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imread: Image reading library

Project description

IO with images and numpy arrays.

Mahotas-imread is a simple module with a small number of functions:


Reads an image file


Reads an image file with multiple images. Currently, TIFF and STK (a TIFF sub-based format) support this function.


Writes an image file

Example (which uses mahotas for Gaussian filtering):

from imread import imread, imsave
from mahotas import gaussian_filter
lena = imread('lena.jpeg')

lena = gaussian_filter(lena.astype(float), 4.)
imsave('lena-filtered.jpeg', lena)

This grew out of frustration at current image loading solutions in Python, in either my packages [mahotas] or packages from others [scikit-image, for example].

The relationship with numpy is very contained and this could be easily repurposed to load images in other frameworks, even other programming languages.

Online documentation

Python versions 2.6, 2.7, 3.3+ are officially supported.

Python 3.2 (and earlier versions in the Python 3 series) are officially not supported. Patches will be accepted if they do not mess up anything else, but bug reports will not be considered as very high priority.


If you use imread on a published publication, please cite the main mahotas paper (imread is a spin-off of mahotas):

Luis Pedro Coelho Mahotas: Open source software for scriptable computer vision in Journal of Open Research Software, vol 1, 2013. [DOI]

In Bibtex format:

    author = {Luis Pedro Coelho},
    title = {Mahotas: Open source software for scriptable computer vision},
    journal = {Journal of Open Research Software},
    year = {2013},
    doi = {},
    month = {July},
    volume = {1}


The easiest environment to install mahotas-imread is anaconda, through conda-forge. Just use:

conda config --add channels conda-forge
conda install imread

To compile on debian/ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install libpng12-dev libtiff4-dev libwebp-dev
sudo apt-get install xcftools

To compile on Mac:

sudo port install libpng tiff webp

Either way, you can then compile with:

python build

and install with:

python install

On Windows, you can also just download a pre-built package from C. Gohlke’s repository

On nix, you can use:

nix-env -iA nixpkgs.python27Packages.imread

or use the pkgs.python27Packages.imread object in your *.nix files.

Version 0.7.3 (2020-04-09)

  • Add missing test data to distribution

Version 0.7.2 (2020-03-24)

  • Fix several memory access bugs in parsers (reported by Robert Scott)

Version 0.7.1 (2019-05-09)

  • Fix 16-bit RGB/RGBA TIFF write (patch by Tomi Aarnio)

Version 0.7.0 (2018-09-30)

  • Add support for reading ImageJ ROIs

Version 0.6.1 (2018-02-15)

  • Support pathlib paths as function arguments

  • Fix 16 bit PNG write support (patch by Tomi Aarnio)

Version 0.6 (2016-09-21)

  • Add supports_format function

  • Make png compression level tunable when calling imsave

  • Add imsave_multi

  • Add partial support for reading PNG files in Gray+alpha format

Version 0.5.1 (2014-11-06)

  • Improve tests to work after installation

  • Fix compilation in MSVC (patch by Christoph Gohlke)

Version 0.5 (2014-10-16)

  • Add magic-number based format auto-detection

  • Auto detect whether webp is installed

  • Fix WebP reading (update to newer API)

Version 0.4 (2014-07-21)

  • Add configuration for TIFF saving

  • Correctly save 16 bit PNG images

  • Better error messages for JPEG

Version 0.3.2 (2013-10-06)

  • Added imload*/imwrite synonyms as suggested by Thouis (Ray) Jones

  • Options framework

  • Allow user to specify JPEG quality when saving

  • Fix loading of 16 bit PNG images

Version 0.3.1 (2013-06-20)

  • Fix possible crash on error with TIFF

  • Fix compilation on Windows (reported by Volker Hilsenstein)

  • Make it easy to compile without WebP

Version 0.3.0 (2013-07-29)

  • Support for reading from in-memory blobs

  • Support for reading & writing TIFF metadata

  • Add PHOTOMETRIC tag to TIFF (reported by Volker Hilsenstein)

  • Support writing RGB TIFFs

Version 0.2.6 (2013-06-19)

  • Fix hard crash when saving with non-existing file type

  • Fix compilation on MacOS (patch by Alexander Bohn)

  • Add verbose argument to

  • Better error when attempting to save floating point images

Version 0.2.5 (2012-10-29)

  • Correctly accept uppercase extensions

  • Python 3 support (patch by Christoph Gohlke [pull request 8 on github])

  • Read 1-Bit PNGs

  • Read simple BMPs (compression and many bit types not supported)

  • More complete debug mode (export DEBUG=2 when building), more checks

Version 0.2.4 (2012-06-26)

  • Add lzw.cpp to source distribution

  • Support saving 16-bit TIFF

  • Better Mac OS support (patch from Alexander Bohn)

Version 0.2.3 (2012-06-8)

  • Fix imread_multi

Version 0.2.2 (2012-06-5)

  • Add formatstr argument to imread

  • Open files in binary mode on Windows (patch by Christoph Gohlke)

  • Read-only support for LSM files

  • Read-only support for XCF files (through xcf2png)

  • Fix writing of non-contiguous images (at least PNG was affected)

Version 0.2.1 (2012-02-11)

  • Add missing files to distribution

Version 0.2 (2012-03-19)

  • Compile on MSVC++ (Patches by Christoph Gohlke)

  • Support for WebP

  • Support for 1-bit TIFFs

  • Better error message

  • Support for multi-page TIFF reading

  • Experimental read-only support for STK files

Version 0.1 (2012-02-28)

  • Support for PNG

  • Support for TIFF

  • Support for JPEG

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