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Image processing in PHP

PHP is not limited to creating just HTML output. It can also be used to create and manipulate image files in a variety of different image formats, including gif, png, jpg, wbmp, and xpm.

Even more convenient, PHP can output image streams directly to a browser. You will need to compile PHP with the GD library of image functions for this to work. GD and PHP may also require other libraries, depending on which image formats you want to work with.

You can use the image functions in PHP to get the size of JPEG, GIF, PNG, SWF, TIFF and JPEG2000 images.

Image processing Requirement

PHP needs GD to process images. Since PHP 4.3 there is a bundled version of the GD lib. This bundled version has some additional features like alpha blending, and should be used in preference to the external library since its codebase is better maintained and more stable.

For PHP 5, which with GD bundled, you will also be able to create and manipulate images.

The format of images you are able to manipulate depend on the version of GD you install, and any other libraries GD might need to access those image formats. Versions of GD older than gd-1.6 support GIF format images, and do not support PNG, where versions greater than gd-1.6 and less than gd-2.0.28 support PNG, not GIF. GIF support was re-enabled in gd-2.0.28.

GD installation

If you use PHP version newer than 4.3, you don't need to install GD since it is bundled. But this feature is turned off by default. GD library requires libpng and libjpeg to compile.

For windows users, you need enable GD by changing php.ini. you need include GD2 DLL. Open php.ini in your favorite editor, find ;extension=php_gd2.dll then remove the semicolon before it, it will be extension=php_gd2.dll. Save your php.ini and reboot your web server like the following (like we did in Install phpMyAdmin,MySql, PHP )

  • Open a DOS console window, type following command:
  • Shut down IIS server -- (net stop iisadmin)
  • Restart IIS -- (net start w3svc)
  • Or reboot your PC.

Check GD bundle in PHP

After you reboot your webserver(or PC), you might want to check if GD library has been enabled or not.

Saving the following code to a .php file.


Load this file in your browser like http://localhost/info.php or If your GD library is enabled, you should be able to see the following information in the browser.

php image processing, gd library


Congratulations. You will be able to do some image processing tricks in PHP and GD library now.

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