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How to search for given sub-image?

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Hi, I've been searching various API of autoit and GDI and I'm still confused.   I'm trying to use autoit to run some tests.   I'd like to search the screen for a given known image (eg: a button with specific size/text).     We take screen shots during a  known good state, and want to make sure these sections are visible when the script is run.  

I was thinking something to the line of:

1. take screenshot

2. open "button_special.png"

3. Scan screenshot for button_special.png existenace:

      a. Loop through all pixels in button_special.png
      b. find matching pattern in screenshot

I guess I'm stuck on the basics of reading pixels out of button_special.png.   Is there a clean way to do this?     Could someone provide sample code to help me get started?



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Just saw images each thread.  Thanks john!  I wished it hadn't relied on compiled dll though.  



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