JS:
Copy to clipboard
cloudinary.imageTag('imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg', {dpr: "2.0", width: 600, crop: "scale"}).toHtml();
jQuery:
Copy to clipboard
$.cloudinary.image("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg", {dpr: "2.0", width: 600, crop: "scale"})
React:
Copy to clipboard
<Image publicId="imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg" >
  <Transformation dpr="2.0" width="600" crop="scale" />
</Image>
Vue.js:
Copy to clipboard
<cld-image publicId="imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg" >
  <cld-transformation dpr="2.0" width="600" crop="scale" />
</cld-image>
Angular:
Copy to clipboard
<cl-image public-id="imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg" >
  <cl-transformation dpr="2.0" width="600" crop="scale">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
Copy to clipboard
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation().Dpr(2.0).Width(600).Crop("scale")).BuildImageTag("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg")
Android:
Copy to clipboard
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation().dpr(2.0).width(600).crop("scale")).generate("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg");
iOS:
Copy to clipboard
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation().setDpr(2.0).setWidth(600).setCrop("scale")).generate("imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
ImageCon

So… much… better.

When you can automatically optimize your images for delivery based on the viewing device, that’s great. When you can do it all within the URL - without having to upload multiple images - that’s even better.

With a small addition of dpr_2.0 to the image URL in Cloudinary, I was able to sharpen the image almost instantly:

Copy to clipboard
http://res.cloudinary.com/demo/image/upload/dpr_2.0,w_600/imagecon_banner_2018_vq2qe9.jpg

You are technically able to accomplish the exact same thing by simply doubling the image resolution. However, with this URL in hand, I can repurpose the exact same image and replicate it across any of our assets and site pages via a simple modification of the URL. This saves serious hassles for me, my design team and my developers a huge headache since I don’t have to bug them for multiple copies of the exact same image.

With that easy change to the URL, I now have a new image that I’m content to send out enhance the email I’m planning to send, as well as a replicable asset that I can modify with minuscule effort. Email is done, frustrations have subsided, a plan is in motion for additional ImageCon assets, and all is right in the world.

Life is so much easier when your images look good, isn’t it?

Recent Blog Posts

Cloudinary and Contentful Make Modern Content Management Easier

I am pleased to share that Cloudinary and Contentful have joined forces to further streamline the creation, processing, and delivery of online content through Cloudinary’s digital asset management (DAM) solution and advanced transformation and delivery capabilities for images and video. What’s more, the partnership delivers a headless approach to DAM. By leveraging APIs for media management tasks, marketers and developers alike benefit from an integrated stack of optimized assets for optimization and automation. As a result, page loads are fast and beautiful, and at scale—with less overhead and effort.

Read more
Introducing Cloudinary's Nuxt Module

Since its initial release in October 2016 by the Chopin brothers as a server-side framework that runs on top of Vue.js, Nuxt (aka Nuxt.js) has gained prominence in both intuitiveness and performance. The framework offers numerous built-in features based on a modular architecture, bringing ease and simplicity to web development. Not surprisingly, Nuxt.js has seen remarkable growth in adoption by the developer community along with accolades galore. At this writing, Nuxt has earned over 30K stars on GitHub and 96 active modules with over a million downloads per month. And the upward trend is ongoing.

Read more
How Quality and Quantity can go Hand in Hand

When it comes to quality versus quantity, you’ll often hear people say, “It’s the quality that counts, not the quantity”. While that’s true in many situations, there are also cases where you want both quality and quantity. You may have thousands of images on your website and you want them all to look great. This is especially important if your website allows users to upload their own content, for example, to sell their own products or services. You don't want their poor quality images to reflect badly on your brand.

Read more
Product Videos 101: What Makes Them Great?

A product’s benefits and usage, including its value proposition, features, and instructive details, are best demonstrated through video. Product-video types vary, depending on the funnel, channel, and audience, the most popular ones being demos, reviews, installation, and how-tos.

Read more