Ensuring image quality when resizing in .NET

I needed to create a web page where users can upload photos. In turn, these photos will be resized into three different dimensions (small, medium, and large) and displayed on the site. The original code I was using to resize the images was pretty much hit or miss. Often times the resulting image was blurry and/or pixelated. The original code took the file from the file upload control and saved it as a bitmap. Then it used the GetThumbnailImage method to resize the image. Here is a sample.

System.Drawing.Image.GetThumbnailImageAbort myCallBack = new System.Drawing.Image.GetThumbnailImageAbort(ThumbnailCallBack);
System.Drawing.Bitmap bitmap = new Bitmap(fileUpload.InputStream);
System.Drawing.Image newImage = bitmap.GetThumbnailImage(600, 800, myCallBack, IntPtr.Zero);

private static bool ThumbnailCallback()
return false;

The callback method is called if the resize fails but I’m not sure what the IntPtr.Zero does. VS’s intellisense states “Must be System.IntPtr.Zero”, so who am I to argue. The code is very simple but not very effective. Today I found a better method. This time using an Image object instead and resizing it with the Graphics class. Finally, I use the Bitmap object to save the image.

System.Drawing.Image image = Bitmap.FromStream(file.InputStream);
System.Drawing.Imaging.ImageFormat imageFormat = image.RawFormat;
Size size = new Size(600, 800);
bitmap = new Bitmap(image, size.Width, size.Height);

Graphics resizer;
resizer = Graphics.FromImage(bitmap);
resizer.InterpolationMode = System.Drawing.Drawing2D.InterpolationMode.HighQualityBilinear;
resizer.DrawImage(image, 0, 0, size.Width, size.Height);

bitmap.Save(“c:\resizedImage.jpg”, imageFormat);

There are a few important key elements here. First is the InterpolationMode. HighQualityBicubic gives you the best quality but I find HighQualityBilinear decreases the size by at least a few KB and I couldn’t tell the difference between the two just by looking at it. Also, when using bitmap.Save(), the image format parameter is not required but it makes all the difference. For example, I resized a 2112 x 2816 pixel to 600 x 800. If I didn’t specify the image format the size was reduced from 2.2 MB to 1.1 MB. When I did specify the image format, the resulting file size was 58 KB! Again, I could barely tell the difference between the two resulting images. And finally, always clean up after yourself. Dispose of objects you no longer need, especially if they deal with streams.


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