Cloudinary Blog

How to Dynamically Distort Images to Fit your Graphic Design

How To Distort Images Dynamically to Fit your Graphic Design

It can be quite a challenge to graphically design a website or mobile application that displays images in very precise shapes and orientations. This can take the form of warping 2D pictures to have a 3D perspective, placing images in precise shapes or overlaying images in specific locations within another image, for example: overlaying an image over the screen of a smartphone.

Whether the desire is to display an image with 3D perspective, or fit an image into an irregular shape, such creativity normally comes with the large overhead of tweaking every image that needs to be displayed. If a website hosts a large number of images, or also wants to reshape user uploaded pictures, the challenge can quickly outweigh the reward or even become insurmountable.

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("base.jpg", :transformation=>[
  {:width=>700, :height=>200, :crop=>"scale"},
  {:overlay=>"mobile_phone", :width=>150, :gravity=>"west"},
  {:overlay=>"mobile_phone", :width=>150, :gravity=>"east"},
  {:overlay=>"movie_time", :width=>90, :gravity=>"center"},
  {:overlay=>"movie_time", :width=>100, :gravity=>"east", :effect=>"distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90"},
  {:overlay=>{:font_family=>"roboto", :font_size=>120, :font_weight=>"bold", :text=>"%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D"}}
  ])
PHP:
cl_image_tag("base.jpg", array("transformation"=>array(
  array("width"=>700, "height"=>200, "crop"=>"scale"),
  array("overlay"=>"mobile_phone", "width"=>150, "gravity"=>"west"),
  array("overlay"=>"mobile_phone", "width"=>150, "gravity"=>"east"),
  array("overlay"=>"movie_time", "width"=>90, "gravity"=>"center"),
  array("overlay"=>"movie_time", "width"=>100, "gravity"=>"east", "effect"=>"distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90"),
  array("overlay"=>array("font_family"=>"roboto", "font_size"=>120, "font_weight"=>"bold", "text"=>"%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D"))
  )))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("base.jpg").image(transformation=[
  {'width': 700, 'height': 200, 'crop': "scale"},
  {'overlay': "mobile_phone", 'width': 150, 'gravity': "west"},
  {'overlay': "mobile_phone", 'width': 150, 'gravity': "east"},
  {'overlay': "movie_time", 'width': 90, 'gravity': "center"},
  {'overlay': "movie_time", 'width': 100, 'gravity': "east", 'effect': "distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90"},
  {'overlay': {'font_family': "roboto", 'font_size': 120, 'font_weight': "bold", 'text': "%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D"}}
  ])
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("base.jpg", {transformation: [
  {width: 700, height: 200, crop: "scale"},
  {overlay: "mobile_phone", width: 150, gravity: "west"},
  {overlay: "mobile_phone", width: 150, gravity: "east"},
  {overlay: "movie_time", width: 90, gravity: "center"},
  {overlay: "movie_time", width: 100, gravity: "east", effect: "distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90"},
  {overlay: {font_family: "roboto", font_size: 120, font_weight: "bold", text: "%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D"}}
  ]})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation()
  .width(700).height(200).crop("scale").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("mobile_phone")).width(150).gravity("west").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("mobile_phone")).width(150).gravity("east").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("movie_time")).width(90).gravity("center").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("movie_time")).width(100).gravity("east").effect("distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90").chain()
  .overlay(new TextLayer().fontFamily("roboto").fontSize(120).fontWeight("bold").text("%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D"))).imageTag("base.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('base.jpg', {transformation: [
