Enhanced ImageField of Django which support automatically generating thumbnail files
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Alisue <lambdalisue@hashnote.net>
Supported python versions
2.6, 2.7, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Supported django versions
1.3 - 1.6 and 1.7c1

django-thumbnailfield is a enhanced ImageField of Django. It has the follwing features

  • Using Django storage system to store the image (Not like other Thumbnail library)
  • Automatically remove previous file from storage
  • Automatically generate thumbnails
  • Automatically remove generated previous thumbnail files from storage
  • Easy to use custom method to generate thumbnails


sudo pip install django-thumbnailfield

Prepare to use

  1. Append 'thumbnailfield' to INSTALLED_APPS

  2. Set MEDIA_ROOT correctly. For example:

    MEDIA_ROOT = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), '../static')

Example mini blog app


from django.db import models
from django.contrib.auth.models import User

from thumbnailfield.fields import ThumbnailField

class Entry(models.Model):
    PUB_STATES = (
        ('public', 'public entry'),
        ('protected', 'login required'),
        ('private', 'secret entry'),
    pub_state = models.CharField('publish status', choices=PUB_STATES)
    title = models.CharField('title', max_length=140)
    body = models.TextField('body')

    # This is a usage of ThumbnailField.
    # You have to set ``patterns`` to generate thumbnails
    thumbnail = ThumbnailField(_('thumbnail'), upload_to='img/thumbnails', null=True, blank=True,
            # Options of PIL Image.save() method.
            # e.g. quality control
            'quality': 100,
            # Pattern Format:
            #   <Name>: (
            #   (<square_size>,),       # with defautl process_method
            #   (<width>, <height>,),   # with default process_method
            #   (<width>, <height>, <method or method_name>),
            #   (<width>, <height>, <method or method_name>, <method options>),
            #   )
            # If Name is ``None`` that mean original image will be processed
            # with the pattern
            # Convert original image to sepia and resize it to 800x400 (original
            # size is 804x762)
            None: ((None, None, 'sepia'), (800, 400, 'resize')),
            # Create 640x480 resized thumbnail as large.
            'large': ((640, 480, 'resize'),),
            # Create 320x240 cropped thumbnail as small. You can write short
            # pattern if the number of appling pattern is 1
            'small': (320, 240, 'crop', {'left': 0, 'upper': 0}),
            # Create 160x120 thumbnail as tiny (use default process_method to
            # generate)
            'tiny': (160, 120),
            # These thumbnails are not generated while accessed. These can be
            # accessed with the follwoing code::
            #   entry.thumbnail.large
            #   entry.thumbnail.small
            #   entry.thumbnail.tiny
            #   # shortcut properties
            #   entry.thumbnail.large_file  # as entry.thumbnail.large.file
            #   entry.thumbnail.large_path  # as entry.thumbnail.large.path
            #   entry.thumbnail.large_url   # as entry.thumbnail.large.url
            #   entry.thumbnail.large.size  # as entry.thumbnail.large.size
    # ...


    <title>django-thumbnailfield example</title>
        <dd><img src="{{ MEDIA_URL }}{{ object.thumbnail }}"></dd>
        <dt>Thumbnail "large"</dt>
        <dd><img src="{{ MEDIA_URL }}{{ object.thumbnail.large }}"></dd>
        <dt>Thumbnail "small"</dt>
        <dd><img src="{{ MEDIA_URL }}{{ object.thumbnail.small }}"></dd>
        <dt>Thumbnail "tiny"</dt>
        <dd><img src="{{ MEDIA_URL }}{{ object.thumbnail.tiny }}"></dd>

How to use custom process method

Create your own custom process method like below:

from django.core.exceptions import ImproperlyConfigured
from thumbnailfield.process_methods import get_sepia_image
from thumbnailfield.process_methods import get_cropped_image

def get_sepia_and_cropped_image(img, width, height, **options):
    # do something with img
    img = get_sepia_image(img, None, None, **options)
    img = get_cropped_image(img, width, height, **options)
    return img
def _sepia_and_cropped_error_check(f, img, width, height, **options):
    # do some error check
    if 'left' not in options:
        raise ImproperlyConfigured(f, "'left' is required")
    if 'upper' not in options:
        raise ImproperlyConfigured(f, "'upper' is required")
# Apply error check function
# Error check is recommended if your process method required any options
# otherwise just forget about this.
get_sepia_and_cropped_image.error_check = _sepia_and_cropped_error_check

Use defined method in pattern like below:

# models.py
# ...
thumbnail = ThumbnailField('thumbnail', upload_to='thumbnails', patterns = {
        'large': (400, 500, get_sepia_and_cropped_image, {'left': 0, 'upper': 0})
# ...

Or define the method in THUMBNAILFIELD_PROCESS_METHOD_TABLE and use as a string anme:

# settings.py
from thumbnailfield import DEFAULT_PROCESS_METHOD_TABLE
THUMBNAILFIELD_PROCESS_METHOD_TABLE['sepia_and_crop'] = get_sepia_and_cropped_image

# models.py
# ...
thumbnail = ThumbnailField('thumbnail', upload_to='thumbnails', patterns = {
        'large': (400, 500, 'sepia_and_crop', {'left': 0, 'upper': 0})
# ...

If None is specified, that mean do nothing.

# models.py # ... thumbnail = ThumbnailField('thumbnail', upload_to='thumbnails', patterns = {

'original': None,


# ...



Remove previous files (include original file) when new file is applied to the ThumbnailField.

Default: False


Used when no process_method is applied in process pattern.

Default: thumbnail


Used when no process_options is applied in process pattern.

Default: {'resample': Image.ANTIALIAS}


Used to determine thumbnail filename. root, filename, name and ext is passed to the string. The generated filename of the thumbnail named 'large' of '/some/where/test.png' will be /some/where/test.large.png in default.

Default: r"%(root)s/%(filename)s.%(name)s.%(ext)s"


Used to determine process method from string name. The key of this dictionary is a name of the method and value is a method.

thumbnail, resize, crop, grayscale and sepia are defined as default.

Default: See thumbnailfield.__init__.DEFAULT_PROCESS_METHOD_TABLE


Options used in PIL image save method.

Default: {}