Python OpenCV | cv2.imread() method

OpenCV-Python is a library of Python bindings designed to solve computer vision problems.
cv2.imread() method loads an image from the specified file. If the image cannot be read (because of missing file, improper permissions, unsupported or invalid format) then this method returns an empty matrix.

Syntax: cv2.imread(path, flag)

Parameters:
path: A string representing the path of the image to be read.
flag: It specifies the way in which image should be read. It’s default value is cv2.IMREAD_COLOR



Return Value: This method returns an image that is loaded from the specified file.

Note: The image should be in the working directory or a full path of image should be given.

All three types of flags are described below:

cv2.IMREAD_COLOR: It specifies to load a color image. Any transparency of image will be neglected. It is the default flag. Alternatively, we can pass integer value 1 for this flag.
cv2.IMREAD_GRAYSCALE: It specifies to load an image in grayscale mode. Alternatively, we can pass integer value 0 for this flag.
cv2.IMREAD_UNCHANGED: It specifies to load an image as such including alpha channel. Alternatively, we can pass integer value -1 for this flag.

Image used for all the below examples:

Example #1: Using default flag

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# Python program to explain cv2.imread() method
  
# importing cv2 
import cv2
  
# path
path = r'C:\Users\Rajnish\Desktop\geeksforgeeks.png'
  
# Using cv2.imread() method
img = cv2.imread(path)
  
# Displaying the image
cv2.imshow('image', img)

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Output:

Example #2:
Loading an image in grayscale mode

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# Python program to explain cv2.imread() method
  
# importing cv2 
import cv2
  
# path
path = r'C:\Users\Rajnish\Desktop\geeksforgeeks.png'
  
# Using cv2.imread() method
# Using 0 to read image in grayscale mode
img = cv2.imread(path, 0)
  
# Displaying the image
cv2.imshow('image', img)

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Output:



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