Image blobs can have variants that are the result of a set of transformations applied to the original. These variants are used to create thumbnails, fixed-size avatars, or any other derivative image from the original.

Variants rely on MiniMagick for the actual transformations of the file, so you must add gem "mini_magick" to your Gemfile if you wish to use variants.

Note that to create a variant it's necessary to download the entire blob file from the service and load it into memory. The larger the image, the more memory is used. Because of this process, you also want to be considerate about when the variant is actually processed. You shouldn't be processing variants inline in a template, for example. Delay the processing to an on-demand controller, like the one provided in ActiveStorage::RepresentationsController.

To refer to such a delayed on-demand variant, simply link to the variant through the resolved route provided by Active Storage like so:

<%= image_tag Current.user.avatar.variant(resize: "100x100") %>

This will create a URL for that specific blob with that specific variant, which the ActiveStorage::RepresentationsController can then produce on-demand.

When you do want to actually produce the variant needed, call processed. This will check that the variant has already been processed and uploaded to the service, and, if so, just return that. Otherwise it will perform the transformations, upload the variant to the service, and return itself again. Example:

avatar.variant(resize: "100x100").processed.service_url

This will create and process a variant of the avatar blob that's constrained to a height and width of 100. Then it'll upload said variant to the service according to a derivative key of the blob and the transformations.

A list of all possible transformations is available at You can combine as many as you like freely:

avatar.variant(resize: "100x100", monochrome: true, rotate: "-90")


Included Modules


WEB_IMAGE_CONTENT_TYPES = %w( image/png image/jpeg image/jpg image/gif )


[R] blob
[R] variation

Class Public methods

new(blob, variation_or_variation_key)

📝 Source code
# File activestorage/app/models/active_storage/variant.rb, line 47
  def initialize(blob, variation_or_variation_key)
    @blob, @variation = blob, ActiveStorage::Variation.wrap(variation_or_variation_key)
🔎 See on GitHub

Instance Public methods


Returns the receiving variant. Allows ActiveStorage::Variant and ActiveStorage::Preview instances to be used interchangeably.

📝 Source code
# File activestorage/app/models/active_storage/variant.rb, line 75
  def image
🔎 See on GitHub


Returns a combination key of the blob and the variation that together identifies a specific variant.

📝 Source code
# File activestorage/app/models/active_storage/variant.rb, line 58
  def key
🔎 See on GitHub


Returns the variant instance itself after it's been processed or an existing processing has been found on the service.

📝 Source code
# File activestorage/app/models/active_storage/variant.rb, line 52
  def processed
    process unless processed?
🔎 See on GitHub

service_url(expires_in: service.url_expires_in, disposition: :inline)

Returns the URL of the variant on the service. This URL is intended to be short-lived for security and not used directly with users. Instead, the service_url should only be exposed as a redirect from a stable, possibly authenticated URL. Hiding the service_url behind a redirect also gives you the power to change services without updating all URLs. And it allows permanent URLs that redirect to the service_url to be cached in the view.

Use url_for(variant) (or the implied form, like +link_to variant+ or +redirect_to variant+) to get the stable URL for a variant that points to the ActiveStorage::RepresentationsController, which in turn will use this service_call method for its redirection.

📝 Source code
# File activestorage/app/models/active_storage/variant.rb, line 70
  def service_url(expires_in: service.url_expires_in, disposition: :inline)
    service.url key, expires_in: expires_in, disposition: disposition, filename: filename, content_type: content_type
🔎 See on GitHub