Asset management

Last updated: Apr-26-2023

As a DAM administrator, you can perform several tasks related to asset management.

Some of these tasks involve configuring options that enable functionality for your users, and others involve managing assets directly:

Named transformations

A named transformation is a pre-defined set of transformations that has been given a name for easy reference. Named transformations simplify applying transformations programmatically, allowing several, possibly complex transformations to be referred to with one concise name. Similarly, named transformations shorten URLs and improve SEO, because transformations can be referred to using one concise name within the URL.

Additionally, named transformations can be set as transformation presets and strict transformations, which enable additional functionality:

  • Especially useful for a DAM administrator, setting a named transformation as a transformation preset enables users to apply that named transformation to assets for preview and/or download at the click of a button.

  • You can also allow a named transformation for a strict transformation. The Strict transformations setting prevents end users from dynamically applying transformations to media assets by changing their URLs. If this setting is on, you can specifically allow a named transformation to be applied to assets dynamically as an exception.

You can coordinate with developers on your team to create and manage named transformations programmatically, or you can create and manage named transformations in the Console using the Transformation Editor or the new Transformation Builder (Beta).

When updating the transformation definition of a named transformation via the Cloudinary Console, if the named transformation is used in fewer than 1000 existing derived assets, those assets are automatically invalidated and will use the new named transformation definition the next time they are requested. If more than 1000 existing derived assets use the named transformation, then existing derived assets are not updated and only newly generated derived assets will use the new definition.

Creating named transformations

You can create a named transformation from the Transformations page, accessible from the Console Product Navigation menu.

To create a named transformation using the Console, you have a few options:

Names used for named transformations:
  • Must contain valid UTF8 characters only
  • Must not contain more than 1024 characters
  • Must not contain any of these characters: \, /, ?, &, #, %, ., ,, <, >

Once you've saved your named transformations, you can view a list of them on the Named Transformations page of the Console. From here, you can edit or copy the named transformation.

You can also select to include a named transformation as a transformation preset in the Media Library Asset Management page, or to allow a named transformation for strict transformations.

Transformation Builder (Beta)

The Cloudinary Transformation Builder is a brand new UI designed to help you create and save your transformations in a simple and easy to use way.

The builder has support for most common transformation actions. If the transformation action you are trying to apply is not listed, you can add an Additional Transformation action and use transformation URL syntax to specify your transformation. Alternatively, you can switch to the legacy editor to create your transformation.

Here are some of the features and functionality you can get by using the builder:

  • Simple and intuitive UI for selecting and configuring transformation actions - easily discover actions and parameters as you build.
  • Transformations built as a series of self-contained actions so you can see the results of each one as you apply it.
  • Ability to update the default preview image to something from your own Media Library.
  • Developers can copy URL and SDK snippets directly into their code.

The Transformation Builder is currently in Beta. Some implementation details may change before the official release. The builder for creating named transformations is enabled for all new customers. Follow the instructions below to check if it's available to you. If you don't have it enabled and would like access to the Beta, send us a support request and we will enable it for you.

Transformation presets

Image transformation presets are supported for all Cloudinary accounts. However, video transformation presets are supported only for Cloudinary accounts on a paid plan.

A transformation preset can be applied to an asset to generate a version modified according to a set of pre-defined transformations (i.e., a named transformation).

Transformation presets can be applied in the following contexts:

  • DAM users can preview an asset with transformation presets applied from the Manage page to see how the selected asset would look with those transformations applied. Users can perform operations such as opening the displayed asset in a new tab, downloading it, copying the URL, or further editing the transformation.
  • Depending on your account or product environment setup, external stakeholders may be able to download assets with transformation presets applied from published collections and media portals. This functionality enables modified assets to be shared with external stakeholders instead of originals.

Several transformation presets are provided by default, and you can replace these with your own by setting named transformations as transformation presets, up to a maximum of 30.

Keep in mind that transformation presets may be applied to assets by other users and not all asset formats are supported for transformations. If an asset's original format doesn't support transformations, applying a transformation presets to it will result in an error. See a list of supported transformations.

To set an existing named transformation as a transformation preset:

  1. In the Named Transformations page of the Cloudinary Console, hover over the named transformation you want to use as a transformation preset and open the menu using the kebab (3 dots) icon.

    Named Transformation UI
  2. From the menu, turn on the Show in image presets or Show in video presets options.

