Fake beautiful images in Laravel

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

If you seed your local database with model factories, you probably use the fresh faker library (as the original faker library has been deprecated). And if you need some random images to populate you pages, the faker library has your back.

<?php

namespace Database\Factories;

use App\Models\Media;
use Illuminate\Database\Eloquent\Factories\Factory;

class MediaFactory extends Factory
{
protected $model = Media::class;

public function definition()
{
$fakerFileName = $this->faker->image(
storage_path("app/data"),
800,
600
);

return [
...
'url' => $this->faker->imageUrl(800,600),
'file_path' => "app/data/" . basename($fakerFileName),
];
}
}

Once seeded, you got all your medias populated with placeholders. By default they come from a service called placeholder.com. Your image urls look something like :

https://via.placeholder.com/800x600.png/00aaee?text=debitis

It works perfectly. But even as a backend dev, I must admit : it is a visual pain.

Ugly random content

Thankfully, there is a service providing beautiful photos for free called picsum. And you can benefit from it, with an additional faker provider. Here is a quick way to set it up.

First, add the package as a dev dependency:

composer require --dev smknstd/fakerphp-picsum-images

Then you can generate a new Laravel service provider via the artisan command:

php artisan make:provider FakerServiceProvider

Inside add a singleton, that loads the given provider to the faker :

use Faker\{Factory, Generator};
use Illuminate\Support\ServiceProvider;
use Smknstd\FakerPicsumImages\FakerPicsumImagesProvider;

class FakerServiceProvider extends ServiceProvider
{
public function register()
{
$this->app->singleton(Generator::class, function () {
$faker = Factory::create();
$faker->addProvider(new FakerPicsumImagesProvider($faker));
return $faker;
});
}
}

Now we should register this provider. Ideally it should be conditional and probably don’t be registered on production environment. So in your “AppServiceProvider” you could add something like :

public function register()
{
...
if (!$this->app->environment('production')) {
$this->app->register('App\Providers\FakerServiceProvider');
}
}

And … you’re done. Now every time, you’ll create a new media with model factory you’ll get a nice random photo instead of an ugly placeholder. Your urls now look like this :

https://picsum.photos/800/600?random=12965

And your pages could look something like:

Much better, right ?

There are also some more options. You could get the specific photos with its id instead of a random one. You could also ask for webp file format or add filters like grayscale or blurry effect.

Webp photos both blurry and gray

That’s all for today. Happy faking !

Coder at Code16 / twitter: @smknstd