Version 9 of Reading GIF image dimensions

Updated 2004-04-30 22:00:47

From a news:comp.lang.tcl posting by Berry Kercheval < mailto:[email protected] >:

And this works for simple GIF files:

 proc gifsize {name} {
    set f [open $name r]
    fconfigure $f -translation binary
    # read GIF signature -- check that this is 
    # either GIF87a or GIF89a 
    set sig [read $f 6]
    switch $sig {
        "GIF87a" -
        "GIF89a" {
            # do nothing
        default {
            close $f
            error "$f is not a GIF file"
    # read "logical screen size", this is USUALLY the image size too.
    # interpreting the rest of the GIF specification is left as an exercise
    binary scan [read $f 2] s wid
    binary scan [read $f 2] s hgt
    close $f

    return [list $wid $hgt]

It leaked channels. Added some missing closes 11-jan-2002, Dave Griffin is a reference.

MG Apr 30 2004 - Since GIF support is built into Tcl, could you not just do

 catch {package require Img};# allow for jpeg/png/etc support, if possible
 proc imageSize {file {format ""}} {

  if { [catch {image create photo -file $file -format $format} img] } {
       if { $format == "" } {
            set form ""
          } else {
            set form "$format "
       error "'$file' is not a recognisable ${form}image"
  set info [list [image width $img] [image height $img]]
  image delete $img
  return $info;
 };# imageSize

 % imageSize ./path/to/image.gif
 % imageSize ./page/to/other/image.jpeg

Peter Newman 1 May 2004:

  • MG's solution above (or something similar,) is probably the best - because the GIF spec. allows various ways of specifying an image's height and width. As it says in the gifsize proc above; "logical screen size" ... is USUALLY the image size too. That's absolutely true (and I've personally never come across a GIF that didn't do this). But the GIF spec leaves the door open for people to do things differently (especially with animated GIFs) - so you'd imagine that a purpose built routine that (HOPEFULLY) copes with all the possibilities would be the most reliable solution. gifsize will probably work 99 times out of 100. But if you were coding (say) a gimp or photoshop clone, I'd personally go for something more thorough.
  • Modifying gifsize to cope with all the possibilities wouldn't be too difficult. The only real problem is that the GIF spec provides a number of ways to specify the image height and width. Which is confusing - until you realise that the answer is either; you just use logical screen size (and hope), as gifsize does above - or you support them all (which isn't really much extra work anyway).
  • There are TWO GIF specs; 87a and 89a. Both are in common use. The differences are small - mainly that 89a supports transparent pixels. Most programs write 87a files by default - unless you request otherwise - or have transparent pixels. A thorough solution should support both.

See also Reading JPEG image dimensions and Reading PNG image dimensions. Category Graphics