Color adjustment


Uploadcare features a set of operations for adjusting color properties of an image.

The :value parameter controls the strength of any applied adjustment. Ranges of the :value parameter differ between operations. There also is a zero point for each operation — the value producing outputs equal to original images.

Operation:value rangeZero point
/brightness/from -100 to 1000
/exposure/from -500 to 5000
/gamma/from 0 to 1000100
/contrast/from -100 to 5000
/saturation/from -100 to 5000
/vibrance/from -100 to 5000
/warmth/from -100 to 1000

The first three operations: brightness, exposure, and gamma are very similar. Unlike exposure and gamma, brightness works in a straightforward manner: the :value gets added to each color channel; out-of-range values are cut. Thus, when increasing brightness, brighter image features can be lost. Same works for darker features on brightness decrease. Conversely, exposure and gamma compress color values distribution in either lighter or darker areas depending on the provided :value, thus preserving details.

Reduced brightness
Original image
Original image.
Increased brightness
Reduced exposure
Original image
Original image.
Increased exposure
Reduced gamma
Original image
Original image.
Increased gamma

The next three operations adjust color diversity and dynamic range in images:

  • contrast affects both colors and dynamic range; on increase, images lose both bright and dark details.
  • saturation uniformly bumps up color intensity leaving the dynamic range unchanged.
  • vibrance cleverly increases the intensity of muted colors and leaves the well-saturated ones alone. The operation produces more realistic results when applied to typical photos.
Reduced contrast
Original image
Original image.
Increased contrast
Reduced saturation
Original image
Original image.
Increased contrast
Reduced vibrance
Original image
Original image.
Increased vibrance

Last but not least, the warmth operation adjusts color temperature in images.

Reduced warmth
Original image
Original image.
Increased warmth

You can combine any adjustments to achieve the needed outputs. Piping the operations won't get you any performance or precision losses since all adjustments are applied in one pass.

Original image
Original image.
Reduced saturation, increased contrast, and warmth
Old photo effect.
Increased exposure, saturation, and reduced warmth
Fresh view.



Auto-enhances an image by performing the following operations: auto levels, auto contrast, and saturation sharpening. :strength values should be in the range from 0 to 100. The default value is 50.

Original image
Original image. 24Kb
Enhanced image
/enhance/50/ 28Kb
Max enhanced image
/enhance/100/ 32Kb


Desaturates images. The operation has no additional parameters and simply produces a grayscale image output when applied.

Original image
Original image.
Black and white image


Inverts images rendering a 'negative' of the input.

Original image
Original image.
Inverse image



Applies one of predefined photo filters by its :name. The way your images look affects their engagement rates. You apply filters thus providing beautiful images consistent across content pieces you publish.

The :name should be one of the following: adaris, briaril, calarel, carris, cynarel, cyren, elmet, elonni, enzana, erydark, fenralan, ferand, galen, gavin, gethriel, iorill, iothari, iselva, jadis, lavra, misiara, namala, nerion, nethari, pamaya, sarnar, sedis, sewen, sorahel, sorlen, tarian, thellassan, varriel, varven, vevera, virkas, yedis, yllara, zatvel, zevcen.

:amount can be set in the range from -100 to 200 and defaults to 100. The :amount of:

  • 0 stands for no changes in the image, the output is equal to the original.
  • Values in the range from 0 to 100 gradually increase filter strength; 100 makes filters work as designed.
  • Values over 100 emphasizes filter effect: the strength of applied changes.
  • Any negative number would mean subtracting the difference between the filtered and original images from the original. That will produce a "negative filter" effect.
Filtered image
Original image
Original image.
Filtered image
Filtered image

All filters provide predictable outputs with the :value ranging from 0 to 100. For some filter presets, setting the :amount value outside those bounds may produce weird results. For example, all filters producing grayscale outputs will result in a negative image when set to the :amount greater than 100. Set to negative values, those will saturate an image.

Here's how all of our filters look like:

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Color Profile Management

This section covers Image Transformations (or CDN API methods) that provide color profile management and configure Uploadcare’s CDN behavior depending on the size of ICC profiles embedded in images.

Color Models and ICC Profiles

Digital images can be stored in different color models depending on how we use them: whether it is displaying, printing, or something else. The most common model for images intended for viewing is RGB, while CMYK is widely used for printing.

While CMYK images are common, some browsers support them poorly. But more importantly, CMYK support is inconsistent across different browsers. This means that if you happen to serve CMYK images on your site, the colors will vary.

To eliminate the inconsistency, by default, we convert all CMYK images to sRGB. Another drawback of rendering CMYK images on a page is the large size of CMYK ICC profiles (those weight more than a regular 1920x1080 JPEG image). This negatively affects your page performance metrics such as First Meaningful Paint (FMP) and Time to Interactive (TTI).

sRGB converted image
/srgb/fast/, 33Kb
CMYK image converted to sRGB.
sRGB converted image using ICC profile
/srgb/icc/, 33Kb
CMYK image converted to sRGB using ICC profile.
sRGB converted image that includes original ICC profile (increased size)
/srgb/keep_profile/, 617Kb
CMYK image with the original ICC profile. Colors depend on a browser.

In turn, an ICC profile defines how we interpret colors for the given color model. ICC profiles are binary files, which can be either embedded in an image or distributed as is.

With RGB images, embedding a profile is optional. If there is no embed, sRGB is assumed as default color space. Since most of the images on the internet are in sRGB, they commonly don’t include any profile embeds. For CMYK images, an embedded ICC profile is mandatory, while still can be absent. In the last case, we assume that the image is in the “Web Coated (SWOP) v2” color space.

Conversion to sRGB


The operation sets how Uploadcare behaves depending on different color profiles of uploaded images. See the table below to learn more about the possible outcomes. We also provide an option to omit the conversion for the cases where you explicitly want CMYK outputs.

The operation defaults to the fast value. However, we plan to optimize our image processing infrastructure to make icc faster and make it default. Both operations ensure consistently displaying images across different browsers.

Depending on the input color model, the parameter you include in the operation, and threshold you set with max_icc_size, one of the four possible outcomes will occur: profile embedding, profile discarding, color conversion, and fast color conversion.

Input Imagefasticckeep_profile
RGB, small profileembeddingembeddingembedding
RGB, large profilediscardingconversionembedding
CMYK imagefast conversionconversionembedding*

“small profile” and “large profile” stand for profile sizes below and above the max_icc_size setting respectively.

Here is the definition for every possible outcome:

  • Profile embedding: no changes in image model or colors. ICC profile, if present in the source image, stays embedded.
  • Profile discarding: no changes in image model or colors. ICC profile, if present, gets stripped off an image.
  • Color conversion: an image will be converted to sRGB using a full-featured color management system.
  • Fast color conversion is performed using a simple formula which doesn’t consider any color profile and thus provides a result different from a color-managed version.

* While we try to preserve the color model and profile for CMYK images with the -/srgb/keep_profile/ setting, this is not always possible. Certain Image Transformations require RGB color model, and thus we automatically convert the subjected images to sRGB using the icc mode. The list of operations incompatible with CMYK includes: setfill, overlay, enhance, filter, and Color Adjustments.

ICC Profile Size Threshold


The operation defines which RGB color profile sizes will be considered “small” and “large” when using srgb in fast or icc modes. The :number stands for the ICC profile size in kilobytes.

The default value is 10 (10240 bytes). Most of the common RGB profile sizes (sRGB, Display P3, ProPhoto, Adobe RGB, Apple RGB) are below the threshold.

Display P3 color profile image
Image with the original
Display P3 color profile. 25Kb.
No profile
No ICC profile, small color shift. 24.5Kb.