Digital asset management (DAM) overview

Cloudinary's digital asset management solution bridges the gap between asset management and delivery, enabling creative, marketing and development teams to maximize the value of assets, streamline workflows and optimize the end-user experience. The same powerful platform that enables developers to programmatically upload, store, manipulate, and deliver optimized media content also offers an easy-to-use visual platform designed with both creative and technical teams in mind.

Cloudinary DAM workflow

The DAM solution provides:

  • Efficient and rapid upload: Drag-and-drop your media assets to upload them in bulk to the Media Library, or upload assets from various external sources including Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Dropbox or any other external URL.
  • AI-based content analysis: Leverage AI-based content analysis for automatic tagging of images and videos, making your asset library easy to search and browse.
  • Full metadata control: Extract and store existing metadata from your media assets and add or modify custom metadata.
  • Advanced search and discovery: Search for assets using any combination of attributes and filters. For example, you can search by asset type, size, predominant colors, tags, video duration, automatically captured metadata such as number of faces or location data, and more.
  • Dynamic manipulations Dynamically manipulate images and videos using simple controls to resize and crop, apply enhancements, and add filters and effects.
  • Extensible APIs for integrating with your existing workflows: Cloudinary’s APIs and integrations allow your developers to easily integrate Cloudinary's DAM functionality into your existing technology stack. For example, developers can embed the entire Media Library as an inline or modal dialog box in your CMS, PIM system, or other project management tools to better streamline the creation to delivery process. They can also embed the a customized version of the upload widget into your user-facing applications, making it simple for user-generated-content to be uploaded directly to your media library.

We also invite you to check out our video tutorial screencasts to learn more about getting started with Cloudinary and the features it offers.

Media Library overview

The Media Library is the repository of all your digital assets and the main touchpoint into the Cloudinary DAM solution.

When you log into the Cloudinary console and enter the Media Library page, all your assets are displayed.

From this view you can easily perform an advanced search or navigate through folders to find the assets you need, upload new images, videos, audio, or other files in virtually any format, and select multiple assets to perform bulk operations such as delete, add tags, move, download, or review moderated assets.

Media Library main view

Each asset card (thumbnail) in the main page of the Media Library displays basic information about the type and size of the asset. Additionally, when you mouse over the asset, several buttons are displayed on the top of the image.

Media Library single asset

These buttons enable you to:

  • Media Library asset toolbar Select the asset. When you select one or more assets, the bulk operation toolbar is displayed: Media Library asset toolbar
  • Media Library asset toolbar Copy the asset's delivery URL
  • Media Library asset toolbar Manage the asset in the Asset Management drill-down page
  • Media Library asset toolbar Open the Edit page where you can create sophisticated image or video transformations.

A single click on an asset card opens the preview pane where you can perform some simple edits.
Double-clicking an asset card opens the Edit page, where you can apply transformations and modify asset details.

Advanced search

The advanced search feature enables you to search based on a large variety of criteria to find media assets that meet the design and content needs of your application. To open the advanced search form, just click the arrow to the right of the Search bar. As you select search criteria, each one is added to the search bar at the top.

Search tips

  • When you select multiple different criteria, these are treated as 'AND' statements. The results will include only assets that meet all of the different criteria specified.
  • Within an individual criterion that supports multiple values (tags, dominant colors, etc), entering multiple values is treated as an 'OR' statement within that criterion, so the results will include assets with any of the specified values.
  • When you specify a folder to search, the results will include assets that meet the criteria from that folder and all sub-folders.
  • You can also filter the results you see by selecting the media type: Images, Video & Audio, or Others (Raw), from the drop-down to the left of the Search bar, or select All to include all media types.
  • If you need to perform a more complex search or with different AND or OR rules than described above, you can paste a search expression into the Search bar using the Search API expression syntax.
    For example, the following expression will find any image with a width between 800 and 1028 pixels, a 16:9 aspect ratio, and that has BOTH 'sale' and 'shoe' as tag values:
    resource_type:image AND width:{800 TO 1028} AND aspect_ratio:"16:9" AND tags = "sale" AND tags = "shoe"

Search tabs

  • Tags & Metadata - This tab enables a search based on basic criteria such as storage type, tags, context (metadata), when the asset was created (first added to Cloudinary), uploaded (most recently upload), taken (as per the asset's Exif data), and the folder where the asset is stored.

