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Python wrapper for FreeImage and LCMS2 libraries

Project description

smc.freeimage - Semantics' FreeImage wrapper for Python

smc.freeimage is a Python interface to the FreeImage and LCMS2 libraries.

Features of FreeImage

FreeImage wraps mature and widely-used libraries like LibJPEG, LibOpenJPEG,
LibPNG, LibRaw, LibTIFF4, OpenEXR and zlib in a consistent, well documented
and powerful API.

* Reading of 35 file formats and writing of more than 19 file formats as of
FreeImage 3.15.3, including JPEG 2000, multiple subformats of TIFF
with G3/G4 fax compression and JPEG subsampling.

* pixel depths from 1-32 bpp standard images up to formats like
RGBAF and 2x64complex.

* multi page images

* Metadata (e.g. EXIF, IPTC/NAA, GeoTIFF, XMP) and ICC

* Color adjustment, conversion and channel processing

* Image resizing and rotation

* High Dynamic Range (HDR) image processing and tone mapping

* RAW camera files

Contrary to PIL it doesn't contain advanced image filters or drawing
functions. FreeImage focuses on file formats

Features of LCMS2

LCMS2 is a color management engine that implements V2 and V4 ICC profiles up
to V4.3. It supports transformation, proofing and introspection of profiles
for a large variety of color formats and targets.

Features of smc.freeimage

smc.freeimage is developed as part of the closed source Visual Library

* mostly written with Cython with some lines of handwritten C Code and some
Python helpers.

* fast, it avoids copying large amounts of data and releases the GIL whenever

* 64bit safe, tested on i386/X86 and AMD64/X86_64 systems

* thread safe

* wraps a large subset of FreeImage features

* compatible with Python 2.6 to 3.3.


smc.freeimage with libjpeg-turbo read JPEGs about three to six times faster
than a standard build of PIL and writes JPEGs more than five times faster. By
default PIL is compiled against the standard libjpeg library. Some Linux
distributions have started to install libjpeg-turbo as (libjpeg-turbo
has a libjpeg v8 compatible ABI). On these platforms PIL is almost as fast as

JPEG's restart markers are not compatible with libjpeg-turbo's Huffman
decoder optimization and reduce performance a lot. Please read the section
"Restart Makers" on the page
for more information.

read / write cycles::
test image:
1210x1778 24bpp JPEG (pon.jpg)
Linux 64bit
Intel Xeon hexacore W3680@3.33GHz with 24 GB RAM

smc.freeimage, FreeImage 3.15.3 (with standard libjpeg)
- read JPEG 12.857 sec
- read JPEG 6.629 sec (resaved)
- write JPEG 21.817 sec

smc.freeimage, FreeImage 3.15.3 (with libjpeg-turbo)
- read JPEG 9.297 sec
- read JPEG 3.909 sec (resaved)
- write JPEG 5.857 sec
- read LZW TIFF 17.947 sec
- read biton G4 TIFF 2.068 sec
- resize 3.850 sec (box)
- resize 5.022 sec (bilinear)
- resize 7.942 sec (bspline)
- resize 7.222 sec (bicubic)
- resize 7.941 sec (catmull rom spline)
- resize 10.232 sec (lanczos3)
- tiff numpy.asarray() with bytescale() 0.006 sec
- tiff load + numpy.asarray() with bytescale() 18.043 sec

PIL 1.1.7 (with standard libjpeg)
- read JPEG 30.389 sec
- read JPEG 23.118 sec (resaved)
- write JPEG 34.405 sec
- read LZW TIFF 21.596 sec
- read biton G4 TIFF: decoder group4 not available
- resize 0.032 sec (nearest)
- resize 1.074 sec (bilinear)
- resize 2.924 sec (bicubic)
- resize 8.056 sec (antialias)
- tiff scipy fromimage() with bytescale() 1.165 sec
- tiff scipy imread() with bytescale() 22.939 sec

