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I don't need a gallery script. I only need one thumbnail per page, for a lot of pages. But, it would save me from having to resize and store a lot of images.
The image quality will not be quite as good as if you had used a graphics package to create the thumbnail, but IMO it will be just as good as any script that does it on the fly.
Sure it is extra work to create and store a thumbnail for each and every image, but that is kind of the point of having a thumbnail. Just my 2 cents.
The answer to your question is: Yes it can be done.
I use PHP to resize images on a couple sites and it works well. It does put more stress on the server to constantly resize on-the-fly so creating real thumbnails is really the best way forward.
Paint Shop Pro(among others) has a batch solution where you can resize them all at once.
Or, you could use the PHP script to resize them AND save the thumbnail to the server for future use.
Just how many images are we talking about here?
The disadvantages are obvious, but if the user does click through, then (a) the full image will be preloaded, so the detail page will load more quickly, and (b) only one image needs to be loaded instead of two, resulting in an actual bandwidth saving when this happens.
One nice feature is that when you create a thumbnail rather than just reduce the image size WIG allows you to select a portion of the image for the thumbnail. Of course if you just want to batch images to a thumbnail WIG handles that nicely.
I've found that WIG has better image optimization than either Macromedia or Adobe's products.
I have nothing to do with WIG, just a satisfied customer.