PHP Image manipulation library

v5.0.0 2024-03-13 15:05 UTC


The Image package provides a consistent API for image manipulation and processing with integrations for GD (coming soon) and ImageMagick (via the PHP extension or via shell commands).


composer require charcoal/image


Why another PHP image libary?

Why not?. Charcoal Image has been developped and used in in-house projects for almost 10 years. It has recently been rewritten to a more modern PHP style and released under an open-source license (MIT).

The main differences between existing PHP libraries like Imagine or Intervention are:

  • Effect parameters are sent as an array.
    • Is it blur($sigma, $radius) or blur($radius, $sigma)?
    • With charcoal image it's constant: blur([ 'radius' => $radius, 'sigma' => $sigma ]);
  • It supports ImageMagick binaries
    • It seems to be a pretty common setup where Imagemagick is installed on a server, but the Imagick PHP library is not.
  • No external dependencies, except the tiny charcoal/factory.


Typically, the Image package is used to load an image, perform operations (called effects such as blur, resize, watermark, etc.) and write the modified image.

With setData()

All effects can be added at once in a single array.

$img = new Charcoal\Image\Imagick\ImagickImage();

    'source'  => 'example.png',
    'target'  => 'example-modified.png',
    'effects' => [
            'type'  => 'resize',
            'width' => 600,
            'type'  => 'blur',
            'mode'  => 'gaussian',
            'sigma' => 5,

setData() is perfect for scenario where the effects are from a JSON configuration structure, for example.

With magic methods

All effects can also be used as methods on the image (using __call() magic).

use Charcoal\Image\Imagick\ImagickImage as Image;

$img = new Image();
    'width' => 600
    'mode'  => 'gaussian',
    'sigma' => 5

Chainable version

Also shown: using the ImageFactory constructor method:

use Charcoal\Image\ImageFactory;

$factory = new ImageFactory();
$img = $factory->create('imagemagick');
        'mode'   => 'best_fit',
        'width'  => 350,
        'height' => 350,
        'angle' => 90,
        'luminance' => 50,

Available effects and operations are documented in the API Documentation.

Available image drivers

There are currently only 2 available drivers:

  • imagick
    • The imagick driver use the Imagick PHP extension, which is build on top of imagemagick.
  • imagemagick
    • The imagemagick driver uses the imagmagick binaries directly, running the operations in a separate shell process instead of directely within PHP.
    • The commands convert, mogrify and identify should be installed on the system and reachable from the PHP process.

👉 Comming soon, the gd driver to use PHP builtin's image capacity.

How to select a driver

There are two different ways to instantiate an Image object for a specific driver.


$img = new Charcoal\Image\Imagick\ImagickImage();
// or
$img = new Charcoal\Image\Imagemagick\ImagemagickImage();

With the provided ImageFactory:

use Charcoal\Image\ImageFactory;

$factory = new ImageFactory();

$img = $factory->create('imagick');
// or
$img = $factory->create('imagemagick');