I am really and truly excited to release Ansel for ExpressionEngine. Ansel is something I’ve been working on for quite a while. It was first conceived of over two years ago while I was working at Caddis. I asked my friend and Caddis co-owner, Michael, if surely there was not a better way to manage image sizes and constraints in a CMS. Using existing resizing tools was a very frustrating experience because they were all blind cropping tools. What I mean is, sure, you could have a file field to upload an image to, but if you resized it, either with ExpressionEngine manipulations, or with tools for resizing images on the fly in templates, those tools would blindly crop and resize. What we wanted was a way to let the user choose what part of the image to see and stay within defined constraints.

Michael wrote the precursor to what is now Ansel — and I want to be sure to give him credit because without his work on that precursor add-on, Ansel would simply not be possible.

I believed that with polish and carefully considered development, Ansel could be commercially viable. It fills a big need in the content management world. With his blessing, I wrote Ansel from the ground up, but based on many of the original concepts from his original add-on.

And I am very excited to bring Ansel to you today. The concept behind Ansel is simple enough: define constraints on the image, minimum and maximum width and/or height and crop ratio. Then present the content editor with a lasso that lets them select the portion of the image they want within those constraints. As you may know if you’ve ever done any image manipulation, it can be extremely complex. But I’m proud to say that Ansel takes this complexity and makes it work as simply as it sounds.

It is, in many ways, my biggest add-on release yet — and it is the one I am most proud of to date. And because I am proud of it, and confident in the need the it fills and the problem it solves, I want to make you an offer. If you want to test drive Ansel I will be happy to provide you a copy. Just get in touch with me and ask me for a copy to test drive and I’ll get it to you right away.

Of course, as always, to use it on a live site you need to purchase a site license, but I am confident that once you’ve used it, you will want to do just that!