PIL 1.1.7 (with libjpeg-turbo)
- read JPEG 9.403 sec
- read JPEG 4.696 sec (resaved)
- write JPEG 6.165 sec

pgmagick 0.5.3 (GraphicsMagick 1.3.x) with default libjpeg
- read JPEG 31.487 sec
- read JPEG 24.047 sec (resaved)
- write JPEG 38.643 sec
- read LZW TIFF 20.476 sec
- read biton G4 TIFF 15.224 sec
- resize 1.412 sec (BoxFilter)
- BUG: pgmagick ignores all filter settings for filterType()

pgmagick 0.5.3 (GraphicsMagick 1.3.x) (with libjpeg-turbo)
- read JPEG 9.221 sec
- read JPEG 4.522 sec (resaved)
- write JPEG 8.595 sec

Comparison to PIL (Pros and Cons)

Pros of smc.freeimage

* Faster! JPEG performance is about 3 to 6 times faster than PIL, numpy buffer
access is more than 100 times faster and consumes less memory due to zero
copy design.

* Modern file formats! smc.freeimage supports JPEG 2000, HDR and EXR high
dynamic range images and raw camera data (RAW).

* Full baseline TIFF support! Contrary to PIL smc.freeimage supports all
flavors of baseline TIFF like G3 and G4 compression and multipage TIFFs.

* PEP 3118 buffer interface that exports images as 2d or 3d non-contiguous

* Correct and optimized integration of a color management system (LittleCMS2)
instead of lcms1 integration including caching of optimized
transformations, in-place transformation and introspection of profiles.

* Structured metadata access to EXIF, XMP and IPTC information, also supports
fast loading of metadata without loading pixel data.

* Lot's of color types! Bitmap (8bit) with 1, 4, 8, 16, 24 and 32 bits per
pixel, (unsigned) int 16 and 32, float, double gray scale, complex, RGBA
16bit and RGBA floats.

* Static build support, no need for "make install". You just need a C99
compatible C/C++ compiler, make and nasm (for FreeImage-Turob).

Cons of smc.freeimage

* Few image filters, no support for complex image filters in FreeImage

* Low quality resize filters are slower than PIL's filters

* No drawing API for primitives (lines, circles, boxes)

* No text drawing support and libfreetype integration.

* Still not feature complete and under development.

FreeImage + libjpeg-turbo

An experimental fork of FreeImage with libjpeg-turbo is available at

Testdata and Windows build files

Neither the Windows build files nor the test images are included in the
source distribution. All files can be downloaded from .


Christian Heimes

Dirk Rothe (testing and proposals)


Copyright (C) 2008-2012 semantics GmbH. All Rights Reserved.::

Kommunikationsmanagement GmbH
Viktoriaallee 45
D-52066 Aachen

Tel.: +49 241 89 49 89 29
eMail: info(at)


smc.freeimage 0.3

*Release date: **-***-2012*

smc.freeimage 0.2

*Release date: 17-Aug-2012*

- implemented simple and read-only multipage image support

- added support for static linking of libfreeimage and liblcms2

- added binary and errors arguments to getMetadata()

- implemented PEP-3118 buffer interface for all image types. The buffer
is either 2d (for grey, i16bit, int, uint, float and double) images or
3d for all colored images.

- added getColor* functions to get shift, mask and order of RGBA
and 16bit image pixel data.

- implemented getRaw() to get a copy of the raw pixel data.

- support building smc.freeimage without Cython and just from _freeimage.c

- added experimental FreeImageTurbo.dll for 32bit Windows

- added --without-turbo

- enhanced FormatInfo class and fixed a possible segfault

- fixed icc_cmyk property handling of missing ICC profile

- added ImageDataRepresentation as central information place for mapping
of image and color type to buffer layout, LCMS types and PIL modes.

smc.freeimage 0.1

*Release date: 13-Jul-2012*

- project moved to

- experimental support for Python 3

- support for Windows X86_64 builds

- updated code base to LCMS 2.3, FreeImage 3.15.3 and Cython 0.16

- modernized and cleaned up Cython code to use recent features like pxd files

Project details

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