Home > Programming > PyQt, PIL and Windows

PyQt, PIL and Windows

March 16th, 2010

Edit: Although the following approach works on a small sample application, as the app gets more complex it’s less likely to work. I’ve moved to just using PyQt images in the GUI, and PIL images in the backend. If anyone has any ideas on how to make this work let me know in the comments.

Here’s a fun one. If you’re using PIL and PyQt4, you may want to display a PIL image in your PyQt GUI. This is a multi-step process.



  1. Create your PIL image (you can use my kitten if you want).

  2. Create an ImageQt image from your PIL image (this is PIL’s version of a QImage).

  3. Create a QPixmap from your ImageQt image.

  4. Create a QLabel and set its QPixmap to be the one just created.

And the above in code:

im = Image.open('kitten.jpg')
myQtImage = ImageQt.ImageQt(PilImage)
pixmap = QtGui.QPixmap.fromImage(myQtImage)
label = QtGui.QLabel('', self)

This works fine on Linux, but on Windows it crashes python.exe. I think the problem is with the ImageQt object. According to its documentation. To quote:

Creates an ImageQt object from a PIL image object. This class is a subclass of QtGui.QImage, which means that you can pass the resulting objects directly to PyQt4 API functions and methods.

On Windows it seems that it isn’t quite this easy. There is a simple solution though. Just make a new QImage from the ImageQt object:

myQtImage2 = QtGui.QImage(myQtImage1)

and this seems to turn the fake QImage into a real QImage, which can now be happily turned into a QPixmap.

Here’s a fully working program to illustrate the above in context (this is Python 2.6):

import sys
from PyQt4 import QtCore, QtGui
import Image
import ImageQt

class MyWidget(QtGui.QWidget):
    def __init__(self, parent=None):
        QtGui.QWidget.__init__(self, parent)

        self.setGeometry(300, 300, 400, 293)
        self.setWindowTitle('My Widget!')

        PilImage = Image.open('kitten.jpg')
        QtImage1 = ImageQt.ImageQt(PilImage)
        QtImage2 = QtGui.QImage(QtImage1)
        pixmap = QtGui.QPixmap.fromImage(QtImage2)
        label = QtGui.QLabel('', self)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    app = QtGui.QApplication(sys.argv)
    myWidget = MyWidget()

Kitten program screenshot

Look – it works!

Categories: Programming Tags: , ,
  1. Nick
    February 5th, 2011 at 05:27 | #1

    Thank you so much! I’ve been trying to solve this issue for the past several hours and could not figure out a solution. It’s especially frustrating since the first block of code works in linux and osx, but crashes python in windows.

  2. February 5th, 2011 at 11:24 | #2

    @Nick Brilliant! Really glad I managed to help someone out :)

  3. March 20th, 2011 at 09:23 | #3


    I just wanted to note that you probably don’t want to have two images. That’s why it seems quite obvious to write something like

    myQtImage = QtGui.QImage(myQtImage)

    But it won’t work (at least in Python 3). You should use

    myQtImage = myQtImage.copy()
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