June 2021
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In this tutorial, we are going to make a simple web app that allows you to drag a photo from your computer into the browser window, and apply instagram-like filters on it. For this purpose we are going to use a number of JavaScript libraries and plugins:

Also a big thanks goes to Jenn and Tony Bot for their photo.


The first step is to write the HTML of the example:


<!DOCTYPE html><html>
<meta charset="utf-8"/>
<title>Instagram-like Filters with jQuery | Tutorialzine Demo</title>
<link href="assets/css/style.css" rel="stylesheet"/>
<!-- Include the Yanone Kaffeesatz font -->
<link href=",200" rel="stylesheet"/>
<h1>Instagram <b>Filters</b></h1>
<div id="photo">
<div id="filterContainer">
	<ul id="filters">
		<li><a href="#" id="normal">Normal</a></li>
		<li><a href="#" id="vintage">Vintage</a></li>
		<li><a href="#" id="lomo">Lomo</a></li>
		<li><a href="#" id="clarity">Clarity</a></li>
		<li><a href="#" id="sinCity">Sin City</a></li>
		<!-- 14 More filters go here -->
<!-- Libraries -->
<script src=""></script>
<script src="assets/js/filereader.min.js"></script>
<script src="assets/js/caman.full.js"></script>
<script src="assets/js/jquery.mousewheel.min.js"></script>
<script src="assets/js/script.js"></script>

In addition to the libraries mentioned in the intro, I am also including the script.js file which hosts the code that we will be writing in a few moments. In the head section, I am including the Yanone Kaffeesatz font from Google Web Fonts.

Instagram Filter App

The JavaScript/jQuery

To make the app work, we will have to do the following:

  1. Accept an image on drag and drop;
  2. Create a new canvas element (original), with a max sizeof 500x500px (customizable) and keep it in memory;
  3. Listen for clicks on the filters. When one is selected:

Now that we know what has to be done, let’s start coding!


$(function () {
    var maxWidth = 500,
        maxHeight = 500,
        photo = $('#photo'),
        originalCanvas = null,
        filters = $('#filters li a'),
        filterContainer = $('#filterContainer'); // Use the fileReader plugin to listen for 	
    // file drag and drop on the photo div:  	
        on: {
            load: function (e, file) { // An image has been dropped.  				
                var img = $('').appendTo(photo),
                    imgWidth, newWidth, imgHeight, newHeight, ratio; // Remove canvas elements left on the page 				
                // from previous image drag/drops.  				
                filters.removeClass('active'); // When the image is loaded successfully, 				
                // we can find out its width/height:  				
                img.load(function () {
                    imgWidth = this.width;
                    imgHeight = this.height; // Calculate the new image dimensions, so they fit 					
                    // inside the maxWidth x maxHeight bounding box  					
                    if (imgWidth >= maxWidth || imgHeight >= maxHeight) { // The image is too large, 						
                        // resize it to fit a 500x500 square!  						
                        if (imgWidth > imgHeight) { // Wide 							
                            ratio = imgWidth / maxWidth;
                            newWidth = maxWidth;
                            newHeight = imgHeight / ratio;
                        } else { // Tall or square 							
                            ratio = imgHeight / maxHeight;
                            newHeight = maxHeight;
                            newWidth = imgWidth / ratio;
                    } else {
                        newHeight = imgHeight;
                        newWidth = imgWidth;
                    } // Create the original canvas.  					

                    originalCanvas = $('');
                    var originalContext = originalCanvas[0].getContext('2d'); // Set the attributes for centering the canvas  					
                        width: newWidth,
                        height: newHeight
                        marginTop: -newHeight / 2,
                        marginLeft: -newWidth / 2
                    }); // Draw the dropped image to the canvas 					
                    // with the new dimensions 					
                    originalContext.drawImage(this, 0, 0, newWidth, newHeight); // We don't need this any more 					
                    // Trigger the default "normal" filter 					
                }); // Set the src of the img, which will 				
                // trigger the load event when done:  				
            beforestart: function (file) { // Accept only images. 				
                // Returning false will reject the file.  				
                return /^image/.test(file.type);
    }); // Listen for clicks on the filters (e) {
        var f = $(this);
        if ('.active')) { // Apply filters only once 		
            return false;
        f.addClass('active'); // Clone the canvas 	
        var clone = originalCanvas.clone(); // Clone the image stored in the canvas as well 	
        clone[0].getContext('2d').drawImage(originalCanvas[0], 0, 0); // Add the clone to the page and trigger 	
        // the Caman library on it  	
        var effect = $.trim(f[0].id);
        Caman(clone[0], function () {
            // If such an effect exists, use it:  	
            if (effect in this) {
    }); // Use the mousewheel plugin to scroll 	// scroll the div more intuitively  
    filterContainer.find('ul').on('mousewheel', function (e, delta) {
        this.scrollLeft -= (delta * 50);

This example works in all browsers which support file drag/drop. Some of the filters are computationally intensive, so you will get a bit of a lag before the results show on screen. I have limited the maximum width/height of the image to be 500px in order to speed things up a bit, but you can change these values  to your liking.


It would be cool to combine this example with our Photobooth tutorial and end up with a real Instagram-like app in your browser. But I will leave this as an exercise for the reader


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