    To ensure that your transformation presets are valid:
    • Make sure that named transformations that you set as a video presets only contain transformations that are valid for videos, and that those that you set as image presets only contain transformations that are valid for images.
    • Make sure the transformation doesn't include any user-defined variables.

When you set one or more named transformations as transformation presets, the default transformations are no longer displayed. To revert to the default transformations, open the Named Transformations page and turn off the Show in image presets or Show in video presets for each relevant named transformation.

  • Transformation presets can be a convenient way to see how an asset may look with different levels of compression applied. To create a preset for this purpose, create a new named transformation, set the Quality option to the desired compression level, and give the named transformation an appropriate name, such as "Good quality mode" or similar. Then select to Show in image presets or Show in video presets as described above. You can select Auto for your quality setting and Cloudinary will automatically apply the compression that achieves the optimal balance between file size and visual quality to your asset.
  • When you click a transformation preset in the Management drill-down page to preview an asset with that preset, it doesn't count against your transformation quota. However, the first time someone views that preset transformation for a specific asset outside the Media Library (open in a browser tab, download, etc.), a derived asset is generated and counts like any other asset transformation.
  • You can make transformation presets available from published collections and Media Portals. When available, external stakeholders accessing published collections or portals can download assets transformed by a preset, instead of, or in addition to, being able to download originals.

    Keep in mind that external stakeholders won't be able to preview the transformation presets. Use descriptive names to make it easier to anticipate what the transformation presets will do.

Strict transformations

When transformations are added to Cloudinary asset delivery URLs the transformed assets are generated dynamically, meaning that if the requested transformed asset does not already exist, then it is created on the fly. This is a powerful feature, but you may not want your end users to play with these options on your assets.

Enabling the Strict transformations setting prevents unexpected transformations from being charged to your account by blocking end users, who have access to your delivered assets via your website or app, from dynamically generating transformations on them.

If this setting is on, you can allow specific named transformations to be used dynamically as an exception.

Enable the Strict Transformations setting in the Security page of the Console Settings. To mark a specific transformation as allowed, open the Named Transformations page of the Console. Next to each transformation you can open the menu and toggle to either allow or restrict the transformation.

Named Transformation UI

Access control modes

When working with Cloudinary's API, there are a few ways you can control who can access an asset and when. These include:

  • Storing an asset with an authenticated or private delivery type.
  • Applying the access_control parameter.

If the first option above is applied on an asset, the asset's current access control mode is indicated in the Media Library with an icon, but you can't apply or modify the setting via the Media Library. It can be applied or modified only programmatically via the API. For more details, see Control access to assets during upload and Media access control on delivery.

The access_control option can be set programmatically via the API or via the Media Library.

Setting access control from the Media Library

If the access control option is enabled for your account or product environment, a DAM administrator can change any asset's access control mode between Public and Restricted directly from the Media Library.

Setting an asset as Restricted means that people can only view that asset outside the Media Library if they have both the asset URL and an authentication token (a special type of validation for ensuring that a person requesting a URL is allowed to access it), except during an optional time-limited date range when the asset is defined as publicly accessible.

If your users need to allow someone access to a restricted asset via a URL, outside the time range that an asset is set as public, work with the developers on your team to generate and distribute the required authentication token. For more details on authentication tokens, see Authenticated access to media assets.

The token option for viewing restricted assets is only available to Enterprise plan customers upon request.

Access control settings dialog box

Time-limited restricted access can be useful if you have an image or video that's intended to be used for a special campaign or that shows a new product design, and it's imperative that the asset will not be shared outside the organization prior to an official launch date. Or conversely, you may have assets that you no longer want the public to be able to view or share after the content is obsolete.

When working with the access_control option, you can change assets from public to restricted, and add or change the time-limited access dates or times without changing the asset's URL in any way. This means that your developers don't need to change the URLs in their code when the access settings for that asset change.

To view or modify access control settings:

You can open the access control settings dialog box (shown above) by clicking the Public Public access control / Restricted Restricted access control access control button in one of the following locations:

  • The Summary tab of the Media Library Preview pane
  • The Asset Management Summary tab

From the dialog box that opens, you can view or change the access control mode between public and restricted, or adjust the time-limited access for restricted assets.