  {width: 700, height: 200, crop: "scale"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("mobile_phone"), width: 150, gravity: "west"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("mobile_phone"), width: 150, gravity: "east"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("movie_time"), width: 90, gravity: "center"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("movie_time"), width: 100, gravity: "east", effect: "distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.TextLayer().fontFamily("roboto").fontSize(120).fontWeight("bold").text("%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D")}
  ]}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("base.jpg", {transformation: [
  {width: 700, height: 200, crop: "scale"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("mobile_phone"), width: 150, gravity: "west"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("mobile_phone"), width: 150, gravity: "east"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("movie_time"), width: 90, gravity: "center"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("movie_time"), width: 100, gravity: "east", effect: "distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.TextLayer().fontFamily("roboto").fontSize(120).fontWeight("bold").text("%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D")}
  ]})
React:
<Image publicId="base.jpg" >
  <Transformation width="700" height="200" crop="scale" />
  <Transformation overlay="mobile_phone" width="150" gravity="west" />
  <Transformation overlay="mobile_phone" width="150" gravity="east" />
  <Transformation overlay="movie_time" width="90" gravity="center" />
  <Transformation overlay="movie_time" width="100" gravity="east" effect="distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90" />
  <Transformation overlay={{fontFamily: "roboto", fontSize: 120, fontWeight: "bold", text: "%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D"}} />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="base.jpg" >
  <cl-transformation width="700" height="200" crop="scale">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation overlay="mobile_phone" width="150" gravity="west">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation overlay="mobile_phone" width="150" gravity="east">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation overlay="movie_time" width="90" gravity="center">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation overlay="movie_time" width="100" gravity="east" effect="distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation overlay="text:roboto_120_bold:%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation()
  .Width(700).Height(200).Crop("scale").Chain()
  .Overlay(new Layer().PublicId("mobile_phone")).Width(150).Gravity("west").Chain()
  .Overlay(new Layer().PublicId("mobile_phone")).Width(150).Gravity("east").Chain()
  .Overlay(new Layer().PublicId("movie_time")).Width(90).Gravity("center").Chain()
  .Overlay(new Layer().PublicId("movie_time")).Width(100).Gravity("east").Effect("distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90").Chain()
  .Overlay(new TextLayer().FontFamily("roboto").FontSize(120).FontWeight("bold").Text("%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D"))).BuildImageTag("base.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation()
  .width(700).height(200).crop("scale").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("mobile_phone")).width(150).gravity("west").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("mobile_phone")).width(150).gravity("east").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("movie_time")).width(90).gravity("center").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("movie_time")).width(100).gravity("east").effect("distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90").chain()
  .overlay(new TextLayer().fontFamily("roboto").fontSize(120).fontWeight("bold").text("%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D"))).generate("base.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation()
  .setWidth(700).setHeight(200).setCrop("scale").chain()
  .setOverlay("mobile_phone").setWidth(150).setGravity("west").chain()
  .setOverlay("mobile_phone").setWidth(150).setGravity("east").chain()
  .setOverlay("movie_time").setWidth(90).setGravity("center").chain()
  .setOverlay("movie_time").setWidth(100).setGravity("east").setEffect("distort:30:20:85:40:25:120:-30:90").chain()
  .setOverlay("text:roboto_120_bold:%2B%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3D")).generate("base.jpg")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
smartphone with distorted overlay