    Search tab: Tags & Metadata


  • Format & Size - Use this tab to add search criteria such as file format, file size or resolution, and orientation.

    Search tab: Tags & Metadata


Tip

Landscape orientation finds assets with aspect ratios wider than 1:1, but less than 2:1.
Panaroma orientation finds assets with aspect ratios that are at least 2:1

  • Image Analysis (Premium feature) - Search for images based on advanced image analysis including the style of the image, the predominant colors of the image, the number of faces (as determined by Cloudinary's built-in face detection algorithm), or the location of a photo. These criteria are valuable for helping you search for assets that will fit design or content requirements. If this tab is disabled, contact us for information on adding image analysis search capabilities to your account.

    Search tab: Tags & Metadata


Note
All of the search capabilities available in these tabs and more, are also available to the developer team via the Search API.

Upload and store media assets

The Media Library provides a variety of ways to upload media to your Cloudinary account from a variety of sources.

  • Drag and Drop - Just drag and drop any media file to the main Media Library page to upload with default settings.
  • Quick upload from file system - Click the + button on the left of the main Upload button to automatically open your file system folders and select the file to upload with the default settings.
  • Upload from various sources - If you want to select a file from a source other than your computer, or you want to set advanced settings, click the Upload button to open the Upload Widget. From the widget you can:
    • Upload from remote sources such as a URL, Google search, DropBox, and more.
    • Upload multiple files
    • Use the Advanced options to set the public ID and/or tags for all the media you select for upload.

Media Library upload widget

Watch the Media Library Upload video tutorial to see this in action.

When you upload assets to Cloudinary, they are stored in cloud storage buckets (by default, Amazon S3) with all of the backups, versioning, and replication that are standard with leading cloud storage vendors. For more technical details about Cloudinary storage and delivery, see Service architecture.

Uploading Tips and Guidelines

  • By default, the public ID (the file name that will be used in the URL) is based on the filename of the selected files, either with or without a random suffix, depending on the options set in your account settings.

  • You can specify any public ID using the Advanced options in the Upload Widget. You can also use the Advanced options to specify tag(s) to assign to all assets that you upload in this upload session.
    Keep in mind that you must set the Advanced options before you select the files to upload.
    Additionally, note that if you set a public ID and then select multiple media assets, they all get the same public ID with a counter suffix.

  • Upload Presets are a predefined set of upload preferences. For example, you can create an upload preset that applies one or more auto-tagging add-ons, so that every uploaded asset will be tagged according to automatically detected categories, or you may want to activate manual or automated moderation for all assets.

    Upload presets can be defined in the Upload page of the console Settings or by a developer via the Admin API. If you want to have more fine control over the way all assets are uploaded via the Media Library upload widget, you (or another account user) can define a signed upload preset for your account and then set that preset as the Media Library's upload preset. See also: Asset management settings.

  • Keep in mind that different users in your account may have different permissions, and not all user roles have permissions to upload assets.

Note
Your developer team can also embed the upload widget shown above in other applications using the javascript-based upload widget API. This can make it easier for all the creative and marketing teams in your organization to upload assets to Cloudinary from within the tools they are used to. Additionally, your developers can embed the upload widget (with a customized look and feel) in your organization's user-facing applications to enable your customers to easily upload user-generated content directly to your Media Library.

The developers in your organization can also upload media assets programmatically using the Upload API. More information on this can be found in the Image Upload Guide, Video Upload Guide, and Upload API Reference.