Uploading with access control

If the same access control settings need to be applied to a set of assets being uploaded to the Media Library, you can configure upload preset(s) with the desired restrictions. Set the upload preset(s) as the default Media Library upload presets, and the required access control settings will be automatically applied to the assets being uploaded.

If you don't want to set the upload preset(s) as the default Media Library upload preset(s), users may be able to apply restricted access control settings by uploading assets via the Media Library Upload Widget and selecting the Upload Preset with the desired settings.

Depending on your product environment setup, the Upload Presets option may not be available in the Advanced options of the Media Library Upload Widget. If the option isn't there, you can submit a support request to activate it.

Automatic and manual moderation

It’s sometimes important to moderate assets uploaded to Cloudinary. For example, you might want to keep out inappropriate or offensive content, reject assets that don't answer your needs (e.g., making sure there are visible faces in profile images), or make sure that photos are of high enough quality.

Assets can be sent to moderation, both via the UI and programmatically, as part of the upload flow. In the UI, use upload presets to mark assets for moderation. For more information on programmatically marking assets for moderation on upload, see Moderation of uploaded assets.

You can apply one or more of these moderations to your incoming assets in a single upload action:

  • Automatic moderation: You can subscribe to a variety of add-ons that provide different automatic moderation functionality:
  • Manual moderation: A Cloudinary moderator must personally review, and accept or reject, assets marked for manual moderation from the Moderation page.

    From there, the moderator can actually review all assets marked for moderation, per moderation type and status, and override a decision made by any one of the automatic moderations.

When an asset is sent for moderation, it's marked as Pending as soon as it's uploaded. Depending on the asset and the moderation type, the time it takes for the moderation to resolve may be nearly instantaneous, or it may be a while. For example, it may take some processing time to automatically moderate large videos, whereas moderating an average-sized image is almost immediate when using algorithm based add-ons. If the asset is marked for multiple moderations, the duration of the entire moderation process depends on how long it takes for each individual moderation to resolve.

By default, assets that are marked for moderation are deliverable and available via the Media Library. If you'd like the assets marked for moderation to be blocked (until approved) either from the Media Library, or from being delivered, or from both, contact support.

Marking assets for moderation

You can send incoming assets to be moderated automatically or manually.

To mark assets being uploaded for moderation:

  1. Create an upload preset, select the Upload Control tab, and select one or more of the moderations listed:

    Select moderations
    • If you're configuring an upload preset for automatic moderation, make sure you're already subscribed to its corresponding moderation add-on, or assets uploaded using that preset will fail.
    • When defining an upload preset that may be used for both image and video uploads, you can select both image-specific and video-specific moderations and only the relevant moderations will be applied when a file is uploaded with that preset.
    • The order in which the moderations are listed dictates the order in which the moderations are applied to uploaded assets. For example, if you select the Amazon Rekognition and Duplicate moderations, Amazon Rekognition will be applied to uploaded assets before Duplicate. When selected, Manual moderation is always applied last.
  2. There are two ways to apply the moderation to assets being uploaded:

    Apply the moderation automatically to all the assets uploaded to the Media Library by setting the upload preset with the desired moderation settings as the Media Library upload preset.


    Choose if you want to apply the moderation to assets during each upload. To apply the moderation, upload assets via the Media Library Upload Widget and select the Upload Preset with the desired moderation settings from the Advanced drop-down.
    Depending on your product environment setup, the Upload Presets option may not be available in the Advanced options of the Media Library Upload Widget. If the option isn't there, you can submit a support request to activate it.

Applying multiple moderations

You can mark assets for more than one type of moderation in a single upload action. This might be useful if you want to reject an asset based on more than one criteria, for example, if it's either a duplicate or has inappropriate content. In that case, you might moderate the asset using the Amazon Rekognition as well as the Duplicate moderation.

Status when applying multiple moderations

Each of the moderations selected is, in turn, applied to the uploaded asset. The status of the asset for all moderations is set to pending immediately on upload, and changes to accepted or rejected for each of the moderations that's applied.

The selected moderations are applied and resolved one by one, until either:

  • All selected moderations approve the asset, in which case the final status of the moderation is approved.
  • One of the moderations rejects the asset, in which case the final status of the asset is rejected. The process ends and the remaining moderations are never applied. There's no way to resume moderation once an asset has been rejected.
  • The asset is manually accepted or rejected. This can be done at any point in the process, regardless of the asset's status and whether the asset was originally marked for manual moderation. A manual decision always overrides the automatic ones.