The solution is to use a tool that can dynamically do the transformations for you, based on predefined parameters. This blog post will show you how to accomplish this with two new effects Cloudinary has added to its considerable repertoire of image manipulation features: distort and shear.

Transforming images using the distort effect

In order to make it easy to consistently shape your images, Cloudinary has introduced support for a transformation effect called distort (e_distort in image manipulation URLs) that allows you to dynamically customize your images to fit any quadrilateral shape. A quadrilateral (also known as a quadrangle or tetragon) is any polygon with four edges (or sides) and four vertices (or corners). The effect distorts an image by giving each of the four corners of the image new coordinates, and then mapping every pixel in the image in proportion to the new shape of the quadrilateral.

The distort effect parameter accepts 8 values separated by colons (:), as each of the 4 corners needs to be represented by both an x and a y coordinate. The new coordinates for each of the 4 corners is given in a clockwise direction, starting with the top left corner, and the value of each new coordinate can be one of the following values:

  • An integer representing the number of pixels from the top left corner (which has the coordinates: 0,0).
  • A string (an integer with a p appended) representing the percentage from the top left corner (which has the coordinates: 0p,0p).

The image below shows an example of calculating the coordinates of the new corners of an image when distorting it to a new shape. The image originally has a width of 300 pixels and a height of 180 pixels, and the new corner coordinates are given in relation to these values:

e_distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165

Distorting an image by redefining the corner coordinates

The following two images show themovie_time image, and then the image after applying the distort effect calculated above:

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("movie_time.jpg", :width=>300, :height=>180, :crop=>"fill")
PHP:
cl_image_tag("movie_time.jpg", array("width"=>300, "height"=>180, "crop"=>"fill"))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("movie_time.jpg").image(width=300, height=180, crop="fill")
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("movie_time.jpg", {width: 300, height: 180, crop: "fill"})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation().width(300).height(180).crop("fill")).imageTag("movie_time.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('movie_time.jpg', {width: 300, height: 180, crop: "fill"}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("movie_time.jpg", {width: 300, height: 180, crop: "fill"})
React:
<Image publicId="movie_time.jpg" >
  <Transformation width="300" height="180" crop="fill" />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="movie_time.jpg" >
  <cl-transformation width="300" height="180" crop="fill">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation().Width(300).Height(180).Crop("fill")).BuildImageTag("movie_time.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation().width(300).height(180).crop("fill")).generate("movie_time.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation().setWidth(300).setHeight(180).setCrop("fill")).generate("movie_time.jpg")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
movie_time image

Applying the same distort effect (calculated above) to this image, using on-the-fly image manipulation URLs:

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("movie_time.jpg", :transformation=>[
  {:width=>300, :height=>180, :crop=>"fill"},
  {:effect=>"distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165"}
  ])
PHP:
cl_image_tag("movie_time.jpg", array("transformation"=>array(
  array("width"=>300, "height"=>180, "crop"=>"fill"),
  array("effect"=>"distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165")
  )))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("movie_time.jpg").image(transformation=[
  {'width': 300, 'height': 180, 'crop': "fill"},
  {'effect': "distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165"}
  ])
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("movie_time.jpg", {transformation: [
  {width: 300, height: 180, crop: "fill"},
  {effect: "distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165"}
  ]})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation()
  .width(300).height(180).crop("fill").chain()
  .effect("distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165")).imageTag("movie_time.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('movie_time.jpg', {transformation: [
  {width: 300, height: 180, crop: "fill"},
  {effect: "distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165"}
  ]}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("movie_time.jpg", {transformation: [
  {width: 300, height: 180, crop: "fill"},
  {effect: "distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165"}
  ]})
React:
<Image publicId="movie_time.jpg" >
  <Transformation width="300" height="180" crop="fill" />
  <Transformation effect="distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165" />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="movie_time.jpg" >
  <cl-transformation width="300" height="180" crop="fill">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation effect="distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation()
  .Width(300).Height(180).Crop("fill").Chain()
  .Effect("distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165")).BuildImageTag("movie_time.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation()
  .width(300).height(180).crop("fill").chain()
  .effect("distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165")).generate("movie_time.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation()
  .setWidth(300).setHeight(180).setCrop("fill").chain()
  .setEffect("distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165")).generate("movie_time.jpg")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
movie_time image with distort effect e_distort:40:25:280:60:260:155:35:165

Overlays with 3D perspective

The distort effect is especially useful when used together with the overlay feature to create 3D perspectives. You can manipulate your image overlays (or underlays for that matter) to exactly match the dimensions and perspective of any quadrilateral shape in an image.

The following example demonstrates how an overlay can be distorted to match the 3D perspective of a DVD cover:

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("disc_box.jpg")
PHP:
cl_image_tag("disc_box.jpg")
Python:
CloudinaryImage("disc_box.jpg").image()
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("disc_box.jpg")
Java:
cloudinary.url().imageTag("disc_box.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('disc_box.jpg').toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("disc_box.jpg")
React:
<Image publicId="disc_box.jpg" >

</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="disc_box.jpg" >

</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.BuildImageTag("disc_box.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().generate("disc_box.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().generate("disc_box.jpg")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
DVD cover image

An overlay of the movie_time image can be distorted to match the 3D perspective of the DVD cover, where each of the 4 corners of the overlay is adjusted to coincide with the 4 corners of the DVD cover:

