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An image pixelsorter for Python.

Project description


What is Pixel Sorting?

Have a look at this post or /r/pixelsorting


Should work in both Python 2 and 3, but Python 3 is recommended.


From the command line:

pip install pixelsort
python3 -m pixelsort %PathToImage% [options]

Tip: To replicate Kim Asendorf's original processing script, first sort vertically and then horizontally in threshold (default) mode:

python3 -m pixelsort %PathToImage% -a 90
python3 -m pixelsort %PathToSortedImage%

As a package:

>>> from pixelsort import pixelsort
>>> from PIL import Image
>>> a ="examples/image.jpg")
>>> a
<PIL.JpegImagePlugin.JpegImageFile image mode=RGB size=576x324 at 0x7F8F6A2AC208>
>>> pixelsort(a)
<PIL.Image.Image image mode=RGBA size=576x324 at 0x7F8F66AA57B8>


Parameter Flag Description
Interval function -i Controls how the intervals used for sorting are defined. See below for more details and examples. Threshold by default.
Output path -o Path of output file. Uses the current time for the file name by default.
Randomness -r What percentage of intervals not to sort. 0 by default.
Threshold (lower) -t How dark must a pixel be to be considered as a 'border' for sorting? Takes values from 0-1. 0.25 by default. Used in edges and threshold modes.
Threshold (upper) -u How bright must a pixel be to be considered as a 'border' for sorting? Takes values from 0-1. 0.8 by default. Used in threshold mode.
Char. length -c Characteristic length for the random width generator. Used in mode random and waves.
Angle -a Angle at which you're pixel sorting in degrees. 0 (horizontal) by default.
External interval file -f Image used to define intervals. Must be black and white.
Sorting function -s Sorting function to use for sorting the pixels. Lightness by default.
Mask -m Image used for masking parts of the image.
Logging level -l Level of logging statements made visible. Choices include DEBUG, INFO, WARNING, ERROR, and CRITICAL. WARNING by default.

Interval Functions

Interval function Description
random Randomly generate intervals. Distribution of widths is linear by default. Interval widths can be scaled using clength.
edges Performs an edge detection, which is used to define intervals. Tweak threshold with threshold.
threshold Intervals defined by lightness thresholds; only pixels with a lightness between the upper and lower thresholds are sorted.
waves Intervals are waves of nearly uniform widths. Control width of waves with clength.
file Intervals taken from another specified input image. Must be black and white, and the same size as the input image.
file-edges Intevals defined by performing edge detection on the file specified by -f. Must be the same size as the input image.
none Sort whole rows, only stopping at image borders.

Sorting Functions

Sorting function Description
lightness Sort by the lightness of a pixel according to a HSV representation.
hue Sort by the hue of a pixel according to a HSV representation.
saturation Sort by the saturation of a pixel according to a HSV representation.
intensity Sort by the intensity of a pixel, i.e. the sum of all the RGB values.
minimum Sort on the minimum RGB value of a pixel (either the R, G or B).


python3 -m pixelsort examples/image.jpg -i random -c 20


python3 -m pixelsort examples/image.jpg -i edges -t .5


  • file: Intervals taken from image specified with -f. Must be black and white.

python3 -m pixelsort examples/image.jpg -i file -f examples/intervals.png


(generated with elementary-ca)


  • mask: Mask taken from image specified with -m. Must be black and white.

python3 -m pixelsort examples/image.jpg -i random -c 20 -m examples/mask.png




  • Allow defining different intervals for different channels.

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