Moderation history

You can view an asset's moderation history to visually track its progress through the moderation process:

  • While moderation is in progress: you can find out which moderations have been applied, which is currently being applied, and which are pending.
  • If an asset's final status is resolved: you can find out which moderation accepted or rejected the asset, and if any moderations weren't applied.

To view an asset's moderation history:

Once you've opened the moderation page and found the asset you're looking for either:

  • Double click the asset to open the Management drill-down and select the Moderation icon.

  • Select the asset and open the Preview Pane, then click the Moderation tab.

See how the moderation changes after each moderation is applied:

Moderation history One moderation applied Moderation history Three moderations applied

Reviewing assets manually

You can manually review assets that are uploaded to Cloudinary and marked for moderation. Users with Master admin, Media Library admin, and Technical admin roles can moderate assets. In addition, Media Library users with the Moderate asset administrator permission can moderate assets in folders that they have Can Edit or Can Manage permissions to.

You can review assets marked for:

  • Manual moderation: Once manual moderation is set up, assets that are uploaded are marked Pending and are displayed on the moderation page. A moderator is responsible for reviewing the pending assets, and accepting or rejecting them based on the appropriateness of the content.

  • Automatic moderation: From this page, you can also view all assets marked for any type of moderation, per moderation type and status. As the decisions made by automatic moderation add-ons are based on advanced algorithms, in some cases you may want to manually override the moderation decision and either approve a previously rejected image or reject an approved one. You can always manually override any decision that was made automatically. If you approve or reject an asset manually, the asset will be considered manually moderated, regardless which automatic moderation it was marked for, and it will be displayed when the Manual filter is selected.

  • Multiple moderation: You can manually override moderation decisions for assets marked for multiple moderations, as well. As each moderation is applied and resolved, the moderation status of the asset changes per moderation, along with where you'll find it on the Moderation page. You can view an asset's moderation history to monitor this progress.

    For more information see Applying multiple moderations.

To review assets:

  1. From the Product Navigation menu, select Moderation.

    Moderation page
  2. Browse the assets. Use the filters to select the moderation type and status of the assets you want to review. Moderation kind filter

    To find assets marked for multiple moderations:
    • While the asset is being processed, filter pending assets under the moderation type currently applied.
    • If the asset's final status is rejected, the asset will be found under the moderation type that rejected it.
    • If the asset's final status is accepted, the asset will be found under the last moderation type that was applied.
    • If the final status was determined manually, the asset will be found under Manual moderation, regardless of whether the asset was originally marked for manual moderation.
  3. Decide to accept or reject them.

Depending on your account or product environment setup, you may also be able to moderate assets that are pending manual moderation directly in the Media Library, and not just from the Moderation page, by selecting Approve or Reject from the (3-dots) options menu on the asset itself, or, after selecting one or more assets, on the asset toolbar.


You can subscribe to a variety of add-ons that offer unique image and/or video processing or delivery capabilities, including celebrity recognition, automatic tagging, background removal, and asset moderation. Some of these add-ons are based on advanced Cloudinary AI functionality and others provide special functionality from a variety of vision and media processing partners. The add-ons are simple to use and fully integrated into Cloudinary's image and video management pipeline.

Subscribing to add-ons

You can see a full list of the add-ons that you can subscribe to and decide which ones best suit your needs.

To subscribe to add-ons:

  1. Click in the Console options sidebar to view add-ons you're already Subscribed to and Available add-ons.

    Available add-ons
  2. Click any add-on in the Available add-ons list to view its card and read its description.

    Add-on card
  3. To register, select a free or a paid plan to subscribe. Make sure the plan you select has the capacity to handle your expected volume.

Only accounts on a paid plan can register for a paid add-on plan. All plans can subscribe to free add-ons plans.

Using add-ons

You can apply add-on functionality to assets during uploads using upload presets. For example, you can set automatic tagging or background removal for all assets uploaded using a specific upload preset.

In addition, users can apply add-on functionality to assets that are already in the Media Library from the Analysis tab of the Manage page.

See an auto-tagging add-on in action from the Analysis tab of the Manage page:

Running an add-on in the Analysis tab of the Manage Page

✔️ Feedback sent!

Rate this page: