Bethan Palmer

Bethan is a Java developer and product manager for JPedal at IDRsolutions. She has spoken at conferences including JavaOne and NetBeans day and has a degree in English Literature.

How to read and write images in Java

1 min read

In this post I will show you how to read and write image files in Java. I will demonstrate 2 different ways of doing this. The first is with the ImageIO class, and the second is with the JDeli image library. Both provide encoding and decoding of images.

How to read images in Java

Reading images in Java involves converting external image formats (e.g. JPEG, PNG etc) into an internal format (i.e. BufferedImage) that can be used by a Java program.

One way to read an image in Java is to use ImageIO. For example the following code could be used to read a PNG file:

File imageFile = new File("path\\to\\image\\example-png.png");
BufferedImage image = ImageIO.read(imageFile);

To see which image types can be read with ImageIO, the getReaderFormatNames() method will return an array of Strings containing the file types that can understood by the current set of registered readers.

An alternative to ImageIO is JDeli, our Java Image Library. JDeli can easily be swapped in to replace ImageIO, as it also has static read and write methods. The only change you would need to make in the above code would be to change the ImageIO class to JDeli:

BufferedImage image = JDeli.read(imageFile);

All file types that can be read by JDeli can be found in our documentation.

How to write images in Java

Writing an image in Java involves converting an internal image format (BufferedImage) to an external format (e.g. JPEG, PNG etc).

If I wanted to write the BufferedImage I created in the previous example to a Tiff file, I could do the following using ImageIO:

File outputFile = new File("path\\to\\image\\example-tiff.tiff");
ImageIO.write(image, "TIFF", outputFile);

To see which image types ImageIO write out, the getWriterFormatNames() method will return an array of Strings containing the file types that can understood by the current set of registered writers.

Or with JDeli:

JDeli.write(image, JDeli.OutputFormat.TIFF, outputFile);

All file types that JDeli can write to can be found in our documentation.

ImageIO or JDeli?

ImageIO is the only supported solution that Java provides for reading and writing images as part of the JDK and it is free. However it has several issues and has not seen much improvement in any recent releases. We decided to stop using it in our own commercial code some time ago. Instead, we developed our own improved Java image library, JDeli.

JDeli offers much better support for Tiff, JPEG and JPEG2000 than ImageIO and supports additional image formats such as DICOM, PSD, SGI and WEBP. It is a pure Java solution and is actively being developed (see our roadmap for 2018 here).

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Bethan Palmer

Bethan is a Java developer and product manager for JPedal at IDRsolutions. She has spoken at conferences including JavaOne and NetBeans day and has a degree in English Literature.

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