At TedsVintageArt.com, we digitally restore historic maps and sell their art prints on multiple platforms, such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and Houzz. As our operations ramped up years ago, it took an inordinately long time to generate custom images for our products. Plus, since we sell art, it behooves us to produce multiple high-quality images for each print, which was another time-consuming task.
Instead of just creating a few default images for promotion on marketplaces and social media, we opted to optimize all the images. That meant a total of over 20 images for cropping and dimension changes—a labor-intensive and time-consuming undertaking if done manually. Automation was the obvious answer.
After spending a few weeks mapping out a new workflow and researching solutions, we picked Cloudinary as the partner for automation and as a host for our media operations. That turned out to be an excellent decision.
Our major focus is to digitally restore old map prints. As a start, we manually remove tears, markings, creases, or other discolorations on Photoshop, after which the designer uploads the final, high-resolution image to a Google Drive folder, where magic happens.
Three vendors serve as the backbone of our automation process: Airtable, Zapier, and Cloudinary.
Airtable, a versatile tool that integrates with most cloud-based web apps, stores our products’ metadata, images, and nearly 80 other data points.
Zapier performs several automation tasks, such as uploading the main image to Cloudinary, grabbing image data from there, adding them to Airtable, and creating product titles and descriptions. Read more here.
Cloudinary specializes in image hosting, transformation, and delivery.
By leveraging Cloudinary’s transformation capabilities, we have created templates for automatically generating multiple images for each product—with only one image as the starting point. Here are the templates:
- A main map image mocked up in a black frame set against a brick wall
- A main map image with no background
- Five map images that, through custom zooms, show a high level of detail
- Variations of product images optimized for the largest display on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and Houzz
- An addition of a Ted’s Vintage Art watermark to all generated images
- A resized version of our high-resolution image, custom-“stretched” to perfectly fit into frames for an 8x10, 12x18, 18x24, or 24x36 map
An initial challenge we faced was that different social-media sites mandate different default image sizes for feeds. Failure to share images in the proper dimensions often results in no display or distorted images. So, a separate version of each image for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit becomes necessary.
Cloudinary enables us to custom-transform and resize images according to the exact dimensions that work best for each of the social-media channels. Afterwards, we store within Airtable the URLs for all the generated image variations.
Cloudinary is perfect for hosting large images for fast loading.
Before adopting Cloudinary, we heard from many users that even though they loved our maps, they couldn’t zoom in close enough to see the names or other details. With Cloudinary, we were able to offer the ability to click and view a deep-zoom version of map prints, enabling users to navigate around, zooming in and out for all the nuances.
Another problem we encountered was hosting the large maps, some approaching 100 MB in size, for fast downloads. What a pleasant surprise it was to discover that Cloudinary can host high-resolution images and speedily display them—along with zooming!
We are extremely happy with Cloudinary, which is saving us over 60 work hours per week, freeing us up to focus on growth projects, such as marketing and sourcing. Best of all, it took less than a weekend to set up an integrated workflow with Cloudinary. Simply amazing!