Creating from resource images

A simple way to add graphics to your application is by referencing an image file from your project resources. Supported file types are PNG (preferred), JPG (acceptable) and GIF (discouraged). This technique would obviously be preferred for application icons, logos, or other graphics such as those used in a game.

To use an image resource, just add your file to the res/drawable/ directory of your project. From there, you can reference it from your code or your XML layout. Either way, it is referred using a resource ID, which is the file name without the file type extension (E.g., my_image.png is referenced as my_image).

Example code

The following code snippet demonstrates how to build an ImageView that uses an image from drawable resources and add it to the layout.

LinearLayout mLinearLayout;

protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) { super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);

// Create a LinearLayout in which to add the ImageView mLinearLayout = new LinearLayout(this);

// Instantiate an ImageView and define its properties ImageView i = new ImageView(this); i.setImageResource(R.drawable.my_image);

i.setAdjustViewBounds(true); // set the ImageView bounds to match the Drawable's dimensions i.setLayoutParams(new Gallery.LayoutParams(LayoutParams.WRAP_CONTENT, LayoutParams.WRAP CONTENT));

// Add the ImageView to the layout and set the layout as the content view mLinearLayout.addView(i);


In other cases, you may want to handle your image resource as a Drawable object. To do so, create a Drawable from the resource like so:

Resources res = mContext.getResources();

Drawable mylmage = res.getDrawable(R.drawable.my_image);

Caution: Each unique resource in your project can maintain only one state, no matter how many different objects you may instantiate for it. For example, if you instantiate two Drawable objects from the same image resource, then change a property (such as the alpha) for one of the Drawables, then it will also affect the other. So when dealing with multiple instances of an image resource, instead of directly transforming the Drawable, you should perform a tween animation.

Example XML

The XML snippet below shows how to add a resource Drawable to an ImageView in the XML layout (with some red tint just for fun).

<ImageView android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:tint="#55ff0000" android:src="@drawable/my_image"/>

For more information on using project resources, read about Resources and Assets. Creating from resource XML

By now, you should be familiar with Android's principles of developing a User Interface. Hence, you understand the power and flexibility inherent in defining objects in XML. This philosophy caries over from Views to Drawables. If there is a Drawable object that you'd like to create, which is not initially dependent on variables defined by your applicaton code or user interaction, then defining the Drawable in XML is a good option. Even if you expect your Drawable to change its properties during the user's experience with your application, you should consider defining the object in XML, as you can always modify properties once it is instantiated.

Once you've defined your Drawable in XML, save the file in the res/drawable/ directory of your project. Then, retrieve and instantiate the object by calling Resources.getDrawableO, passing it the resource ID of your XML file. (See the example below.)

Any Drawable subclass that supports the inflate() method can be defined in XML and instantiated by your application. Each Drawable that supports XML inflation utilizes specific XML attributes that help define the object properties (see the class reference to see what these are). See the class documentation for each Drawable subclass for information on how to define it in XML.


Here's some XML that defines a TransitionDrawable:

<transition xmlns:android=""> <item android:drawable="@drawable/image_expand"> <item android:drawable="@drawable/image_collapse"> </transition>

With this XML saved in the file res/drawable/expand_collapse.xml, the following code will instantiate the TransitionDrawable and set it as the content of an ImageView:

Resources res = mContext.getResources(); TransitionDrawable transition = (TransitionDrawable) res.getDrawable(R.drawable.expand_collapse);

ImageView image = (ImageView) findViewById(; image.setImageDrawable(transition);

Then this transition can be run forward (for 1 second) with:


Refer to the Drawable classes listed above for more information on the XML attributes supported by each.

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