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("disc_box.jpg", :transformation=>[
  {:width=>400, :crop=>"scale"},
  {:overlay=>"movie_time", :width=>300, :effect=>"distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320"}
  ])
PHP:
cl_image_tag("disc_box.jpg", array("transformation"=>array(
  array("width"=>400, "crop"=>"scale"),
  array("overlay"=>"movie_time", "width"=>300, "effect"=>"distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320")
  )))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("disc_box.jpg").image(transformation=[
  {'width': 400, 'crop': "scale"},
  {'overlay': "movie_time", 'width': 300, 'effect': "distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320"}
  ])
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("disc_box.jpg", {transformation: [
  {width: 400, crop: "scale"},
  {overlay: "movie_time", width: 300, effect: "distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320"}
  ]})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation()
  .width(400).crop("scale").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("movie_time")).width(300).effect("distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320")).imageTag("disc_box.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('disc_box.jpg', {transformation: [
  {width: 400, crop: "scale"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("movie_time"), width: 300, effect: "distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320"}
  ]}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("disc_box.jpg", {transformation: [
  {width: 400, crop: "scale"},
  {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("movie_time"), width: 300, effect: "distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320"}
  ]})
React:
<Image publicId="disc_box.jpg" >
  <Transformation width="400" crop="scale" />
  <Transformation overlay="movie_time" width="300" effect="distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320" />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="disc_box.jpg" >
  <cl-transformation width="400" crop="scale">
  </cl-transformation>
  <cl-transformation overlay="movie_time" width="300" effect="distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation()
  .Width(400).Crop("scale").Chain()
  .Overlay(new Layer().PublicId("movie_time")).Width(300).Effect("distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320")).BuildImageTag("disc_box.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation()
  .width(400).crop("scale").chain()
  .overlay(new Layer().publicId("movie_time")).width(300).effect("distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320")).generate("disc_box.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation()
  .setWidth(400).setCrop("scale").chain()
  .setOverlay("movie_time").setWidth(300).setEffect("distort:55:55:195:20:195:350:55:320")).generate("disc_box.jpg")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
DVD cover with movie_time cover in correct perspective

Manipulating images with the shear effect

Cloudinary has also added support for another transformation effect called shear (e_shear in URLs). The shear effect skews the image along the x-axis and the y-axis according to a specified value in degrees. The parameter accepts two values separated by a colon (:), the first representing how much to skew the image on the x-axis and the second representing the amount of skew to apply on the y-axis. Negative values are allowed and skew the image in the opposite direction.

For example, to shear the movie_time image by 40 degrees on the x-axis:

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("movie_time.jpg", :effect=>"shear:40:0")
PHP:
cl_image_tag("movie_time.jpg", array("effect"=>"shear:40:0"))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("movie_time.jpg").image(effect="shear:40:0")
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("movie_time.jpg", {effect: "shear:40:0"})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation().effect("shear:40:0")).imageTag("movie_time.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('movie_time.jpg', {effect: "shear:40:0"}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("movie_time.jpg", {effect: "shear:40:0"})
React:
<Image publicId="movie_time.jpg" >
  <Transformation effect="shear:40:0" />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="movie_time.jpg" >
  <cl-transformation effect="shear:40:0">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation().Effect("shear:40:0")).BuildImageTag("movie_time.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation().effect("shear:40:0")).generate("movie_time.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation().setEffect("shear:40:0")).generate("movie_time.jpg")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
movie_time.jpg with 40 degree shearing on the x-axis

The shear effect can also be useful for transforming overlay images as in the following example of a yellow sports car overlaid on a white t-shirt.

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("yellow_sports_car.png")
PHP:
cl_image_tag("yellow_sports_car.png")
Python:
CloudinaryImage("yellow_sports_car.png").image()
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("yellow_sports_car.png")
Java:
cloudinary.url().imageTag("yellow_sports_car.png");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('yellow_sports_car.png').toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("yellow_sports_car.png")
React:
<Image publicId="yellow_sports_car.png" >

</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="yellow_sports_car.png" >

</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.BuildImageTag("yellow_sports_car.png")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().generate("yellow_sports_car.png");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().generate("yellow_sports_car.png")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
yellow sports car

The shear effect is added to the overlay to give the impression of the car accelerating forwards:

