A Django thumbnailer aimed at cloud-based (S3, Cloud Files) storage backends. This app generates thumbnails during upload, avoiding the disk IO associated with dynamic thumb generation.
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Pull request Compare This branch is 37 commits behind gtaylor:master.
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.



Storing images and their thumbnails on S3 is a bit of a clumbsy endeavor with Django. While this Django app may work with more typical storage backends, it is intended to accept image uploads, thumbnail them, and upload the original plus the thumbs to S3. You may then get to the thumbnails in your template by doing something like:

<img src="{% thumbnail some_obj.image '80x80' %}" />

This automatically assembles the remote S3 URL to retrieve the thumbnail from. No error checking is done, and several assumptions are made for the sake of speed.

Advantages of django-athumb

The primary advantage of django-athumb is that, unlike sorl and others, thumbnails are generated at the time of user uploading the original image. Instead of generating thumbs on-demand and making the user wait, we get that out of the way from the beginning. This leads to a few big benefits:

  • We never check for the existence of a file, after the first save/upload. We assume it exists, and skip a whole lot of Disk I/O trying to determine that. This was horrendously slow on sorl + S3, as it had to hit a remote service every time it wanted to know if a thumbnail needed generating.
  • Since we define every possible thumbnail in advance via models.py, we have a defined set of possible values. They can also be more intelligently named than other packages. It is also possible to later add more sizes/thumbs.
  • This may be ran on your own hardware with decent speed. Running it on EC2 makes it just that much faster.

All code is under a BSD-style license, see LICENSE for details.

Source: http://github.com/duointeractive/django-athumb


  • python >= 2.5
  • django >= 1.0
  • boto
  • PIL


To install run

python setup.py install

which will install the application into python's site-packages directory.







If you want S3 storage as your default file back-end:

# If you don't want this to be the global default, just make sure you
# specify the S3BotoStorage_AllPublic backend on a per-field basis.
DEFAULT_FILE_STORAGE = 'athumb.backends.s3boto.S3BotoStorage_AllPublic'

Then setup some values used by the backend:

AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID = 'YourS3AccessKeyHere'
AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY = 'YourS3SecretAccessKeyHere'

If you would like to use a vanity domain instead of s3.amazonaws.com, you first should configure it in amazon and then add this to settings:

AWS_STORAGE_BUCKET_CNAME = 'static.yourdomain.com'

Using in models

After you have all of the above configured, you're ready to start using athumb in your models. Here is an example model with a thumbnailing field.

from django.db import models
from athumb.fields import ImageWithThumbsField
from athumb.backends.s3boto import S3BotoStorage_AllPublic

# It is generally good to keep these stored in their own module, to allow
# for other models.py modules to import the values. This assumes that more
# than one model stores stuff in the same bucket.
PUBLIC_MEDIA_BUCKET = S3BotoStorage_AllPublic(bucket='public-media')

class YourModel(models.Model)
    image = ImageWithThumbsField(
            ('50x50_cropped', {'size': (50, 50), 'crop': True}),
            ('60x60', {'size': (60, 60)}),
            ('80x1000', {'size': (80, 1000)}),
            ('front_page', {'size': (120, 1000)}),
            ('medium', {'size': (161, 1000)}),
            ('large', {'size': (200, 1000)}),
        blank=True, null=True,

A few things to note:

  • The tuples in thumbs are in the format of (name, options). The value for name can be whatever string you'd like. Notice that you can make the names dimensions, or something entirely different.
  • The storage keyword is important, used for specifying the bucket for the field. If you don't specify storage, the default backend is used. As a shortcut, you could set S3BotoStorage_AllPublic as your default backend, and the AWS_* values would determine the default bucket.


django-athumb comes with a simplified s3boto backend, modified from those found in the django-storages project. For most cases, you'll want to use athumb.backends.s3boto.S3BotoStorage_AllPublic, as it does not use HTTPS, and is a good bit faster than S3BotoStorage because it makes some assumptions.

NOTE: This module is primarily aimed at storing and serving images to/from S3. I have not tested it at all with the standard Django Filesystem backend, though it should work.

Template Tags

When referring to media in HTML templates you can use custom template tags. These tags can by accessed by loading the athumb template tag collection.

{% load thumbnail %}

If you'd like to make the athumb tags global, you can add the following to your master urls.py file:

from django.template import add_to_builtins

Some backends (S3) support https URLs when the requesting page is secure. In order for the https to be detected, the request must be placed in the template context with the key 'request'. This can be done automatically by adding 'django.core.context_processors.request' to TEMPLATE_CONTEXT_PROCESSORS in settings.py


Returns the URL for the specified thumbnail size (as per the object's models.py Model class):

{% thumbnail some_obj.image '50x50_cropped' %}

or, to save the value in a template context variable:

{% thumbnail some_obj.image 'front_page' as 'some_var' %}

As long as you've got Django's request context processor in, the thumbnail tag will detect when the current view is being served over SSL, and automatically convert any http to https in the thumbnail URL. If you want to always force SSL for a thumbnail, add it as an argument like this:

{% thumbnail some_obj.image '60x60' force_ssl=True %}

To put the thumbnail URL on the context instead of just rendering it, finish the tag with as [context_var_name]:

{% thumbnail image '60x60' as 'thumb' %}
<img src="{{thumb}}" />


  • See the issue tracker for a list of outstanding things needing doing.

Change Log


  • Complete re-work of the way thumbnails are specified in models.py.
  • Removal of the attribute-based image field size retrieval, since we no longer are just limited to dimensions.
  • Further misc. improvements.


  • Initial release.