Image Scale and Fill Background: To Fit Images into Layouts Without Cropping

Image Scale and Fill Background

Vimal Joseph, Head of Technology at The Drop Times, and Director of Marketing Technology at Zyxware Technologies, recently announced the development of a new Drupal module to enhance image integration within digital content layouts. This tool, dubbed the "Image Scale and Fill Background" module, was introduced in a detailed LinkedIn post by Vimal.

Traditionally, images with varying sizes and aspect ratios present a challenge when integrating them into fixed website layouts, often requiring cropping or editing to fit without compromising visual integrity. Drupal has previously addressed this issue with modules that offer smart cropping or allow content creators to select crop areas during the upload process manually. However, a novel approach was suggested by Sebin Jacob, editor-in-chief at The DropTimes, who pointed out the time-consuming nature of these methods for publication, which feature multiple display modes with differing aspect ratios.

Drupal logos

Sebin proposed an alternative technique that involves creating a canvas of the desired image size, filling it with a blurred version of the image, and then overlaying the original image. This method maintains the original image's color integrity and quality while avoiding cropping, providing a solution that has proved effective in most use cases. 

Motivated by this idea, Vimal spearheaded the development of the new module over a weekend, employing peer programming alongside the AI platform ChatGPT. The result was a working prototype that includes several key features:

  • Automatic Gaussian blur of the image for the background, customizable to various levels.
  • An option to use the dominant color of the image as the background.
  • The creation of vertical or horizontal gradients based on the dominant image color.

The module is now available as alpha1 on Drupal.org, and Vimal invites the Drupal community to test the module and provide feedback through the issue queue. This feedback will be crucial for further performance optimizations and enhancements before the module is implemented on The DropTimes.

Images of an event

In the given image, the group photo of an event has the background in two prominent colors of the image's color palette, with a gradient applied, which is fine. Then the image itself, with its original aspect ratio and pixel rate, is centered. How would it turn out if, instead of going for that background, the BG is, say, a 66% transparent version of the blown-up image itself?

asked Sebin in a comment to the LinkedIn Post. He recommends that one should be able to identify the original image in a scaled-up size distantly from the blurred background. 

But Vimal reasoned that this might not always look good. The transparency level of the background can be adjusted in the module. It is not dynamic, though. Once a level is fixed, it will be applied site-wide. To avoid ugliness, it would be wiser to use prominent colors of the image's color palette to create a gradient. 

"I’ve been thinking about something like this for a while for Drupal. Kudos to you for bringing it to life!"

lauded Avi Schwab.

Vimal Joseph's new module helps with image manipulation on content management systems, especially when a single image has to be used with varying aspect ratios on separate pages. It offers a creative solution to a common issue digital content creators face. Read the full post here.

Disclosure: This content is produced with the assistance of AI.

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