Windows Imaging Component Overview

The Windows Imaging Component (WIC) provides an extensible framework for working with images and image metadata. WIC makes it possible for independent software vendors (ISVs) and independent hardware vendors (IHVs) to develop their own image codecs and get the same platform support as standard image formats (for example, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, and HDPhoto). A single, consistent set of interfaces is used for all image processing, regardless of image format, so any application using the WIC gets automatic support for new image formats as soon as the codec is installed. The extensible metadata framework makes it possible for applications to read and write their own proprietary metadata directly to image files, so the metadata never gets lost or separated from the image.

This topic includes the following sections.

Windows Imaging Component Features

The primary features of WIC are:

  • Enables application developers to perform image processing operations on any image format through a single, consistent set of common interfaces, without requiring prior knowledge of specific image formats.
  • Provides an extensible "plug and play" architecture for image codecs, pixel formats, and metadata, with automatic run-time discovery of new formats.
  • Supports reading and writing of arbitrary metadata in image files, with the ability to preserve unrecognized metadata during editing.
  • Preserves high bit depth image data, up to 32 bits per channel, throughout the image processing pipeline.
  • Provides built-in support for most popular image formats, pixel formats, and metadata schemas.

Native Codecs

WIC includes several built-in codecs. The following standard codecs are provided with the platform.

Codec Mime Types Decoders Encoders
BMP (Windows Bitmap Format), BMP Specification v5. image/bmp Yes Yes
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format 89a), GIF Specification 89a/89m image/gif Yes Yes
ICO (Icon Format) image/ico Yes No
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), JFIF Specification 1.02 image/jpeg, image/jpe, image/jpg Yes Yes
JPEG XR (JPEG Extended Range) image/jxr Yes Yes
PNG (Portable Network Graphics), PNG Specification 1.2 image/png Yes Yes
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format), TIFF Specification 6.0 image/tiff, image/tif Yes Yes
Windows Media Photo, HD Photo format overview image/ Yes Yes
DDS (DirectDraw Surface) image/ Yes Yes



WIC Metadata Overview

Other Resources

How to Write a WIC-Enabled CODEC

AITCodec Sample CODEC