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("blank_shirt.jpg", :overlay=>"yellow_sports_car", :gravity=>"north", :width=>400, :x=>20, :y=>120, :effect=>"shear:20:0")
PHP:
cl_image_tag("blank_shirt.jpg", array("overlay"=>"yellow_sports_car", "gravity"=>"north", "width"=>400, "x"=>20, "y"=>120, "effect"=>"shear:20:0"))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("blank_shirt.jpg").image(overlay="yellow_sports_car", gravity="north", width=400, x=20, y=120, effect="shear:20:0")
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("blank_shirt.jpg", {overlay: "yellow_sports_car", gravity: "north", width: 400, x: 20, y: 120, effect: "shear:20:0"})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation().overlay(new Layer().publicId("yellow_sports_car")).gravity("north").width(400).x(20).y(120).effect("shear:20:0")).imageTag("blank_shirt.jpg");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('blank_shirt.jpg', {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("yellow_sports_car"), gravity: "north", width: 400, x: 20, y: 120, effect: "shear:20:0"}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("blank_shirt.jpg", {overlay: new cloudinary.Layer().publicId("yellow_sports_car"), gravity: "north", width: 400, x: 20, y: 120, effect: "shear:20:0"})
React:
<Image publicId="blank_shirt.jpg" >
  <Transformation overlay="yellow_sports_car" gravity="north" width="400" x="20" y="120" effect="shear:20:0" />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="blank_shirt.jpg" >
  <cl-transformation overlay="yellow_sports_car" gravity="north" width="400" x="20" y="120" effect="shear:20:0">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation().Overlay(new Layer().PublicId("yellow_sports_car")).Gravity("north").Width(400).X(20).Y(120).Effect("shear:20:0")).BuildImageTag("blank_shirt.jpg")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation().overlay(new Layer().publicId("yellow_sports_car")).gravity("north").width(400).x(20).y(120).effect("shear:20:0")).generate("blank_shirt.jpg");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setTransformation(CLDTransformation().setOverlay("yellow_sports_car").setGravity("north").setWidth(400).setX(20).setY(120).setEffect("shear:20:0")).generate("blank_shirt.jpg")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
t-shirt with car 'sheared' by 20 degrees

Animated GIF example with the distort effect

You can easily mix and match the distort effect with other image manipulation capabilities supported by Cloudinary, such as animated GIF generation for example. The following example showcases a Ruby script that creates a very simple animated GIF of spinning text consisting of 20 individual frames. The script calculates how to modify the text string for each frame with the distort effect parameter in order to give the spinning text a 3D perspective. Each frame is then uploaded to Cloudinary, where each individual image (frame) is constructed from:

  • A previously uploaded blank image used as a base image.
  • A "distorted" text string overlaid over the base image.

Each frame is a therefore a combination of the base image together with an overlay of a slightly modified version of the text string.

  coordinates = {}
  (0..10).each do |frame|
    x_offset = frame * 10
    y_back   = 10*(frame < 5 ? -frame : frame - 10)
    y_front  = y_back*2

    front    = [ x_offset, y_front, 
                 100 - x_offset, -y_back,
                 100 - x_offset, 100+y_back,
                 x_offset, 100 - y_front ]
            .map { |i| "#{i}p" }.join(":")

    back     = [ x_offset, -y_back, 
                 100 - x_offset, y_back*2,
                 100 - x_offset, 100 - y_back*2,
                 x_offset, 100 + y_back ]
            .map { |i| "#{i}p" }.join(":")

    coordinates[frame]      = front
    coordinates[20 - frame] = back
  end

  (0..19).each do |frame|
    x_offset = frame < 10 ? frame*10 : 200 - frame*10
    myurl    = Cloudinary::Utils.cloudinary_url(
      "base.png",
      :transformation => [
        { :width => 510, :height => 300, :crop => "scale",
          :background => "white" },
        { :overlay => "text:roboto_150_bold:Spinning text", 
          :color => "#0071BA", :width => 500, :height => 100 },
        { :effect => "distort:#{coordinates[frame]}" },
        { :crop => "crop", gravity: "center", 
          :width => ((500*(100-2*x_offset)/100.0).abs.to_i), 
          :height => 300 },
        { :flags => "layer_apply" }])

    Cloudinary::Uploader.upload(
      myurl,
      :public_id => "spinning_text_#{'%02d' % frame}",
      :tags      => "spinning_text"
    ) if x_offset != 50
  end

  Cloudinary::Uploader.multi("spinning_text", :delay => 100)

After the script is run, the images are uploaded, and the animated GIF is created, the final file is ready for delivery:

Ruby:
cl_image_tag("spinning_text.gif", :delay=>"100", :type=>"multi")
PHP:
cl_image_tag("spinning_text.gif", array("delay"=>"100", "type"=>"multi"))
Python:
CloudinaryImage("spinning_text.gif").image(delay="100", type="multi")
Node.js:
cloudinary.image("spinning_text.gif", {delay: "100", type: "multi"})
Java:
cloudinary.url().transformation(new Transformation().delay("100")).type("multi").imageTag("spinning_text.gif");
JS:
cloudinary.imageTag('spinning_text.gif', {delay: "100", type: "multi"}).toHtml();
jQuery:
$.cloudinary.image("spinning_text.gif", {delay: "100", type: "multi"})
React:
<Image publicId="spinning_text.gif" type="multi">
  <Transformation delay="100" />
</Image>
Angular:
<cl-image public-id="spinning_text.gif" type="multi">
  <cl-transformation delay="100">
  </cl-transformation>
</cl-image>
.Net:
cloudinary.Api.UrlImgUp.Transform(new Transformation().Delay("100")).Type("multi").BuildImageTag("spinning_text.gif")
Android:
MediaManager.get().url().transformation(new Transformation().delay("100")).type("multi").generate("spinning_text.gif");
iOS:
imageView.cldSetImage(cloudinary.createUrl().setType( "multi").setTransformation(CLDTransformation().setDelay("100")).generate("spinning_text.gif")!, cloudinary: cloudinary)
spinning_text.gif created from all images with the spinning_text tag

Pretty cool use for the distort effect, right?

Summary

You can do some pretty cool things with image distortion, and in this post we showed you how Cloudinary can do this easily in the cloud using simple dynamic manipulation parameters and delivery URLs. Distort and shear are the two new Cloudinary effects that are especially useful for the exact positioning of overlays and giving images a 3D perspective.

These features are available for use with all Cloudinary accounts, including the free tier.

Want to give it a spin…? Add a comment below with your own creation using distort, shear and other Cloudinary manipulation capabilities. We’ll pick the coolest ones and send over a bunch of Cloudinary swag!

Recent Blog Posts

CoreMedia Adds Cloudinary to its CoreMedia Studio Platform

Today we’re pleased to announce a new technology partnership with CoreMedia, a leading Content Experience Platform provider. CoreMedia users can now leverage Cloudinary’s web-based digital asset management (DAM) solution to organize, search, manage and optimize their media assets, including images and videos, and to orchestrate, preview and deliver digital experiences consistently and optimized across all channels and browsers. The official press release is available here.

Read more
Facial-Surveillance System for Restricted Zones

In Africa, where Internet access and bandwidth are limited, it’s not cost-effective or feasible to establish and maintain a connectivity for security and surveillance applications. That challenge makes it almost impossible to build a service that detects, with facial-recognition technology, if someone entering a building is authorized to do so. To meet the final-year research requirement for my undergraduate studies, I developed a facial-surveillance system. Armed with a background in computer vision, I decided to push the limits and see if I could build a surveillance system that does not require recording long video footage.

Read more
Complex Networks Case Study

Complex Networks has been using Cloudinary since 2014 to manage and optimize images across seven websites and two mobile apps, making editorial workflow more efficient, improving page performance and load time, and increasing user engagement. Cloudinary was instrumental in enabling Complex Networks to redesign its web properties. Without the flexibility that Cloudinary offers to both creative and development teams, it would not have been possible for Complex Networks to achieve such a fast time to market.

Read more
Automate Placeholder Generation and Accelerate Page Loads

If you run a Google search on LQIP you’ll see very few relevant articles, very little guidance, and definitely no Wikipedia articles. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the feedback on LQIP we have gathered from the community and suggest and open for conversation a few approaches based on the built-in capabilities of the Cloudinary service. Specifically, we’ll explain what LQIP are, where they are best used, and how you can leverage them to accelerate page loads and optimize user experience.

Read more
Best Practices for Optimizing Web Page Speed

If you're like most consumers today, you engage more with pictures or videos on a website than text. The stats don't lie - four times as many visitors would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, and sites with compelling images average twice as many views as text-heavy ones.

Read more
A day of fun with Girls Who Code and Cloudinary

During both my computer science studies and work in the tech field, there have not been a lot of women present. While our ranks have grown, women still make up only a small percentage. In many ways, I think the traditionally male-dominated world can be intimidating to women and girls who may be interested in pursuing these types of tech careers.

Read more