Organizing assets in folders

You can create folders and sub-folders to organize your assets. If you use folders, you can use the Folders button, located at the top left of the Media Library, to display or hide the folder pane. The folders you create become part of the asset's delivery URL, which can also be valuable for SEO purposes.

When using folders, keep in mind the following:

  • When you first enter the Media Library, the Home folder displays all assets from all folders.
  • When you select to view an individual folder, only the assets in that folder are displayed (and not those in sub-folders). However, when specifying a folder in the Advanced Search options, the results will include relevant assets within the selected folder and sub-folders.
  • You can filter the asset types displayed in a folder by selecting the asset type: All, Images, Video & Audio, or Others (Raw)
  • You can create folders and sub-folders, delete folders, and move selected assets from one folder to another.

Important
As mentioned above, the folder path where you store an asset is included in the delivery URL. You should take this into account in your folder naming policy. Additionally, keep in mind that this means that moving an asset from one folder to another changes the asset's URL. If you move an asset that is already in use in your website or application, the relevant code must be updated accordingly. Otherwise, the references to your delivered assets will break.

Managing individual media assets

The asset management drill-down page enables you to view, set, or adjust summary, metadata, and analysis data for a specific media asset.

You can open the asset management drill-down page by clicking the Manage button from a variety of locations, including the asset card buttons, the Preview pane, and the Edit page.

  • Summary tab - Enables you to view basic details about the asset and to manually update the tag list.
  • Metadata tab - Enables you to add or edit custom metadata for the asset.
  • Analysis tab - Relevant for images only. Enables you to view the results of automated AI analyses that have already been performed on the asset. Cloudinary runs some of these analyses automatically on every asset. Others require registration to an add-on. If you are not already registered for a particular add-on, you can register for the add-on's free tier and run the engine on the displayed asset directly from this pane.

    Asset Management Analysis tab



    All analysis data is stored with your asset and can be used as the basis for a variety of asset management features:

    • Auto-tagging - Utilizes one or more auto-tagging add-ons, each of which apply deep learning AI models to identify types of objects in your image and return the list of categories it finds. You can adjust the confidence level to view additional categories or limit the list to those with a higher confidence level. You can then mark specific categories to add them as tags on your asset, or choose the option to add all the displayed categories as tags.
    • Face and Celebrity detection - Utilizes various algorithms and AI engines to determine the number and location of faces in your image. For celebrity detection, it also indicates the names of any celebrities detected and the accuracy confidence level. Each face/celebrity detection option displays the coordinates of the faces it finds in the form of color-coded frames within the preview pane on the right. You can use the show/hide buttons for each engine to show or hide these frames. The detected faces data can be used for a number of face-detection options. For example, this data can be used to add overlays to every captured face, to blur or pixelate faces, or to apply face-detection based cropping so that you never crop out a face, and more. For the built-in face detection, you also have the option to adjust, add, or remove face coordinates (frames) and save the new face data with your image.
    • Area of interest - Enables you to define a custom-area of interest. This area will then be taken into account, or in some cases override other special areas, when Cloudinary programmatically crops, applies overlays, or performs other area-based transformations.
    • OCR - Captures text inside your images. Each phrase (line of text) that it captures is displayed in the tab and highlighted in the preview pane. Similar to face-detection, you can add overlays to cover text, blur or pixelate text, or ensure that text doesn't get cut off if your images are automatically cropped for delivery.
    • Color analysis - Gives you information about the main colors in your image. Cloudinary can use these colors to automatically add background padding to images in a color that looks good with your image. If you have access to the Image Analysis tab (premium) of the Media Library's advanced search, you can search for images based on their predominant colors. And of-course your developers can retrieve these colors to implement color-related functionality in your application.

    Tip
    Data returned from the Analysis tab is also available to developers via API, which enables them to use it to implement additional functionality in your user-facing applications. For example, they can extract the detected text returned from the OCR add-on or retrieve the colors returned from the color analysis to implement color-related functionality in your application UI.

