Quick cropping tool for 4:3 and 16:9 for FLEX

Nick 8 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Christine Masters 2 years ago 19

With FLEX's reliance on 4:3 and 16:9 cropping it would seem that many photos will end up cropping off the subject in order to adhere to the ratio. And most sites surely have some blocks that pull an asset in 16:9 and others that pull the same asset in 4:3. I propose a quick-crop tool that allows users to select crops for both ratios without the user having to work out the math or upload a previously cropped photo.

I'm thinking something like the image below that would allow users to select the ratio in a dropdown box and blocks would pull the appropriate ratio.

Image 155

Would anyone else with FLEX use that?

I would like the ability to save a related image as a thumbnail so I can crop it to fit on the homepage or wherever the thumbnail will appear without changing the photo shown in the article. I think this could be done alongside your suggestion. Thanks!


Unless I'm misunderstanding what you're talking about you can already do that with the "Preview" tab seen here...

This leaves the image alone in the story but crops it whenever it's loaded as a preview.

That's cool, thanks. But how to do you set that to the ratio in which it will appear on the homepage or as a thumbnail on a landing page, etc.


That's what my post was about. Sorry, didn't realize we were talking about the same thing but it sounds like we are.


That feature would be great. Most recently I noticed how much harder it is to use the window in which to make the crop. I'm not sure what to suggest to make it more user-friendly but it's really wide and hard to scroll around to "set the crop."


I think I get what you mean. I've noticed the photo is often times much bigger than the browser window so you have to scroll around the window to get the correct crop.


The ability to zoom out on that image editor screen would be golden too. Since we import photos from TCMS, the images are often far larger than the window, making cropping a pain since there is no way to zoom out and see the whole image.


I'm working on this now. I am pitching something like the following:

- Ratio boxes in the cropping tool to help you crop to the right size.

- Previews specific to each ratio size, so you could THEORETICALLY (not mandatory) have different crops at different ratios.

- A new extreme horizontal ratio like 8:3 which would be good for some slideshows or graphical designs. Is there a standard ratio for extreme horizontal?

- Any other ratios to support other than 1:1, 4:3, 16:9, 8:3?

(Fixing zoom awkwardness with the cropping tool is another, separate, planned improvement.)


Maybe 2:3 for mugshots? Flex doesn't typically crop the mugshots, but it could help with consistency between mugs...

So the ratios could be:

1:1 (square)
2:3 (mugshot)
4:3 (rectangle)
16:9 (widescreen)

8:3 (extreme horizontal)


As long as you can disable a fixed ratio and type in whatever measurements you want, I think that's a good list.


I also am having trouble providing accurate guidance to our editors and authors with regards to thumbnails and image ratios.

There is an elegant feature in the Squarespace CMS that allows you to set a critical center point of any image (usually the center of a face on a portrait or mugshot. See example below)

This point will be used as the center on any deployed ratio without need for special cropping. The problem with Blox's method of setting a preview crop is that I never want to use just one ratio. I use the 16:9 for our HomePage Top Story, 4:3 for our HomPage Featured Stories, and 1:1 for Homepage Mobile Featured.

This feature is very intuitive (users simply select the part of the image that they most want to preserve.) And, it reduces the risk of "overcropping" mentioned above, that causes Blox to stretch images creating those giant blury thumbnails.

Note: I'm a relatively new blox Flex user at the Ithaca Times in Ithaca, NY.


Marshall Hopkins

Hi Marshall!

We have a feature request that we've been working on where we use facial detection (looking for patterns that represent a person's face) and photo entropy (looking for patterns which represent the subject versus the background) to create an automatic "gravity" point, around which we would then automatically crop the image. This is the plan, though it may change as we develop and test, of course.

Then, we would allow users to change this focal point, similar to the image you're showing.

We hope to get this later this year!


Any progress on this feature? 


Yes! Any progress?

I hereby formally enter a feature request!

Facial detection sound nice, but it would not prevent the awkward cropping of text within an image. See example here:

I could set my own crop in the image asset, but then I might ruin how the image is working on other parts of the site. See example 2:

I think the squarespace solution is better, because it would allow a human to point to the most critical point of the image. and Blox could would protect that point when cropping. If no critical point is designated then crop to the center as it is now, I believe.

Let me know what you think.




Where are we with assigning a ratio in the preview or teaser image set-crop dialogue? 

Facial recognition and critical-point stuff sounds overly complicated compared with just choosing a crop tool with a set ratio, or having 4:3 (or another) set as your default crop size. 

Desperate here! Thanks! 


Happy 2019 everyone. Image cropping in Blox is still time-consuming, awkward and inaccurate.