Quickstart: Generate a thumbnail using the Computer Vision REST API and Java

In this quickstart, you generate a thumbnail from an image by using Computer Vision's REST API. You specify the height and width, which can differ from the aspect ratio of the input image. Computer Vision uses smart cropping to intelligently identify the area of interest and generate cropping coordinates based on that region.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.


Create and run the sample application

To create and run the sample, do the following steps:

  1. Create a new Java project in your favorite IDE or editor. If the option is available, create the Java project from a command line application template.

  2. Import the following libraries into your Java project. If you're using Maven, the Maven coordinates are provided for each library.

  3. Add the following import statements to the file that contains the Main public class for your project.

    import java.awt.*;
    import javax.swing.*;
    import java.net.URI;
    import java.io.InputStream;
    import javax.imageio.ImageIO;
    import java.awt.image.BufferedImage;
    import org.apache.http.HttpEntity;
    import org.apache.http.HttpResponse;
    import org.apache.http.client.methods.HttpPost;
    import org.apache.http.entity.StringEntity;
    import org.apache.http.client.utils.URIBuilder;
    import org.apache.http.impl.client.CloseableHttpClient;
    import org.apache.http.impl.client.HttpClientBuilder;
    import org.apache.http.util.EntityUtils;
    import org.json.JSONObject;
  4. Replace the Main public class with the following code, then make the following changes in code where needed:

    1. Replace the value of subscriptionKey with your subscription key.
    2. Replace the value of uriBase with the endpoint URL for the Get Thumbnail method from the Azure region where you obtained your subscription keys, if necessary.
    3. Optionally, replace the value of imageToAnalyze with the URL of a different image for which you want to generate a thumbnail.
  5. Save, then build the Java project.

  6. If you're using an IDE, run Main. Otherwise, open a command prompt window and then use the java command to run the compiled class. For example, java Main.

// This sample uses the following libraries:
//  - Apache HTTP client (org.apache.httpcomponents:httpclient:4.5.5)
//  - Apache HTTP core (org.apache.httpcomponents:httpccore:4.4.9)
//  - JSON library (org.json:json:20180130).

public class Main {
    // **********************************************
    // *** Update or verify the following values. ***
    // **********************************************

    // Replace <Subscription Key> with your valid subscription key.
    private static final String subscriptionKey = "<Subscription Key>";

    // You must use the same Azure region in your REST API method as you used to
    // get your subscription keys. For example, if you got your subscription keys
    // from the West US region, replace "westcentralus" in the URL
    // below with "westus".
    // Free trial subscription keys are generated in the "westcentralus" region.
    // If you use a free trial subscription key, you shouldn't need to change
    // this region.
    private static final String uriBase =

    private static final String imageToAnalyze =

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        CloseableHttpClient httpClient = HttpClientBuilder.create().build();

        try {
            URIBuilder uriBuilder = new URIBuilder(uriBase);

            // Request parameters.
            uriBuilder.setParameter("width", "100");
            uriBuilder.setParameter("height", "150");
            uriBuilder.setParameter("smartCropping", "true");

            // Prepare the URI for the REST API method.
            URI uri = uriBuilder.build();
            HttpPost request = new HttpPost(uri);

            // Request headers.
            request.setHeader("Content-Type", "application/json");
            request.setHeader("Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key", subscriptionKey);

            // Request body.
            StringEntity requestEntity =
                    new StringEntity("{\"url\":\"" + imageToAnalyze + "\"}");

            // Call the REST API method and get the response entity.
            HttpResponse response = httpClient.execute(request);
            HttpEntity entity = response.getEntity();

            // Check for success.
            if (response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode() == 200) {
                // Display the thumbnail.
                System.out.println("\nDisplaying thumbnail.\n");
            } else {
                // Format and display the JSON error message.
                String jsonString = EntityUtils.toString(entity);
                JSONObject json = new JSONObject(jsonString);
        } catch (Exception e) {

    // Displays the given input stream as an image.
    private static void displayImage(InputStream inputStream) {
        try {
            BufferedImage bufferedImage = ImageIO.read(inputStream);

            ImageIcon imageIcon = new ImageIcon(bufferedImage);

            JLabel jLabel = new JLabel();

            JFrame jFrame = new JFrame();
            jFrame.setLayout(new FlowLayout());
            jFrame.setSize(100, 150);

        } catch (Exception e) {

Examine the response

A successful response is returned as binary data, which represents the image data for the thumbnail. If the request succeeds, the thumbnail is generated from the binary data in the response and displayed in a separate window created by the sample application. If the request fails, the response is displayed in the console window. The response for the failed request contains an error code and a message to help determine what went wrong.

Next steps

Explore a Java Swing application that uses Computer Vision to perform optical character recognition (OCR); create smart-cropped thumbnails; plus detect, categorize, tag, and describe visual features, including faces, in an image. To rapidly experiment with the Computer Vision API, try the Open API testing console.