Which library should I use for server-side image manipulation on Node.JS?


I found a quite large list of available libraries on Node.JS wiki but I'm not sure which of those are more mature and provide better performance. Basically I want to do the following:

  1. load some images to a server from external sources
  2. put them onto one big canvas
  3. crop and mask them a bit
  4. apply a filter or two
  5. Resize the final image and give a link to it

Big plus if the node package works on both Linux and Windows.

5/21/2012 8:23:37 PM

Accepted Answer

Answering my own question

I spent two days digging through Node.js graphics libraries.


  • I tried it first since I'm quite familiar with <canvas> API. It's a huge plus for a library.
  • it requires Cairo which doesn't have an easy Windows download. I found it in GTK+ distribution though.
  • moreover it needs native library binding code to be compiled on module installation. It uses Node-Waf which hasn't being ported to Windows yet.


  • mature
  • runs on Windows smoothly
  • docs are ok but not thorough: I had to look up into source code to figure out what API is available
  • unfortunately there's no easy way to combine images with gm. Maybe there's some way to achieve that but I haven't found one after two hours spent with it.


  • The official repo has very few basic ImageMagick commands covered but I used this fork (good thing that NPM can pull libraries directly from git repositories). It has bindings for montage which does exactly what I need.
  • ImageMagick is quite slow, though it works on Windows.


  • Huge plus: it uses an incredible VIPS library which I'm familiar with. VIPS is very fast and optimized for large images. It's very smart about utilizing hardware resources: if your machine has a lot of RAM it'll do all processing in memory but will switch to hard-drive caches if memory is scarce or required for other applications.
  • same as node-canvas it requires Node-Waf so it's not available for Windows yet.

I also looked at other libraries from the list but most of them are either very immature or do not suit my use case. I would really like to try migrating to either Node-Canvas or Node-Vips when Node-Waf gets ported to Windows but until then I'll stick to node-imagemagick.

4/15/2018 7:24:08 PM

I'd strongly advise you to check gm with GraphicsMagick. Stable, feature rich, clean API, great docs, and fast.

And it works both on Windows and Linux / MacOS / BSD / ...

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