Asset management settings

Your account settings include a large number of preferences that influence how your media is uploaded, stored, and delivered. These settings can affect both DAM users and developers.

The following sections describe only those settings that are specifically relevant to Digital Asset Management activities. Each organization should review all options and determine the settings that best answer your organization's needs.

Upload settings

The Upload tab of the console settings includes options that impact the default behavior applied to media when you upload it to your account. Those you may want to pay special attention to include:

Automatic backup - Determines whether every uploaded file is securely backed up, including support for multiple revisions. When enabled, the backups increase your account's storage usage.

Use file name in Media Library - Controls how Cloudinary assigns public ID values to each file uploaded via the Media Library. The public ID is the name that Cloudinary uses to reference the asset. The ID does not include a file extension (except for raw type) and must be unique within a particular asset type: image, video/audio, or other (raw).

  • When this option is set to Yes, the public ID is automatically named according to the filename (without file extension for images and video/audio). If you upload another file with the same name and asset type (even if it has a different file extension), you will be asked if you want to overwrite the existing media asset.

  • When this option is set to No, the public ID uses a combination of the filename and a random suffix, such that every uploaded file gets a unique ID, and thus will not replace existing assets.

Media Library's upload preset - The name of the upload preset to apply to all Media Library uploads. For more details, see: Uploading tips and guidelines.

User settings

The Users tab of the console settings includes your personal user profile details. If you are an account administrator, this tab also includes settings that impact all account users as well as the option to add or modify individual users and permissions.

SAML login - This option enables the Cloudinary account administrator to activate SSO login. This can enable users in your organization to login using the same authentication system that you use for other SSO-supported applications. Contact your account administrator for details.

List of users - Enables viewing and managing all account users, including adding users, removing users, changing their roles, and more. This list is visible only to users with the role Master admin or Admin.

Asset usage reports

There are a few locations in the Cloudinary console where you can view statistics, graphs, and other important information about your account usage:

Dashboard - Just below the account details in your Dashboard, you can view a variety of summary details and trend graphs covering your overall account usage in terms of transformations, total assets, used storage, and used bandwidth. This page also shows all add-ons you've registered to, and your current plan and usage on each.

Dashboard statistics

On the right side of the Dashboard page, you can also view your current plan and limits or upgrade to a new plan.

Account plan limits

Reports - The Reports page has a large variety of usage details that can help you to analyze how your users are interacting with your published assets. The image below shows selected elements of the report:

Sample DAM reports

Role-based permissions

Each user in your Cloudinary account is assigned a role. This role controls the operations a user can perform on your account and the areas of the Cloudinary console that they can view or change.

  • Master admin - Full access to every element of the Cloudinary console, including user management and billing, and full permissions to use all Cloudinary functionality.

  • Admin - Same as a master admin, except that they do not have access to billing areas.

  • Technical Admin - Same as an Admin, except they do not have access to the List of users area of the User Settings.

  • Billing - Can access only billing-related areas of the Cloudinary console.

  • Reports - Can access only reporting details in the Cloudinary console, including those in the Dashboard and in the Reports pages.

  • Editor - Full read-write access to all areas of the Cloudinary console that are related to asset management.

  • Contributor - Can upload new assets, but has read-only access to existing content. For example, they can't delete, modify, or move asset. Additionally, they can view, but can't modify values or settings in asset management areas of the console.

  • Viewer - Limited to view-only access to the asset management areas of the console. They can't upload or modify any content or settings.

Media Library widget

The Media Library widget enables a developer from your organization to embed Cloudinary's Media Library into your organization's CMS, PIM system, or other project management tools with just a few lines of JavaScript code. The integration provides all the benefits of Cloudinary's responsive Media Library UI with its rich search capabilities and optimized media asset delivery. This means that people in your organization can easily upload new content or search for and insert existing media assets into other application editors directly from your Cloudinary account in a way that fits seamlessly with your team's existing digital asset management workflow.

Sample Media Library widget

For implementation details, see Media Library widget.